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Religion in Teenagers
Religion is a problem that countless of teenagers encounter all across the world. Their relation is a very conflicting one. Many factors come in play when discussing the problem of adolescence and teenagers. One aspect of this is the urge of teenagers to abstain from religion. Another feature is that several teenagers convert their religion all the time. The most important factor that comes in play is the everyday problems teenagers’ face and religion affiliation with those specific problems
There are countless of teenagers in the world who have an urge to withdraw their affiliations with religion. There was a recent survey conducted by Penguin in UK from 1000 teenagers, and their view of god (“Two Third of Teenagers”). There were many interesting points that came up from this survey; 59% of these teenagers believe that, “religion has a negative impact on the world” (“Two Third of Teenagers”). This survey also showed that 50 % of these teenagers have never prayed, and that 16% of these people have never been to church (“Two Third of Teenagers”). It’s further depicted that 54 % of teenagers aren’t troubled about religion and that 60 % of these teens go to church for only weddings or christenings (“Two Third of Teenagers”). In response to this survey A Church of England spokesman said: "Many teenagers aren't sure what they believe at that stage of their lives, as is clear from the number who said they don't know whether they believe in God (“Two third of Teenagers”). Moving away from this story there are other examples that show teenagers abstaining from religion. During the 1980’s in Canada the teen atheist population was 6 %, now it is 16 %, this number has risen 166 % in the matter of about 25 years (Lunau).
Along with teenagers refraining from religion, there are many teenagers who also convert into different religions. There was a recent case in 2009 in Ohio, USA where a teenager who converted to Christianity from Islam ran away from home (Couwels). A teenager of Sri Lankan origin named Rifqa Barry, initially became a Christian in July, 2005, but she hided this from her family (Couwels). In 2009 when she was 17 years old, she was baptized in secret, she ran away from home then to a Pastor in Florida (Couwels). She ran away, because her father allegedly threatened her if she converted to any religion (although authorities later cleared her father of the charges and found no evidence against him) (Couwels). This is not the only example of a teenage conversion, a 14 year old Briton, Sarah Dunn ran away from home after apparently converting to Islam (Dolan). Sarah Dunn is a Briton who became attracted to Islam, she started praying a lot, and reading the Quran quite often (Dolan). On September 18th, Sarah Dunn ran away after getting into a fight with a school friend, she said “That's it. I've had enough”, just before running away (Dolan). She was last seen buying a prayer mat, and she has been missing ever since (Dolan). Now on to the question of why people, convert, one of the most common reason as to why people convert is what psychologists call, “peripheral route to persuasion.” (Qureshi). This means that there is an attractive force for these people, such as people being attracted to the adhan, or Christian hymns (Qureshi). It can also be people meeting nice people from other religions, and it causes them to take a liking to these people and convert (Qureshi). Some researchers also say that religious conversion is female trait (Ter Avest et al)
There are many problems that teenagers face today, and a lot of those problems have a religion perspective behind them. One such problem is premarital sex; most religions have the same stance on it which is a big no-no. Premarital sex is strictly forbidden in Islam, The Quran states “The fornicator and the fornicatrix, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment proscribed by God, if you believe in God and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment” (“Islam and”). Premarital sex is punishable by 100 whips in Islam (“Islam and”). Pre-marital sex is also forbidden in Christianity, the bible states “Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body” (“Sex and Christianity”). There is no verse in the Torah that explicitly forbids pre-marital sex, therefore it isn’t exactly prohibited in Judaism (Scheib). There was a further study on religion and tobacco use it concluded that 2/10 people involved in religious studies smoke, compared to the overall figure of 2/10 teenagers who smoke (Weaver et al). Another study also concluded that when it comes to smoking, drinking, drug abuse, and school attendance religious teens do much better in these areas than non-religious teens (Lytch).
As this essay has concluded religion plays a very important role in anyone’s life. Some people find peace in religion, some convert, some view it as rational, and some view it as irrational. In the end religion is important not only in the life of teens, but everyone’s life.
"Islam and Sexuality." Islam and Islamic Studies Resources. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. http://godlas.myweb.uga.edu/sexuality.html
"Sex and Christianity." Web. 24 Oct. 2011. http://www.teachingpages.co.uk/topicPresentation/articlePremaritalSexPart1
"Two Thirds of Teenagers Don't Believe in God - Telegraph." Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph Online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph - Telegraph. The Telegraph, 22 June 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <http://www.telegraph3w.co.uk/news/religion/5603096/Two-thirds-of-teenagers-dont-believe-in-God.html>.
Cnn, John Couwels. "Muslim Teen Fears for Life after Changing Religion - CNN." Featured Articles from CNN. CNN, 03 Sept. 2009. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. http://articles.cnn.com/2009-09-03/justice/muslim.convert_1_rifqa-bary-mohamed-bary-muslim?_s=PM:CRIME
Dolan, Andy. "Teenage Girl, 14, Goes Missing after Converting to Islam | Mail Online." Home | Mail Online. Mail Online. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223789/Teenage-girl-14-goes-missing-converting-Islam.html
Lunau, Kate. "Teens lose faith in droves. (cover story)." Maclean's 122.13 (2009): 43. MAS Ultra - School Edition. EBSCO. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.
Lytch, Carol E. "What Teens Believe." Religion Online. 6 Sept. 2005. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=3254
Qureshi, Farhan. "Why Do People Convert? | FaithFreedom.org." Ex-Muslims Reveal Islam and Islamic Threat | FaithFreedom.org. Freedom Faith. Web. 29 Oct. 2011. <http://www.faithfreedom.org/articles/apostates-of-islam/why-do-people-convert/>.
Scheib, Ariel. "Premarital Sex." Jewish Virtual Library - Homepage. Jewish Virtual Library. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. <http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/premarital_sex.html>.
ter Avest, Ina, Dan-Paul Jozsa, and Thorsten Knauth. "Gendered Subjective Theologies: Dutch Teenage Girls and Boys on the Role of Religion in their Life." Religious Education 105.4 (2010): 374-394. Professional Development Collection. EBSCO. Web. 24 Oct. 2011.
Weaver, Andrew J., Kevin J. Flannelly, and Adrienne L. Strock. "A Review of Research on the Effects of Religion on Adolescent Tobacco Use Published between 1990 and 2003." Adolescence (San Diego): an international quarterly devoted to the physiological, psychological, psychiatric, sociological, and educational aspects of the second decade of human life 40.160 (2005): 761. ERIC. EB