Teenagers and Religion (re-run)

I might be posting a few re-runs for the next few days…just so you know.  Here’s one from January:

Yesterday I was just checking out my son’s facebook wall and there was a discussion going on about what is the right age to lose one’s virginity.  It’s always interesting to see what the teens are saying, mostly because it throws you into a state of nostalgia about the way that you used to think.  The thing I found most interesting about this conversation was that there was a girl on there who was very adamently professing her religious opinion about the whole topic.  Now, there were plenty of other people on there who held the same view, as well as people who had completely the opposite view.  The thing that struck me about this girl was how she was trying to convince an atheistic type that she (the atheist type) would someday change her mind about god.  I found it a little odd that this girl was so convinced that the other person would be the one to change her beliefs, without perceiving that maybe someday SHE herself would be the one who might change.  After all, many, many people experience an incomparable religious fervor when they are in their teens and early adulthood.  Then  (I would venture to say) the fervor settles down after some life experiences show you that being overzealous might not be the way to approach other people.  Even those who remain very strong in their faith start to realize that what people are looking for in their religious experience is not mania, but peace.  Granted, there are plenty of older adults who never get over their overzealous demonstration of their religious beliefs, but I just found it kind of surprising that this girl seemed to have no idea that at some point in time she might start to see things a little differently than she does now.   I try to think back to when I was that age and I went through a phase of religious fervor, and I wonder, was I that blind?  While I think it’s safe to say I was not nearly so out of my mind as some others can get (ask my parents if you really want to know), I can remember moments where I was completely shut off to any different viewpoints. 

What do you think?  Am I presuming too much to say that most people experience a phase like this and then settle down?  It happens in non-religious circles too…idealism belongs to the young, right?

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4 Responses to Teenagers and Religion (re-run)

  1. philangelus says:

    About four years ago, I pulled a section out of my journal, written when I was in that overzealous phase, and burned it, and the whole time it burned, I prayed for all the people I probably turned against God by being an arrogant prat. So, uh, yeah.

    In my case, real life wore off my sharp edges and taught me compassion. I had to see my flaws in order to be able to see how much God’s mercy takes over when we just can’t go any further.

    I’ve seen the same trend in every aspect of life, so it’s not just religion.

    • tragical40 says:

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back and burn all the rotten things we said and later feel ashamed of. But I guess that’s one of the essentials on the road to compassion…a little way to learn humility, perhaps.

  2. purplume says:

    I don’t know if we all have a phase like that. I do think we need to learn to respect different opinions and move beyond right and wrong. I do think it takes learning.

  3. Holly says:

    Hey, it’s always easier to try to convince someone else to change than to change oneself! Changing our own things is the hard part. And accepting our change is difficult, too.

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