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Featured Religion is for Enlightened Old Folks... Right?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Quintessence, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    It might be observed that some cultures hold a preconceived notion that young people are just not interested on the topic of religion. They're too busy doing this, that, or the other thing to be interested in answering the big, tough, philosophical questions of life or developing a life path to address those. Certainly, there is some research to back up the lack of participation in religions by various studies. For example, if you look at these data gathered by PEW Research, folks in the 18-29 demographic report that religion is "very important" in their life only 40% of the time, compared to 51% for the 30-49 demographic and up to 65% for the 65+ crowd. Other commonly-used activities to assess religious engagements are also lowest amongst this demographic.

    What do you think is behind these trends? Is religion, deep thinking, and enlightenment really just for old folks? At what age did you become seriously interested in religion? Or maybe there was an age where you became disinterested in it?
     
  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I started looking into my own religion (not others) very early on, but I thought it was a matter of eternal flames etc. I'm not sure that counts as the result of curiosity and interest. I do not think young people look into religions. They don't think "Hey let me stop what I'm doing and go read through tons of alien materials."
     
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  3. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    What does religion have to do with deep thinking or enlightenment? Are you saying that an interest in deep thinking necessarily entails an interest in religion?
     
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  4. Guy Threepwood

    Guy Threepwood Mighty Pirate

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    I was raised a pretty staunch atheist, & my only interest in religion was a cynical one for much of my life. Once I was older and took a more open view, I eventually changed my mind, so all I can prove is that my opinion is entirely unreliable!

    But I think the same happens with people raised with religion, they reach a point where they re-evaluate it for themselves, and whether you keep the same 'position' or not, your beliefs as an adult have an entirely different basis than the ones you were raised with
     
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  5. bobhikes

    bobhikes Liveinthenowist
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    I was seriously interested in religion around 6 years old. Up until my teens I was seeking a religious career. In my adult life I have been part of my religions community. I am by far less religious today. The problem is religion. It needs to change, it is locked in the past and the requirements of today's people are not being met. We are probably going to go through a religious dark ages and then a renaissance. Religion is not disappearing just changing.
     
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  6. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    I started seriously looking into religion when I was 23. I know the year precisely because it's the year my grandmother died of cancer.

    When she knew her end was near and she was putting her affairs in order, she told me that her religious upbringing had brought her a lot of comfort over the years, and she asked me to seriously consider bringing up any children I might have in a church. Not commit to it, just consider it. I told her I would.

    After this, I realized that I'd have serious moral and ethical problems raising kids in a religion I disagreed with myself, so I started exploring different religions and denominations to see if I could find one I could accept.

    Later on after I married, I also promised my (now ex-) wife that I would try to accept Catholicism so that she could stop her very real emotional pain at the thought of the fate of my unbaptized, atheist soul.

    I stopped actively exploring religion - at least with an eye to finding one for me - when I was 35 or so. That was when I realized that the more I went to church, read scriptures, and reflect on religion, the more I was repelled by it.

    In that time, I saw plenty of easy, poorly-thought-out answers to big questions, but nothing that I could accept if I was going to care about the quality of those answers.

    Religion has never been about philosophy for me. It was only ever about honouring a pair of promises.
     
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  7. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I got interested at about 18, went gung-ho for about 10 years, and out of the necessity of needing a lot of time helping raise 5 kids, interest was less for about 25 years. Now its more interesting than ever. We all have our personal patterns.

    I don't see much of a relationship between age and my personal view on religiosity.
     
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  8. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    In my experience, I've seen many, many relatives get more into religion once they started getting old enough to talk about dying on a regular basis. I don't think it's a coincidence.

    I realize this doesn't apply to everyone, but I think it's certainly an element that can't be ignored.
     
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  9. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    I thought religion (abrahamic religion, anyway) was for people with a weak internalized morality; unprincipled people who seek clear, black and white guidelines they don't have to think about. I thought religion was for the morally crippled who need a crutch to walk upright. I thought it was for those who needed threats or rewards to control their behavior.
     
  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Fear is indeed a heavy motivation in some religions.
     
  11. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Quite possibly. The inspiration for this thread came from a podcast I'm listening to during one of the OBOD gatherings. Druidry really doesn't have any teachings about death or the afterlife, so it is not a "death preparing" tradition like Christianity often is. So for me that raises the question - what is it that is bringing older people to be more involved with a tradition like Druidry, which is not at all focused on preparing for death?

    I'm not done listening to the podcast, though... so maybe that'll be addressed on my drive home from work today as I hear the rest of it. :D
     
  12. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    A worthy question best suited for another thread. :D

    But very briefly, thinking too darned much about things (aka, deep thinking) is pretty much what led me to religion. This is not atypical of folks involved in newer religious movements, and as this OP is inspired by a podcast produced by one such movement, that sort of framing is what was on my mind.
     
  13. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva
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    Actually, @Quintessence , enlightened folks, of all ages, are several skips past a need for a religion. Part of the process of enlightenment negates much of what religion is predicated on. In some ways, enlightenment is the art of unlearning... Suffice to say that I don't view religious people, of any age, as being particularly enlightened.
     
    #13 YmirGF, Feb 15, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  14. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    OTOH, It also can't be ignored that people tend to get more into religion at the same age that they get more into gardening, quilting, model railroading, etc.

    At least some of this increased religiosity can probably just be chalked up to having more time for hobbies.
     
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  15. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    I think there's a big difference in this respect between new, non-mainstream religious movements and traditional, mainstream ones.

    When I was exploring Catholicism, I was dumbfounded by how many Catholics - devout, observant believers - I'd talk to who didn't seem to have reflected at all on the merits of Catholicism or explored their religion beyond what they learned in catechism classes when they were 13. When someone has converted to another religion (or deconverted away from religion altogether), at least they've put some thought into their beliefs. This thoughtfulness is often absent from people who stuck with the religion they were raised with, IMO.
     
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  16. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    In our religion it's not like that. The youth are the backbone of the Faith and make tremendous sacrifices all voluntarily. The trend is the exact opposite in our Faith.

    Our youth see hope and a glorious future for humanity and want to help build that new world civilisation based upon love and justice and love every minute of it.

    Your statistics likely are reflecting religions which have had their time and are no longer relevant with the needs of the age so youth have lost interest and are abandoning them but in our Faith, our teachings are so relevant that youth compete to serve and love making the utmost sacrifices.

    The older people in our religion who are less mobile usually contribute financially and support the younger ones who have the health to travel and do the more active things.

    When one is building a new world civilisation for humanity everyone wants to be part of it as we want humanity to have a wonderful future. We do it out of love not duty.
     
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  17. Iti oj

    Iti oj Global warming is real and we need to act
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    Well I think there is a difference between interested and finding important. Also I think it's important to note the spiritual vs religious divide. I wonder if more young people consider them selves spiritual over religious and vice versa for older people.
     
  18. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    I waver in my interest even now. A supposed "adult." My participation is paltry and I only really ponder philosophically on a whim. There's just more going on with life as a 20 something than perhaps a retiree who has hours to fill. Although I know a couple of retirees who have the schedule of a veritable socialite!
    I have work, studies, events, outings, gatherings etc. My downtime is more spent on reading and playing video games than exploring the implications of my religion. In saying that though, with my religion it's viewed more as a cultural heritage, something that is always kind of there even if I may not engage in it all the time. So perhaps there is a sense of complacency playing into my general apathy.
     
  19. David T

    David T Well-Known Member

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    Interesting.
     
  20. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I grew up going to the Presbyterian Church as a child. Other matters apart from God captured my attention as a teenager including education/studies.

    I went through a difficult time when I was 20 and became a born again Christian for a few months but then decided I should reconsider. Several years of searching/meditating led to the conclusion that there probably wasn't a God. The 9 months as an athiest were the worst 9 months of my life. I reconnected with God and prayed for guidance/assistance. Soon after I had the opportunity to explore the Baha'i Faith. After 8 months investigating decided I would take the next step. 25+ years later I'm still a Baha'i.

    Although the demographics in New Zealand is similar to that in the OP where many young people don't have a faith, it is the young people in the Baha'i Faith that are at the forefront of our activities.
     
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