Arrowhead Students Explore Religion and Spirituality

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Isabella Wartzenluft, Reporter and Editor

During the teenage years, the minds of young adolescents are opened to new ideas. For some this means delving further into religion or spirituality. For others, it is losing what they once had and no longer sharing their original beliefs. It is a time of question and wonder, the chance to explore all thoughts that exist and become self-aware.

According to a study at San Diego State University, cultural changes are causing a large amount of teenagers to run from their original religious beliefs. This study involved nearly twelve million people between the ages of thirteen and eighteen between 1966 and 2014. There was an extreme decline in the importance of religion.

Despite the growing fear of religion that is shown in the San Diego State University study, Reagan Zimmerman, Arrowhead sophomore, says,  “I’ve never had any reason to question the Bible or anything else I’ve been taught in church.”

Zimmerman has managed to stick to what she has always believed. She says, I believe that God is our creator and that His only son Jesus Christ died for our sins. I don’t go to church as often as I should, but I feel like it is possible to be a good Catholic without going to church. I have the beliefs and I pray and I use them in my everyday life before I make decisions, so I think that suffices.”

Savannah Julius, Arrowhead sophomore, says, “I don’t take religion seriously. I don’t understand how so many people can believe so many different things about the same topics, and not be able to withdraw from their beliefs. It pains me to see someone strongly back their belief against someone else’s. It amazes me to see so many viewpoints, though.”

There is a difference between religion and spirituality. According to Biography Online, religion tends to adhere to a specific system of beliefs. Spirituality focuses more on self-awareness and growing in order to reach new levels of consciousness. When it comes to a God, religion speaks of a higher being that is distant from humanity, one that lives in what may be another world, such as heaven. Spirituality stresses that God is within all of us, and there is no separation between humanity and this greater being.

When it comes to spirituality, Julius says, “My spirituality includes little things like believing in meditation and good things for the soul. I believe in the creation of a good person. If you put good into the world, you can get good out. I also hold morals. I do not need to fall under a specific religion in order to obtain those sentimental things.”

There are numerous amounts of religions and spiritual practices that exist in this world today. There is the belief that one God exists, and the belief that many do. There are people that strictly interpret books of worship, and those who follow the ‘rules’ of religion more closely. People who practice spirituality may do so from meditation, or simply working on feeling comfortable with one’s own soul.

Along with religion and spirituality is their opposite, atheism. According to Emory Law, atheism is the lack of a belief in God or Gods. There are certain religions that contain sects in which atheism is a common belief. According to Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, many Buddhists tend to be atheistic. Buddhism is not necessarily the belief in a God, but rather the belief that everyone can be enlightened by following the path of Buddha, who was a normal man, just one who completed a spiritual journey.

Julius says, “I encourage it [religion and spirituality]. Either, or, both, or none; it makes life more interesting.”