Religion: Culture or Choice?
By Kai Lock
Do you go to church? The question is simple, but the way it’s answered isn’t. It’s a well-known fact that as the years go by, fewer and fewer people sit in the seats of the church. For those who do sit with their families or alone, what is the true reasoning behind their attendance?
Traditionally, I grew up with Catholicism in my blood. It was a part of me before I could talk, before I could even comprehend the idea of God. Therefore, I grew with this idea that going to church was morally the right thing to do. No questions asked. My story isn’t unique; most children in the United States grow up with religion, whether they be baptized or just simply grew up going to church.
Daniel Garcia, a junior at Summit Prep, relates to my story and adds that he went to a religious school. His parents raised him Catholic, so it’s all he’s ever known. “Yea, I do go to church. It’s kind of mandatory.”
In adolescence, you do not question if God exists or if Santa is real or anything that your parents put so much emphasis on.
So in saying this, how many of those go to church because they fundamentally believe in what the church stands for and how many go because it is what they have been coerced into believing?
I talked to Christopher Acosta, a junior at Summit Prep about his experience with his religion. “I grew up Catholic and I like religion for it’s tradition aspect. I used to question my religion, but now I have my own beliefs,” he said.
Tradition. It all starts there. What quantity of people have turned a blind eye to the possibilities that linger outside of their religion? Of those many who have, it is reasonable to question whether their intentions are formed by culture or by their very own choice. It seems as though the Christian world doesn’t seem too fond of the idea of doubt. Which makes sense – who would ever want someone to not fully trust in them? Acosta mentioned that he thinks the Catholic Church does not seemed thrilled with the idea of people questioning their religion, using his own experience as judgement.
To question your fundamentals should never be a bad thing, it should be encouraged. Questioning can lead in one of two ways: strengthening your belief or finding new truths. Whichever path you take, it benefits your school of thought. Religion should ultimately always be a choice. Your choice. And while you may think that you are 100 percent committed to your religion, sit and wonder: Why? Why is it my choice? You find it will shine a new light on something that has been with you for years.
To hear more of the stories the students shared in this article, see the video below: