Religious Tolerance: A Dying Trend?


Hope is a 15-year-old high school student from Stratford, NJ. She loves reading, writing, socializing with friends and her favorite subject is English because she wants to be a writer/editor.

From troubles during biblical times to today’s schools banning discussions about it, religion has always been a touchy subject. Discussions about religion have ended in fights. They have even left people in tears.

I strongly believe in religious tolerance but it seems like that’s a dying trend. In high school, you meet people of varying religious backgrounds. You have Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, people who believe in a higher being but do not follow a set religion, atheists, etc. Depending on where (location) you go to school and what school you go to, you will see more of a certain religion. At my school, I don’t see too many religious discussions. This does not mean that they don’t occur, however. Whenever I end up in this type of discussion with an atheist, and I mention that I’m Catholic, I always get the same response. They tell me that Catholics are crazy and they always try to convert you. I have yet to attempt to convert any of my non-Catholic friends to Catholicism, just saying. I think that religious discussions should not take place if all parties involved are not going to be mature and understanding.

Why are their varying religious backgrounds? Many situations can cause varying religious backgrounds. Growing up, I attended a Catholic school so I adopted the Catholic faith. That’s how, from what I’ve seen, kids and teens end up in a certain religion. Parents and teachers play an important role in helping a child choose a religion. Atheists have varying reasons for being atheist. Some just don’t believe in God because they want some sort of physical proof that He is real. The most common reason that I’ve heard, which I find very interesting, is that their Catholic school teachers didn’t explain things or answer their questions. I find this interesting because, while I do believe in God, this is a legitimate reason. They want to belong to a religion but they are confused. Obviously, teachers cannot answer every question. I have seen, however, that some Catholic school teachers are better than others.

As for what teens believe today, it’s hard to say. I’ve met several Catholics and I’ve met several atheists as well. My advice to teens when it comes to discussing religion outside of your school’s curriculum: just don’t do it. My advice to parents when it comes to discussing religion with your teen(s): be calm and understanding. While everyone in my family believes in God, we are not all Catholic. We do have varying views when it comes to religion, but we can have religious discussions in a calm and mature manner. Nobody knows what religion is right or wrong and everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.

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