Young adults search for a faith that fits

By Brian Smith
May 4, 2006

According of many religious resources-in this case “”-list the world religions as 33 percent Christian, 21 percent Islam, 14 percent Hindu and 16 percent nonreligious. Which religion have you chosen? When people looking for the right religion ask those who have already chosen, many would say, “Choose what is right for you.”

“They [teenagers] are in a state of self discovery. They want to see if it goes with their personal value system,” Kraig Kraighazel, a youth pastor at Church of the Savior, said. “They’re trying to find something.”

The Church of the Savior is an establishment in Wayne, Pa. that holds services every Sunday several times a day. The worship is held in a large room with two large projection screens on each side, with a cross in the middle. The pastor stands on a stage in front of a room of around 200 people, with speakers placed across the building that project what’s heard on-stage.

What is interesting about this church is that it can be considered “neutral” among all the denominations of Christianity. Its statement of faith stresses the importance of the Bible and Jesus, but not on the traditions from other Christian denominations-such as baptism, of example. This fact-with which several attendants of this church agreed-makes it good for people deciding on a religion.

“We major on majors and minor on minors. Seeking God instead of denominations,” Kraighazel said.

A few teens at this church admitted that they knew some people who were looking at other religions, despite being raised Christian. Some were even looking at Scientology.

“A couple of my friends don’t know what they are. They are raised Christian but looking at other religions,” Tim Reynold, a student of Eastern University, said.

However, these teens were in the minority. Many seemed sure of what their religion was, though they said they could relate and sympathize with those who weren’t.

“It would not surprise me. Either they haven’t found what they’re looking for, or they haven’t had a mentor to teach them the entirety of each religion,” Lynett Leong, a member of the Church of the Savior, said.

Some attendants of this church also seemed to grasp what teens were looking for in religion.

“They have a harder idea of determining. They leave out parts they don’t like. They mix the definition of God,” Wess Meixele, a long-time member of the Church of the Savior, said.

However, everyone stressed finding a religion that was right for you. They put no pressure on which religion you should choose.

“It makes you feel better about yourself. If it works for you then there shouldn’t be a problem with it,” Nora Marchetto-Ryan, a junior psychology major, said.

A strong factor in deciding a religion was their parents and upbringing, as opposed to peers and friends. Adolescents raised in a comfortable and loving environment would lean towards their parents’ religion, while adolescents raised in a dysfunctional home look elsewhere for religion.

“If loved they will gravitate towards their parents’ belief,” Kraighazel said.

Above all, everyone wants to give advice to people looking for their faith. It often comes as no surprise to anyone, and many people seem to relate.

“There are definitely people that go from one religion to another; it’s nothing new.” Sarah Mitchell, long time member of the Church of the Savior, said.

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Brian Smith

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