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Religionfaith

Mike Johnson

February 17,1997

English 101/ Hicks

Religion/Faith

Over the last several decades America has been evolving towards many significant changes. One of these changes has posed a question, whether or not America has become secular. Although we may be uncertain of many of these changes and how they will affect our future, the answer to our secularity is quite obvious. America has indeed become secular.

I think that in a society where being successful is everything, our religious beliefs tend to get lost in the ³survival of the fittest² lifestyle that we lead everyday. Of course we all have certain standards in which we believe and live by. A good example of the standard behavior that makes us so secular is in Wil Herbergs essay This American Way Of Life. Herbergs says so well , ³the American way of life is a symbol by which Americans define themselves and establish their unity.² The author means to imply that unity is something we all strive for. To be American is to be part a huge family, no matter what gender, color, or background. We stick together. We fight together, we laugh together, we grieve together as Americans.

Terms like democracy, individuality, self-reliance are all words we relate to as Americans. We teach our kids that we should be grateful everyday to be Americans. In this country we can choose our own destination. We can be whatever we want. I think that being a secular country brings us together and makes us stronger.We don¹t have questions we can¹t answer. We don¹t hear stories of people or things we can¹t prove exist. We know what we have overcome to be where we are today, and we know what we want to plan for our future. As quoted in Herbergs essay, ³The things that make us proud to be Americans are of the soul and of the spirit.² That quote said by Mr. Eisenhower exemplifies an American religion, or standard by which we look for guidance and reassurance.And it is not something we should be ashamed of. Our country has survived more that other countries can only dream of. So many have suffered for the well being of our country. It is what makes us America.

To me it would seem that religion has become a thing of the past. It seems as though in the past more people than not saw their religion to be very important to them, it consumed their daily life.Now-a-days it seems that the religious way of life is left behind when mass lets out. So why are parents still insisting on that one hour mass every week? I think its because people are confusing religion with tradition. You aren¹t religious because you are born with Catholic parents. You can¹t be forced into religion. It takes a certain amount of faith to be religious. And then in turn your faith is the dedication that brings you to church each week or to saying grace before each meal. I don¹t believe that whether or not you¹re religious is a prerequisite to being a good person. Which raises a good question, ³Do kids need religion?² In Anthony Brandts essay Do Kids Need Religion he quotes ³Religious education raised the issue of honesty.² How does religion relate to honesty, other that the honesty to ourselves whether or not we truly believe. I think that honesty relates more to the secularity of our society. I think that being American would raise an issue of honesty. Our ancestors were honest to themselves when they helped to create America. Later Brandt goes on to say ³ too it is impossible to predict with any confidence what affect religious education will have on children.² Which is precisely my point. Why are we teaching them things that aren¹t sure will help them later on in life. We should be teaching them history so they will grow up knowing who they are, who their ancestors were and what we learned from them. Rather than teaching our kids to believe in one specific person(s) to believe with out question.In Brandts essay a mother says, ³I think you can transmit values to your kids but belief is different.² I think that religion is very much an individual thing while, secularity is a bond that helps our society strive for achievement.

Brandt has a statement that is something I think most anyone can relate to, he says, ³The longing for meaning is something we all share parent and child alike.²I think that being a secular country gives us a sense of meaning. Instead of being separated into categories of who believes what and why, we stick together because we all share one thing in common we are all American. And I think that the pride we have in common is all we need.

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