As it stands, we are the transition stage. We have no structure, there is no black and white, we live in a clouded time. All questions are being answered again, because the past is no longer the present. No person knows if our corrections are correct, but they do know it is what the majority wants. The question which is rarely looked at, and that will be looked at in this paper, is the effects which this transition is having on society. This paper is going to attempt to reveal the results, of the removal of religious education and support. The literature involved is going to display the direct, and indirect effects, of not being brought up to believe a certain religion, but to choose your own, no matter what it is.
The past beliefs on religious support and education are displayed in the words of Aristotle;
"Moral virtues come from habit... The habits we form from childhood make no small difference, but rather they make all the difference." 1
Our society has decided that the habits referred to by Aristotle, do not matter, when involving religion. Statistics tend to show a different result than what our present society feels. This paper is dealing with several different valid sources, which mesh together to make a collective statement. This statement is that the lack of religious support is one of the main reasons why society and its morals are decreasing.
World Vision of Canada has published as of November 1993 statistics dealing with the attendance of church and youth, which states; Canada's church attendance, in all denominations has decreased by twenty-five percent in adults and fifteen percent in youth. In Britain Adult attendance is down ten percent and youth attendance is down nine percent. In France the adult attendance is down thirteen percent, statistics for youth where not available. Australia's adult attendance has decreased twenty-seven percent, and the youth attendance was not available. The most considerable changes have occurred in the United States were fourty-one percent of the adult attendance has decreased, and thirty-five percent of the youth attendance has decreased. 2
These statistics display the implications of the removal of religious education and support, on church attendance. Although this decline in church attendance is a direct result of the removal of religious support and education. It is not one of the more revealing consequences.
A poll done by the Angus Reid Group shows that eighty-three percent of Canadians, find that their greatest joy in life was their family. 3 The distressing information found was, sixty-three percent of the people who stated family was their greatest joy, also felt Canadian families are in great distress. They pointed to the rate of divorce and instability of the family unit; financial difficulties; lack of values in society; violence and crime; and unemployment, as their feeling this way. 4 There are over 28 million people in Canada, and close to seven and one-half million families. However, there is no longer one typical family in Canada. The face and structure of the family unit has changed dramatically over the past number of years and the Traditional Nuclear Family is no longer the predominant family unit. Canada is now made up of what one writer has called, The Pluralistic Family. The stress being brought to bear on families and marriages today from all sides is horrendous. 5
It is not an overstatement to say that the survival of any society rests with the family. We are born into families. We are nurtured, protected and comforted by families. The design of God is for lifelong, committed marriage between a husband and wife. His intention is that children be born into the secure, loving environment of godly homes to be trained in His ways. 6
If the survival of society rests with the family, and the majority of families are not a typical one but many combinations, there are going to be direct visible results. One of these results is that the suicide rate of teenagers between the ages of fifteen to nineteen tripled between nineteen fifty-four, and nineteen seventy-two. From nineteen seventy-two until nineteen eighty-six the suicide rose one third. The one theme that runs through the accounts of suicide written by youth today, is the isolation from family and friends - from anyone who could serve as an anchor to reality, or simply listen well. 7
Not only is there a higher percentage, of teenagers taking their lives, society has also engaged, in an astonishing amount of abortions. The Family Research Council findings state that between sixty-seven to seventy-two abortions, are linked to illegitimacy. 8 Also girls who are born out-of-wedlock are much more likely to engage in premarital sex. Premarital sex is nine times more likely to engender abortion, and women who have never married are more than five times as likely to have abortions as their married counterparts. 9
Not only are we killing ourselves, and the ones which are not born yet, society is also showing their difficulty with keeping their marriages. According to the Family Research Council the national rate as of nineteen ninety-four stood at four point six percent. 10 With the realization that society rests on the stability of families, this divorce rate is very damaging to the upbringing of our children.
The transition from religious based education, and support by the government, directly effect the increase in the problems stated previously. The literature does not state this is the only reason why our society is suffering. But- it states that the absence of religion in our society is a contributing factor. Because- religion promotes such values, as marriage and commitment, while disapproving of such things as suicide and abortion.
Context. Mississauga, Ont: Marc Canada, 1993.
FRC. (http://frc.org/townhall/frc/press/121995c.html). "Divorce Issues". 1995.
FRC. (http://www.townhall.com/townhall/FRC/infocus/if95c4wl.html). "Abortion Statistics".1995.
Korman, Sheila K and Leslie Gerald R. The Family In Social Context(Sixth Edition). Toronto, Ont: Oxford University Press, 1985.
O' Bireck, Gary M. Not A Kid Anymore. Toronto, Ont: Nelson Canada, 1996.
Waters, F. W. The Way In The Way Out. Toronto, Ont: Oxford University Press, 1967.
1 Not A Kid Anymore. (Toronto; Nelson Canada, 1996) p.87.
2 Context. (Mississauga; Marc Canada, 1993) p. 32
3 Ibid. p. 47.
4 Ibid. p. 47.
5 Ibid. p. 52.
6 Ibid. p. 67.
7 Not A Kid Anymore. (Toronto; Nelson Canada, 1996) p.95.
8 Abortion Satistics. (http://www.townhall.com/townhall/frc/infocus/if95c4wl.html, 1995.)
10 Divorce Issues. (http://frc.org/townhall/frc/press/121995c.html, 1995.)