A part of everyday life
January 13, 2021
From the first moment European settlers first step foot on the land that would eventually become the United States, religion has been a bedrock principle upon which this country has been built.
Its importance in the history of the country is expressly outlined in the First Amendment of the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.
We have a tradition in the United States of America of respecting a diverse range of religious traditions, and we live in a very diverse pluralistic society in which our government and our constitution does not recognize one religion as more important than another,”
— social studies teacher Jeff Crowe
“We have a tradition in the United States of America of respecting a diverse range of religious traditions, and we live in a very diverse pluralistic society in which our government and our constitution does not recognize one religion as more important than another,” social studies teacher Jeff Crowe said. “We have the First Amendment, the very first amendment to our Constitution, expresses that and I think that’s important because it also protects religion by not having the government or basically our laws becoming involved in religions. We have what, historians, and authors, and people have referred to as a wall or a separation between the church and the state. Which has kind of been the tradition in the United States for the last 240 years.”
However, according to the Pew Research Center, the percent of Americans who pray daily and attend religious services on a regular basis has seen a modest decline in recent years.
Data from the nationwide study shows a decline in the percent of adults that describe themselves as religiously affiliated dropping from 83 percent in 2007, to 77 percent in 2014.
For teenagers, the numbers are a bit different.
A 2020 study by the pew research center found that 68 percent of teenagers consider themselves unaffiliated with any religion.
Here on campus, the numbers appear to be close to the national average, as regardless of the faith, religion plays a role in the lives of a majority of students.
“Well, a lot of people, religion, it makes my day to day life because like a lot of people think it’s like just like a rule book and like all that but really it’s like having a relationship with him and like wanting to, like, do the things that are right for Him, and that like, it’s not just a rulebook but it’s a way of life,” class of 2020 graduate Jared Jones said. “And that Christianity for me is, since I’m reading the Bible study like that’s a way for me to step out my faith. But also, it’s a way for me to also learn more about Him, and that causes me to be a better person.”
“Most of my day-to-day life is affected by religion because I come from a really religious like strict Hindu family,” senior Anurupa Roy said. “So part of it like I’ll wake up everyday I’ll pray, I’ll come to school, and then when I get back home I’ll pray.”
“My religion includes a lot of prayer so there are definite times in the day where I have to like, pause what I’m doing and go to pray and things like that,” senior Safa Ashraf said. “So it’s very involved and I’m involved with almost every day.”
Taking a variety of forms, religion has been a part of humanity since prehistoric times. And for some students on campus, it seems as if they would have a completely different life without religion being a factor.
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“My life without religion, it would be a completely different lifestyle,” Roy said. “I can’t honestly even imagine it without religion because as I said before, religion has been incorporated as a big part of my lifestyle and like a lot of my beliefs and perspectives on issues derive from my religion.”
“Without religion I’d imagine my life would be a lot different,” Ashraf said. “Most of the things I do revolve around my religion or like there are certain restrictions that are in place because of it so without it I’d imagine that I’d be like a completely different person.”
“My life without religion would be very different because it sets a great standard for morals,” Zonis said. “Especially Judaism we don’t necessarily believe in like a hell so we don’t believe in condemning but we do believe in following the word of God and just sticking true to your faith and like, what morally is right.”
But for many students on campus, religion is more than just a faith or belief system, it can define who they are, and can factor into the daily decisions they make.
“I think my religion is my identity because finding your identity,” Jones said. “Things in the world are usually going to like let you down like things such as like friendly stuff, you never know when they’re going to betray you or when like if you’re having a hard time they’re going to be busy and you can’t like talking but when my work in Christianity I can always rely on God to be there.”
My life without religion, it would be a completely different lifestyle. I can’t honestly even imagine it without religion. Religion has been incorporated as a big part of my lifestyle and like a lot of my beliefs and perspectives on issues derive from my religion,”
— senior Anurupa Roy
“A lot of my beliefs and perspectives on issues or what I’ve been taught throughout my life,” Roy said. “So from a young age my parents have taught me to incorporate religion and how it influences my actions and stuff.”
While religion helps define who some students are, their beliefs are still put to the test in today’s world.
“A lot of the times it’s been tested when I’m like eating with a couple of friends and there’s like certain foods I can’t eat because of my religion,” Ashraf said. “So people would always kinda pressure me like ‘Hey you should just try it’ but I’ve had to like step back and say “No, I can’t do that like it’s a part of who I am”.
“Growing up in like the Bible Belt, definitely has been tested a lot,” Zonis said. “Because I’m white and I’m Ashkenazi Jew I don’t necessarily look like it so unfortunately for people who are like Muslim and wear hijabs, they’re more pressurized because of their religion because you can see it. But for me it’s just been World War II Hitler jokes on the sly that kids make that they don’t necessarily realize, but I’ve had family members affected by that and so whenever they’re just making these jokes unknowingly into an endless void, they are not regarding whoever is near.”