How does faith play a role in your life?We're often consumed with day-to-day life: the next research paper due, that next cell phone bill or rent check that's also due, how to score tickets to Justin Timberlake's summer tour, or simply what you're going to wear in the morning. But are we paying attention to a higher power in the sky? Are we reading scriptures, observing Purim, or going to church... religiously?
According to the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life, "Millennials" are less likely to identify with any religion or Christian denomination than previous generations. In fact, 1 in 4 are unaffiliated with a particular faith compared to 1 in 5 members of Generation X. And what about your elders? Only 13 percent of Baby Boomers were unaffiliated with a specific religion at a similar age.
So, are we losing our religion? Below are excerpts from young women across the country, describing how faith and spirituality play a role in their lives ... or maybe, it doesn't.
"The media delivering up religion like Chinese takeout may not sound inspiring, but for me it is. Pop culture makes religion a buffet where I can taste a little of everything. Every religion has a main dish, as well as a bunch of sides and fillers and weird, exotic things that you have to be raised on to enjoy. My own personal religion is a dish that suits my own personal taste, that I discovered and added my own flavor to, and that I can dish up time and time again for the ones I love." -- Sasha Smith, Pop culture God
"I am not a traditional Catholic. I live with my boyfriend, I believe in gay rights, I take birth control, and I don't go to church regularly. I have been told these are all sins. So how could I possibly consider myself a Catholic? Because I have faith that is unending. The place I feel closest to God is in my heart when I go somewhere quiet and just talk, cry, or sometimes scream. I've tried attending church regularly, but ultimately I feel closest to my faith after my own version of church." -- Katlin Stack, The Beauty of Faith and Angels
"Commonly, I'm asked about where my morals come from, since I don't believe in a higher power. My morals come from an inherent sense of right and wrong, from my familial raising combined with societal influence, and from my experience in just being alive. These things allow me to feel in control of my life. My mistakes are not sins; rather, they are platforms on which I base my future decisions." -- Leigh Clay, Yes, I'm an Atheist; Do you have any more questions?
"The 'religion' of Christianity hasn't only impacted my life, it's shaped it. I've chosen to live in a way that's different from most young women. To be frank, I don't smoke, drink, have sex, or party. Don't roll your eyes yet. I promise you, I'm a mess. The Bible says that all sin is equal in God's eyes, and this has shaped how I look at people. So regardless of what you've heard about Christians, I don't hate homosexuals, I won't stuff a Bible down your throat, and I eat at fast food places other than Chick-fil-A. I'm an average girl who has something precious and perfect in my grasp: my identity in Christ." -- Allison Grace, My religion without regrets
"When it was clear to me that mainstream religions were not for me, I decided to find something unconventional and even create something if I had to. What I believe in now is a mixture of everything. I believe in higher powers that created our world and can influence our lives. I believe in the forces of nature, powers of the Earth, and I know for sure that every single living thing has a soul and a voice. I believe in white light that we all carry inside us. I believe in intuition and shamanic trances. I believe astral travels. And I believe in connecting to the world around me." -- Lizzie Donovan, My religion is eclectic paganism
"My experience with the Unitarian church could be seen by others as very 'non-traditional,' wrong, or even somewhat bizarre. I prefer to say it was unique and, at times, comical. Some vivid memories come to mind, like one year Mary was played by a male in the Christmas pageant, a lesbian couple led our congregation for many years, and sex education was taught during the 'Coming of Age' program." -- Marina Lumsden, I'm a Unitarian; Yes, I swear it's a real religion
Tell us, how does religion, faith, and spirituality play a role in your life?