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Editorial

The Outlook Talks Spirituality

default article imageWhether it is because modern society has left behind the traditional ways of the past or because younger generations are more accepting of unfamiliar ideals, religion in American society no longer holds the same influence over people as it once did. In previous generations, religion and religious morals were ubiquitous and one seldom questioned the status quo—young people attended church weekly, abstained from sex until marriage, and for the most part, keep their religion central to their daily lives. Although this is not entirely untrue today, many young people in the 21st-century rarely accept the same values that their parents or grandparents once did.

At The Outlook, we share a myriad of religions. Many editors either identified as Roman Catholic or were raised in the faith, while others instead are or were some denomination of Protestant Christianity; one editor is Muslim and another is Buddhist, and the rest identified as secular or agnostic.

Regardless of their religion, all the editors of The Outlook  discussed how their own faith shaped their lives and nevertheless appreciate the religious differences amongst their peers.

“I was raised pretty strictly Catholic,” one editor explained, “We went to church every Sunday and for Easter and Christmas, and I was confirmed, but I am not really religious now.”

Conversely, another editor said, “I am a confirmed Catholic. [However,] my family and I have never been weekly church goers, not even every holiday.” This editor explained that her mother taught her to go to church whenever one can make it or whenever they need to. “What really matters is how you act outside of church,” they said. 

“I was raised Protestant, but I attended Catholic school since pre-kindergarten,” one editor said. “Because of this, I have gotten the opportunity to view Christianity from different perspectives, especially because of the significant differences between what my school was teaching about and what my church was teaching.” 

“Religion saved my life,” one editor said. “Growing up in an abusive home, I would walk to a church down the street every Sunday by myself from the age of four. Christianity is where I developed my moral code and it has given me the appreciation and stewardship toward the earth and its habitants as a command from an all knowing and loving Creator,” they continued.

Likewise, another editor said, “I am a Muslim…religion is a central part of my life since I try to implement its morals into my actions every day,” they said. “My religion teaches me first and foremost to respect others and to look at every situation with empathy.

“For me, I think faith is a big deal, but my religion [Buddhism] and, specifically, going to temple is not as big of  a deal as believing in my religion is,” another editor said. “I would consider myself faithful or spiritual rather than religious.”

Similarly, many other editors considered themselves spiritual rather than religious; they believe, or do not doubt, in a higher power, but they do not necessarily follow the religious code habitually.

In particular, one editor explained that although they are faithful and attend service weekly, they do not consider themselves to be religious; instead, they view their faith as inherent to their Irish culture.

“My faith is comforting because it has ties to my family and my ancestry. It is a safe place for me, and it reminds me of my childhood,” they said. “Since [my grandmother’s] passing, I have accompanied my mother to church almost every Sunday. I do not go because I believe I need to, but because it makes [my mother] happy, makes her feel close to my grandmother, and is a good quiet place for me to think and reflect.” 

The editors also discussed how they have found solace in their faith, whether through prayer, reading scripture, or just by believing in a higher power. Moreover, they talked about how their religion has shaped their life and their perspective.

“Religion has always been a central part to my life,” one editor said, “my maternal grandmother had family who were bishops in the Episcopal Church, my grandfather was a Presbyterian minister, and I went to Catholic school. I’ve always been around religion and I’ve always been familiar with Christian doctrine,” they said.

“Although I have always been close to my family and to God, I nevertheless felt anxious when I ‘came out.’ This ambivalence prompted to read the Bible even more critically and to pray more frequently; it granted me a lot of remedy and I believe it brought me even closer to God,” they said. “I am very blessed to be in a family that is accepting of who I am, and I want that for every LGBTQ+ person of faith so that they may get the peace of mind that they often need,” they said.

Similarly, other editors said that their faith has granted them peace and comfort. “I cannot help but find comfort in my religion and be thankful,” one editor said, “It makes me a more understanding person.”

Although they are firm in their Buddhist faith, one editor said that they taught Sunday school at a United Methodist Church; they attribute their tolerance for other religions to their own faith. “I am a very open person by nature, but I think that being Buddhist has taught me to not only value other people’s religious affiliations, but also to treat them with respect,” they said.

For many Americans, their religion is a central part to their politics; the editors discuss how their faith has navigated their own voting habits.

“In my faith, Presbyterian organizations are known for building and establishing hospitals. Accordingly, I believe that this reflects in my politics because I want to ensure that every American has access to healthcare, so I usually vote for candidates that think similarly to how I do.”

However, other editors said that their religion does not have bearing on their politics. Instead, many consider themselves ‘more liberal’ than their more conservative counterparts in voting.

One editor said that although their religion does not influence their voting habits, they nonetheless identify themselves as being more traditional. “For example, I want to get married in a Catholic church because it just feels right to me. [However,] I am pro-choice.”

Additionally, when it came to matters of the separation of church and state, the editors unanimously agreed that each should operate separately and respect the boundaries between them. “I believe that same-sex marriage should be legal, but I do not believe that the state should force an independent religious organization to marry a gay couple in their place of worship,” one editor said.

Many colleges offer religious life on campus, and Monmouth University is no exception. However, although efforts are made to represent all religions, Monmouth often falls short in providing full access for all religions.

For example, one editor said, “I have spoken with Chabad and their designated Rabbi for a story once and he said that they have to book a room to hold their events months in advance, and the Muslim Student Association didn’t have a place to pray until a little over a year ago.”

Likewise, another editor said that the campus’s Christian life is more geared toward Catholics. “I am not entirely comfortable with a priest conducting a Catholic service when I am trying to worship, but there is no other denomination active on campus, from what I understand,” they said. “There is also an entire Catholic Center present on campus, but not many outlets for Protestants to go.”

The Outlook is made up of editors and staff members from different backgrounds and religious beliefs, we aspire to encourage others to look upon their own beliefs, and still respect those of others.

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