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ENG3U1

Ms. Jeon

November 20th, 2014.

English Essay

Religion in Todays Society


By: Vanessa Ricketts
In biblical times before recorded history, the Word of God was law: concrete, literal, and upheld
by all. In modern day, however, religion has dwindled and diminished to become a mere belief
system, open and unenforced. Fewer people in North America practice religion because of
modern societal views and expectations.
In North America, we live in a very multicultural society with people from all around the
globe, so many would believe the opposite: that there are plenty of religious people. However,
the government of the Free World has to meet the needs and demands of various opposing views
and beliefs, so there are restrictions in place on religion, particularly in schools. For instance,
students celebrate the socially acceptable part of religious holidays. There are Christmas
concerts, Thanksgiving crafts, and chocolate given out on Easter. Not once is God mentioned or
acknowledged. In His place are fun fictional characters like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. In
addition, shortly following a dispute in the United States where complaints arose about a Georgia
school for allegedly attempting to ban Christmas (Church & State), someone had to intervene:
Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson called a special meeting Dec. 2 to
clarify what schools can and cannot do when it comes to religious expression (Church & State).
In this eager-to-please-everyone society, we are given certain rights and freedoms, but there are
always limitations.

ENG3U1

Ms. Jeon

November 20th, 2014.

Equally important, religion has found a nemesis, a rival, a deadly foe, one that has risen
and flourished in the dawn of a new age: atheism. More and more people do not believe in or
acknowledge the existence of a higher power: Many believers feel intimidated by their inability
to defend themselves from the vitriolic attacks on their faith from intellectual atheists or a
scientific tradition based on fact and evidence (McKeever). The idea of God is sneered at,
criticized, questioned and our religious foundations are shaken to the core. Furthermore,
millennials Americans born after 1980 are a promising audience for atheists, as nearly a
third of them are religiously unaffiliated (compared to 20% of all Americans, and 9% of those 65
and older), according to a 2012 Pew Research Center study (Skeel). Atheists challenge the
religious system because science provides logical answers, whereas the supernatural is based on
faith, something they do not understand. Science is taught in the school curriculum and religion
is not. In the movie God is NOT Dead, the science professor demanded that all students dismiss
the idea of God and listen to the facts. And like obedient puppies, the students did as they were
told except one. This particular student would not be bullied into submission.
In addition, believers today find themselves guilty of breaking away from tradition. Many
are born into a religious family, but unless certain practices are maintained going to a church,
temple, or mosque, praying, and annual celebrations they will stray off course and their
religion becomes meaningless: A substantial number of North Americans, Europeans, and
Israelis identify themselves as Jews, but do not participate in the religious tradition (Oxtoby,
36). The same can be said for people of other faiths because we let our more pressing priorities
(excuses) get in the way. I know of a woman who was born into a Christian family and she
married an atheist man. Since the birth of their child, they have never taken her to church

ENG3U1

Ms. Jeon

November 20th, 2014.

because her husband will not allow it. In order to please her husband, she has severed ties with
God.
Finally, bad reputations give religion a bad face in our society. Al-Qaeda terrorists were
responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 (National September 11
Memorial Museum).That event was a traumatic experience that left deep scars and has created
the stereotype that all Muslims are terrorists. Why should an entire religious group be victimized
for the violence of a small fraction of them? Unless the record is set straight, future generations
will see Muslims as corrupt and it will give atheists the ammunition they need to take down the
religious system. Like termites, the hatred will continue to eat away at the foundations until they
fall. The negative connotations associated with religion must be abolished.
In conclusion, the public outlooks in North America have led to a decrease in religious
activity for the following: constitutional limitations, atheism, breaking tradition, and negative
stereotypes. Though this world has continued to evolve and grow, the sky is still blue, the grass is
still green, the Earth still spins twenty-four/seven for three hundred and sixty-five days a year.
Why then do we question the ancient traditions of man and attempt to place restrictions on them,
demolish them, forget about them, or warp their ideals? Religion teaches us beneficial morals
and values, gives us standards to live by, and most importantly, gives us hope. Now tell me.
Where is the harm in that?

ENG3U1

Ms. Jeon

November 20th, 2014.

Works Cited

FAQ about 9/11. 9/11 Memorial. National September 11 Memorial Museum. 2014. Web. Nov.
17, 2014.
Flap over role of religion in public school roils ca. Community. Church & State. Jan 2014.
Canada in Context. Web. Nov. 3, 2014.
McKeever, Patrick. John Henry Newman: Science and Atheism. Catholic Insight. Nov, 2010.
Canada in Context. Web. Nov. 3, 2014.
Oxtoby, Willard G. World Religions Western Traditions. Canada: Oxford University Press,
2002. Print.
Skeel, David. A New Kinder, Gentler Atheism. Wall Street Journal. 24 Oct. 2014. eLibrary.
Web. 10 Nov. 2014.