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Religion is a way of life based upon man's ultimate relation to the universe or God.

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Introduction

Religion is a way of life based upon man's ultimate relation to the universe or God. (Maloley, 1) The real nature of religion is that if forms individuals into groups, who share common beliefs, superstitions, common ideals, common fears and common means of achieving a sense of well-being. (Howe, 3) Religion shapes cultures and it gives different views of human life. Throughout history, no other influence has been so great, as religion has both united nations and destroyed nations. Religion provides control, cohesion, and a purpose for people, as well as providing another means of communication and gathering for individuals to interact and reaffirm social norms. (Durkhiem, 2) Religion in one form or another is a necessary essential feature of American society today. In the United States, religion and family have long been viewed as working together in a voluntary religious order to ensure the maintenance of beliefs and values in society through moral and religious socialization of the young. Through the family, religious heritage was transmitted. In other words, families are the settings where great stories of trust, respect, love honesty, integrity, fairness, responsibility and other values are shared and practiced. Here children first learn the meaning of loyalty, how to relate to others, to share in ritual practices, to celebrate the values of families and loved ones, all crucial to personal identity and social life. ...read more.

Middle

Religious practices provide youth with a "system for understanding and explaining life events" (The effects of religion on adolescent's moral development, 3) "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree", that is family influences on children are subtle and lasting. (Roof, 225) The things children are taught and are modeled before them carries over into adult life. Sociologists have found that those children whose parents were active in a church or some type of religious activity during the years that they were growing up are themselves more religiously active than those who had inactive parents. Sixty percent of those whose mothers were weekly attendees at church or synagogue back then now report attending at least once a month. Additionally, those with religiously active parents in earlier years are more likely now to join Bible study, prayer and spiritual support groups. If both parents were religiously active and in the same faith, children were less likely to have dropped out of attending church, synagogue or temple when growing up. Therefore it can be concluded that consistent religious socialization, that is, influences reinforced by both parents had a lasting impact. (Roof, 225) In 1970,forty percent of Americans lived in nuclear families with children present under the age of eighteen. ...read more.

Conclusion

When someone is living alone or has no family, the church becomes their family. (Kelly, 23) Pastors, priests, rabbis and pastoral counselors can be of great assistance to individuals in need of help and provide an opportunity for social interaction that would otherwise be lacking. There is also evidence that people who pray are healthier and recover from illness better than those who do not pray. Some believe that the benefits come from enhanced coping mechanisms while others believe that prayer really works! (Kelly, 23) Religion in a family can be seen to have many positive benefits. It provides a foundation for children on which to build their ideas, their morals and their traditions. It gives purpose to life. Religion has been shown to encourage adolescents to stay out of trouble while promoting a good sense of well-being and self-esteem. It has been shown to help individuals in times of crisis and stressful situations. As the family has changed over the last fifty years, the church has changed in response to the needs of people in society. It has created services and ministries for the new family structures, accepting each as a valuable part of their congregation. Religion in many cases has become a substitute family for children of working parents, for the elderly and other singles that live alone. In short, people should get into religion; the benefits are great. ...read more.

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