The Complex Religion of Teens

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Survey Paints Complex View of Religion in America

Young people today are socially pressured to be sexually active long before they have been prepared educationally and psychologically to cope with the deeply personal and highly charged nature of sexuality. A teen-age boy faces the social pressure to "score" and, in so doing, he reduces his partner to a sexual object. And a teenage girl absorbs the idea that a woman is someone who is sexually desirable to a man; her worth lies in her value as a sexual commodity and her ability to control the male with the sexual favors she provides.

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Sexual morality in our time must address these factors underlying teen-age behavior. Sexual morality needs to offer a clear articulation of the meaning of interpersonal love and the need for justice in all aspects of human life. Youth need to know that sex does not need to be the determinant force in human life. These findings do not suggest that white and middle-class teens are not sexually active, but that birth-control and family-planning services are generally more available to them. While it is true that 80 to 90 per cent of all births out of wedlock are to black teen-agers, and that half of all black children live in female-headed families, it is also the case that black males form the largest unemployed group in the total population, and are the lowest-paid of employed males.

The cycle of single motherhood within black communities is related to the ways in which minorities continue to be marginalized in our society, and continue to live at the poverty level.

Religious people who attempt to suppress sexual thoughts end up thinking about it more, study finds

White teenagers, especially of the middle class, more often have available to them the social resources by which the consequences of their sexual activity can be minimized, either through abortion or adoption. We should note that black children born out of wedlock are seldom adopted. In some communities there are 40 times more black children than white children available for adoption. The "profamily" policies of the current administration are designed to take away public support from those who are most in need of social and medical services.

The programs adhere to the middle-class ideology which sees each family as sufficient for meeting its own needs. What is missing from this view is a sense of a larger community in which the welfare of all persons is a shared responsibility. Repeated efforts are made to regulate sexual behavior by punitive measures, such as the "squeal" regulation that would require a medical facility to inform parents when an underage girl seeks medical help if she is pregnant or if she wants to obtain contraceptives. A similar invasion of civil rights is implicit in the initiative to require doctors to report to the Department of Health persons infected with the AIDS virus, and in the proposed restrictions that would prohibit any family planning institution receiving federal funds from informing clients of the availability of abortion services.

These legal efforts are not designed to help people develop positive attitudes about sexuality or to take more responsibility for their sexual behavior. Instead they impose punishment by withdrawing human services that could help people to cope more effectively with problems arising from their sexuality. Policies based on negatives are irresponsible, particularly in an age in which we have so much knowledge and understanding of human sexuality.

One aspect of these restrictive policies is the belief that sex is inherently wrong and that individuals should be left with the consequences of their "mistake.


The policies of the profamily program are based on the idea that the problems arising from teen-age sexual activity are moral rather than social. The approach that the U. Department of Health and Human Services is taking toward teen pregnancy is that premarital sex is morally wrong and that the best prevention is sexual abstinence.

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  • Title XX -- the "chastity" law -- passed by Congress in provides funds to groups, including certain church groups, that support programs of sexual abstinence among youth. A growing coalition of conservative political leaders, religious groups and government officials is leading the attack against publicly supported programs of sex education, school-based health centers, guidance programs in family planning, and other activities designed to address the sexual needs of youth from both a social and a health perspective.

    Operating under the myth that sexual involvement is always delayed until marriage and that the family is the only normal setting for child-rearing, this coalition opposes programs of "optional parenthood" in which having a child is a matter of choice rather than of chance. The coalition is also unwilling to recognize the extent to which young people are engaged in sexual activity and the need they have for more accurate information and guidance in making sexual decisions.

    Roger Dudley (Author of The Complex Religion of Teens)

    The issue is not that sexual abstinence should not be recommended but, as sex-researchers Masters and Johnson have pointed out, that the recommendation is not always practical for all teen-agers. To ensure the types were more than computer-generated assumptions, we interviewed at least five teens from each group, checking that it all made sense. News category: Analysis and Comment. Related Posts: Study of religious practice in NZ inaccurate Younger adults losing religion Humanist campaigned to get people to tick the… Religion is becoming more and more popular.

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    The Teen Years: Challenges & Solutions - Omar Zia

    We could no longer look away. Digging deeper, we found a more complicated picture of faith and spirituality among young Australians. Most Gen Z teens have little to do with organised religion in their personal lives, while a significant proportion are interested in different ways of being spiritual. More than any other group, teenagers are at the forefront of this remaking of Australian religion. Their daily experience of secondary school and social media sees them bumping into all kinds of difference. Teens are forming their own strong views about existential matters. Our national study by scholars from ANU, Deakin and Monash — the AGZ Study — comprises 11 focus groups with students in Years 9 and 10 ages in three states, a nationally representative telephone survey of 1, people aged , and 30 in-depth, follow-up interviews.

    Read more: Religion in Australian schools: an historical and contemporary debate. So what do we know about the religious and spiritual lives of Generation Z teens? The categories take into account religious and spiritual beliefs and practices, self-understandings and attitudes to the universe. To ensure the types were more than computer-generated assumptions, we interviewed at least five teens from each group, checking that it all made sense. Because none of them believes in God, they are technically atheists. But not all of them identify with that label, nor do they see themselves as humanists or secularists. They have no truck with other spiritual possibilities, whether that is belief in reincarnation or horoscopes. The majority of them agree with the statement that the physical world is the only thing that exists.

    Religiously committed.