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Viewing God Through The Lens Of Self Discovery

1813 words - 7 pages

Understanding the religious climate for American teenagers is a highly valuable sociological tool. Not only does it allow for a preview of the future, but it also affords the opportunity to serve as a measuring stick for the effectiveness of parenting. Studying teenage religiosity also reveals how well teens are able to articulate their personal beliefs, which can reveal the strength of their values. The majority of American teenagers are either some form of Christian or not religious at all (Smith and Denton Kindle Location 699). While this is true, there is a small percentage of American teens that fall into other religious affiliations. Finally, the teenage years are a good age range to study because conversion is highly likely during these years as teens are easily swayed by ideas that challenge their beliefs (Smith and Denton Kindle Location 94). A difficulty of the teenage years is discovering oneself. According to Chap Clark, “to survive, a young person must learn how to be a child, a student, an athlete, and a friend, while also continuing the ever-lengthening process of determining who he or she is” (2). Furthermore, teens find themselves trying to find the elusive definition of personhood in the midst of myriad influences. As mentioned, the task is truly a tall order, considering all the outside sources telling teens who they are as they try to figure it out themselves. For instance, a teen may define himself or herself as a “fundamentally morally responsible agent, an illusion of individuality destined to dissolve into cosmic unity, a sinner being divinely redeemed and sanctified,” and many other personae (Smith and Denton, Kindle Locations 3812-3813). With all of these different definitions of personhood out there, there is much at stake with how teens come to the understanding of what makes a person exactly that. If a teen finds personhood to favor individuality, the teen will be likely to have a positive opinion of his or her own identity. Other discovered definitions of personhood may affect one’s self-identity in another manner. Living in American teenagers provides a unique opportunity of influences that lend themselves to creating a definition of personhood for American teenagers. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube surround teens with more exposure than ever in the route to self-discovery by allowing them a forum for expression and a means of connecting with others. Of course these media can be both beneficial and detrimental, as they have the capacity to sway teens in similar ways of advertising and parental influence. Regardless, teens still have the aforementioned task of answering the question of what an American person is. According to Clark, teenagers “regardless of their background, family, ethnicity, gifts, or power, [teens] are desperate for a society that will help them discover who they are” (186). With all of these cultural and societal influences all around, teens can make use of their surroundings and...

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