Religion and SpiritualitySkepticism

Birthday Post

I’m supposed to be doing homework – so this will be a quick post.

Today is actually my birthday, I’m 15 now! Now, I’m assuming we’re all skeptics here…I know, a bold assumption…so I just want to know: Does anyone here still make a wish before blowing out their birthday candles even if they don’t think it’ll come true?

Also, last week some old (though I don’t hold their age against them) men were handing out mini-bibles outside my highschool. I caught myself thinking wow, that’s hopeful… and then had to stop and ask myself exactly WHY I thought that. One kid asked me if I was religious, and gave me high-five when I said no. Another ripped his bible in half and threw it away. I asked him if he was religious and he said he wasn’t sure. 

So why rip the bible? That is some perfectly good, recyclable paper right there. If you don’t want it, why not at least help out the environment????

I hear a lot of conversations about “Ohmigoshhh CCD was like, sooo boring last night” or “Ugh, I like, can’t believe I have to go to church!”. Some kids obviously don’t want to go, but their parents force them. So I got to thinking (yes, thinking about random pointless stuff is what I do instead of homework) and I realized that maybe they hate going because they have to go.

So my second question: Do you think kids (teenagers, to be specific) are more likely to be non-religious because of their rebelious nature?

And as an afterthought: At what age do you think they grow out of this and either stop going to church altogether, or go on their own accord?

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  1. November 18, 2008 at 10:10 pm —

    I think teenagers tend to care less about their religion, more than not being religious. I think that some of it has to do with the fact that they already have communities more than many adults to (school, teams, etc). Some of it is also definitely from the “if Mom says it, I won’t do it” reaction.

    It’s hard to put an age on when it ends (especially since I’m not old enough to have seen it in people my age), but maybe mid 20s? I think it really depends on the individual.

  2. Joy Wang
    November 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm —

    1) Happy Birthday!!! I’ll be the first to admit that I still make a wish before blowing out the candles, usually something about the end of religious wars and bigotry–never seems to work, though. It’s a cute tradition, though.

    2) Recycle the bible–then something good will come of it. In response to your question, I honestly don’t know. I can’t think of many non-religious kids that I know that were driven to atheism/agnosticism b/c of a rebellious nature: most of them came to that conclusion through skepticism. The kids’ll complain about CCD and whatnot, but they generally remain religious (well, at least nominally), just because it’s something that everyone in their family does.

    Afterthought: I’d say late teens is a crucial age, when you start making your own decisions, solidifying your own opinions, etc. Just a guess, as I’m only 13.

    Happy Birthday! I’m sending you a cyberbrownie–enjoy!

  3. November 18, 2008 at 10:53 pm —

    I don’t know the answer to that, but I can tell you that I hate the Catholic church because it is one of the most boring church in the world. The worst part is, I have to go. Though, I don’t know a lot of kids who are not religious. I know one kid who is not religious, and I suspect another person not being religious. The kid I know who is not religious at one point did try to do religion, but it was nonsensical for him too. So, based on one kid, I can’t draw any conclusion.

  4. elianara
    November 19, 2008 at 1:53 am —

    Happy Birthday!

    And to answer your questions

    a) I’ve stopped making wishes when blowing out candles.

    b) A teenager can still be religious even if s/he stops participating in religious activities as a rebellious statement. So I can’t answer that part of the question. But if a teenager rebells against religion, I believe they outgrow it, just like everything else. I would say most people work out their relationship with church and religion within 10 years from moving out from under their parents thumb. But there are always exceptions to the rule, so don’t go by my guesses.

  5. Jenny
    November 19, 2008 at 5:58 am —

    Happy Birthday =)

    I still make birthday wishes, altho my inner skeptic does tend to make a bit of a fuss in the back of my mind. I guess it’s good to think about what you want, even if you’re just identifying a goal rather than expecting to actually achieve it by making the wish. Mostly it’s just a fun tradition though I think.

    About teens rebelling against religion, it seems plausible that rejecting your parents’ religious practises would go along with rejecting their clothes, music, rules, etc. – part of the rebellion ‘package.’

  6. Dread Polack
    November 20, 2008 at 12:32 pm —

    I can’t remember the last time I made a wish whilst blowing out candles. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I blew out candles. 🙂

    Happy birthday! I turned 15 in 1994. We had Kurt Cobain shot himself. I was pretty bummed.

    I guess it was about this time that I became more overtly atheistic. It was admittedly a bit rebellious, but not against my parents. Some kids had green mohawks, but I went for the more subtle methods.

    In a rare case of bullying against me, a guy once threw me against a wall, kind-of choking me, and called me “devil boy”. And, in a fine example of how quickly teenage minds can change, he was a good friend weeks later after he saw some of my drawings and was encouraging me to pursue it professionally 🙂

    Teenager-dom is an interesting concept. It didn’t seem to exist before the advent of our current educational system. Some people seem to think that adolescence is being stretched out beyond all previous limits, and I know plenty of people pushing 30 who are still preoccupied with being cool and partying every weekend.

    I’m not the kind of rebel I was as a teenager, but I have dreadlocks, which disqualifies me from quite a number of jobs right-off the bat, and I like it that way. I have noticed that I’m a lot less impressed with the music “the kids” are listening to these days. The CW (or whatever the current name of that TV network is now) is full of teen dramas that at best don’t interest me, and at worst really annoy me.

    So, in short, it seems to happen some time in your 20’s or around 30, but of course, everyone is different.

  7. Colin M
    November 25, 2008 at 7:19 pm —

    “At what age do you think they grow out of this and either stop going to church altogether, or go on their own accord?”

    For me, 18. As soon as I was out of the house, no more church for me. I had realized I was an atheist at about 15, just a few months after getting confirmed — though I called myself an agnostic at first.

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