- Slides: 7
Religion and the Individual Religion and… AGE and PERSONALITY!!
AGE / ?
Is religion just for the old? • NO • As Fowler pointed out, religion within a church can offer young people, especially those at stage three the opportunity to have a ‘ready-made’ family of people that agree with their ideals and do not judge them • Also, the belief in an all accepting and all loving God is an attractive idea when someone feels uncertain about themselves as they grow up. • Families that bring their children up through the church probably give them little choice when they are very young, and that may explain why the numbers of very young children are so high. Most religious families will see their religion as their identity, and will want to include their children in this.
Why are older people losing their religion? • • • People lose faith as they grow older and feel more isolated from their Church, researchers have found, confounding the idea that they become more religious as they approach death. A report, which is being presented to the British Society of Gerontology meeting in Oxford today, is based on a 20 -year study by Prof Peter Coleman, of the University of Southampton. In 1977, Prof Coleman identified 340 people aged over 65 with Christian backgrounds, of whom 64 per cent said they regarded themselves as members of the Church of England. Of these, a third attended religious services, 88 per cent listened to religious broadcasts and 70 per cent said religion meant much to them. Views had changed 10 years later among the 101 survivors and 26 per cent told Prof Coleman that while religion had meant much to them when they were younger it no longer did so. By 1998, 37 per cent said religion meant less than it had when they were younger. Only 47 per cent said it was important to them. Prof Coleman said this did not necessarily mean that they had lost their belief, but they had stopped feeling that they were Church members. He said: "The loss of social, psychological and spiritual support from Churches may mean that older people with spiritual needs are more vulnerable". This may show that older people can feel they loose touch with their church, or like it longer offers them the support it used to when they attended as a younger person, maybe part of a family. Also, events in life that the older generation may have lived through could lead them to question their beliefs, such as death, war, natural disasters or other life problems.
However! • Old people can seek a certain comfort in religion, as the prospect of death is more real to them, also, they are more likely to have experienced the death of a loved one, or family members, which may make them question the afterlife.
Personality • Freud stated that the belief in an all powerful God may comfort those who no longer feel their parents on earth can protect them • Mary Ainsworth’s ‘attachment types’ may link into this. Anxious Avoidant children, who desperately want their mothers affection, and panic when she leaves, feel betrayed by the fact she is not always there. The type of attachment you have as a child impacts on your adult personality, which may lead to anxious avoidant adults feeling the need for an ever present support base, such as God, or the church.
Questioning Faith • People who analyse and deeply question ideas in life may apply this to belief systems. • If they, by nature are critical of things before they begin to accept or believe them, they may be less likely to take everything in the bible to be true, or instill their belief in an organised religion, as there is no tangible proof