Chapter 3 of Mcguire’s Religion: The Social Context, discusses the individual’s relationship with religion and spirituality throughout their lifetime. As children, we tend to follow our parents’ impressions and interpretations of religion, and many parents attempt to instill religious values in their children. This chapter goes on to highlight how each person’s religiosity adapts and evolves during each stage of their life, young childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, and old age. In some cultures, each stage of life carries with it some sort of rite of passage, but the transition from adolescence into young adulthood is rarely recognized, resulting in uncertainty about where the individual stands with their religion, spirituality, and worldview. This religious angst often encourages the individual to rebel against their parent’s religion or spiritual beliefs, and may to take their religion into their own hands by turning to a different faith, becoming hyperreligious in their original community, or renouncing spirituality altogether. If the result is something of the latter, the individual may not reconsider religion again until they have their own children, and begin to reevaluate whether or not a religious worldview should be incorporated into their lives.
This transition into young adulthood and the religious struggle that comes with it reminded me of a certain television show that was popular in the early 2000s, “Gilmore Girls,” and the relationship of one of the main characters, Lane Kim, with her mother. Lane’s family is Korean, and her mother is a strict seventh-day adventist, mandating church attendance and bible study throughout all of Lane’s young life. When Lane finally becomes old enough to stand up to her mother, she announces that she dislikes being a seventh day adventist and everything that comes with it, and that she had no interest in attending church or formally observing the religion anymore, claiming that her “religion is rock and roll.” She only reconsiders this stance when she becomes pregnant and begins to question how she will raise her children, eventually deciding that her kids will have the option of going to church if they are interested. This is a prime example of the moral struggle many adolescents experience when faced with the question of a religious worldview, and how their relationship with their parents and their parents’ religion informs the worldview they must begin to develop on their own.