I try to go to church every Sunday. I don’t make it every week, but I do try. I’m Catholic and I go because I believe, not because I have to. In my AP Psychology class, we are studying stress. The discussion one day was whether or not religion reduces or increases stress. In reality, it does both.
In general, church reduces my stress level. It’s a way to focus on one thing and not deal with anything else. When I go, I’m in a better mood because my Economics test doesn’t matter anymore. I think this feeling of sudden happiness happens to a lot of people. Reducing stress is one of the major reasons I go to church.
Perhaps the only thing that’s stressful when it comes to religion is that I teach special education Sunday School and I have to wake up early to teach. I believe the weekend is for sleeping, but I get up anyway because being with these special education kids reduces my stress.
I know a lot of teens who struggle with religion. Do I believe in this or is it just hocus-pocus? Certain religious values put major stress on them. I guess the most obvious is premarital sex (and if you believe Freud, who says everything revolves around sex, it’s really hard.)
Peer pressure is tough and religion doesn’t help it. A lot of times, teens disagree with the church on gay marriage, abortion, and other touchy issues. This disagreement puts major stress on teenagers. Am I going to Hell if I believe that a man can marry a man?
I think a lot of teens are forced to believe what their parents believe. If someone is raised Catholic, it’s going to be stressful for him or her to tell his or her parents that he or she is an atheist. Choosing to be Catholic is the easy way out. While secretly inside, he or she is totally stressed that he or she is living a lie.
Obviously, there’s the stress that is put on us because of religious intolerance. There’s so much pain, especially in the Middle East. Some people might be afraid to practice what they believe. I can only imagine the stress that groups like the Jews had to deal with during the Holocaust.
It’s ironic that religion both reduces stress and increases stress, but it’s true. Religion isn’t clean-cut; it’s not black and white. Hopefully, religion can offer more good than bad, but it’s really a total seesaw.Powered by Sidelines