Do you think a teen is old enough to choose his own religion

United States
March 10, 2010 12:09pm CST
Teenagers, want the ability to make their own choices, however some parents feel that they are much to young to make a responsible choice about religion. However I disagree, I think at about 16 or so the child is ready to make an informed decision on what religion they will choose, and should be given the opportunity to explore it independantly of his or her parents. This may sound strange from a Christian Pastor, however when God gave us free will, he also gave us the ability to choose our religion, but he did not want you to simply come, he wanted you to study the word of God, question those teaching it, and to on your own come to the conclusion that you should and will follow God or not. Therefore I think that the process starts as a teen and throughout adulthood, learning about religion, or choosing no religion. While I would hope that the child would make the right choice, for my own children I gave them the choice because if I chose for them, then this would not be the same as giving their life to Christ because they believed and trusted in him unconditionally, it would be because I told them to. What do you think of this?
1 person likes this
15 responses
@mjcookie (2274)
• Philippines
11 Mar 10
Yeah I agree. They need proper guidance. But if I have a teen daughter or son I would definitely not want him/her to become atheist.
@Ravenladyj (22940)
• United States
11 Mar 10
But if I have a teen daughter or son I would definitely not want him/her to become atheist Why not? I mean if its what they want and they've made an informed choice/decision then whats the problem?
@mjcookie (2274)
• Philippines
11 Mar 10
Well, not much of a problem to you, but to me, as much as possible, being a Christian, I want them to embrace God as well. I just can't imagine me being a devout one and then my children haters or unbelievers of God. I want a happy Christian family.
@Ravenladyj (22940)
• United States
11 Mar 10
HHmm well what if they decided they were Buddhist or Pagan or Muslim etc etc..I mean I understand that you were prefer they followed YOUR beliefs but how would you react etc shuld they decide that what you believe isnt right for them? Just curious is all.
@ronaldinu (12445)
• Malta
10 Mar 10
I do share your views. I do think that our children should receive religious education but than they are free to choose what makes sense for them. As a Catholic, I do hope that my son becomes an active catholic and participates in the community but it is up to him. I won't make any pressure or brainwashing. I just believe that religion is something of the heart. The individual must accept the word of God, it is something that comes from within and it must not be imposed on the individual.
• United States
10 Mar 10
I agree with this.
@ronaldinu (12445)
• Malta
29 Mar 10
Thanks for the pencil Much appreciated pastorkayte.
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
10 Mar 10
I applaud you on being able to allow your children to make the religious choice on their own. I don't think I've ever met a Pastor that could think outside the box of tradition. Do you extend that to the children of your congregation? How do the parents take that? My family is rather a mixed bag. I was baptized Catholic, converted to Lutheranism and now I am Wiccan. My son and daughter were baptized Lutheran, at 4 and 5 years of age. Both made the their first Communion as Lutheran's. My son later went and had himself Confirmed as a Methodist. My husband was raised Espiscopalian. I had decided that I was going to let my children know about all the different religions before they wanted to make a commitment to any of the religions.
• United States
11 Mar 10
I tell the parents the same thing, they do take that advise and the children end up choosing Christianity anyway, but they are not regreting it. Instead they have a better understanding of other religions and they know why they chose Christianity, however I do get beat up about it from other Pastors some time.
@cher913 (25893)
• Canada
11 Mar 10
i dont disagree with you because if they are informed regarding other religions, it could only strengthen the Christian arguement and this way they can witness better. we have raised our teens to be followers of Jesus and they are following in that way but i think choices are what life is all about.
@Galena (9123)
11 Mar 10
well when it comes down to it, you can't actually choose a religion. if I was to decide to become a Christian, it wouldn't work. because I don't believe in it. it doesn't ring true to me, and choosing to believe it won't over-ride my gut instincts about its authenticity. if a child of any age believes in a religion, then they believe it. at any age if a child finds a religion that feels like the truth to them, then they believe it. I don't believe that there is an age where it is "old enough" or "too young" to know their own religion. even if it's different from the parents. although children are more likely to change their minds in the long run, as they are still learning and exploring and discovering much more than most adults would be. after all, if a child believes sincerely that there is a monster living in their wardrobe, just telling them that there isn't won't make them change their mind. because they BELIEVE it. as they grow, they'll start to realise all they've ever seen in there are clothes, and that scientists have never captured one, and they will probably start to realise there isn't. but it's their own life experience that changes their mind. not being told they are wrong. likewise if a child finds a religion and believes it is the truth, no amount of being told they are wrong will change what they believe in. so you can't tell them they have to toe the family line until they are older. because belief is belief. experience may change it, but being told you are wrong doesn't. and you never know, it may be that the children have it right and the parents not.
@Ravenladyj (22940)
• United States
11 Mar 10
Well it would vary from child to child really...AND of course it would depend on that child being given the resources in order to educate themselves on various religions and paths so that they can make a choice...Both my kids were actually younger than 16 when they made solid decisions....My daughter is very much a Buddhist type girl and has been since she was about 11 or 12 and my son is an atheist and has been for a few yrs now (they are now almost 15/daughter and 17/son) for my own children I gave them the choice because if I chose for them, then this would not be the same as giving their life to Christ because they believed and trusted in him unconditionally, it would be because I told them to. BRAVO to you!! That is SO refreshing to hear from a Christian parent!
@lhadie (33)
• Philippines
11 Mar 10
Teenage stage: identity versus role confusion. in this stage the person would question everything including their own faith. I got save when I was in college, where I really understand what the word of GOD is. I think it's not all about religion, it is about knowing GOD personally and having a relationship with HIM deeply. I didn't change my religion, I just enter a new church where I grew, I understand and know GOD. Yeah, right we have to give them freedom to choose but just be at their side looking at them while growing - following the right path. As a Christian, with GOD's wisdom and revelation, we'll be able to see the fruit of the Spirit in that person who's growing with GOD.
@hofferp (4739)
• United States
11 Mar 10
I'm glad you defined teenager (about 16). As a young teenager (13-14), I don't think I could have made a learned decision. But I'd agree about an older teenager (16-19). I know as a 17-year-old, I began to look at other religions to see if I truly believed in Christianity. After studying other religions, I chose to remain a Christian. I may not be a very good church-goer, but I am a Christian.
@aries12 (60)
• Philippines
11 Mar 10
for me as a human being we have the right to choose our own religion but sometimes teenager choose the wrong one so it is much better to guide them in choosing their religion, because it is not our own good but it is for them.
@madteaparty (2763)
• Japan
11 Mar 10
I think that they're old enough to choose their own religion too. Beliefs aren't something that should be chosen by any other person that is not yourself. Making our own choices is part of the path we follow in life to adulthood, so if they're forced into some choice they don't want, their path will be interrupted, and that doesn't result well. They have learned a lot of things when they have reached the teenage age, so they can make a lot of choices themselves
@totor_53 (223)
• Philippines
11 Mar 10
yes, teens do have the opportunity to choose what religion he/she likes. as a parent, one should not stop one's teen to be in other religion for they to are given the freedom to choose where they would like to.
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
11 Mar 10
I helped raise 4 good boys, who grew up never having any problems with the law. I never took them to Church or Sunday School, and they never missed it as far as I know. Whenever they asked about Religion, I told them the God's Honest Truth, as far as I knew it. My boys always had free will, and they used it exceptionally well in all instances. I am extremely proud of them all! (Incidentally none of my Family attends Church or has ever Joined an Organized Religion of any kind!)
@scja16 (323)
• Philippines
10 Mar 10
Thats good its better let them choose while guiding them to GOD. You have point that God give us free will to choose like us parents we should be doing the same thing to our children. We trust God that he knows what to do for us and especially for our kids.Keep it up. God bless your family
@iamamommy (163)
• United States
10 Mar 10
Yeah we all can choice our own religon. But sometimes teens are unsure of themselfs to pick something that they truely beliveve in. You see alot of teens not believeing god, but alot of time this is just a phase.
@urbandekay (18312)
10 Mar 10
I agree, though the exact age depends on the particular child. all the best urban