World News and Trends: Religion very important to teenagers

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Religion very important to teenagers

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She stated: "Last year, a commission convened by Dartmouth Medical School, among others, studied research on kids, including brain-imaging studies, and concluded young people who are religious are better off in significant ways than their secular peers. They are less likely than nonbelievers to smoke and drink and more likely to eat well, less likely to commit crimes and more likely to wear seat belts; less likely to be depressed and more likely to be satisfied with their families and schools" (emphasis added throughout this article).

Religious teachings impact human behavior. More and more teenagers are coming to realize the significance of religion in their lives. One survey in 2001 showed that "three out of five teenagers said religion was 'pretty important' or 'very important.'" This amounted to a significant increase over past years.

These commission members stated that "religious congregations benefit teenagers by affirming who they are, expecting a lot from them and giving them opportunities to show what they can do." But the keynote is the follow up: "What sets religious groups apart, however, and makes a surprisingly big difference to kids, according to the panel—is that they promote a 'direct, personal relationship with the Divine.'"

Secular Britain is also exhibiting some encouraging signs of teen interest in greater morality. A Daily Mail article titled "Teens Are Absolutely Fed Up With Their Liberal Parents" makes for interesting reading. It begins: "Teenagers are far more conservative than their parents on moral issues, a survey of young people shows today. They frown on abortion, under-age sex and drugs and are firmly in favour of the institution of marriage" (March 11).

Commitment to God and biblical morality protects children, as well as adults, from risky conduct. We all need God in our lives. The publishers of The Good News also produce a free magazine for teens and young adults, Vertical Thought . Interested readers in that age group are welcome to subscribe. (Source: The Washington Post, Daily Mail [London].)