Religion is a major influence in our lives. Although religion covers every aspect of our lives, I am going to discuss the influence of religion in two areas. Religion among young adults and Religion and sexual issues. These topics are large, so I will only scratch the surface by discussing only a few issues within these two main topic areas. Religion is gaining popularity among young adults and college students, increasingly more students are attending a church and many different colleges are becoming involved in religious activities.

Students at Wake Forest University are looking into dorms that will diversify he student body to educate students about other religions (4). Other schools have programs where people with similar interests can live in the same dorm. Some examples are the University of California, Berkeley and Davis Campuses, University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, University of Missouri at Columbia, and Columbia University in New York (2). These colleges allow students with similar religious views to live together. And it? s not just a few students, there are enough students to fill at least a wing of a dorm, if not a whole dorm (2).

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On Monday February 22nd, students and faculty members at Clemson University in South Carolina gathered to hear what Dr. Eugene C. Scott, from the National Center for Science Education, had to say about «Adam and Eve, and creationism versus evolution and a quivering mass of protoplasm. » (1). She stated that «Evolution in its simplest form refers to a change over time, or decent with modification. Evolution is a scientific explanation based on observable facts. »

And that «Creationism simply put, means that God created. » (1). Dr. Scott was trying to relay the message that religion and cience don? have to be opposites. Like the idea that God created evolution (1). The Students at Clemson received the message well. Despite the fact that Clemson sits in the middle of a geographic area nicknamed «The Bible Belt» known for its strong religious beliefs. In the Pop music industry, which is popular with young adults, religious groups are beginning to gain popularity. Greg Graffin, the co-founder of one of punk-rock? s most venerable bands, believes " when you? re 18, some kids want more then just bland pop culture, they want something with a little more substance. (3)

And that ubstance can be pop music with religion tied into it. Violence among young adults is also becoming a greater problem. More is being done to combat violence by introducing religion. Jan Arnow is a mother from Louisville, Kentucky who conducts seminars for parents to reduce violence with religion. Her goal is pretty simple, «To teach children how to grow up in a world of hate without hating» (5). To put emphasize her point, Ms. Arnow makes pins out of spent bullet casings that contain peace prayers from eleven different religions My other topic, religion and sex, is also a broad topic that I will only briefly over.

In Blanco, Texas on January 14, 1999, two monks have been charged with indecency with a child. The monks are from The Christ of the Hills Monastery founded 30 years ago. It is known for its weeping icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which attracts thousands of visitors every year. Luis Vera, a lawyer representing the monks, said his clients are innocent and that he is outraged by the charges (11).

Vera also states that the local authorities have not told him exactly what the accusations are or who made them. It just shows you that misconduct is everywhere, even in an Orthodox Church. Another twist in today? world is that landlords can now refuse unmarried couples leases. A Federal Appeals Court has ruled that landlords with strong religious convictions can refuse to rent to unmarried couples (8). The ruling was upheld in a 2-1 decision by the 9th U. S. circuit Court of Appeals in Alaska. On January 23, 1999 in Atlanta, GA, the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) discussed Sex, Religion and AIDS. The ITC panel agreed that «AIDS continues to be a threat to the black community. » (7).

In Georgia, 59% of AIDS victims are black, ven though millions of dollars are spent on educating blacks about AIDS. The conference will also examine human sexuality from a biblical perspective as well as the behavior of promiscuous pastors»(7). Two articles by John Leo indicate that sexual values and the sexual revolution are being affected by religion. He reports that «75 percent of the women polled said religion is very important in their lives. (9). And that „the growing trend toward less permissive sexual attitudes in the 1990s is associated with religious beliefs. “ (10). These articles also indicate that religion has een influencing teens and there sexuality.

I feel that religion either influences your life on a regular basis, or it doesn? t influence you at all. I am not a weekly church goer, but the upbringing I had as a Methodist has formed me into a person with acceptable morals and values. I think that without religion, civilization could not survive. I believe that God wanted us to be good, he saw everything he created as good, but that brings up the question of why there is so much bad in the world. Well that is a whole thesis in itself, but God has a plan for all of us. God has a reason for everything.