If you look at society today, you’ll find many who have strayed away from religion and I’ll be honest about my feelings as to why they’ve done so. Many believe that religion is losing its importance because people nowadays are better educated and now understand that rain and lightning don’t come from an angry god but from water vapor that rises up in the atmosphere forming cloud. While I partly agree with this theory, I also think that in the past, there were things that made people feel pressured to be religious. It was either a cultural expectation or even more than that –it was punishable to not hold the national religion. If you take away these things, the only reason a thoughtful person would be religious is if they get something personally beneficial from it. Otherwise, religious claims don’t really pass intense scrutiny.
However, another theory claims that old people are still as religious as before. In fact, the theory even suggests that people become more religious as they grow old. Let’s find out if it’s true or not!
The Effect of Ageing
The late comedian, George Carlin, once said:
“I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me –they are cramming for their final exam.”
If there’s one thing that connects all human beings is that everyone will leave the world one day. You were born, you went through ups and downs, you’ve had a good time and have had your fill and there will obviously be a time when you’ll have to say goodbye to your family and friends. Dying, in my opinion, is not the end but a major change in your life. However, as they grow older, people start fearing death.
When you get older, it is natural to assume that you are going closer to death, which is one of the main reasons why people then become very much interested in what happens after death –something which only religion can answer.
I have two assumptions as to how fear of death sparks an interest in religion in old people. Firstly, the mere thought of an afterlife sounds way more comforting than the thought of us turning into dust. It’s like believing you have another chance to live even after death.
Now, this second assumption might offend some people. There are some people who know they didn’t lead blameless lives on earth and so they are afraid of not being granted an entry into heaven. They will therefore try to bond again with religious beliefs and live their last moments as per the religious rules.
Seniors Are More Detached From Society
A common reason for secularization is globalization and modernization which have driven the world to become more occupied with work, lifestyles, friends and leisure activities. When people are taken up with their jobs and families, they don’t have enough time to devote to religious beliefs and practices. In fact, the internet is always believed to be the #1 ender of religious beliefs.
On the other hand, unlike younger people, seniors are less attached to the society. They are no longer preoccupied with jobs, they are not much involved in leisure activities and sometimes, most of their friends have left already. It then becomes inevitable for them to have an interest in religious stuff.
I have an uncle who was an atheist and he always enjoyed criticizing my father for his strong belief in religion. According to him, believing in a flat earth is better than believing in a supernatural deity. However, as he went through harsh medical conditions for a long time, his perspective on religion changed completely.
You see, religion is a funny thing as people find solace in it when things go wrong unexpectedly in life.