' Youngsters and the Question of Faith

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Youngsters and the Question of Faith
By Anil D'Souza, Halealve

June 2, 2011

"Youngsters nowadays are not religious. They talk to each other during sermons, SMS friends during the mass and make fun of the priests."

These thunderous words were ringing in my ears for almost two days, so much so that I began wondering whether they are really true. Being a youngster myself, though at the other end of being young, I was not ready to accept this fact, but steadily, with a lot of thinking I realized that the preacher was indeed true. In an age where no one practices what one preaches, surprisingly the preacher put some hardcore facts. This is a serious issue, which needs immediate attention from the religious leaders.

Every stage of our life is plagued with problems. When we were infants, we might have had problems such as how and when do I get my next meal, why isnít anyone changing my diaper. As we grew a little older, the problem statement would have turned to how do I crawl, how do I walk, how do I talk and why canít everyone around me keep their mouth shut? During school days, our problems multiply a hundred fold Ė why doesnít time pass quickly in the geography class,  whatís the use of using Pythagoras theorem, why didnít a coconut fall on that damn Isaac  Newtonís head instead of an apple, when is the teacher giving out answer papers and would I pass. Once we are into our college life, the priorities and problems see a wider picture - would I secure distinction in board exams, how do I get to see Katie everyday, why hasnít she come to college today and so on. After graduation, complexity of the problems rises and we begin to think about money, job, spouse, spice etc.

When we get these things in life, we find a complete different set of problems ranging from which school I should enroll my kids into, which subjects the kiddo should study, which tuition classes will be good for the kid etc. Basically at this stage we initiate problems in kids. As we grow older, we think about who is my son/daughter seeing, why is he/she late and finally the effect of all this tension Ė sugar, BP, heart attack. Problems across all stages may be varied, but the only one thing common in all the stages of life is our prayer and our faith in god- VENKATARAMANA and yeah, how could I forget the other common thing throughout - problems - SANKATA.

I remember going to St Lawrence church, Attur and Infant Jesus shrine, Bikarnakatte very regularly especially in the period between completion of semester exams and results, praying to all saints, creating some new ones and lighting so many candles everywhere just to pass in the crazy Data Communication paper in which I did not know even a word. I was not alone; I could see many familiar faces around me. "Hey Anil. Results right?"

"Wwwhat, No No, I come here very often."

"Is it? Never seen you around."

"I come late and go early."

"Oh cool, actually I donít come often. Someone told me our results are going to be out next week. So some preparation for it."

I used to feel like an idiot after this conversation. Why the hell should I be scared to reveal that I come here only on special occasions? After the results, for the next three months, I would not even think about Infant Jesus or Saint Lawrence, not even a thanksgiving prayer at home, the next pilgrimage would be after the next semester exams. I havenít generalized here since I know how religiously sentimental we are, I was tempted to ask a few questions to Eddie uncle, but he is very religious.

I have a lot of friends who are very religious, have a firm belief in almighty, who pray to their gods regularly, follow rituals ardently. I am quite religious, a strict Sunday catholic Ė I say my prayers to the lord everyday. I can narrate an incident which might have certain significance in the context of this article. My friend and I had been for mass on a Saturday evening (the day India played Sri Lanka in the world cup finals). I had asked my friend to message me the score very regularly and was checking my mobile every time it buzzed during the mass. The gracious friend of mine looked at me a couple of times and then let go off my behaviour. What I noticed behind that look were a couple of moist eyes, which showed her respect to god and from that day I shamelessly admit that I never check my mobile inside the church. If I am expecting certain important calls, only then I step out of the church and answer, which I believe is acceptable.

Why are a few youngsters in our community unreligious? Isnít it a responsibility of our elders - parents and religious leaders? When we were kids, we had regular lessons on the Bible, taught by respectable priests who personified holiness and simplicity. But todayís leaders find it difficult to seek respect from youngsters as they are engaged in various so called community development activities. It is ironic that every second parish in our diocese has a new church building, but the same parish also has 10 families below poverty line. As young people, this sometimes creates a wrong impression, but what we need to concentrate is on God and steer our slowly withering community towards strength.

I would like to cite an example of the most impressive community of our country - the PARSIS. A community which boasts of less than 1,00,000 people are the most prosperous. It seems whenever a child is born, every member of the community contributes one rupee towards the new born. By the time the new born is 18, he/she will be worth in lakhs, if not crores. I do not know whether this is true or not, but the plan seems impressive and appealing. Can we do this??

Now back to religion and religiousness, how many of us give a thanksgiving prayer everyday, for letting us pass the day without many difficulties. Only a few. There is a famous joke that there are two mailrooms in heaven and one is busy and the other one is completely idle. The busy one is where requests are processed and the other idle one is for thanksgiving processing. Mercy of god has no limits as for the past so many years he has been blessing us by granting almost all our prayers, without even expecting a "THANK YOU" in return. I have no doubt that people pray everyday, since there is no day without a problem. If there were no problems in this world then I presume, none of us would have bothered to pray: at least now we remember god in our prayers, even though we selfishly ask for favors.

In this scientifically advanced world, religion and god may look a thing of past. But the recent happenings in Japan, Libya, Egypt and elsewhere should teach us mortals a lesson or two. This article may look a tad precautious on my part, but we youngsters need to uphold a few values, point out right from wrong and remember and see the god in every living being and not only in church and its leaders.


Anil D'Souza - Archives:

Comments on this article
Fr Harry Pereira, BangaloreThursday, August 25, 2011
Anil, good sharing through an article. I admire your openness and self disclosure. keep writing.I suggest you to read the 'YOUCAT'book which is Youth catechism of Catholic Church. All the best.
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Agnello, Mangalore/MuscatTuesday, June 07, 2011
Loosing faith in Religion,
Religion and communalization has become a bane of many of our problems
Loosing faith in our Country,
Corruption is seething in all walks of our life
Loosing faith in Humanity,
Terrorism , war, violence is our way of life
Loosing faith in Myself,
Trying hard not to
But I admit I am loosing faith.
Comment on this message     

Noor Ashfaq, Karkala/SharjahSaturday, June 04, 2011
Humanbeing's, are the best of creation among the creators of God Almighty because he is endowed with faculty of reasoning and understanding. As mentioned in the article, every one need to pass through the stages of infancy, teen, adulthood followed by the old age which would repeat our infancy again and take a exit from this finite world to infinite hereafter. Observing God given laws not only steers us in various phases of our life span with contentment but inculcates our duty towards others in the society for realising a peaceful life. Religion is inseparable in our lives and let all of us practice it's tenets in true perspective and make our world a living heaven.
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Verina Pinto, Mangalore/UKSaturday, June 04, 2011
Very well written article Anil. I basically believe Love for god and true faith begins at home. Its the parents who instill these values in their kids. I agree as youngsters we do see things around us and we have the knowledge to judge, when i say this we often only tend to pick on the negatives of the church. Often we forget for what we go to the church, what is the church there for. We don't realize we are there to thank god for the wonderful week he has given us and ask his blessings for the coming week, instead we are much bothered to c if someone has called us ....someone has messaged us, we wouldnt die if we dedicated one whole hour for christ....It seriously isnt a lot of time. The true value of being bonded with christ is lost somewhere. Its very easy to get away by blaming it on the priests....I know many friends who say i am not going to church cause i dnt like that priest....who are we to judge...Do we go to the church for the priest or for Christ..... What we have forgotten is each of us is responsible for our own deeds.....so let the priest be accountable for themselves....y do we need to do their task. Moreover where exactlly is our relation with christ, Do we remember him only on sundays or is he with us throughout everyday. It is a collective effort within our own family and the family of the church to keep our love for christ growing.
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Tony, Sydney/MangaloreSaturday, June 04, 2011
Religion/faith etc is a difficult subject to talk about and discuss. Why the youth, even the older generation for that matter, are drifting away from the Church, if one can see the present attendance on Sundays in Sydney/Australia - only 25 to 30% regularly attend mass, even though majority of the population is catholics. May be something to do with the commercialisation of the Churches and its activities, and improper conduct of its clergy/priests over a period of time, and also consequent to the terrorist activities (religion is one of the main cause?)and eruption of hatred amongst different religions, etc, the people are simply put off, and they don`t want know or to do anything with the religion and religious activities. They simply say that they are athiests, or say they are religious but don`t follow any religion. Also, most of the youngsters say they are religious but do not necessarily follow any particular religion. They also say the rules and commandments like attending church on Sundays and confessions etc. are only man made, and therefore, secondary and not all that important. They feel, as long as they do not do anything wrong in particular and lead a clean life, they shoiuld be fine. By the way, an interesting topic, but very difficult to discuss and find a solution to the problem. As Rohan of Mangalore has said, the author has only pointed out the problem but has not really made any effort to solve it either.
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stany, mangalore,BejaiSaturday, June 04, 2011
This good artical we need relation
with GOD, we need to more & more closer to GOD, we need read,read and understand word of GOD,Now a days youngsters dont want to listen word of GOD whay we r not carry BIBLE to the churh, how we r carry book to the school because need to learn more and study and more knowleadge good job
but come to point GOD no one wantto carry BIBLE how our childrens growing by sepitually no realtion with GOD. They may go to church that why they dnt attention to the priest.this point really serious when u grow sipritully and u have relation with GOD he will Bless u and u r job and u r family every thing worldly people dont like relation with GOD, Ask our self what i am doing how i am doing how is my way, its true GOD worship? open the BIBLE and read and understand
dont belive some body says GoD has give good eyes Knowleadge to understand good and bad then why people cant understand they dnt want to grow think of this and mail me Thank u stany
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Aladdin Pais, Mangalore / MumbaiSaturday, June 04, 2011
I very stongly feel....
We have just taken our religion for granted as it is outrageous to read about smsing or going out to take a call during mass.
Would we have done such a thing if we were in a midst of a important meeting or an interview ? No surely not. So let us please remind ourselves that every mass is a sacred time spent between the Lord and us and give it all priority and importance.
Also by leaving your mobile phone on a vibrating mode the missed call is captured and you can always call back at the end of the mass.
Kind Regards
Aladdin Pais
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R D'Mello, MangaloreSaturday, June 04, 2011
Anil, this is a very good article.
I want to make few general comments here.

1. For a person to be "religious", is not a sufficient/necessary condition to be a "good" person. Yet, many people go by this yard-stick.
2. Many young people who appear to question religious belief, are not necessarily anti-religious. Asking reasonable questions should not be thought as being rebellious.
3. There are many points in the Catholic faith that people (young and mature alike) have not fully understood. For instance, worship of the Virgin is forbidden in the Catholic faith - yet many people worship her! What is permitted/encouraged is intercessionary prayer and asking her to be a mediator and NOT elevate her to status of a god! Teaching where to draw the line should be made clear!
4. Going by your exam time prayers, it is true that people (including myself) pray 90% of the time for material benefits instead or just asking for grace or peace of mind or praying for wisdom. It just explains the basic instinct of humans. Sometimes, I wonder why there is this custom where we pray to a saint (eg. at Attur) and promise to donate money/other item if ones' wish is fullfilled. Is this not a form of bribery?

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Lavina Picardo, KatpadyFriday, June 03, 2011
Why is it that a priest or a nun has to be blamed everytime, aren't we also responsible as parents,I have seen my cousins walking with all type of funky hairstyles and skimpy dresses going to church and their parents feeling proud of it.Do we teach children that church is the House of God and not a place of fashion parade,do we go to the church with same feeling and inculcate such feeling in our children,don't we also indulge in such behaviour as to see who has come in decked up? Are we giving them true faith and humbleness which will bring them nearer to God? Can't we live without mobile phones for atleast one hour? Or may be a cell is more required than a God who made all the cells of our body.
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ashenoy, mangloorFriday, June 03, 2011
The young and the confused. Lost or perhaps restless. What is the reason? Perhaps too much knowlege or ignorence or care free life or rat race for material life. In chasing wordly life, today the belief and the believers are confused.
The faith is something must come from within rationalising the life itself. Young have lost control in simple living. God fearing living. Instead they are chasing goals, seldom an achievement in a phylosophical sense.
The relationship, a permanent one is very important. That is only with GOD. Todays young facing the FACEBOOK,TWITTER, INTERNET,MOBILES and so on seldom achive relationship with the CRERATOR. These run away relationships are temporary, yet the young devote the entire life in chasing them in persuit of wordly happiness which never exists, again in an phylosophical angle.
We are all on this earth not to achieve glory but to live until such time the Creator unites us with him.
The religious belief is very important, its just a symbol. What is important is religous living and that will only be possible if the young stop chasing materialism of the earth rather keep on living in preparation for a permanent living, that is after our death in this cosmetic world.
Anil, this article is a beginner. The young must listen to this article not just read it.
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William Menda, UAEFriday, June 03, 2011
It is life's comforts, achievements and the feeling of security in life without threats that make human beings to be arrogant and to ignore spirituality. Youngsters do not have the required knowledge, wisdom,experience and maturity to to understand the importance of faith in one's life. This fact calls for dedication and missionary zeal from the part of clergy in providing necessary motivation and direction to the youth who are at crossroads rather than considering their role is just a profession like any other professions. They need to be the real role models to society. As Mr.Kurt rightly pointed out, the mainstream church must work out a new strategy to attract young people towards spirituality.
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ronnie, mumbai, MangaloreFriday, June 03, 2011
Yes, How very true. At first I too let it pass. Then it dawned on me, that the present generation is an atheist one and though miracles occur, they say its coincidental or its by chance. It is difficult to make them beleive! I am really fed up of this sort of phenomenon.
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Alwyn Crasta, Neermarga MangaloreFriday, June 03, 2011
my childhood time i am always running far from church,
but after marriage I am always spending time in the church.
And am always praying for my family, and good and bad people also.
One thing I want to say, before I do some bad thing.s.
It reminds me church. So I will stop doing bad things.
That is the main advantage for me.
And many times I prayed Ė and I got that. ( specially from my major car accidnet.)
Thank u Jesus.
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Westor, KallianpurFriday, June 03, 2011
Keeping mobile phones "Switched on" in church itself is wrong. I Don't agree with you Anil, when you say that it is fine to receive calls outside church when mass is going on.

We attend mass for just an hour in the whole week. Can't that time be entirely dedicated for the Lord? No tragedy will befall us if we don't answer calls for one hour per week. If there is anything urgent, the person who is calling can leave a text message so that it can be read after mass.

We pretend to be the most busiest people on earth (busier than the PM or Prez of our country!!!)when we tend to answer calls during mass.
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Xavier d S ouza, MangaloreThursday, June 02, 2011
Dear readers I stongly believe love and faith stats from home and not from church or schools.Now a days parents got no time to be with their children,Also many parents working in the gulf/abroad.So in order to compensate their absence they blindly provide
whatever they demand hence children go haywire.Therefore I urge parents to take main part on this issue.
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Kurt Waschnig, Oldenburg/GermanyThursday, June 02, 2011
Dear Anil D'Souza thank you for writing this article.
Faith and a meaning of life is very important in our globalised and permanent changing world.
Anil you describe the environment and your experiences you have made up to now in your young life as a Catholic.
You have your faith and you believe in God.
That will strengthen and give you hope in difficult times or when you suffer from any serious problem.
Young people are desperately looking for a meaning of life in Germany.
Million people are addicted to alcohol and other drugs in Germany.
Million suffer from psychological disorders, depressions though they live in a wealthy environment with a working social welfare system, medical insurances and well paid jobs.
Society and values are changing permanently.
What can be done for the youth to show them a way to lead a fulfilling life?
I am of the opinion that churches should look for new ways to attract young people and to show them that faith gives a meaning of life, that faith gives joy and happiness and strength.
But the old traditional ways have failed to convince young people nowadays how precious and wonderful a strong belief can be.
There are parishes where Indian priests and nuns are in charge of and there you can see young and enthusiastic young people.
Most important will be that the Catholic church will be able to speak the language of the youth to be understood.
Belief in God is hope and joy.

Best regards

Kurt Waschnig
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Cheryl, Mangalore/USAThursday, June 02, 2011

The present generation do not believe in religion as the leaders of the church themselves are so filled with their internal politics and nonsense. Look at the priests around, how many of them have the luxury of a cell phone, a vehicle to ride around, etc. I would like to know how many of these so called priests have gone a day without a meal served to them. I have witnessed and heard on numerous occasions how some of the priets of the Mangalore churches have helped the rich and not the poor. Preferenc is given to people with money than the ones without. I hate to say that I am dipleased with the way these priests go about their daily tasks and still preach to their congregation of what is right and wrong. I am sure this kind of double standard is prevalent in all religous sectors. So nobody should be shocked as to why the young don't believe in RELIGION.
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Ivan, MumbaiThursday, June 02, 2011
The church has not learnt from it's mistakes ... it is committing the same mistake as in the medieval period by trying to enter politics and interfering with the running of the state... the church is spiritual and it should concentrate in the Spiritual... State consists of people ... if people are healthy the state is healthy... the church should work @ the grass root level... at a micro level not a macro level...
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Anil, Good article about faith and youngster. I really liked about the pharsis plan to help each other.Thats why you don't find a begger in pharsi community.Secondly there is a tough compitition between the churches, who is better than who. Our priests are busy building or renovating churches,building complexes.They are more business minded than religious minded. They give long sermons but hardly follow it.They start a project without proper bugdeting and then start begging here and there.See the amount of money spent on Parish Feast. The same can be used for underprevileged within the parish.
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rohan, MangaloreThursday, June 02, 2011
Very interesting article to read on the happening fact.Faith often discussed and agrued a lot when it comes to the young minds.It is true that youngsters like to explore and faith is on among it.But often, when we write and teach about faith we stand at the judgement saying, you are doing this and that.Thats what even the author busy about.But has given a new idea?, new understanding? new outlook? No. Thats where the problem is.
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A. S. Mathew, U.S.A.Thursday, June 02, 2011
There is a whole lot of truth
and reality in the comment of
JOSSY DSOUSA, Mangalore.

The young generation who are
educated and thinking more rationally than the previous
generations will not blindly follow
religion as the old generation
did. It is very sad to say that
religion has turned like a big
business with the rotten attitude
of politics.

When I read about the lifestyle of
the modern "prosperity preachers"
in the U.S., it was very shocking.

One Keneth Copeland in Texas is
living in a 6 million dollar
mansion in front of a lake, with his own airport, and with a few
air crafts, out of which the most
expensive one costs 20 million
dollars. He has a habit of plane
collection. He has used the
name of JESUS and the Bible to
make huge wealth, while living
totally contrary to the teaching
of JESUS CHRIST. JESUS was always concerned with the hungry people but the people like Kenneth Copeland has no concern even for the hungry and suffersing people in his own city. Such paradoxes
are critical question marks in
big lettrs in front of the young
generation. If our children can't
watch real religion in our practical life, especially in the
parents, they are not going to be
religious, may turn anti-religious.
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Preethi Baretto, QatarThursday, June 02, 2011
"See the God in Every Living Being" - this is what Every Human Being Must keep in mind.
Anil, a very well explained article on the Realities of present time.
Faith in God, keeps Us Positive & Happy every day.
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sharan, MangaoreThursday, June 02, 2011
Brother Anil, very nicely written the article n let me continue Faith is only thing must have n we have only 2 commandments "Love u r God, with all u r heart mind n soul" Love u r nieghbour as urself" n nothing else n its not necessarey t be silent in church even u can dance.....dont follow old rituals so called dead stone live in christ n c the changes!!!!!!!!!!!
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jossy dsouza, mangaloreThursday, June 02, 2011
I think these days FAITH..is not in the holy places, Actually bible says faith comes by hearing word of God!I think one can understand there is no faith in churches as priest and nuns and religious people have been seen in the most corrupt stages and never keep Gods commandments, Forget Loving one another ! So why blame our young minds ! ? no point..We have seen all the samples and people have chosen their own faith like new life and others ..isn't this truth..oh its hurts..
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R C, MangaloreThursday, June 02, 2011
@ Namcy i totally agree with you.Its strange that these parents look so pleased when their children run towards the altar.
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Nancy, BelmanThursday, June 02, 2011
Anil, here I want to point out 2 more issues those disturb the people when mass is going on..they are - Many mothers bring thier children to mass along with eatables. My question is-Cant they feed thier children well before mass? Can't a child stay peacefully without any eatables for an hour (mass finishes within one hour) May be many will not agree to this comment. But children eating during mass disturbs other children as well as parents also. Secondly, I dont understand why small childern are wearing noice making sandals and made to walk during mass...?

And you cant blame alone youngsters for faith even elders also same.
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Alex, MangaloreThursday, June 02, 2011
Recently I read in Yahoo that the faith is going down. In response to this article some one commented, it is better to live in faith and die to find nothing exists after life, than live in a life without faith and die to find the ever lasting damnation waiting for you.
Just think of it.
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