Religious leaders say more youth are questioning their faith

Kaitlynn Kenney
By Kaitlynn Kenney September 22, 2017 12:53
Sheikh Yousef Aly Wahb in his office at the Rose City Islamic Centre. (Photo by Kaitlynn Kenney)

Sheikh Yousef Aly Wahb in his office at the Rose City Islamic Centre. (Photo by Kaitlynn Kenney)

By Kaitlynn Kenney

In the past decade, young people have been straying away from going to church. They have started questioning their spirituality, asking more questions and are feeling lost, according to several ministers and non-christian religious leaders.

According to Statistics Canada, from 1985 to 2004 the number of non-practicing and non-believing persons increased from 30 per cent to 44 per cent and native-born Canadians were less likely to take part in religious services than immigrants. All denominations are experiencing a decrease in church attendance in young people.

Yousef Aly Wahb, an imam at the Rose City Islamic Centre, said we are “all in the same boat.”

“I see people who come often to the mosque and who are very attached to the building and who volunteer at events but at the same time there is a big number of youth who have questions,” said Wahb. “Most of their questions are philosophical.”

Wahb said he is noticing youth going to pray at the mosque because they feel obligated to, which he said is commonly seen in the Catholic Church. “Sometimes they feel like they don’t belong to the mosque. But once you bring up the real solid questions that they are facing in their life they will feel very connected.” Wahb said youth should be asking important philosophical questions because you cannot be religious just because your parents are.

“A belief is something that should be 100 per cent instilled in your heart,” said Wahb. A non-scientific survey found out of 28 participants ages 17 to 31, the majority said they were religious. However, 23 said young people today are less religious. According to the survey, around 60 per cent of people said they were religious, but 60 per cent also said they either do not go to church often or have only been a few times.

Derek Davis, deacon and chaplain at Schlegel Villages, said some young people understand religion but they do not understand what church is.

“They think church is just a building,” said Davis. “It almost comes to the point that we become building worshipers.”

Davis also said young people often feel lost and look in the wrong places for guidance.

“I think that young people will start to feel discouraged because they are looking for spiritual nurturing. They feel a pull but they don’t know what it is,” said Davis. “I think a lot of young people need to explore their own spirituality, but sometimes they are looking in the wrong places.”

Emily Wilcox, an 18-year-old student at Humber College, said she believes young people feel discouraged because so many religions are outdated.

“It is hard for young people to relate to religion for this reason. Young people also see many older people who use religion for hate, which deters them from religion as well,” said Wilcox. “I also think young people don’t want to be restricted and explore what they believe in first before they choose.”

She believes in some families there may be pressure to be religious.

“Children feel as if they don’t conform, they won’t be accepted or even allowed in their family. This makes some people religious but also makes some people resent it,” said Wilcox


Kaitlynn Kenney
By Kaitlynn Kenney September 22, 2017 12:53

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