Religion Hidden In Our Daily Lives

As a (relatively) young person who is also religious, I often feel like a very odd duck.

Maybe it’s part of the separation of “church” and “state” (for which I am enormously grateful), but religion doesn’t come up very much in the day to day life of American society and culture. For most people, religion is a very private matter. Often relegated to a particular time and place, not spilling out into every day interactions.

It’s odd to hear a celebrity in a magazine mention going to church or a picture of a celebrity at a temple. Our favorite TV characters don’t seem to participate in religious practices unless that’s the entire point of the show.

It makes me wonder whether most people simply keep their relationship with God as a completely private thing or if most people don’t think about God or religion or the Big Questions in life.

There’s plenty of older folk who are ready to decry my generation and younger as God-less, but I’m not sure whether it’s true or not. Are the young people today less religious than in the past? Is religion something that is more likely to be meaningful to you later in life?

Using myself as a case study is a terrible idea. I’m pretty sure I’m far from typical. Then again, there’s probably always some percentage of people who are interested in the Big Questions early in life.

Do we not see religious people in our media because that’s reflecting real life or is it to avoid controversy and offense? (As sensitive as I am about the monopoly of Christianity, I wouldn’t mind seeing religious characters on TV and in movies, so long as it was balanced and religions other than Christianity were present too).

I’d be interested in seeing more portrayals of what it is like for modern people to bring their spiritual life into their daily regular life. For me, I feel that everything I do is run through the filter of my Hindu perspective.

I was thinking about it because I got my new Cosmopolitan magazine and there was a brief interview with a woman who has written a memoir about growing up as an ultra Orthodox Jew. Religion is so rarely mentioned in Cosmo that it caught my attention. It made me think that in some ways it is strange that I enjoy this magazine that is so very secular and written towards an audience who is interested in the superficial things in life. It made me wonder how many other religious young people also read it.

There are young people who are religious. There are young people who care about figuring out life and God and the universe. We don’t always see them because often they do blend in. They are hiding in plain sight sometimes. A little cross necklace or a hijab can sometimes give you a clue but there are plenty of people who don’t show any outward sign of their religious practice.

My religion is a part of every moment of my life, but at the same time is not really visible at all.

http://www.magnoliabox.com/art/250791/Hindu_children_praying_in_front_of_small_family_shrine_in_the_UK

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Y. A. Warren

    Good points to ponder.

    I don’t know how many people actually ask themselves why they live how they do. Even religion is often simply handed down from one generation to another.

    I wonder if we were more comfortable asking people why they act in certain ways, if we would find out their religious and other philosophies that guide their lives. I wonder if this type of conversation would also lead people to be more mindful in their actions.

    • Ambaa

      I’m always so interested to hear about people’s beliefs and what gives their lives meaning. I love those conversations.

      • Y. A. Warren

        As do I, but we are taught in the United States of America, that it is rude, in polite society, to discuss politics and/or religion. I am incapable of “small talk,” so I avoid most opportunities to interact with “polite society.” This is why I so love Patheos and other aspects of the internet.

        • Ambaa

          True!

          I have Asperger’s, so I’m not known for tact. lol. I don’t do small talk and I do ask people to tell me about their religious life.

          • Y. A. Warren

            My mate has Asperger’s, as I suspect my daughter (not my mate’s child) also has. My mate is wonderful in scientific endeavors, but I am the interpersonal part of the partnership.I am in love with the Asperger’s personality because I never have to be worried about hidden agendas.

            If there is an opposite to Asperger’s, that is what i have, but I am so social that I want to understand where everyone is “coming from.” I am often accused by my daughter of acting like a reporter. i am a writer, so I guess only one’s own child could see that as a bad thing.

          • Ambaa

            Yes, the lack of agenda and game-playing is something I appreciate in other aspies. Playing the dating game was brutal for me but I finally found someone who finds my directness and lack of tact charming.

            This blog is such a great space for me because I can articulate myself and communicate pretty well in writing. In person it’s an entirely different situation. I really depend on writing to communicate.

  • Maya Resnikoff

    I realize that I have a hard time getting in touch with your observation. As an observant Jew, and a Rabbi, at that, I spend the vast majority of my time with other people, both my age and younger/older, who make religion a significant aspect of their lives. Even when they don’t, I often see them at their most religiously-involved moments. Similarly, as a chaplain, my work has involved meeting people when they are at their most likely to invoke religion. So you’ve really brought up something that exists in an aspect of the world that I rarely see… Thank you for sharing those observations.

    • Ambaa

      What this really means is that I need to get in touch with a community of people my own age who are similarly religious!

  • TruthSeeker

    You have broached a very relevant point.

    I think, In last few decades perspective towards Religion and God has changed drastically. Earlier God used to do everything, but now science and technology has restricted the God’s roles in our day to day lives. The new generation has different expectation from GodReligion, these peoples like to know the life’s purpose , how to live happily and peacefully, how to tackle life’s contradictions, how to prioritize things in life etc. Basically restricting GodReligion’s influence to spiritual domain.
    For some peoples religion is part of their identity and some peoples use it for political purpose. Such peoples displays their religion affiliation prominently.

  • 5w_haul

    being religious in Islam,Christianity and Judaism is very different from being religious hindu or dharmic person rather.


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