How Powerful is Parental Influence in Religion?

By Katlyn Kritz

Jambar Contributor

Religion is one of the many influences parents can have on their children, but as young adults lose the influence, they may also lose their faith.

Dillon O’Hara, a freshman at Youngstown State University, said his family largely influences his faith but adulthood gets in the way.

“I used to go to church, but now I work every Sunday,” O’Hara said. “It’s definitely gotten worse with age.”

Some young adults find it harder to make time for faith when there are so many responsibilities to take care of. O’Hara said life experiences and tragedies also caused him to be less faithful.

“I think once I have a family of my own I’ll be more faithful again,” O’Hara said. “I want my children to have that.”

Mo Rasoul, sophomore in pre-pharmacy at YSU, said he practices his religion his own way.

“My family and I participate in fasting [Ramadan], but we don’t go to a mosque,” Rasoul said.

Rasoul said he doesn’t feel most college age people care about religion. He said he feels like the majority of people don’t care, or they just aren’t as faithful as they used to be.

“Personally, I don’t feel like my religious views have changed, nor will they ever,” Rasoul said. “Even without my parent’s influence.”

Joe Weser is the director of YSU’s branch of Chi Alpha, which is a national college program participating in prayer, mission trips and community service. This group also participates in events such as Operation Christmas Child and Night to Shine.

Weser said Chi Alpha is inclusive to everyone, even students who are not sure about their faith.

“You don’t have to be a part of the Assemblies of God denomination,” Weser said. “You can be non-believing or just curious, whatever it may be.”

Weser said he was also a youth pastor, and has seen the way parents influence their children’s faith. He said parents can positively and negatively influence their children’s religious views.

“Parents definitely do play a role in their kid’s faith growing up and in the future,” Weser said. “I think what happens is you get some [kids] that were forced to go to church, and they don’t really find a faith of their own.”

Weser said it’s not until young people get into college when they start finding people who help them on the path of which faith to choose. He said the lack of parental influence is what gives them the freedom to decide what faith they want to be a part of.

For students who are confused about their faith or have questions about religion, Weser said people can email him at [email protected]. Chi Alpha meets on Tuesday’s from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Jones room in Kilcawley Center.



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