Mike JohnsonFebruary 17,1997English 101/ HicksOver the last several decades America has been evolving towards manysignificant changes. One of these changes has posed a question, whether or notAmerica has become secular. Although we may be uncertain of many of thesechanges and how they will affect our future, the answer to our secularity isquite obvious. America has indeed become secular.
I think that in a society where being successful is everything, ourreligious beliefs tend to get lost in the “survival of the fittest” lifestylethat we lead everyday. Of course we all have certain standards in which webelieve and live by. A good example of the standard behavior that makes us sosecular is in Wil Herbergs essay This American Way Of Life. Herbergs says sowell , “the American way of life is a symbol by which Americans definethemselves and establish their unity.” The author means to imply that unity issomething we all strive for. To be American is to be part a huge family, nomatter what gender, color, or background. We stick together. We fight together,we laugh together, we grieve together as Americans.
Terms like democracy, individuality, self-reliance are all words werelate to as Americans. We teach our kids that we should be grateful everyday tobe Americans. In this country we can choose our own destination. We can bewhatever we want. I think that being a secular country brings us together andmakes us stronger.We don’t have questions we can’t answer. We don’t hearstories of people or things we can’t prove exist. We know what we have overcometo be where we are today, and we know what we want to plan for our future. Asquoted in Herbergs essay, “The things that make us proud to be Americans are ofthe soul and of the spirit.” That quote said by Mr. Eisenhower exemplifies anAmerican religion, or standard by which we look for guidance and reassurance.Andit is not something we should be ashamed of. Our country has survived more thatother countries can only dream of. So many have suffered for the well being ofour country. It is what makes us America.
To me it would seem that religion has become a thing of the past. Itseems as though in the past more people than not saw their religion to be veryimportant to them, it consumed their daily life.Now-a-days it seems that thereligious way of life is left behind when mass lets out. So why are parentsstill insisting on that one hour mass every week? I think its because people areconfusing religion with tradition. You aren’t religious because you are bornwith Catholic parents. You can’t be forced into religion. It takes a certainamount of faith to be religious. And then in turn your faith is the dedicationthat brings you to church each week or to saying grace before each meal. I don’tbelieve that whether or not you’re religious is a prerequisite to being a goodperson. Which raises a good question, “Do kids need religion?” In AnthonyBrandts essay Do Kids Need Religion he quotes “Religious education raised theissue of honesty.” How does religion relate to honesty, other that the honestyto ourselves whether or not we truly believe. I think that honesty relates moreto the secularity of our society. I think that being American would raise anissue of honesty. Our ancestors were honest to themselves when they helped tocreate America. Later Brandt goes on to say ” too it is impossible to predictwith any confidence what affect religious education will have on children.”Which is precisely my point. Why are we teaching them things that aren’t surewill help them later on in life. We should be teaching them history so they willgrow up knowing who they are, who their ancestors were and what we learned fromthem. Rather than teaching our kids to believe in one specific person(s) tobelieve with out question.In Brandts essay a mother says, “I think you cantransmit values to your kids but belief is different.” I think that religion isvery much an individual thing while, secularity is a bond that helps our societystrive for achievement.
Brandt has a statement that is something I think most anyone can relateto, he says, “The longing for meaning is something we all share parent and childalike.”I think that being a secular country gives us a sense of meaning. Insteadof being separated into categories of who believes what and why, we sticktogether because we all share one thing in common we are all American. And Ithink that the pride we have in common is all we need.