Religion is a social category with a rich history that has been seen as both essential and inevitable to human life. The fact that there are many religious traditions and beliefs in the world makes it a fascinating study of how people interact with each other and with their environment. The belief that there is a higher power can be calming for some, while others find that following rules and traditions can help them feel more grounded and stable in the face of challenging situations. In the end, a spiritual life is a personal choice that can provide meaning to those who follow it.
Ages Seven to Eight
If your child is at least seven or eight, you can expect faith to become a topic of conversation naturally from time to time. Kids at this age are interested in how their world was created and how humans came to be, and they may have questions about the beliefs of their friends or family members.
It’s best to keep the discussion about these topics open and unfiltered, and encourage your child to ask questions. Be sure to point out that no matter what they believe, it’s okay and even important to respect other people’s beliefs.
This is a great time to encourage your child to learn about different world religions and how they compare to their own. Having an understanding of other religions can help your children appreciate diversity and the idea that people from all walks of life can get along, regardless of their beliefs.
Ages Twelve to Thirteen
If your kid has made it clear that they are a believer, this is the time when their faith might become more of a central focus in their lives. They may start to take their faith more seriously and want to know how they can apply it to their daily lives. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss what they value in their own life and how they can use their religion to help them achieve those values.
Ages fourteen and fifteen
Teenagers can be tough to talk to, especially about religion. However, if your child is a believer, it’s a good time to talk about their beliefs in a more formal and structured way. This is also a great time to help them develop their own faith by encouraging them to spend time with other believers and read the bible or other religious books.
In the last few decades, it’s become increasingly common to think about religion as a taxon for sets of social practices rather than as a social genus with an essence. But there are two philosophical issues that can arise with this approach, which can affect how we understand the term and how it is used. The first issue is the assumption that a real or lexical definition of religion is necessary and sufficient. This can lead to stipulative definitions of the concept, which are useful but not necessarily correct.