(Investigative-historical feature story)
By. Michelle Montañez Hernández
The holy mass, services, and youth meetings are some of the religious activities conducted at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (UPRM), and other campuses as well. Those activities are open to everybody who wants to attend them, no matter the religion or group one belongs to.
Religion has been an important aspect of people’s lives for millions of years. It is classified into three basic categories: polytheistic (belief in many gods), pantheistic (belief that god is everything), and monotheistic (belief in one god). It can also be said that another classification exists, the atheism (belief in no god). But how does religion affect or help the lives of young people, mainly college students?
“Depending on how people have been educated in the religious sphere, more or less, this could affect their lifestyles. Those who have received a good religious education are moralistic.” said Zamaris Gonzales Reyes, student of the Interamerican University. Most human beings are born in religious homes, thus are naturally forced to follow the same pattern of faith and beliefs that their parents and family practice. “All that is reflected in the life of a person, referring to the education, is what defines them as a person” she says.
It can be seen that those who believe in religion and follow their beliefs, are less likely to fall into the world of drugs, both legal and illegal, and other adverse environments surrounding the university day after day. Most are happy and healthy, and say they feel this way and full of life because they love and have God in their lives.
Between the ages of 17 and 24, young people begin to wonder where they came from. If all the things they have been taught are true, or if some are false.
“Sometimes believing is having hope in something” said Mariely Reyes Hermina, an UPRM student. One looks at different attitudes of human beings, one can see that from a young age they have the need to cling to something or someone because they are dependents from the moment they were born. As they grow, they learn the meaning of love and how it feels to be loved, which makes them need love in their lives.
“Maybe seeking God equals the need to have something, so we can see that most people are not true believers, but seek God only when they are going through difficult situations” Mariely said. If humans since childhood develop independence and only believe in their strength they would not need more than their own powers to go ahead in life.
When a human being becomes insecure by fears, experiences or other things, they understand that they have weaknesses and start to believe that they need something more than themselves to function correctly.
Some people turn away and leave religion becoming agnostics or even atheist. “Atheism is based on thought, reason and doubt. In the search of truth, science, and much more, depends on the atheist … We are different, in spite of our non-religion, we have different thoughts, like those who preach a particular religion” Said Irving Gracia Vega, an UPRM student. During the last centuries, the amount of atheism has made a strong alternative to every types of religious explanation. Atheism denies the existence of gods and other supernatural beings and their influence on the world order.
Finally, as noted above, the university students vary in their beliefs. Thus this leads them to disagree with each other and on occasions, to disrespect one another when talking about this topic. It is very common in the academic world to meet people of little faith or weak beliefs. This is why many young Christians strive to conduct religious activities on campus, for in this way, according to them, save more souls.