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What is religion? Religion is a concept that is passed down like tradition from generation to generation. In most cases most people are introduced to religion in their younger years.
During those years, adolescent ideas of religion are undeveloped, and they are susceptible to being conditioned with certain religious identities that can be a very pressuring and life changing decision. It may impact their life forever.
There are many different beliefs in the world today. Most of these religions claim to be the only “true” or “right” religion.
That could make religion confusing and for those who are seeking spirituality or identity.
In “Salvation,” the young African American narrator attends a religious revival with Auntie Reed, a devout Christian. She tells him that when Jesus comes into his life, he’ll see a white light signifying that he has been saved. When he doesn’t see the light, he’s upset.
In Langston Hughes short story “Salvation” Hughes is saved by the church but still feels ashamed and lost.
He lies about his feelings and he loses his faith in Jesus Christ. He lost his faith because he knew the act was a lie. That night when Langston cries because he lied and deceived everybody, he shows that he is a good person. He didn’t want to disappoint the adults.
When he witnessed the last boy on the bench go fourth and be saved, Langston suddenly felt the pressure of the whole church come down on him. Especially that of his Aunt Reed, she sobbed to Langston “Langston, why don’t you come? Why don’t you come and be saved? Oh, Lamb of God! Why don’t you come?” This was the last straw this pressure eventually caused Langston to get saved out of deceit.
When Langston tried to go to bed that night his feelings of dishonesty had overcome him. He cried not tears of joy but tears of regret and confusion “But I was really crying because I couldn’t bear to tell her that I had lied, that I had deceived everybody in the church, that I hadn’t seen Jesus, and that now I didn’t believe there was a Jesus anymore, since he didn’t come to help me.” He cried because he felt in his heart that he lied to his Aunt Reed and the whole church.
People react to it in different ways. I think it’s important now and then to demonstrate how adult (and cult) behaviors can affect children. My personal experiences in church settings were very similar to this. It was like a weight on my mind until I was able to distance myself from people consumed by their ideology and was able to carve out my own path to understanding religion and spirituality. If Auntie Reed or any of the church members had took the time to explained to the young boy the meaning of ” The light” and “seeing Jesus”, he would have also understood. Some or all of the doubt and confusion, the young boy had would be decreased.
But at the same time, general exposure to religion when you are young is not a bad thing, as long as you are also offered the tools to question it. Hughes did not have that option – if he had not stood up, or if he stood up and walked way – that would be the end of him. Unfortunately, that is not just “a sign of the times”, and that there are many children (and adults) who are rejected by their friends, families and society for a lack of faith.
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