CAMPUS DIARY

What made people stop going to church?

Some people have not stepped into church since Covid hit

In Summary

• Going to church doesn't make one holy or upright, but it's a wonderful thing

Image: PEXELS / OTTO RHINO

When I was growing up, it was normative of everyone to go to church on weekends. I did not have the privilege of interacting with people of different faiths that much, so pretty much everyone around me was a Christian. On Mondays when we'd share stories with our friends, or when teachers would ask, "How was your weekend?" going to church featured somewhere.

Then as we grew up, going to church religiously was no longer the norm. Some people maintained the routine but many others dropped it. You probably wonder what happened. Everyone who falls in the latter category has their reasons.

To begin with circumstances beyond one's control, as people get older, they have to journey towards financial stability. This means, unlike when you're young, you now have to find a job to bring in income. Depending on one's line of profession, the job may require one to work on weekends. Take, for instance, people running barber shops or salons. They may have to work on weekends as that is when many people have time to do their grooming.

Judgement from the church is another significant factor. Today's youth do a lot that was traditionally considered unconventional. Women may wear trousers and not dresses or skirts as is expected. Men may have plaited hair or wear earrings. When older folks see such things, they may criticise them, and this may not be taken kindly.

For others, it is a personal choice. It could be influenced by soul searching. People can get to a place where they realise they just go to church because they were taught so, but they don't really understand why they do. Or maybe they see the evil that happens in church. We all know how churches can be full of gossip and backstabbing, yet these are the very places where preachers preach love. Such vices discourage people from being in church.

For others, it could be their lifestyle. Religious teachings have a lot that they condemn. When one leads a life that is subject to constant censure from those at the pulpit, they may decide to disappear from church so that they can do whatever they please without feeling guilty.

The onset of Covid takes a share of the blame, too. During the advent of the pandemic, churches were closed at some point to control the spread of the virus. For some people, that was the last they went to church.

Where does this, then, leave us? I think life gives everyone a choice. In my view, one should not be forced to uphold a practice they learnt from their childhood when it probably doesn't make sense to them.

It is, however, worth noting that the idea of believers congregating together is said to have begun during the times of St Paul. The rationale behind it was to allow them to uplift each other's spirits and share in one another's joy. To date, churches are a strong support system, especially when one is faced with tough times, such as loss of a loved one. Its importance, therefore, cannot be ignored.

To deal with the challenges posed by generational gap, most churches bring in youth pastors or have youth services to ensure younger congregants feel at home.

It is also worth stating that going to church doesn't make one holy or upright. There are many who do this just to be seen but their souls are dark. On the contrary, there are also many who do not go to church but their souls are pure.

All said and done, being part of a church is a wonderful thing. If you can, find one and be part of it. Believers should also practise what they preach; be kind to one another and where necessary, correct one another with love.

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