There are numerous schools of thought as to the role of religion in the Northern Ireland conflict. Institutionally, religion has different levels in the indirect contribution of the Roman Catholic Church and the direct one of the Orange societies. Other levels include the covenant tradition of fundamentalist Protestantism, the level of relational beliefs, level of cultures produced, and the interface between relational religious and national-political beliefs. The way religion connects to politics and conflicts is different for the each of the two dominant blocs of interest. The role of the Catholic Church takes into account. Majority of the past approaches tend to relegate religion to a second-order, second to British imperialism, capitalism, Republican terrorism, or Unionist intransigence. In the present, a general leaning towards ethnicity has a principal role of ethno-religiosity.
A small number of monographs appear to focus on the Orange societies and the phenomenon of anti-Catholicism. The works reveal largely than previous religious input to the aspects of the conflict. The present article focuses on the principal social facts that link religion to the Ireland’s prime conflict with Catholic Nationalists on one side and on the other Unionists and Loyalists that become central protagonists. The main issue is that Catholic and Protestant retain communal edge to each other in a contemporary late modern society. The two religions link Nationalists and Republicans in an all-island state. Unionists and Loyalists retain Northern Ireland membership of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The solution lies in the historical change of the dominant institutions in western societies and accompanying cultures. In modern Europe, the state and capitalism became central in the place of medieval institutions of kings and barons on one hand and on the other hand church and monasteries. National allegiance replaced loyalty to aristocracy as work moved to princely estate and monastery lands to businesses based on the capital enterprise.. The Church lost its public power as religion became privatized and focused on the family. The entire society lost its sacred canopy. Conflicts in which religion has salience only appear to continue or to emerge in countries or zones where national identities correspond to the fundamental issues.
Religion plays such a role in the case of Northern Ireland that helps one understand more on shape and form of religion. Religion appears to retain its link to the political core in Irish matters while it retains its link to the political core and capitalism in Ireland.
Kafka and Willa (5) address a controversial issue on whether the influence on parents on the religiosity of offspring is either direct, indirect, or through the agents of socialization. Recently, the data from National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) that has the longitudinal data on American adolescents support the differential return account. NSYR has significant variations to affect most agents of religious socialization. According to Lessing (3) direct and persistent effects of parental religiosity, affect offspring’s future religious participation. The results of the study stress on the need for theologians to understand the base for differences across religious traditions in early socialization that matters when considering how churches retain commitment across generations.
For many years, young adults in America have a decline in outward religious expression especially in the college formative years. In the 80s, 60 percent of young adults attend church less frequently that they did during adolescence years. Seemingly, no religious group is immune to the phenomenon as all of them lose more members during the stage of life. The conventional explanation for early adult religious decline includes a sudden transition they experience to adulthood. The young adults’ cognitive understanding of the world expands as they experience a new life separate from their family and new experiences.
Consequently, religious upbringing leads to some young adults cutting ties with their religious upbringing as such they cultivate more secularized perspectives concerning the world. Great freedom that young adults experience when they move to new environment accords them an opportunity to cease activities such as church services. The young adults are at odds with religious traditional instructions; church activities uninteresting and devalued among friends. That leads to the children taking on substance abuse and non-marital sex. Family and union formation is common at the phase of life that has religious consequences. Religious groups look down on cohabitation since they associate it with non-marital sexual behavior that can reduce religious commitment as marriage and childbearing stimulate religious participation.
The studies on religious socialization consider four different agents that include friends, parents, religious education, and parents. A family constitutes the initial and main locus of socialization while numerous researchers attest to the importance of family for religious outcomes. Parents share with their children a religious worldview reinforced by other adults in the religious group. An adolescent receives religious norms and values transmitted through various forms of encouragement or punishment at home and schools. A religious outcome depends on the quality of parent-child relationships as well as nourishing relationships with other adults in the religious group. Adolescents derive a lot of influence from their peers than any other agent of socialization. Friends reinforce a model of religious view and practice or tend to undermine when not in line with that of family or religious tradition. Learning from the agents of socialization also includes internalizing beliefs and individual practices.
Channeling Hypothesis Debate
The theory explains interrelations of different agents of socialization. According to Puchner (7), the theory posits that parents have a indirect effect on the socialization of their children to channel them to different institutions and experiences will reinforce parental values. The author of the theory believes that a direct effect on the children religiosity will decrease, as children grow older. The channeling school of thought exhibits controversy from different researchers. Kafka and Willa (8) document that parents play an indirect role to influence their children religious development since mediation is through the church and friends. Lessing (6) and Silko (4) argue that parents have a strong direct effect on the religiosity of their children at an early life that will likely affect their future life. Silko (11) claim that parents’ effect on the religiosity is higher than that of religious schooling. A recent study show that while there is mediation of parental effects through church and peer groups, a direct parental effect remains. The earlier studies on religious effects on families observe denominational differences in the effects of agents of religious socialization. Channeling hypothesis has limitations in addressing denominational differences since the theorists use single religious traditions in their examinations. For this reason, it is possible to have different information concerning the effects of parents, peer groups, and church groups. The channeling hypothesis can benefit from extensive comparison across religious traditions.
According to Puchner (5), a period of transition from adolescence to adulthood is a point of intense reflection where an individual examines personal identity and values to solidify a sense of self as one encounters diverse views from their own.. As such, the transition period is a time of significant change in social identities and behaviors that include religion. A body of research cites that ethnic identity changes in religiosity as individuals transits from adolescence to adulthood. Previous research on young adulthood finds it insightful to separate religious affiliation and religious identity.
Most of the religiosity study focuses elderly and young adults while little attention focus on the transition period. The attributes unique to the transitional period shape attitudes and religious behaviors. In the modern day America, the transition period extends the identity formation process and delayed adult responsibilities in preparation of their future adult life. The social settings contrast to their formative years in high school. Youths start to question their own worldviews as they encounter different experiences. Great instability and decline in religiosity is evident after high school than during adolescent years as a period considered for its identity and value information.
Religious Resources or Differential Returns
Religious traditions work examines agents of socialization to highlight differences in the rates of attendance that decline in emerging adulthood. Puchner (14) think that rates of attendance decline can vary depending possession of tradition values or utilizing the agents of socialization. The agents of religious socialization identified in the literature include peer groups, parents, religious education institutions, and church support all religious traditions to predict future religiosity of children. A decline of attendance in such groups is a sign of weak tradition, low parental religiosity, less religious traditions, few supportive adults, and less youth group involvement.
Hypothesis 1: Religious resources such as church support, religious education, parental religiosity, and youth groups explain variations across religious traditions.
Hypothesis 2: Agents of socialization such as religious education and church can mediate the future attendance outcomes of children across denominations.
The agents of socialization matter for specific religiosity outcomes in some religious tradition than others. The differential return theory posits that the purported abundant resources for teenagers have little significance for attendance outcomes. Kafka and Willa (19) observe a variation on the historical and cultural differences between American religious traditions. The Native sects that include the black Protestant churches are more exclusive since the members have more commitment, strict norms, and high cost of membership in comparison to mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches that have strict membership. The issue of strictness relate to differences in socialization processes in the groups. Religious socialization on evangelical Protestants will reinforce strong sub cultural identity that provides a distinction between significant engagement and tensions of other relevant out groups. Black Protestant churches support Natives living in America .during their historic struggle and continue to shape their attitudes and civic commitment in the contemporary world. Additionally, the church fosters ethnic and sub cultural identity in the socialization process. The mainstream Protestants foster an attitude and accommodation to the rest of the society. Americans assimilated Catholic Church highly distinctive embattled sub culture during the Second World War. The Generation X Catholic faithful hold loosely the obligatory weekly attendance. Mainline Protestants of the same era do not support regular attendance. According to Cunningham (9) parental influence is a key factor that affects religious development on the mainline Protestants as church groups are perverse with evangelicals.
Hypothesis 3: The difference across traditions in the effects of agents of socialization explains the decline of different religious tradition attendance.
Hypothesis 4: The effect of parental religiosity on future attendance will have complete mediation by other agents of socialization in only some denomination than others.
Social Sources of Religious Decline
Lessing (30) describes the campus environment as a breeding ground for apostasy or renunciation of religious faith. The General Social Survey display a linear association between education and apostasy that lead to the authors to conclude that higher education will broaden one’s mind as well as expose one to countercultural values. The exposure in the new environment erodes traditional plausibility structures to uphold organized religion. Lessing (30) links college courses and educational attainment to declines in religious participation and beliefs in the Bible. Young adults with college degrees secularize Christian education that leads to religious decline Presbyterian education indirectly prevents church attendance habits to negatively affect religious beliefs and fertility that have association with religiosity. Education also exhibits a positive effect on church attendance to render total effect of education close to zero. The current impact of education on modern-day college students is different from past generation. Kafka and Willa (10) note that that college values have changed over many years. For instance, college students in the 60s develop an important goal in life while present college student’s norms reflect on economic success and material wealth. Students in the modern day have an interest in economic production and financial success and less concerned on morals and beliefs. They in fewer instances involve themselves with religious issues or enroll classes that can challenge their faith.
Kafka and Willa (12) find that American colleges have undergone changes since in the past they appeared hostile to religion while recently they offer religious practice and teaching. Some authors purport religion to appear marginalized while in reality most of American Universities offer religious courses that teach tolerance and respect for religion. That is necessary to accommodate and encourage religious development in the student lives. Kafka and Willa (13) find church attendance, religious groups, and prayer wane during college years. Collegians consider themselves religious since they maintain a spiritual belief system even as the external religious activity tapers off.
Normative Deviation and Cognitive Dissonance
Early adulthood is a time of elevated exposure to participate in malpractices such as binge drinking, substance abuse, and non-marital sex. Each of the malpractices is contrarily to the teachings and expectations of most American religious traditions. The gap between practices of young creates cognitive dissonance. Such dissonance lead to young adults staying away from organized religion, ascribe less importance to religion, or disassociate from religion. Most of Mormon non-attenders state that lifestyle is not compatible with participation in the church that leads them to disengage from the church.
Religious attendance inversely associates with excess alcohol consumption among the young adults. Cunningham (7) says that binge drinking is less evident on religious young adults while religiosity appears unrelated to frequency of drinking. Lessing (44) argues that increased drinking behavior does not predict significant decrease in religious service attendance or religious salience among adolescents. The college students spend numerous times partying to undermine subsequent religiosity.
Most Americans consider drug use as more problematic than drinking in disregard to religion. A test of cognitive dissonance finds that a variety of delinquent behaviors include drug use, predict declining religiosity. The use of marijuana secularizes beliefs and liberalizes morality among Presbyterians. The cognitive dissonance theory depicts religious institutions as having strict proscriptions of illicit drug use than drinking.
Non-marital Sexual Behavior
High religious involvement associates with less frequent sexual activity on subsequent religiosity. A higher religious involvement commonly associates with less frequent sexual activity. Two studies of adolescents employ different datasets to suggest sexual behavior does not have any effect subsequent religiosity. A study of adolescent religious transformations notes that recent experience of first experience to predict a considerable decline in religion. The evidence for cognitive dissonance explanation is not conclusive. The cultural and theological differences in religious traditions make assessing its validity challenging.
Life Course Factors
As young adults move from adolescence to adulthood, many form sexual relationships and decide to cohabit or to marry to have children. Such decisions have long shaped patterns of adult religiosity.
Church attendance and participation positively correlates with married as those that never marry depict high rates of apostasy and are less likely to return to religion. The association between marriage varies by religious homogeny. Marriage within one’s denomination tends to increase religious service attendance while marrying outside denomination tend to decrease religious service attendance. Marriage entails different repercussion for men than women. The evidence suggests that married young adults attend church at higher rates than their single counterparts do. Marriage and religion are social commitments; a young adult that is prone to make one commitment is prone to make another commitment. The relationship is bidirectional where young adults that have not reduced their religiosity can choose to marry at higher rates than other young adults are. Marriage associates with heightened religious commitment in early adulthood.
The practice diminishes religiosity as the practice differ both religious and traditional sexual norms. Forty percent of American women aged 20-29 cohabiting at some point in their life. A study of Detroit-area investigating young adults observes lower levels of religious participation among cohabiters even after controlling earlier religiosity.Cohabitation links to religious decline according to the findings. Cohabitation has an independent effect to decline religious service attendance after considering sexual behavior. A cognitive dissonance theory provides that cohabitation involve shared address while a sexual relationship can remain covert. .most of the adults that choose to cohabit have long since diminished their religiosity and consequently experience no cognitive dissonance. Cohabitation remains at adds with religion even after it increasingly becomes normative. As a result, cohabitation will continue to play its role of shaping demographic trends in religious membership
Parents with children provide them with an opportunity to provide and equip children with values and norms that they can apply in their life. Young children with children are less likely to drop out of organized religion and are more religiously active than those without children are. A strong childbearing effect exists for parents that begin having children in their mid-20s. As the children age, their parents have an increased role in religious activities.
Cunningham, Michael. The Hours. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2008. Print.
Kafka, Franz, and Willa Muir. The Metamorphosis = Die Verwandlung. New York: Schocken, 2012. Print.
Lessing, Doris. The Golden Notebook. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012. Print.
Puchner, Martin. The Norton Anthology of World Literature the Twentieth Century. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2012. Print.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York, N.Y.: Penguin, 2006. Print.