Influence On Society
Religion is a major influence in our lives. Although religion covers every
aspect of our lives, I am going to discuss the influence of religion in two
areas. Religion among young adults and Religion and sexual issues. These topics
are large, so I will only scratch the surface by discussing only a few issues
within these two main topic areas. Religion is gaining popularity among young
adults and college students, increasingly more students are attending a church
and many different colleges are becoming involved in religious activities.

Students at Wake Forest University are looking into dorms that will diversify
the student body to educate students about other religions (4). Other schools
have programs where people with similar interests can live in the same dorm.

Some examples are the University of California, Berkeley and Davis Campuses,

University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, University of Missouri at

Columbia, and Columbia University in New York (2). These colleges allow students
with similar religious views to live together. And itís not just a few
students, there are enough students to fill at least a wing of a dorm, if not a
whole dorm (2). On Monday February 22nd, students and faculty members at Clemson

University in South Carolina gathered to hear what Dr. Eugene C. Scott, from the

National Center for Science Education, had to say about "Adam and Eve, and
creationism versus evolution and a quivering mass of protoplasm." (1). She
stated that "Evolution in its simplest form refers to a change over time,
or decent with modification. Evolution is a scientific explanation based on
observable facts." And that "Creationism simply put, means that God
created." (1). Dr. Scott was trying to relay the message that religion and
science donít have to be opposites. Like the idea that God created evolution
(1). The Students at Clemson received the message well. Despite the fact that

Clemson sits in the middle of a geographic area nicknamed "The Bible

Belt" known for its strong religious beliefs. In the Pop music industry,
which is popular with young adults, religious groups are beginning to gain
popularity. Greg Graffin, the co-founder of one of punk-rockís most venerable
bands, believes " when youíre 18, some kids want more then just bland pop
culture , they want something with a little more substance." (3) And that
substance can be pop music with religion tied into it. Violence among young
adults is also becoming a greater problem. More is being done to combat violence
by introducing religion. Jan Arnow is a mother from Louisville, Kentucky who
conducts seminars for parents to reduce violence with religion. Her goal is
pretty simple, "To teach children how to grow up in a world of hate without
hating" (5). To put emphasize her point, Ms. Arnow makes pins out of spent
bullet casings that contain peace prayers from eleven different religions My
other topic, religion and sex, is also a broad topic that I will only briefly
cover. In Blanco, Texas on January 14, 1999, two monks have been charged with
indecency with a child. The monks are from The Christ of the Hills Monastery
founded 30 years ago. It is known for its weeping icon of the Blessed Virgin

Mary, which attracts thousands of visitors every year. Luis Vera, a lawyer
representing the monks, said his clients are innocent and that he is outraged by
the charges (11). Vera also states that the local authorities have not told him
exactly what the accusations are or who made them. It just shows you that
misconduct is everywhere, even in an Orthodox Church. Another twist in todayís
world is that landlords can now refuse unmarried couples leases. A Federal

Appeals Court has ruled that landlords with strong religious convictions can
refuse to rent to unmarried couples (8). The ruling was upheld in a 2-1 decision
by the 9th U.S. circuit Court of Appeals in Alaska. On January 23, 1999 in

Atlanta, GA, the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) discussed Sex,

Religion and AIDS. The ITC panel agreed that "AIDS continues to be a threat
to the black community." (7). In Georgia, 59% of AIDS victims are black,
even though millions of dollars are spent on educating blacks about AIDS.
"The conference will also examine human sexuality from a biblical
perspective as well as the behavior of promiscuous pastors"(7). Two
articles by John Leo indicate that sexual values and the sexual revolution are
being affected by religion. He reports that "75 percent of the women polled
said religion is very important in their lives. (9). And that "the growing
trend toward less permissive sexual attitudes in the 1990s is