Do you think someone who has been raised in a specific religion would take the "salad bar" approach? What about someone who has never been raised in a religious atmosphere?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In order to answer this question, we would first have to define the “salad bar” approach to religion.  This is an approach that is sometimes known as the “cafeteria” approach to religion.  The basic idea here is that a person who is taking the salad bar approach treats all religious beliefs and practices as if they are ingredients at a salad bar.  The person goes up to the metaphorical bar and picks and chooses the “ingredients” that they want.  They do not simply accept all of the beliefs and practices of a given religion.  I would argue that people who have grown up in a religious atmosphere are less likely to take this approach.  However, this does not mean that they would never do so.

A person who grows up in a religious atmosphere is more likely to grow up believing firmly in their religion.  They have been steeped in that religion and its beliefs and practices since they were young.  Therefore, those beliefs and practices seem natural to them and they are less likely to question any part of them.  This is in contrast to someone who does not grow up in a religious atmosphere.  To such a person, all religions (or perhaps all Christian sects) might seem equally valid.  People from such a background might be more likely to look around for beliefs and practices that seem to make sense to them.  They do not have a premade set of beliefs that all go together.  This allows them to pick and choose the beliefs that they like best.

Of course, this does not hold true for all people.  A person can be raised in a religious atmosphere and still come to question the beliefs and practices of their parents.  This often happens as people get older and, for example, go off to college where they come in contact with new ideas and new kinds of people.  However, in general, it is likely that people who are brought up in religious atmospheres will be less likely to adopt the “salad bar” approach to religion.

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