In their book Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by Christian Smith, Melina Lundquist Denton, the authors report that 25-30% of teens feel that their religious faith is not important,
religious beliefs did not influence their lives, religious practices made no particular difference in who they are and how they have behaved.
Some said that religion helps them learn more about God, but that is all; they do not feel that it has an effect upon their lives. Many feel that it is in the background of their lives because they see no direct effects upon them.
However, others feel that their religious beliefs assist them in their lives for such reasons as these:
- determining right from wrong
- making wise decisions
- having a sense of hope and purpose
- motivating charity and moral behavior
- providing hope for the after-life
Part of their disassociation with religion seems connected to teens' moving away from unquestioning acceptance of the beliefs of their parents and other adults and cultural influences. For, in their striving for independence, teens often move away from previous acceptance of childhood beliefs and practices. And, frequently, they return to the foundations of their child morality when they pass the adolescent stage.
When, for instance, teens go away to college, they become involved with a new life, one that involves frequent socialization; they, then, often put church attendance into the background as they enjoy their new life and new independence. However, for some religion operates as an "invisible factor situated in the backgrounds of their lives," so, while teens may stray from the moral principles taught in their childhood, studies have shown that as adults these people who had religious instruction in their younger years, will often return to the morals and ethics instilled in them earlier.
Adolescence is claim to be a critical stage of a person's life because people have the ability to question everything; it can be the existence of the universe; existence of living things; norms in the society; and also religion. It can be the influence of their friends, co-workers, parents, teachers, different types of mass media, interactions in social networking sites, and many others.