Religion vs. pop culture

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Candice Hannani, Staff Writer

From Kim Kardashian’s road to fame to the MTV reality show Jersey Shore, entertainment has come a long way from the time when religion was all-dominating.

Many can agree that religion has become a much less concerning topic in the media, and that pop culture has taken over the entertainment industry.  So how do high school teens balance their religious demands with the pressures of pop culture? For those like Joanna Elliot, the answer is simple.

“I think to myself, would you rather live like people do in Gossip Girl or live a life focusing on the greater good, the good that can help save someone’s life with tefilot and prayers?” Elliot said.

Others, like junior Natasha Natarajan, are able to balance religion and pop culture by paying less attention to their religious obligations.

“Although religion does not necessarily correlate with today’s media, I’m not very religious, so it’s not hard for me to balance them,” Natarajan said.

According to a 2005 Time Magazine poll, 68 percent of poll takers said that the entertainment industry did not uphold to viewers’ moral standards. The majority claimed that there was too much violence, cursing and sexual content on open-air TV.

Similarly, teens like junior Elisha Sameyh believe that pop culture has changed many people’s religious views.

“Reality TV shows pull people away from religion, and because of that they start forgetting the importance of religion in their lives,” Sameyh said.

Others, however, believe that the media does not have much of an effect on teens’ religious beliefs.

“If religion is important to someone, then they won’t let anything else get in the way of it,” sophomore Shanna Benji said.

The media has also been known for its stereotypical portrayal of religious people and different religions. Teens like junior Leah Weissbuch believe that the way the media portrays certain religions can be offensive to those who practice it.

“The media has an effect on the way that people view my religion. It portrays stereotypes about how Jewish people are richer than everyone else,” Weissbuch said.

Whether one decides to show obligation to their religion or follow the ways of pop culture, one thing’s for sure: the two will not become close any time soon.

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