Voices of Youth: Parents should give kids chance to discover their own religious beliefs

Singapore is a multi-religious country. The Inter-Religious Organisation, Singapore recognises 10 major religions in the country.

Given this religious diversity, one would assume that it is easy to learn more about other religions.

However, this may not be true in Singapore, as many parents expose their children to only their own religion from a young age.

If children grow up exposed to only one religion, they may stray away from their religion as they grow older and are exposed to other beliefs they find more compelling.

Religion should be explored, discovered and sought after, not imposed.

When a teenager encounters challenges in life and starts seeking out solutions on a spiritual level, he would be able to appreciate the true value of religion, and practise it with joy and passion.

As a religious Muslim teenager who practises Islam by choice, I am deeply passionate about my faith.

I have very understanding parents, and I was not forced into practising Islam.

Interestingly, it made me more willing to explore it on my own accord and I eventually became a sincere practising Muslim at 12, after doing my research and learning about other religions as well.

I respect parents' good intentions in wanting their children to adopt their religion, but I believe that children should be given the chance to discover their own beliefs as they come of age.

Moreover, they should be given the opportunity to learn about other religions from a young age.

Parents mean well, and many may be wondering how they can help their children explore religion.

Perhaps, religious associations in Singapore could help educate parents on how to expose their children to different religions, without imposing a particular one on them.

Zaqeerul Iman Shamshul Qamar, 14

Secondary 2 student

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