There appears to have been a growing concern in much of contemporary global society over identity. Many people seem to be more anxious than ever to figure out who they really are. Authenticity, or living this “true” identity out in the public sphere, appears to have become an ultimate societal good to strive for. At the same time, there has been a growing concern among many religious leaders that religious commitment is diminishing globally, with many people claiming that their reason for leaving religion is because it does not fit their identity. In this study, we clearly identify and articulate a pernicious understanding of what identity means, subtlety offered from contemporary media many times at the behest of “pop culture” psychology. Missions of self-discovery frequently lead to actions and lifestyle changes in the name of authenticity. This type of psychological messaging within consumed media, we believe, is at both the heart of the anxiety about identity and the subsequent decline of religious commitment. We propose and discuss that one potential solution to help religious and family leaders in protecting the religious commitment of their followers from ever-changing social mores is to help them to articulate the differences between chosen identity and given identity. We assert that an emphasis on the relationship to and consequent given identity found in one’s relationship to deity is the understanding of identity that will be of most help for religious believers to resist the ever-changing social norms across time.
Licensed Professional Counselor and Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Counseling, Live Life Well Counseling, Utah, United States Samuel Major
Student, PhD Student, Brigham Young University, Utah, United States
Identity, Authenticity, Relationality, Divine, Commitment, Religion, Leaders, Families
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