Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter in the Quad


Rez Week at Texas State University
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerrero
     Easter is one of the major Christian holidays celebrated yearly. Every Easter millions attend services across the nation and the world, celebrating their faith. On the Texas State University campus, signs of faith were present in the quad as Rez Week, an outreach event held the week prior to Easter, kicked off Monday.

With Easter approaching, however, opinions regarding faith on college campuses varied. Although anywhere from four-to-five faith-based or faith-associated tables were located in the quad this week, sentiment about faith on campus differed from one student to the next.

Alexis Fulford, a junior at Texas State, expressed her approval of religious demonstrations on university campuses. “ I think it’s along the same lines as loving someone, but not their lifestyle,” said Fulford. “ You don’t have to agree, but at least be educated in what you’re talking about.”

Although Fulford does believe there is a place for religious beliefs, she does not feel they are handled fairly at universities. “They’re biased toward anything Christian influenced,” said Fulford. “If it’s not philosophy, science or some weird Zen thing it’s not really okay to talk [about it]or believe in it.”

A Rez Week Painting at Texas State University
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerrero

Mary Woody, a senior at The University of Texas at Austin, disagrees. “I do feel there is a fair perspective given at my university,” said Woody. “In the courses I’ve had as an undergraduate, professors have only mentioned the Bible or other religious texts in relation to their philosophical sense, never if they were the absolute truth or not.”

Woody, an atheist, added that religious beliefs did not have a place in math or science classes, but agreed to their necessity in religion, literary, and philosophic courses.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, despite rhetoric from 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum regarding higher education and religion, college is not a faith killer. In fact, college graduates attend church and religious functions more regularly than non-graduates.

Despite the Chronicle’s findings, some media entities still believe academia aims to proselytize secular thinking amongst its students. According to a community editorial in the Washington Times, liberal arts universities downplay Christian beliefs and uplift alternative ways of thinking.

On the other hand, some school officials want religious ideas and the liberal arts agenda to work together. A 2012 Boston College Chronicle article depicted various academic scholars and university presidents, including religious figures, working together to find a way to bipartisanism.

Jaime Hollingsworth, a Texas State senior, agrees in a fair balance of faith in public, liberal arts universities. “I would assert that each of the major world religions should be presented with equal emphasis,” said Hollingsworth. “It is important for students to understand and learn about the other major world religions so that they can come to fully understand and shape their own beliefs.”

Hollingsworth also emphasized the health advantage of having spiritual beliefs, stating the World Health Organization has emphasized the benefits of spiritual or religious beliefs toward whole health. “Spiritual people are healthier people compared to the general population,” Hollingsworth said. “It is in the best interest of the university and the surrounding community to offer different religious options to its students.”

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