Saturday, February 18, 2006

Religion and spirituality on a university campus

In his student newspaper column, For the Love... In light of Valentine's Day, some common ideas on love, Jamie Anson of The Daily Evergreen at Washington State University writes,
"Last week in a five part series on religion, Daily Evergreen readers learned about the many ways in which the spiritually convinced and the spiritually skeptical are influenced on campus.

Love is regarded as something of a spiritual experience by many if not most people. A quick survey of the radio is a testament to love’s dominance as subject matter. Whether you are an indie-rock skeptic or an emo-punk aficionado, a hip-hop hustla or a country-grown romantic, you are working with a definition of love.

It was the contemporary writer, psychotherapist and theologian Thomas Moore who wrote, 'We are all philosophers — not in a professional sense of course, but as we imagine the way things are, the way we should behave, and the reasons why things turn out the way they do.'

In the end it really does not matter if you revel in Romantics or contend that love was invented in the Middle Ages by the likes of Andreas Capellanus, the verdict is final: you cannot be alive and not have a definition of love. It is simply too central to the human experience.

This working philosophy of love has amazing implications. In many ways it is the utter definition of a person. It determines everything from how they interact with others to how they expect to be treated, and even a slight change in that working philosophy has the power to completely transform someone.

It is not surprising that love is virtually the only theme that runs seamlessly through comedy, tragedy, drama, horror and mystery. Not only is love thematic across genres but it dominates much of the Bible, Torah and the Koran. This working philosophy is very important, affecting not only the individual but entire cultures."
Religion and students at Washington State University:
February 6
Tolerance and faith inseparable at K-House
February 7
Campus group brings Jewish students together
February 8
WSU Christian community strong
February 9
The trials of a misunderstood faith
February 10
A belief niche for the skeptical

In the issue with the final part of the series, the editorial says,
"Students should take advantage of this unique time in their lives and the unique opportunities college life can afford to develop a more mature appreciation of those religions with which they are not familiar. College is a time where we can meet others from different cultures and religions to help form our own values and beliefs independently from our families. It is a time to learn from more than just a textbook, but from our peers, to become tolerant, respectful citizens...

With people dying each day as a result of religious differences, we would extend that many religions are in danger of being isolated from each other. Every faith could benefit from a tolerance of others that is nurtured in all levels of practice. This can be achieved today, it doesn’t have to result from vague platitudes and it really doesn’t need to involve the religious. Respect can have a tremendous impact on a local level."