Christian students open to variety of religious teachings

by Carrie Myers

Simpson provides many different religion and philosophy classes where students are able to see things in a different, non-Christian light, such as Asian Religions.

The class introduces the main religions of Asia: Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Students explore the philosophical questions and texts of these religions and become acquainted with their art and rituals.

Some students said it was hard at first to enjoy the class because the ideas and concepts are so foreign to them.

Sophomore Elyse Novak was one of those students. She took the class to broaden her horizons.

“I wouldn’t call myself a practicing Christian, but some of the concepts were still hard to wrap my head around because of my Christian upbringing,” Novak said.

Sophomore Jonna Anderson said the class was hard to follow at first.

“I’m a Christian, and sometimes my religion got in the way at first, but I’ve become more open to new ideas,” Anderson said. “At times it’s hard to follow, but it’s interesting to hear another perspective.”

Gary Kinkel, associate professor of religion, has no doubts that debating and discussing religion is a good thing.

“What is more important than religion?” Kinkel said. “Meaning of life? Cosmic support? It’s part of what college is about.”

Kinkel said he understands discussing different religious beliefs can be uncomfortable for some students.

“It goes deeper than reason, deep in conscience and to the core of one’s self,” said Kinkel. “And why catalog religion? What is this category? People have to be aware [that] what they’re talking about can’t be resolved with mere reason.”

Senior Jo Tebbe believes debating religion in class is a good thing.

“There’s no way you can get around it,” Tebbe said. “Religion is part of our culture and God is an integral part of many people’s lives.”

Senior Stephanie Sons also said religious discussions are an important part of a well-rounded college education.

“There are so many different views and understandings,” Sons said. “This is a liberal arts college and part of its purpose is to help people gain new perspectives. It brings people together, but still allowing personal understanding.