Monday, December 10, 2007

Religion on the College Campus

I think that Bill O'Reilly has it right when he says that we are in the midst of a culture war. In these days where everybody's lives are so compartmentalized, and it is so easy for us to spend time only with people that are a lot like us, it's hard to tell who is winning. Some companies try to take polls, but those are hard to gauge for accuracy sometimes... statistics can often say crazy things. So most of what you end up with is anecdotal evidence.

I've heard anecdotal evidence about professors who believe in creationism rather than evolution to lose their jobs, grants, fellowships, etc. The same goes for scientists. But rarely does a difference of religion affect my life, other than perhaps a lost friendship or somebody thinking I'm a little silly for my beliefs.

It's hard to tell whether someone's religious views can affect their grades sometimes. I once wrote a paper about pet microchip implants, and its relationship to the prophesied mark of the beast, back in the 90s for a college class (back before most people had heard about pet microchipping) and I didn't get a very good grade on it... but with such a subjective subject as English, it is hard to tell whether I was marked down due to the content of the paper, or whether it was just a lousy paper. On rare occasions, it is obvious that someone's grades are affected by their religion.

Recently, my husband got to experience this. He is currently a college student, and is taking two religion classes. The professor obviously does not share his religious views. My husband studies hard in the classes, and for the most part has done well. However, there is one question on his final exam that he knows will be marked wrong due to his religious beliefs:

True or False: Allah and the God of the Bible are different gods.

Or something like that.

My husband knows the answer that the professor wanted. The professor believes that Allah and Jehovah are the same. However, the answer to this question is strictly a matter of faith. Neither me or my husband believe that Allah is the same God in the Bible... their characters are completely different. The Koran says that Allah claims to have no son... Jesus is the Son of the Biblical God.

My husband answered that Allah and the God of the Bible are different, knowing that the professor would mark it wrong. In fact, he wrote next to the answer "go ahead and mark it wrong." If he were to say what the professor wanted, he would have gotten the question correct, but he would at the same time be denying God himself, equating him with something that he was not.

So my dear husband wasn't thrown to the lions or anything, and that one question probably won't affect his final grade or anything, but it was a small faith litmus test on a college campus. I'm sure that this happens all the time, I had just not seen it so obviously in my own life before.


Mama Luxe said...

Sorry to put such a trivial comment on such a thoughtful post--but I couldn't find your e-mail on your profile or in our records. If you drop me a line at mamanista at gmail dot com by Friday, December 21, no later than 4pm EST, you won a book/toy from my product review site (you entered with a comment).

Interesting post though--I think the question should have been phrased as "Muslims believe that..." to make it clearer. They believe that their God is the same God as the Hebrews an the Christians. And the Bible does say that God is the same as the God of the Hebrews--even though most Jews do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. So, even if you disagree with their faith and religious interpretation, it still could be valid to say, "Allah is the same God as Yahweh, who is also the God of the Christians...although all three disagree on some important matters of faith and theology."

Julie said...

I have to disagree with the previous comment. I think your husband did the right thing. As a believer in Christ, it would be denying Him to say Allah is the same God as God in the Bible. Some people saying and believing something doesn't make it so. And I believe that the question was pretty definitive, stating Allah was one and the same. No one who knows the God of the Bible in a personal way could honestly agree with that statement.