by Jasmine Barnes
Whitworth University is unlike many of the other Christian universities around the United States. Whitworth does not require a statement of faith on its application and also has clubs that do not reflect traditional Christian values. These clubs include Gay Straight Alliance and the Humanist Club.
For this reason, I believe that Whitworth is a great institution for students to choose a faith that they can have for their entire lives, whether that means becoming a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or someone with no religion whatsoever. Courses such as Core help students to discover worldviews which might not fit the lifestyle they grew up in.
For non-Christian students, Core 150 presents a history of Christianity as well as a thorough explanation of the different and most common denominations of the church. The course begins with the formation of the Christian religion, moves on to different influential theological thinkers and then finishes with the denominations present in today’s society. Different doctrines and biblical facts are introduced. By doing this, the Core team accurately depicts what Christianity is and breaks down any preconceived notions students may have about the faith based on assumptions and stereotypes.
As for Christian students, Core 150 also begins with lectures on different religions across the world such as Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Judaism. This informs students about religions unfamiliar to them and that they possibly would never have studied or explored. Some students I had the opportunity to speak with went out after the lectures on the different religions and researched the origins and beliefs associated with those religions. After research, a few friends, including myself, found ways to incorporate parts of the other religions into our own Christian faith.
In Core 250, the Core team presents philosophical thinkers that have atheistic perspectives about the world. For students, this may be a point of view that they have never discussed nor studied.
From Nietzsche saying “God is dead” to Sartre saying “You could always choose death”, Christian students have the chance to hear the ideas of people who have opposite beliefs from the Christian faith.
As you can see, Core provides plenty of information to students from different religious backgrounds in order for them to develop an individual worldview. Sometimes this means that students will lose their faith in Christ and other times it means that students will gain a faith. Either way, this information helps students to break away from their parents mindsets and develop a religion that fits the individuals that they have become. The information provided is given at the best time in students lives: the time when students are discovering and molding the person they will be in the future.
The Core curriculum is structured to benefit students from all backgrounds. Although there isn’t much diversity in the ethnicity and gender of the thinkers discussed, there are diverse perspectives, which is helpful to all students. I am not saying that Core is perfect and I fully believe that there needs to be adjustments made to the curriculum, however, I do believe that it is beneficial to students and we should be more grateful for this program, especially at a Christian institution.
Contact Jasmine Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org