College Papers December 8, 2006

College Papers

Oklahoma State University’s The Daily O’Collegian published this editorial today. It urges students to express and explore beliefs while in college.

College is certainly the time for people out on their own for the first time to re-evaluate the world around them and learn tolerance for those who don’t share the same beliefs they do.

If a student decides to continue with the religion with which they were raised, that’s fine. Equally acceptable is if a student chooses a different religious path than his or her parents.

Unfortunately they end with a wishy-washy conclusion.

The key to tolerance of all religious beliefs (or lack of), calls for understanding, not hatred. You don’t want anyone to hate you for believing a certain way, so let others believe in what they want to as well.

Yes, we don’t want hatred to overcome us. Tolerance is preferable.

However, we can’t allow everyone to hold any beliefs they want. Some beliefs are destructive, based on falsehoods, and impact the well-being of others. These beliefs deserve to be criticized. You don’t have to be hateful when doing it. There’s a difference between trying to rationally explain your belief system (and why you believe it) and shoving it down someone’s throat. Logic helps. Common sense helps. Condemning those who disagree with you doesn’t help. But critical discussions are vital to have.


Mike Faulk, a managing editor at The Crimson White newspaper (University of Alabama), has an opinion piece about the “War on Christmas.” Faulk is a “former ‘militant’ atheist.” He says he’s also not a Christian. He talks about how Christmas is no longer a religious holiday as we normally think of it:

The birth of Jesus is maybe the fourth or fifth thing that comes to mind when someone talks about Christmas, after presents, trees and family.

He then states that atheists are wrong when trying to separate church and state during this time of the year.

So if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If it doesn’t harm anybody, then who cares? When I pass a nativity scene at an intersection I don’t get visions of the Spanish Inquisition or the notion that the country is one step away from mandatory prayer. Light pole decorations are already pretty neutral, and Jesus is not Rosemary’s baby.

Atheists are not always offended by nativity scenes or someone saying “Merry Christmas” to us. But the line has to be drawn somewhere. And religious and non-religious people alike are better off when the government is not endorsing one belief over another. That’s why atheists get mad when they see state-sponsored Christianity. It’s the principle of the thing, not necessarily the thing itself.

By the way, does anyone else find it weird that we are often called “militant” atheists and yet the saying still persists that “There are no atheists in foxholes”?

[tags]Oklahoma State University, The Daily O’Collegian, atheist, Christian, atheism, Mike Faulk, The Crimson White, University of Alabama, War on Christmas, Jesus, Christianity, foxholes[/tags]

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