Religion Class and Why Every Non-Religious Student Should Take One

Religion classes aren’t what you would expect, and you could expand your mind by learning more about how people connect with their faith.
November 20, 2017
5 mins read

For a college student who isn’t religious, taking a religion class may scare you and is possibly the last thing you ever want to do. In reality, religion classes aren’t that bad. If you are a non-religious student who is contemplating attending a religion class, it is important to remember that you will need to be very open to what will be taught. These courses will help open you up to different points of view, especially if you are living on your campus.

Some colleges require all students to take a lower level religion course as part of their distributional studies, while others do not require so, but still offer religion classes. Since college is the best time to explore religion, the main suggestion to any non-religious student is to go with a religion class that sounds interesting to you. Some institutions offer students free VBS curriculums available online, an option with free materials that can be easily adapted to fit different age groups and learning styles. Regardless, whether it’s a class on Middle-Eastern religions, Paganism, Christianity or Buddhism, take a chance and sign up.

Religion classes aren’t what you would expect.

Religion classes aren’t the bible study or church teachings that most non-religious students think they are. Instead, religion classes encourage students to analyze the contents of chosen religious texts, talk about their beliefs and ask questions about what they don’t understand. Most professors try to create a judgement-free zone in their classes so that students can feel free to talk.

You should never feel pressured or feel as if you can’t speak your mind in these classes. Is there a possibility that something you say may offend another student? Yes, but there is also a chance that something other students say will offend you. It is important to remember that everyone has their own points of view and backgrounds. Putting a halt to angry thoughts or the temptation to lash out at other students is very important; instead, having a logical “adult” conversation will be the route to go.

A religion class is a safe zone for religion discussion (Image via Kenan Malik)

There is also the possibility that the class, or even the professor, may surprise you. The professor may say something you wouldn’t expect from someone who has reverend before their name. The class may contain a discussion that takes you off guard, but you will find yourself more than willing to participate in.

Religion classes offer insight.

Religion classes are insightful and offer a chance for students to learn new things about this particular field. In religion classes, you could learn that there are multiple opposing religious views on campus and be more open to them. Saying that a religion class could change your life is a big leap; however, in some cases it could allow you to explore a religion similar to your current beliefs.

Religion classes offer you a whole new outlook on a system that the majority of people follow. You may learn why each of your classmates stick very closely to the teachings they grew up with. You may also learn why some of your classmates are reevaluating the teachings they grew up with. If you attend a private college that has an affiliation with a church, it is important to remember that not every student on the campus is going to have the same religious affiliation, especially those taking religion classes. The analytical side to these classes allow students to get to know the text that the most popular religions follow. You might even learn things that cause you to question why people believe in a higher power and, in the end, find the answers yourself.

Some colleges may offer classes on topics within religion that most wouldn’t think about exploring. An example of this would be a Christianity class that delves into the idea of Satan and how he became a key player in the Bible. The analytical approach of religion classes would help students to pick apart different stories in the Bible to explore the unconventional character of Satan and develop a scholarly understanding of the text.

Navigating the waters of a group project in a religion class isn’t easy either, but a strong will is going to come in handy. You will disagree with your group members, but you will get through it. Their points of view will become vital in your development much like yours will become important for theirs.

College is a time when all students learn about themselves through their peers and through introspection. Classmates in these religion classes are no exception. You may learn to tolerate a point of view you had issues with in the past, and you may learn more about a religion you never knew much about before. If you can keep an open mind throughout the process of taking your selected religion class, you’ll walk away with more knowledge about a topic you never thought of before, a better understanding of who you are and a higher willingness to encounter and work with people of opposing views.

Angela Herbst, Lakeland University

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Angela Herbst

Lakeland University
Psychology & Writing

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