I am an Atheist. Readers who are familiar with my work as the President of the Secular Student Alliance are aware of this. I mention this because I feel that my beliefs give me a unique perspective on the state of faith at Oswego State. On one hand, I’m an insider-a participant in the faith community; on the other hand, as a non-believer, I bring a unique perspective on the many religious events and services that occur on campus. So how do I see the state of faith at Oswego State? As with any issue, there are positives, and there are negatives. Today, I want to discuss the most prominent aspect of faith: participation.
The critical problem concerning participation in the faith community is that, like on many campuses, Oswego State’s student population leans more toward apathy than involvement. This is not a dig at the students; it is merely a fact of life. With the exception of schools of divinity, most college-aged adults see the campus as an escape from the rigors of family life, and a large component of that is religious practice. C’est la vie.
But being at an institution of higher learning also means that students have an opportunity to explore the spectrum of religious beliefs, even if only as an academic examination. In that regard, I believe that the faith-based groups at Oswego State are making a positive effort. I personally have sat on panels, had dinner, played games and attended lectures with many of the other faith-based groups. Last semester, the faith-based groups came together for an interfaith program on WNYO, and we plan on having a similar event soon.
The point is, the nine organizations on campus actively encourage inquiry and present their beliefs for examination. We welcome everyone to come ask questions and interact with our members. So if you aren’t familiar with a group’s beliefs, or even if you disagree with them, at least make an effort to participate. We will be there.