Interfaith Campus

MY FAITH IS

Since 2008, President Obama has spearheaded an “interfaith service” initiative around the world – and in particular for college students. The White House says, “Interfaith service involves people from different religious and non-religious backgrounds tackling community challenges together.”

In response to President Obama’s challenge, a group known as the GWU Interfaith Council was created, to provide a central organization for religious students. This package discusses the experiences of a diverse group of GWU students, and their experiences with religion on GWU’s campus.

NADIA

What is your faith or religion?

“I am Muslim. I’m  a believer of Islam.”

How long have you practiced?

“I was born into Islam, so I’ve been practicing my entire life. I came to know more about Islam on a personal level, at the age of 10. My mom put me in a religious school. In the beginning, we were just taught how to read and recite the Quran, and then we later we were enrolled in classes where we came to understand the context of the scripture.”

Why do you practice your religion?

“I love my religion. As you get older, you begin to question why you’re following a specific religion. What do I like about it? What is so special about it? And, once you finally learn that it becomes a great way to be spiritual and live life righteously.”

What do you think of college culture and it’s approach to religious life?

“It’s definitely hard to practice religion as a college student. You’re swamped with school. Also, finding the right peers is hard, because your peers have influence over you and can impact your closeness with religion or your closeness with God.

JULIA

What is your faith or religion?

“I wasn’t raised ‘don’t be religious’ but it was more like ‘be nice’ and that was it…I grew up kind of apathetic to everything.”

How would you describe your religion?

“Humanism, which is basically a bunch of nonbelievers saying ‘I’m tired of people saying I have no moral code and I can’t say the bible because I don’t believe it…’ and so humanism has the golden rule premise of ‘do unto others as you would like to be done to you.'”

How long have you practiced?

Humanism I had never heard of until I got to college, and I was so excited when someone mentioned it to me…and I was like, that’s literally what I think all the time. When I was in fourth grade, the rumor spread that I didn’t go to church…then one of my friends said to me ‘Oh, so you’re an athiest.’ And I had never heard that term until then. Someone else had to tell me what I was.'”

 

What do you think of college culture and it’s approach to religious life?

“When I came to college…I said, if anyone asks, I decided I’d say ‘nothing’ because athiest is such a ‘bad word’ or buzz word. And there’s reasons for that, so I try not to talk about it or, if I do try and talk about it, I say it as gently as possible. But, I don’t think religion is important. People shouldn’t be judged that way – they should be judged by what they do.”

AUDREY ANNA

What is your faith or religion?

“I was raised a Quaker, since as long as I can remember. “

How long have you practiced?

“Technically since I was give…But, I really didn’t take my faith seriously for a long time. Not until, late in high school. But, I liked the freedom that it gave me. It was such a liberal Quaker community that it was like, ‘we’re going to teach about the bible, how to worship in silence but, then it’s up to you…I came to love Quakerism more because it wasn’t forced on me. For two years of my time practicing Quakerism they taught us about other religions in the Quaker Sunday school.”

What do you think of college culture and it’s approach to religious life?

“GWU was quite a shock for me in regard to how polarized it is. I noticed there were a lot of  very religious people here but at the same time, people were very put off by it…in general college culture is not very conducive to most religions.”

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