In places where people flock to learn, it may be hard to soar on the wings of an eagle when others are there to rustle feathers.
Coming to an institution of higher education and picking the “wrong” ideas to express can lead to ridicule, not celebration. It is sad because it is easy to lose faith in religion and it is so much harder to cling to it in the mocking face of adversity.
Mocking faces show themselves most often in places of learning. Richard Dawkins, a notable atheist, doctor and professor at Oxford University, told The Guardian that he believed in religion until he discovered evolution to be a better explanation for life. Dawkins went on to write books describing religion as a harmful accident spurred by human tendency to explain the unexplainable, like candles drawing light-navigating moths in only to destroy them, and has ridiculed scientists who provide evidence that religion is useful.
Another doctor, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., went on to show whether theism was harmful or not for humanity, it could spur a genuine good for people, evidenced by the Civil Rights movement he led.
If it is a wash whether religion is harmful or not, why are atheists so militant in places of higher education?
Generally, religious teachings instruct their disciples to ignore any slights on themselves. Their path of religion is the path of faith and introspection, not of the calculator and scantron.
But to those who pursue both faith and education, there is only so much turning the other cheek to be done before there are no cheeks left to turn.
What purpose does skewering religion serve? Much of the time, anti-theists are just yelling into the ears of a person unable to listen. The language of faith is different from the language of academia and a scientist debating a religious person will soon come across “unfalsifiable claims.” Believing that a God exists is core to Christian, Judaic and Islamic faiths. Logical and scientific discourse is unable to disprove God, because God is a being of miracles, which are impossible (or infinitely unlikely) in logic and science.
Conflict between the two sides is foolish and pointless. Until either the scientific or religious sides change their methods of discussion, it will be impossible for either side to properly argue their case. And yet, both sides seem incredibly interested in keeping the impossible discourse going.
Both the theists and the atheists have members guilty of being pushy. On one side, you have the Neo-Atheists, with their message of “religion is bad for people and it should be removed from society for the good of all.” On the other, you have the overly-evangelical, spreading the word of God about four inches from your nose. Both sides are criticized even by their peers for being over-zealous and violent with their words.
Even if it were possible to “talk sense” into the opposing camp, there is still no point. The college is a place of education and tolerance, and warring ideologies earns no one college credit.
Religious faith is a gift, precious to those who possess it. People should be able to choose what to do with their faith as long as it does not hurt anyone. It should not be used to bludgeon people over the head nor be smashed into the ground.
Although college is a place of education and growth, people still try to make others feel like fools for being practitioners of a dogma that is old and stupid the eyes of their peers.
Is it hard to ask people to accept that some college students want to believe in God without others mocking them for it?
Well, no. Of course not. People just need to stop, though.
Let the mockery stop. It is pointless, it is disheartening and it needs to stop for the good of all students who come to the promise of “higher education” to bask in the light and to learn.