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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Non-Christian college professor fine to teach course in Christianity

    Universities worldwide teach various religious studies courses. Though high schools fear the controversy that would arise from mixing religion and education, universities should encourage such courses, and there should not be an issue in the world of adult education.

    Assistant professor Rahuldeep Singh Gill, who teaches an “Introduction to Christianity” course at California Lutheran University, was interviewed about his personal beliefs and how they affected his teaching style for the course.

    Gill is a follower of Sikhism, a religion that originated in South Asia. Since Gill follows a religion other than Christianity, people wondered how he would be able to teach the course. Gill argued that working with his Christian colleagues made him a “better Sikh,” according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    At universities, religious classes are not meant to be geared toward converting students. These courses are merely offered with the intent of giving students an opportunity to widen their knowledge beyond what they grew up with.

    Since this is the motive behind religious studies courses, it’s actually a positive thing that Gill does not practice the religion he teaches. Sometimes, when professors teach their own religion, they are more passionate about recruiting or more likely to discount other religions. Therefore, professors in the same position as Gill can teach a controversial topic without biases, while also opening their own minds to a different perspective.

    “Being a practitioner and a scholar of my own religion, I also know that we as intelligent human beings are tough enough and resilient enough to be challenged in those ways, and I think it’s good for us to think about religion and not just with religion,” Gill said in an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Religious studies at any university offer a variety of courses. Most religions are represented in the course catalog. From Greek mythology, to Islamic studies, to African American spirituality, to Judaism, to even Chinese humanities and the history of Christianity, students can find any religion they desire to learn more about. It’s their choice.

    Students in college are considered adults capable of making their own decisions. Religion is not shoved down anyone’s throat, but rather used to give students a different perspective of the ideas around the world. From there students can choose to believe what they want.

    It’s time for students to experience where religions came from, what they are all about and how they are practiced in a historical sense, without the blinders of students’ or teachers’ own personal religious beliefs. While religion is not a main facet of education in public high schools for fear of causing controversy, college students are at the age where they can make up their own minds without it being an issue of educational brainwashing.

    Being around people with different ethnic or religious backgrounds develops our understanding of the world outside of ourselves. Learning about these different perspectives opens up our minds and makes students more educated members of society.

    — Ashley T. Powell is a journalism sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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