Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spiritual or religious?

Walking into my Anthropology class on Monday, I quickly plopped my bearings by my desk and straightened myself to make an announcement.  While grabbing my stack of surveys and explaining to the students that it was for my blog, I handed them out with a smile and then sat back to observe. 

As I watched, some students fidgeted in their seats (did this make them uncomfortable?) and others had their pens racing with each answer. In the end, I received 15 students’ responses on how they defined the terms “spiritual” and “religious,” and which term they classified themselves to be.  

The majority agreed that being spiritual meant believing in a higher power or being in touch with yourself or nature.  Ben Pfeffer, anthropology major, said it was “one’s feelings of connectedness with a non-physical, even ethereal plane.” 

To these students, being “religious” also meant believing in a higher power.  The other majority said it is following a set of guidelines such as praying or worshipping and regularly practicing in a form of organized structure like attending a church or bible study. 

By these definitions, I would say that I am both because I believe in God and I also pray and attend church/bible study weekly to keep my relationship with God strong.  Most of the students considered themselves both or just spiritual.  I feel many students are still trying to figure out what they believe and the years spent in college are an opportune time for that.  You shouldn’t be afraid or embarrassed to express what you believe.  So next time you see Towson Hillel hosting JHOP, why not stop by and see what they have to say; plus, who doesn’t like free pancakes?

Photo by Melissa Hale  Subject: Trinity Church in Lutherville, MD


Jennie B. said...

That is a really compelling topic. Who knew that people would become uncomfortable when talking about it?!

Rozalyn said...

Great topic!

Caitlin said...

Very interesting story. I like the fact that you told what you do to stay connect with God.