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General Studies Requirement (GSTR 310) — an Unnecessary Requirement at BC?

General Studies Requirement (GSTR 310) — an Unnecessary Requirement at BC?

Sara Mullins
Guest News Writer

Berea College Students speak up about General Studies Requirement (GSTR) 310.

understanding-christianity-by-paul-coulter

Understandings of Christianity requirement. Reactions range from offense to outrage to downright fear. Some students had these to say:
Eddie Henderson ‘19 (Atheist). “… I think it’s preposterous… I honestly don’t want to learn about Christianity because none of it is real. I would much rather take a course grounded in facts or the discussion of facts and what could be. I do not want to take a course that surrounds purely hypocritical teachings and what has led to deaths of millions. I can’t even begin to comprehend why people believe in a fiction that contradicts itself so many times and at the end of the day say that those parts are just badly written. The Bible has been rewritten many times to suit so many facets of culture that I don’t understand why it is considered a book of knowledge… So why an academic institution created a class to “understand” Christianity, sounds more like covert brainwashing. How you can expect to talk about a book that really has no place in an academic setting is just pretentious. Just because this college is affiliated with a religion, it should not force or require the students of differing beliefs to take that course. Does that answer your question?”

Kylie Fisher ‘19 (Agnostic); “I think the requirement of GSTR 310 is insulting to the non-Christian students we have on campus. GSTR 310 serves to prioritize the learning of Christianity over other religions… It seems unfair to force students who are not Christian to learn about Christianity, while Christian students are never forced to step outside of their own religion and learn about another…I think this not only unfair, but impractical, as it discourages not only further learning, but valuable inflection all students might gain by comparing very different beliefs to their own. Berea has made the commendable decision to be open to students of all backgrounds, religious or otherwise.
I believe we ought to, as a school, be true to our commitments, and provide for the diverse student body which we have accepted. I would like to see our religious learning mimic that of our racial and gender learning, so that we might all expand ourselves in the true liberal arts style.”

Sara Mullins  ‘19 (Agnostic); “I’m scared, honestly. I’m so scared of being surrounded by a room of people who will discount discount my opinion and look down on me just because I think differently from them. I feel oppressed, having to delve into a doctrine that I have the right to reject and already did.”

Joseph Mullins ‘19 (Humanist); “Why do I need to understand Christianity when it’s in every fabric of my existence? It pervades every aspect of our society. I already can’t get away from it. Why do we need 310 and a religion perspective? I don’t care [to learn about it.”

William Grace ‘19 (Sarcastic Marxist); “We all signed up for it when we came to Berea. It is a ‘Christian’ college.” How can students succeed in a class in which they feel outraged, even scared? Although there is currently no open discourse on the subject, it is clear that there is dissatisfaction among students who feel that their religious affiliation is being oppressed by an institution that is based on acceptance and freedom.

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