Letter: Religion requires work

By The Daily Illini

In Zachary Schuster’s “Lost My Religion” column, he concludes that on-campus churches offer no practical application for most students. I argue that religion is not a guide for dealing with college life, but it is a guide for dealing with life in general. Schuster’s argument that college students stop attending church because they are not spoken to has some truth. Religions do not revolve around college students; they revolve around basic truths for all people. Perhaps the failure in communication is the students’ choice to not listen or apply those fundamentals to their stage of life.

I speak from a position of understanding. I myself did not attend church services when I began my undergraduate degree and for four years after graduation. Religion didn’t change to accommodate me. Years later, I allowed myself to accommodate religion. I found time to listen and reflect on something bigger than me.

The ability to reflect and make positive changes is a central aspect of most religions. Religion deals with basic truths. These truths apply to all situations, whether concerning a college student or a graduate. Schuster is right; a one-hour Mass is not a one-stop shop for solving life’s problems. If important concerns in his life were not addressed in Mass, did he consider speaking with a priest or researching what the larger church teaches on a particular issue? Perhaps if he consults the doctrine behind basic church teaching it could, in any circumstance, be applied as a guide in life.

Reflection in religious life requires consideration of our mistakes. Schuster says, “College is a time for students to have the opportunity to experience everything they want in pursuit of discovering themselves.” How about reflecting on those experiences? All people have the ability of choice to conduct themselves anyway they see fit. A life of impulse, however, without considering ramifications is contrary to most religious teachings.

Religion is an application of spirituality, and it requires work. Research religious teachings, seek advice from religious leaders face-to-face and seek or start opportunities to express yourself by helping in your community. This is a tall order, perhaps too tall for a person with only one hour a week to dedicate. A fast-food attempt at answers will always fall short for life’s questions. Daily application and personal interaction with religious teachings will offer a positive tool for the struggle of all people, students included.

Bill Weaver

graduate student