Theology: a life lesson, a Catholic tradition

According to the University Web site, “The pursuit of wisdom, flows from free inquiry, religious values, and human experience.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, St. John’s University bases part of our education on religious values. Since it is a Catholic institution, it follows the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Why then are there St. John’s students that feel that religious education is unnecessary, excessive, and non-beneficial to their education? The three required theology courses that one takes as a St. John’s University student are meant to give a deeper understanding of religion, since the school is based on a religious ideals.

Theology classes are what define St. John’s as a Catholic university.

“I don’t think it’s beneficial, just another requirement,” said senior Nicole Arbona, an education and Biology double major.

“They want to brain wash you,” said freshman Shanee Ellington, an undecided student.

“They say they are not forcing you to convert, but it’s a bunch of bull s–t!” Melissa Yang, a freshman pharmacy major said. “They just want you to convert. Why else would they teach theology? It’s real boring!”

It seems that theology has become a burden to some students here at St. John’s, making them feel that they are being deprived of credit hours that could have been spent in classes of their major of choice.

But theology is not simply something we learn in school, it is an intricate part of society. Like the studies of American or global history, theology is something that is present worldwide.

Although many agree that theology courses are unnecessary , the point of these classes is not to “brain wash” anyone; it is to express how a certain religious group feels, their ways of life, and why they choose to live that way. It is important for one to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about other people and their religions.

Education is the key. Be informed, be aware, know your stuff, and know why. For example, this semester in Fr. James King’s theology course, students learned about the life of Jesus Christ and Pope John Paul II. They also learned the Vincentian values that St. John’s University is built upon. Not once was a student told what to believe; the students were simply explained the history of the church and the way the Catholic faith has developed over time.

College is not just preparation for a job, it is preparation for life.