Students and demonstrators missed the mark on justice
Jacob Waring – Reporter
Evangelicals came to visit Southern on Nov. 1, and raised their voices to echoe their interpretation of the gospel. They used strong words against students, to “see the error of their ways” or “suffer eternal damnation.” Student engaged in debate with the Evangelicals asking such questions as why they believe what they believe.
Other students took glee in arguing with them and trolling them with certain responses to elicit older testament anger. The crowd of students surrounding them near the academic quad had laughed at their religious dogma, making jokes among each other. One student held a sign that said, “I made love to this guy in a Denny’s parking lot” with an arrow pointing at one of the Evangelicals.
The whole demonstration was a waste of everyone’s time. The Evangelicals approach of utilizing their elevated voices to denounce science, and attack the LGBTQ+ community never works. As they say, one attracts more flies with honey than vinegar.
A friendlier approach of educating people of their views and accepting that other may not believe what they believe would have been more effective. Debates should end with “agree to disagree” rather than beating a dead horse, and pushing students away. “This is what may faith is about” is far more productive than “You’ll experience eternal suffering.”
Point blank, some students need to mature and grow up. If you see they are not going to budge, walk away. “Trolling” to rile them up is a waste of time. It is immature, and frankly. Do not fight fire with fire. There are always going to be people sprouting views that, in your eyes, is inconceivable. You will get no where talking to them, and by engaging, you are giving them a platform to speak their mind.
If you are genuinely curious of their views then ask them questions, keep an open mind and know they are likely to either say something you will disagree with. Take this as a moment to engage in your critical thinking and understand a different point of view.
So, to the students, as my favorite poem “Desiderata” says, “speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.”
In the case of these Evangelicals it may be better to follow another line from the same poem that says, “avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.”
As an agnostic Christian who grew up in a congregational federated church. I know my share of scripture and have multiple Bibles. I treat my faith as a personal matter.
I get into healthy debates with people of all faiths, and even those who are Christians that focus on the agnostic aspect of my beliefs. It is conversations where I learn about their faiths and try to understand where they come from.
I never go about trying to convert someone and detest proselytizers of any belief.
I will say that Evangelicals whom visited I completely disagree with. I believe in science; evolution and I do not know who is going to hell or not. I do not know how the afterlife would work. The Evangelicals, at some points during their demonstration, said some hateful words that would make God frown. There are atheists who do good and seem to follow the teachings of Christ better than Christians. I tend to believe that God, if he or she exists, would take that into consideration.
Photo Credit: Palmer Piana