Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dessert Discussion: Christianity vs. Atheism

Public Relations Intern Meagan Hodges has been attending the College's Dessert Discussions. Here are her thoughts on the most recent discussion.

Dessert Discussion: Christianity vs. Atheism

Dessert discussions have been happening approximately every two weeks on campus in the Confetti’s Lounge located in the basement of Bassett Hall. This is a great opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and Residence Hall Educators to take part in meaningful conversations on key issues, such as “civility” and “racism in the media” in a relaxed setting. Desserts and drinks are served to get participants’ minds flowing, and this week’s discussion consisted of Christianity, Atheism, and chocolate tart pie. Residence Hall Educators Joseph Fridley, Demond Hairston, Toni Davis, and Professor of Mathematics Jobriath Kauffman facilitated the discussion and were joined by several other Ferrum students and other participants on Monday, April 4th, 2011.

Among the topics discussed were faith and religion, life after death, the existence of God, Heaven and Hell, and free will. Professor Kauffman opened with comments on “The Last Supper” and Jesus’ Resurrection from the Bible. On Christianity, Professor Kauffman’s view was that “You are a Christian if you believe that Christ is who he said he was.” Faith was defined in the discussion as “What you do not know and choose to believe.”

Opposing views were given to support both Christianity and Atheism, and some students proclaimed agnosticism, meaning that they believe God’s existence can be neither proven nor disproven. An issue these students had with Christianity was the problem of reconciling humanistic free will with God’s “ultimate plan.” Hypocrisy in Christians and churches was another reason given by students for not accepting Christianity. Also, some presented the view that the fear of death is the only real reason that people turn to religion.

Religion was also discussed in terms of cultural relevance. It was mentioned that “both Atheists and Jesus hated “religion” because of the wedge it drives between humans. Cultural references, such as the movie Dogma, were brought up, as well as the impacts that these influences have on religion today. Toni Davis, Residence Hall Educator, said that college is a time that many students are faced with evidence or other cultural influences that cause them to question the religion they were raised in. One student affirmed this statement by saying that she was “still searching” for religion or spirituality.

The session came to a close with Professor Kauffman telling his story of how he kept his faith through his college years. He left his family in Pennsylvania to go to college in Tennessee. Upon arriving, he met a fellow student from China who he instantly bonded with. This friend invited Kauffman to the local Chinese Ministry, and even though he could not understand the message, this was what got him back into the rhythm of worshiping and attending Sunday school.

Brad Barbour, a local man from Henry County, had been an active participant in the conversation all along. He worked on campus previously, found out about the discussion via email, and thought the topic was of such interest that he decided to come out. He said that “Real love is not a feeling, it’s a choice,” regarding the choice to accept Christianity, and he thoughtfully closed the discussion by stating that “Either side will never get anywhere by arguing.”

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