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Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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The Faith Fallacy: Why belittling believers makes no sense

College, like religion, is an institution. These institutions are recipients of their constituents’ time and money, and said individuals work with these institutions to gain greater knowledge in a particular area.

In both cases believers in these institutions take a gamble, hoping their investment makes a return: most students believe they will leave college with a degree/career potential and most religious people believe when they leave this earth they will be rewarded for their faith.

I happen to consider myself a constituent of both institutions, and that is not always easy. I fight to hold onto faith every day in a world riddled with empty stomachs and bloody battles. It’s not just my religious faith that wavers. It is faith in myself, my country and even human nature.

This is not a backhanded attempt to push religion on you; I don’t find that very fair. Instead, I am writing to defend having faith, in anything. I write to address those who look down on other individuals for holding certain beliefs, and to point out where their logic fails. Believing in something, so long as it is not blind faith, should be commended- not chastised.

I would like to think that if you did not believe in college you wouldn’t be here, if you didn’t believe that college was a step to success that would prepare you in some way for the future. In fact, many of us feel that in today’s world a degree is necessary to stay competitive. We are wrong.

A degree is nothing more than a piece of paper. Facebook founder Mark Zukerberg has no degree. Neither does Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic, nor Michael Dell of Dell Computers. And Steve Jobs? His undergraduate career rang in at one semester.

Despite evidence proving that great success is attainable without college, we continue to have faith in the power of a degree. And that faith, well, it does help us. That faith can elicit a drive to become a more accountable person, to gain greater understanding of the world around us. We put faith in something that can fail us, something that is not guaranteed, because we want to become better. Our faith in our degree is a gamble, but a gamble we lose nothing from taking.

Religion, or belief in a higher power, is no different. People often assume that in maintaining my belief in God I am denying science and evidence that points to the contrary of a higher power. That is not true. I am a supporter of science, of evolution and of searching for facts.

In actuality, it is in science and philosophy that my belief in a higher power takes root. My faith in my religious beliefs helps me to improve as a person, encouraging me to think of others and to stay honest with myself. These beliefs may be a gamble in that they are not certain, but they are a gamble I lose nothing from taking.

I am a better person for having faith in myself, in my collegiate pursuits and in God. While blindly following an idea or institution is dangerous, having faith without total certainty is not. If you spend your life depending only on facts, it will be difficult to realize your full potential. Please don’t look down on those who hold beliefs you find silly. If a certain institution is not your gamble — concentrate on those that are.
ccolleran@lanthorn.com



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