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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 6, 1999)
has place in
class for many
RELIGION from page 1
The program is designed to give
students knowledge of religion as a
part of human life, according to the
UNL undergraduate bulletin.
About 30 students are pursuing a
religious studies minor, Turner said.
Forty-five classes from nine depart
ments are part of the program.
But aside from those classes
focusing on religious topics, matters
involving religion inevitably find their
way into other classes.
Some students said that because
religion deals with everything, reli
gion inevitably comes into discussions
and class work in varied and unexpect
Sometimes the beliefs of profes
sors and students differ. The responses
to these differences are as varied as the
individuals themselves, some students
and professors said.
Senior elementary education
major Sarah Skiles described herself,
as a born-again Christian.
She came into conflict with the
lecturer of a sociology class once
because of her beliefs.
In a discussion on homosexuality,
the lecturer said that born-again
Christians and homophobia were
intertwined, Skiles said.
“I raised my hand, I remember, and
I said, ‘Well, isn’t that kind of a stereo
type of born-again Christians, to say
that they are all homophobic,’” Skiles
According to Skiles, the lecturer
responded, “You’d call a lesbian a les
bian, wouldn’t you? It’s just like say
ing if you’re Christian you’re homo
Skiles said she was “very offend
ed” by the exchange.
“I’m Christian and I’m not afraid
of gay people,” she said.
But the event did not turn her off
from discussing religion in the class
room. She said that more often than
not her faith is discussed in a positive
or at least a neutral light’.
She said she appreciated profes
sors who put forth arguments in class
es and remained neutral despite their
own prejudices or beliefs.
English Professor Robert Brooke
said he attempted to understand the
perspective of students writing about
religious experience in the writing
courses he instructs.
“I can talk to these students and
relate to them in what they perceive as
a sympathetic way,” he said.
Brooke came from a heavily reli
gious background, which provided
him with a sense of what his students
are writing about, he said.
His father is a retired priest of the
Polish National Catholic Church.
Understanding what it is like to
come from a religious background is
important to a well-rounded educa
tion, he said.
“Moving toward the ability to
manage perspectives other than your
own in some sympathetic understand
ing in order to have tolerance amongst
plurality is one of the goals of liberal
education,” he said.
He said religion is a good starting
point in understanding diversity.
“I find that sometimes issues of
great cultural diversity seem foreign to
Nebraska students, but issues of reli
gious diversity are things they learn
about in their hometowns already.”
Junior international business
major Che-Yong Ting’s hometown is
far from Lincoln.
Ting’s religious background
comes from his parents’ practice of a
mixture of Taoism and Buddhism in
“When I got here, I looked at
things not the same as the Americans,
Moving toward the
ability to manage
than your own in
order to have
plurality is one of the
goals of liberal
I suppose,” Ting said.
He said he looks at religion as his
torical fact when it comes up in class
“When I look at things, and I never
really try to relate them to religion, I
rely on personal experience,” he said.
Ting said his beliefs do not con
flict with the influences of Western
religion he finds on campus.
“When I hear someone talk about
religion, it has never really challenged
my beliefs,” he said. “It has opened up
my mind tote more acceptable about
other people’s religions.”
Martin Gaskell, associate profes
sor of physics, introduces himself as a
born-again Christian in his astronomy
“One thing (born-again
Christians) have to do is confess our
sins,” he tells his classes at the begin
ning of the semester. “One sin I have is
that I used to teach at Oklahoma.”
The joke, he said, may have been
more apt in a period of Sooner football
excellence, but it still gets a laugh.
Gaskell said he introduces himself
as a born-again Christian to familiar
ize his students with his background,
not to encourage conversion to his
He said it’s important for students
to know where their instructors are
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A Baha’i Perspective
The Baha’f Faith:
A New World Religion
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