The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Published 5/29/13 | Log In
Some students feel out of place while attending SPU
By MELISSA CASTLE, Staff Reporter
Published: January 30, 2013
SPU is a Christian university, but not all the students here come from a Christian background. Some students have no religious background at all; some are questioning what they believe; some are still trying to find God; and others are part of a different religion. Some of these students feel that if they try to become part of the SPU community, they won’t be accepted because of what they believe.
Gage Eastin, a freshman who is not affiliated with any religion, said that he “Never really talked about [my faith] with a professor, but I believe they would be pretty understanding. I talked to my UCOR professor about it, and he was pretty cool about it.”
Some of the other students haven’t had as much luck. A student, who would like to stay anonymous, said, “There are teachers that are awesome, but last year I considered transferring. Sometimes [professors] bring up things that are not nice.” This student explained one experience in which an SPU professor said, “If you’re not Christian, then I don’t know what you’ll do about ____.” The professor would express that non-Christian students would not be able to live the same lives as Christian students.
Nicoletta Hallberg, a sophomore who is looking for a relationship with God, said, “Professors try to understand, but sometimes they don’t fully get it. But they always try to get it.” Students have to put their trust into professors in order for them to accept them for who they are. But this is not always possible. Professors don’t always understand students who don’t come from a faith background. Confiding in a professor about one’s faith is difficult because it takes trust and courage to talk about faith when someone does not share the same views. It’s just as hard talking to fellow students about one’s faith, too.
An anonymous SPU student said that she does not mind telling other students that she is not a Christian. “I just decided that some people will agree, and others won’t,” she said. “It’s who I am, and some people are nice about it.”
Olivia Martin, a freshman seeking a relationship with God, said that she would feel comfortable telling other students about her religious standing. “It depends on who I talk to. We all assume that everyone is somewhat religious, but when I sense that there are some who are not Christian, then I feel comfortable telling some people.”
“It kind of depends on if they are religious or not. I’m not sure if they will judge, but I would be pretty comfortable talking about it,” Eastin said. Sometimes people fear what they don’t understand, but there are many students at the school that are willing to meet and talk to students who are still trying to find their place.
Christian senior Adrienne Dunham said, “Some of my closest friends aren’t Christians, but they lovingly tolerate me and give ear to my beliefs. But being friends is about trust and transparency, so I do talk with them about my walk with God among other things. And I pray that they would know God personally.”
Christian sophomore Christopher Haylett explained that he will “still engage in the same conversations with [non-Christians] as I do with my Christian friends; I’ll still hang out with them, and I’ll still develop relationships with them. If I live a faith that treats non-Christians as anything less than fellow believers, well, that’s not the Gospel that Christ preached at all. My role in relation to non-Christians is merely to be a friend and demonstrate God’s love, which is my role to believers, too.”
Being at a Christian university and being a non-Christian is hard and different. One of the most difficult parts about being at this school is knowing that all the classes incorporate some parts of Christianity. Non-Christian students are sometimes coming in with a blank slate and trying to learn things that other students have already known most their lives, which makes it hard and frustrating. But one thing that I have realized talking to both non-Christian and Christian students is that non-Christian students are afraid that they will not be accepted by the community. But another thing I’ve noticed is many of the students who are strong Christians don’t care if a student is Christian or not. These students will always be accepted as a friend and as a community member by many people at SPU.
Melissa Castle is a sophomore communication major.