By Julia Ramsey || Staff Writer
This semester, Interfaith Student Council is focusing on a different religion each week, with the goal of increasing religious literacy and highlighting the role faith plays in students’ lives. Through this project, the ISC hopes to expand students’ understanding of the religious diversity at Franklin & Marshall and provide an opportunity for students to learn about the backgrounds and practices of their fellow peers.
This week, the ISC is focusing on Christianity. Look for flyers around campus with interesting facts about the religion! My student profile is Sarah Frazer, the Interfaith Student Council representative to Diversity Council, as well as the Secretary of F&M Catholic.
JR: What type of spiritual climate did you grow up in?
SF: I grew up in a Roman Catholic family; specifically, my mother and grandmother instilled in me a strong religious faith. I attended Catholic school for most of my life, as well, so the climate I grew up in was fairly religious. Many of the values I consider most important today were informed by this Catholic upbringing, so that even if I am perhaps less religious than I was, I still live as I was raised to as a Christian. One important point I’d add is that the order of nuns, who taught at the schools I attended, was the Sisters of Saint Joseph. They place a large emphasis on social justice and service, which made a large impression on me.
JR: What does being Christian mean to you?
SF: To me, Christianity is pretty much all about treating others with love and kindness and doing as much as possible to make a positive impact in the world or in one’s own community. Christianity is, or should be, a religion of action. We should help provide for the poor, protect the environment, welcome refugees, fight for civil rights and liberties, promote economic justice, defend and support the marginalized, and build bridges not walls, to quote the Pope. Pope Francis also said recently that it is better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Christian, and I completely agree. If you read the Bible, Jesus washed the feet of sinners, was friends with a prostitute, forgave a criminal when He was on the cross, and gave His life for humanity. If Christians are supposed to follow in His footsteps, then it makes sense that dedicating our lives entirely to the service of others should be what we aim to do, which is not to suggest that I have come close to accomplishing this.
There are other beliefs and practices that go along with being Christian: believing in Jesus Christ and the rest of the creed, attending church on Sunday, reading the Bible as the inspired Word of God, and receiving the sacraments (which vary depending on one’s denomination of christianity). But ultimately, these tenets of the religion are not what it means to me. And I honestly think that fulfilling these parts of Christianity is not enough.
JR: What do you think is commonly misunderstood about your religion?
SF: There are certain beliefs that are misunderstood by non Christians, such as the concept of the Holy Trinity. Honestly, I am not totally sure where Protestants stand on this belief, but Catholics like myself believe in the Trinity, which is comprised of three Persons in one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Many people think this means that Christians (or once again, at least Catholics) are not monotheists, because the Holy Trinity means three Gods. That is not true; Christians believe that the Trinity is only one God. I understand this can be confusing; I find it somewhat confusing myself, or at least hard to explain.
Junior Julia Ramsey is a staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.