I am also religious. I believe in God, I study religious texts and I pray three times a day. I observe the Sabbath and my father is a rabbi. What’s more, I agree with you that Penn Secular Society’s poster is unnecessarily provocative. It presents a silly straw man of what it means to be religious, and it implies that we’ve never realized that some verses in our holy texts don’t jive with our modern liberal values. You probably found that as condescending as I did.
And yet, I beg of you, please stop. You’re just making us look bad. I would have hoped that your religion would cultivate a love even for those who disagree with you, and I regret that your time on a university campus hasn’t yet taught you to handle differing opinions like an adult. I can’t play God, and I certainly don’t believe that my religious expression is the only valid one, but I think that if you want to let the Divine into your life, there are better ways than throwing coffee on other people’s ideas.
Being a religious student poses its challenges, and yet it can be a beautiful thing. I plan to take these posters as an opportunity to affirm my beliefs, encounter troubling ideas and fortify my religious identity. I pray that you will join me.
Josh Cooper is a ?College senior and the president of Penn Hillel. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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