Uninformed religion in America
Oct05

Uninformed religion in America

America is viewed as a Christian nation, but a recent poll done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that many so-called Christians are ignorant about the very things they are claiming to believe. Not only is this a sure sign of the downward spiral of religion, but also of the evangelical church’s inability to properly educate believers of the most basic foundations of faith. A faith without a strong foundation will fail. Jesus, the figurehead of Christianity, speaks on this issue in the Bible and tells believers they must be sure of what they believe in order to stand against the Devil’s schemes. If the ultimate leader of a religion demands knowledge of the beliefs, and the followers don’t learn them, that religion is empty and meaningless. Religion in America has become a ritual, held onto for traditional purposes and as a hope to gain moral correctness, but is, for the most part, actually pulling people further away from God through ignorance than it is leading them closer to holiness. Another issue the poll brought to light was that most atheists and agnostics know more about the evangelical religion they don’t believe in than do the people who claim it as the most important factor in their lives. One example of religious ignorance from the survey was reported by The New York Times, which explained that “Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.” Maybe there is a fear among evangelicals that knowledge leads to atheism. Dave Silverman, the president of American Atheists, believes that increasing education is the case. He told The New York Times, “Atheism is… not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.” But if evangelicals are claiming to be Christians, a faith that demands a  person’s complete dedication and life, do they even know what they are agreeing with or pretending to believe in? Or what if atheists confront Christians about their beliefs? One main responsibility of Christians is to witness and share their own faith. Would they even know enough to tell the atheist or agnostic what they believe? This then, is not true faith. A faith that is as simple as believing without any effect on the person’s life is not genuine. This is fire insurance faith. Something a person claims and clings to in times of trouble. A hope to not end up in hell after death. A dream of everything ending well and living in heaven in a nice house with all desires met. The fact that non-believers know...

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Students build playhouses for military families
Oct05

Students build playhouses for military families

Playhouses for kids. It doesn’t seem like much, but the families who received the buildings thought otherwise. Several students participated in the building project for children of military families August 27 through October 1, and the impact it had was enormous. Assistant Director of Campus Activities Jeff Sutton explained the purpose behind the project. “We wanted to do it for military families because of our proximity to Fort Hood, and so many people are connected to people in the military,” he said. “It’s just another way that we can show our appreciation to them for what they do.” The project also gave students a way to be active while giving back. “It’s just a cool project that gets us outside, gets us doing something that we don’t typically do, and it’s a huge thing to thank the military families,” Sutton said. While Student Life hosted the building project, each individual house was sponsored by a different organization. Some of the organizations were the Resident Assistants, Residence Hall Association, Campus Activities Board, Ministry Leadership Council, Student Government Association, First Year Council, Faculty and Staff and Cru for Life. The response from the families has been immense gratitude and appreciation. “Just in talking to some of the families, some of them cried. It’s just been that ‘Why me?’ kind of thing,” Sutton said. Freshman political science major Abby Criswell was one of the students who worked. She was part of the construction team for the SGA playhouse. She said, “First there was this huge box that had all these different pieces in it, and we had to separate them … so we built the frame and worked from there.” Criswell was happy to help bring joy to children whose lives are affected by being a part of the military. “Their families are off, and we can help these kids by creating their imagination and letting them play,” she said. Constance Sundeen, a sophomore exercise and sports science major and ROTC cadet, was thrilled when she was informed that her children would be receiving one of the playhouses. Sundeen said, “You don’t see people really doing things for people anymore, and I just think it’s wonderful.” She was also impressed by the students who gave of their time to build a house and paint it with her children. Her two boys, ages 3 and 4, had been asking about the houses ever since she first told them. “They’re probably way younger than me, and they don’t                                                                                                                           have children. They just don’t understand how wonderful this is,” Sundeen said. Junior sports management major Tim Trimble was another student who helped. He worked with...

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France to fine for face covering

France’s senate recently passed a law making it illegal for Muslim women to wear burqa style Islamic veils in public. The veils, which cover the face except for the eyes, are part of the traditional dress for some Muslims. This new restriction is not simply taking away a piece of clothing. A burqa is a deep-seated symbol of spiritual identity as well. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, dating back to 1789 allows for religious freedom as long as that freedom does not prove to be harmful to French society. A woman wearing a veil is no more harmful to society than a teenage boy wearing his pants around his upper thighs. There is no difference in her garb marking her as a Muslim and his marking him as a thug. Both are expressions of who people are and how they wish to be viewed and defined. The same goes for a businessman. He walks around in tailored pants, a button-up shirt, tie and jacket, giving the impression of professionalism and importance. A Muslim woman walks around with a thin fabric covering her face, giving the impression of devotion, sacredness and modesty. The French bill’s language isn’t specific and clear on what is being banned because of legal issues, but the implied meaning is definitely being heard by Muslims and others around the world. According to CBS News, “the words ‘women,’ ‘Muslim’ and ‘veil’ are not even mentioned in any of its seven articles.” If they were included, the bill would be seen as discriminatory. If the writers of this proposition had to tiptoe around so many words as not to break their own discrimination laws, the intentions of this bill should be thoroughly observed before the Constitutional Council approves it. If the French really wanted to preserve their national identity and values, they would be passing bills outlawing clothing that gives a specific identity to people from all segments of society, not just this one relatively small group. They hope that by forcing women to get rid of their head coverings, they will be more accepted and respected in their communities. But for Muslim women, this stripping of the outward sign of their characteristic values does the opposite and may cause them to seclude themselves from society. More than that, the French government is trying to uphold the secular foundations of the country. This should mean banning all religious identifiers, so why the focus on Islam? Secular infers no religion, not every religion except for one. These women would no longer be able to find their respect and identity behind the cover...

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McLane men host big competition
Sep28

McLane men host big competition

Decked out in orange, pink, blue, red, green and white, the McLane men prepared for some serious competition. Some even sported face paint as a sign of their team pride and readiness to dominate. For the third year, McLane Hall held Color Wars Sept. 13-16, a competition to see which dorm wing was the overall best in volleyball, dodge ball, Family Feud and certain  knowledge competitions. Best of the best “Well, the general idea is that (McLane) won Hall Wars, so we already know we’re the best. Now we’re competing to see who is the best in McLane,” junior Christian studies major and resident assistant Percy Hudson said. He is captain of the orange team, which consists of several men in his hall. Each competed against the others for consecutive nights with the events covering several skill areas. “It’s four nights with different competitions each night. Whoever wins the most nights becomes the victor,” Hudson said. His high hopes for his team this year were evident as he said, “We’re going to win it all.” Many McLane residents discovered new friendships through the competitiveness. Hudson said, “It’s definitely been a huge bonding experience, not so much for the wings but more for the residence hall as a whole.” Even though this is the third year for Color Wars, not everything was the same as it had been before. “This year the biggest difference is the advertising budget that each wing was given for posters and colored paper. This boosted the amount of attendees at Color Wars overall,” he said. Competition heats up The dodge ball tournament was similar to a single-elimination style with the winner of each round advancing to play another winning team until the green team dominated in the final round. Tuesday night’s Family Feud ended with the blue team victorious. Wednesday was an intense night of knowledge competitions, and the red team proved the brightest. Thursday wrapped up the events with a final athletic competition of volleyball. The green team bumped, set and spiked it better than all the others and won the tournament. Freshman math major Seth Obey participated in Color Wars for the first time this year as a part of the red team. He was excited to compete with the other halls not just in sports but in other areas as well. “I’m looking forward to seeing which hall is the most skilled in the physical and mental challenges,” he said, “and, obviously, we’re the best.” With different types of events, the playing field was level and gave a better judgment of which team is truly the top dog. The McLane resident assistants...

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Live From Belton: We are Pioneers
Sep28

Live From Belton: We are Pioneers

We Are Pioneers is a band emerging out of the stress of classes and life in general, sending a message of hope in the darkness. The group hopes to get its point across through the melody of drum beats and guitar strums. Junior English major Austin Fields plays guitar and initiated the idea for the band. “The overarching theme to all of our music is hope. A lot of the music starts very quiet and subdued but builds into a soaring crescendo,” he said. “I actually wrote most of the skeletal parts of the songs in my room during finals week last semester on a loop machine … These songs were kind of birthed out of stress and desperation.” The patterns of the musical are vital since they rely on these to portray their message of  optimism. “It’s a constant build, really. We are trying to provide a soundtrack to the life of the lost, sick, lonely and under appreciated,” Fields said. With a focus on the melodies, the sound of the group is different from many other bands because they don’t use lyrics to portray the meaning of their music. “We play post-rock music. It’s sort of like a cross between (the bands) Explosions in the Sky, Caspian, This Will Destroy You and Russian Circles.” Fields said, “(It’s) basically loud, atmospheric music with no singing.” The idea of the melodies building and growing in each song is that they will push people beyond where they are. “I want the band to just kind of continually create music that moves and motivates people to be a part of something bigger than what they may have been given,” Fields said. Junior music education major Jonathan Bautista plays drums for We Are Pioneers and realizes the importance of composition in any musical group. He said, “The instrumental band concept is to make the music … the focal point.” There is a message coming out of the music the group writes and performs — a message that needs no words to be expressed. “The melodies of our songs become the vocalist of the song,” Bautista said. He anticipates listeners will be encouraged and find faith through the music they create. “I hope those who listen may know our music is inspired through the gifts and talents God has given us ….  All I hope for is to be a reflection of Christ through this band,” he said. Not only do the musicians work to send out a message of hope to others, but they also enjoy the camaraderie that comes with making music together. Bautista said, “We, the line-up now, have not...

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