The unnecessary core curriculum

Let’s see … calculating how much money I’ve borrowed … and how much tuition costs … with scholarships, I’m paying approximately 310 dollars a credit. That means I’m paying around 1,000 dollars for a normal three-credit class. Since I’m the one who is going to be paying back loans for the rest of my life, since it’s my piggy bank being emptied of every penny, nickel and dime, would someone please tell me why I can’t choose what classes I take?

To be particular, for what reason do I have to take INST150? I admit I have problems with the class itself. I loved my teacher, I loved my TA and the other students were great. So what’s the matter with INST150?

Sophomore Jonathan Ebersole takes issue with the class: “Our time could be better spent helping find our major instead of learning unclear fluffy theology,” Ebersole said.

The language is strong, but whether you agree or not with the agenda of the class, I don’t think it even fulfills what it is trying to do. Does anyone think the class is sticking true to the strong mission that Eastern strives to accomplish? The class pricks at the issues of faith, reason and justice, but does it really challenge students like it should be doing?

I understand that the class is an introduction to faith, reason and justice, but please, respect our intelligence. We know what faith is, we know somewhat how to reason and we’re aware that there’s injustice in the world. If anyone’s blind to those things, I’m sorry, I don’t see this class as laser-eye surgery for their myopia.

So you might argue that a good deal of students have only a rudimentary grasp of those three areas. Then make me find out what I really have faith in; don’t just tell me the basics of Christianity. Challenge me to reason; don’t just ask me to lament the world. Yes, show me injustice in West Chester, in Philly, in Rwanda, but then please, make me do something about it. You’re already making me take the class.

The point of this class is to stimulate action. I think this class gently pokes students with ideas. I think if it’s going to be effective, it needs to truly confront students, to get in their faces.

Don’t get me wrong; the class has some very strong elements. Service learning and the entire idea of conveying the importance of justice is integral to any education. Students also need to realize that some kind of faith is key in understanding the need for justice in the world.

Going back to Ebersole’s complaints, if we shove Christianity at them, and it goes in one ear and out the other like it has since Sunday school, aren’t we defeating the purpose? Encouraging students to find their own faith should not just be done so we can appreciate diversity, but so that students can actually have something off which to build. Reasoning is then possible off this foundation, and hopefully a desire for justice is birthed within the student through that reason.

Christianity, as presented in INST150, doesn’t move beyond introduction, and it does not challenge students to step outside their box. Confronting them with injustices that occur daily worldwide is the strongest aspect of the class. Unfortunately, it gets lost in the “fluffy theology.”

Those who do like the class seem to come away just remembering all the friends they made. Please, I appreciate how this class helps the more socially-challenged, but do I really have to spend 1,000 dollars to do that? Is there any way I can actually take a class which challenges my faith and beliefs, instead of spending half a semester talking mostly about how I feel?

Analissa Iversen left this school this semester because she couldn’t afford it. Sam Gillett is paying his way through school. Dustin Kern is taking out loans. I’m staring down years of debt. May we please have a better choice in how we spend our money?

Forgive my crassness, but I need more bang for my buck. If this school is all about justice, take my 1,000 dollars and give it to a charity instead of discussing how I can relate to C.S. Lewis and Donald Miller.

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