ABELLANOSA

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Opinion - FRINGES AND FRON­TIERS

ut of in­ter­est I tried to check my stu­dents’ views on re­li­gion. “If given a chance to be any of the founders or fig­ures of the ma­jor re­li­gions, who do you want to be­come?” This was the last ques­tion in the fi­nal exam I gave in the course In­tro­duc­tion to World Re­li­gions. I got in­spi­ra­tion from the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum’s 2013 con­fer­ence in Davos, Switzer­land which among oth­ers, asked the ques­tion “is re­li­gion out­dated in the 21st cen­tury?”

One stu­dent said that he would like to be Mo­hammed. As the prophet, he would re­view some of the teach­ings of Is­lam. This is im­por­tant, ac­cord­ing to him, amidst the in­creas­ing prej­u­dices against Is­lam. He sees the value of the be­lief in Al­lah as a God who is just. But how to teach jus­tice to be­liev­ers with­out be­ing vi­o­lent and ag­gres­sive, in his view, is most es­sen­tial.

An­other stu­dent chose to be­come the Bud­dha. “This world needs to go back to the mid­dle path” was her ex­pla­na­tion. Amidst chaos, in­creas­ing is­sues in men­tal health, and con­fu­sion, hu­man­ity needs to be ever mind­ful. “If we only try to bal­ance ev­ery­thing . . . stop for a while and check our­selves then we can be at peace with our­selves and oth­ers.”

Ex­pect­edly some stu­dents would pre­fer to be like Je­sus. One an­swer how­ever caught my at­ten­tion. The stu­dent coura­geously said “[w]het­her he was the Son of God or not does not re­ally mat­ter [to me].” What is most im­por­tant, the stu­dent an­swered, is how [Je­sus] “showed noth­ing but kind­ness and gen­eros­ity to the peo­ple.”

We look up to great fig­ures like Je­sus, The

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