Some interesting comments from my students in my last online class (all used with permission).
This first one struck me as a pretty amazing story:
I have not doubted that God exists since I was 7 years old. At that age, I had a life changing experience in which there left no doubt in my mind that there is a higher being beyond our plane of existence. My personal experience that proved this to me, was because at age 7, I was run over by my school bus. I remember to this day, coming back to consciousness under the bus while the front tires rolled off my fingertips and looking back, I could see the rear tires spit out gravel as they started to turn faster behind me, and directly in line with my head. I remember being totally petrified in fear, unable to move, and then this voice just thundered through my head, “Roll.” One word, but spoken with the kind of authority that one does not, CANNOT, disobey. I know this was not my own self-preservation speaking, I KNOW this. I rolled out just before the rear wheels came over the spot where my head had been. Then, as I stood up, that sense of calmness that had taken over me just moments before, left and I began sobbing and ran for home like any normal child in pain would. Not only was I “saved” that day, but even though a fully loaded bus ran up my spine, and down my arm to the very ends of my fingers, I had no broken bones. So to tell me that God does not exist, would be a futile thing.
This one, critical of the practices he sees in churches around him, is from a student who does not associate himself with any particular faith, even as he did grow up Lutheran:
…I have been thinking about just how far some churches have strayed from actual worship. Without even setting foot in a church I can see how religion has been bastardized into, what looks to me, to be a money making venture that plays on peoples fears and beliefs. If you flip through the TV channels you will more than likely find some televangelist talking about eternal damnation and how your donation to the church could earn Gods favor. Even someone like me who is at best a sceptic this is beyond belief. To use religion and the fear of hell to leech money from people is about as low as you can get. I grew up attending a small church in Austin, MN. At one point our congregation worshiped out of a hotel conference room, and then eventually moved to an old, tiny and in need of work building just outside of town. Growing up this way did teach me one thing. You do not need a million dollar building, HD TV’s, and surround sound to worship. In many ways this only confirms my belief in the corruption and financial focus of organized religion. This is in no way meant to be derogatory to religion itself, but only to its exploitation by certain people.
Another very touching story from one from one of my solid Christian students:
….I know what it is like to lose a brother. I know it is weird, but it seems as if I had just seen him and I am waiting to see him again. My brother passed Jan… 2012. I know that instilling my faith in God has allowed me to get through this hard time. I hope you don’t mind if I share a short story… My brother’s sons name is Jonas and he is apraxic and has slight autism. He is the sweetest boy you’d ever meet. After going to public school, he would go to the parochial school for child care; he has such a wonderful faith in God. When my brother passed, he was 8 years old, almost 9 and he saw everyone in the house grieving. He gathered everyone into the dining room area at my parents house and had us all hold hands and he led us in a prayer to God. You could not understand all of his words due to the apraxia, but it was so emotional for all of us family to have him see the hurt and pain and know to go to God in prayer. I can see how faith is the backbone and along with faith comes love and care. We are all Gods children and He makes sure that we are loved and taken care of…