Strongly rooted, different ideologies fill campus and flourish
The religious practices and beliefs of students on Central Michigan University's campus are eclectic.
It might not seem obvious at first, but the variation and diversity of religions on CMU's campus are strongly rooted. Many students find their religions can foster relationships with their peers and community, but those following some religions might find their religious group to be a minority on campus.
"Religion is amazing because we may all be a part of different religious groups, but that's what's beautiful about being a human," Southfield senior Joshua Finn said.
Finn is a reformed Jewish student who celebrates and embraces his religious traditions. Growing up, Finn said he never felt different because he was around a lot of other Jewish people, but at CMU, he notices a smaller Jewish community.
"At CMU, there aren't a lot of Jews, so I do tend to feel more singled out, but I really don't mind that at all," Finn said. "I love to teach people about my religion."
Parental influence seems to be a similar experience for many students. Religion tends to be passed down in families, and once children are old enough to understand that religion, many form opinions and thoughts of their own.
Rockford freshman Emily Sinclair said she didn’t take her faith into her own hands until she was about 12 years old. Sinclair said this past January, she took her beliefs even further when she became baptized as an adult.
“I grew up with my parents as strong Christians; they were involved in church at all times,” Sinclair said. “But with the big transition into college this year, I realized I really needed to give my life to the Lord and follow the plans he has for me.”
Sinclair said she has had many eye-opening religious experiences this past year while being away from home. She said in hard times, her faith has been more present than ever, especially after joining the Christian fellowship His House, 211 W. Broomfield St.
“I have learned to just love people as Christ loves me. I would never push my religion onto people; all I can do is love them and lead them to see my light, and maybe they would want to follow,” Sinclair said.
Some students believe they've been given signs calling for their faith.
Lakeview sophomore Mariah McRoberts had an epiphany one day in a library when a shelf tilted and dropped a book on her head.
“I knew it happened for a reason,” she said. “It was called '8 Holidays of Paganism,' and I decided to read it.”
McRoberts said she does not like to label herself because she is open-minded to all religions, but she finds herself agreeing with the beliefs of the Eclectic Pagan tradition.
“Religion is like a tree, and there are many branches,” McRoberts said. “Two people can have the same goal and get there with different paths.”
Sophomore Beau Wolfe said he was raised Christian by his parents, but said he felt more connected to God after his mission trip to Chicago where he met and prayed for a homeless man.
“I felt so blessed by God and at peace, like he was with me,” the Milford native said.