Colleges Should Teach Religion to Their Students

This is, I believe, the primary good that aikido can bring to people’s lives.

Colleges Should Teach Religion to Their Students
By Marshall Poe

I think religion should be taught in college. I’m not talking about “religious studies,” that is, the study of the phenomenon of religion. I’m talking about having imams, priests, pastors, rabbis, and other clerics teach the practice of their faiths. In college classrooms. To college students. For credit. I think religion should be taught in college because I believe it can help save floundering undergraduates. I’m not talking about “saving” them in Christian sense. I’m talking about teaching them how to live so they do not have to suffer an endless stream of miseries.

I thought about my own life and what had helped me weather particularly nasty storms. About ten years ago I experienced an acute psychological crisis. … in desperation, I began to attend what might generically be called a “spiritual program.” Some call it a “religion” and others call it a “practice.” It doesn’t matter. The important point is that the people in this spiritual program embraced me, identified with me, and told me to do a specific set of things. There was talk of God, but they explained that talking was secondary to doing. I didn’t have to believe in God, they said, all I had to do was practice the teachings of the “religion.” If I did that, they said, I would be relieved of much of my suffering.

I practiced, and indeed I was relieved. When people ask me why this spiritual program worked for me, I usually say that it gave me a “way of life.” Without a way of life, I would say, one’s thoughts and actions tend to move at random, like water poured on a surface, spreading out and seeking the lowest places. With a way of life, I would continue, one’s thoughts and actions move in a single direction, like water poured in a channel, moving in a single direction toward a final end. I do not wish to say that my life now is like a still pool of water. Far from it. There are waves, and I’m powerless to stop them. But now that I have a way of life, I’m less bothered by these disturbances, there are fewer of them, and they are easier to quiet. My spirit is no longer broken. I have a purpose and the tools needed to pursue it.

Upon reflection, it occurred to me that all religions, if seriously practiced, do precisely what this “religion” had done for me: They teach you how to live.


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