Evangelical students

Fellow University of Queensland students may have noticed the ‘Student Life Survey – Win a plasma TV’ link when they logged on to my.UQ during the past week or so. Links on the my.UQ site are usually reserved for news such as when fees are due or exam timetables, but obviously not this time. Student Life is one of the many evangelical students’ clubs on campus (off the top off my head, I can think of four others, plus that wierd dude who gives sermons on the Great Court every Friday) whose goal is to spread the word of God on campus. They hand out leaflets, pin posters, leave pamphlets on tables, chalk footpaths, and most recently, got the UQ admin to give their survey a free plug on my.UQ. This survey worries me. I’m not just talking about the fact UQ condoned such a survey made by an evangelical students’ group (I’ll get on to that later), but what struck me first was the complete bullshited-ness of the survey questions. Have a look at them yourself. Such gems include:

If you could ask God one question, what would it be? How did we get here? Do you believe Jesus Christ is relevant in answering these questions? Why?

And my favourite:

 

If you could have a personal relationship with God, would you want to? Why / Why not?

Did it not occur to Student Life that a significant number of people find the idea of a higher order deity absurd? Or even that some may find the questions offensive? I would like to see how they would react to a survey which asks them for their thoughts on the role of Mohammed in their lives, or which animal they think they’ll be reincarnated as. Of course, you do expect this kind of crap from an evangelical group. But for the University of Queensland to endorse and promote such a club and their survey is pretty disturbing.

Although, the prospect of winning a plasma tv is tempting, even if it does mean lying a bit.

Update: It seems I wasn’t the only one not very happy with UQ; they have since taken the link down.

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12 Responses to Evangelical students

  1. Anonymous says:

    G’day. Out of the people I know in those groups, I don’t think any of them would be offended at being asked a question about Mohammad, or reincarnation. They’d probably enjoy the discussion more than anything else.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fuck you.
    CypressJim.

  3. Jimmy says:

    Wow, talk about flogging an old story…

    Gday anon. Are you a member of SL? I’ll assume you are, but correct me if wrong. I’m sure the people you know will enjoy the discussion. And good on them. I’m happy to talk to some of you guys about god, and have done so on occasions. Although CypressJim here obviously doesn’t really have much to discuss.

    I didn’t say that people like you will find the idea of Mohammed or reincarnation offensive. If it came out that way, I’m sorry. Rather, you find these ideas absurd, just in the same way that athiests find the idea of a higher order deity absurd.

    You believe in the word of Jesus Christ and the Bible. Not the words of the Mohammed and the Koran. There is very little I, or anyone, can discuss with you which will change your mind. And vice versa. That’s faith, after all.

    By the way, asking a non-believer “If you could ask God one question, what would it be?” is hardly the best way to start a discussion.

    My biggest gripe is the fact that the survey appeared on my.UQ, a place normally reserved for more important matters. I didn’t think it was very appropriate that a secular university with a significant non-Christian population (if not the majority) would endorse such a survey.

    I think that, especially in today’s fragile world where religion-related stories dominates headlines, you should be aware of and respect other religions/non-believers. Flaunting your overtly Christian-survey to the entire UQ population, not to mention that whole Jesus Week circus, is doing just the opposite.

  4. hey man.
    it’s quite obvious that you have a gripe with christians. personally i would love the chance to talk to someone about other religions, learning about other cultures and doctrines and belief systems is great for the mind. the other day while doing these surveys, what was intended to only be a 10 minute talk turned into a 1.5 hour theological discussion. this person was not christian.

    as for the my.uq news feed. that is for advertising things that affect the students in some way or another. there has been many expressly non-university study related links posted on the news feed.

    oh and don;t use ‘theoretical’ people to try and invalidate our survey. the least you could do is have the guts to stand up and say that you have an issue with it instead of writing a whole entry about how ‘other people’ might not like it?

    not one person i talked to about the survey was offended by it in anyway. if they didn;t wanna talk about it, then they simply didn’t do the survey. simple as that. people are more often more open-minded to religious discussion then we think.

    once again. you seem to have a gripe with christians in particular. why?

  5. Jimmy says:

    Dogg, of course the people you talked to wouldn’t have a problem with the survey. Like you said, they wouldn’t poke if with a ten feet pole if they did. You can discuss theology with non-believers as much as you want, but at the end of the day, you will still hold on to your faith, and there nothing anyone can say which will make you question it.

    Do I have a gripe against Christians? Definitely not. Some of my best mates and family members attend church every Sunday.

    Do I have a gripe against Christianity? Perhaps, if you want to call it a ‘gripe’, but no more than my ‘gripe’ for Islam, Jewdaism, Buddism, and religion in general. If the UQ Islamic Society did what you did, I’d feel the same way.

    The reason is that I believe historically, religion has done more to hold back the advancement of humanity than anything else. The current War on Terror, Israel and Palestine, paedophile priests, its attitude towards women/abortion/homosexuals/euthanasia, the intelligent design debate etc. only confirms my belief. But that’s another discussion altogether.

    Yes, my.UQ does on occasions advertise external research. But these are serious research projects conducted by professionals, targeted towards the general UQ population. Your survey was poorly designed (internet-based surveys usually are), and, with the types of questions you asked, clearly only targeted towards fellow Christians. Could you imagine what would happen if every student society were allowed to promote themselves on my.UQ?

    Out of interest, why was the link removed anyway?

  6. Anonymous says:

    … but, the thing is, every student society *is* allowed to apply for a link on my.UQ. You just write them a letter, and they do what they like about it.

    Soiree got advertised on there. It has absolutely nothing to do with study, and it was never claimed that it did. It was a party!

    Hey, religious wars are a nasty thing, nobody’s disputing you on that. But perhaps the cause of this isn’t people having different opinions, but people being unable to handle that there are different opinions? Suppressing somebody’s right to state their own beliefs is a very good way to incite hatred between different groups.

    The ‘Jesus Week circus’ was actually started specifically *because* other religions on this campus have been allowed to do exactly the same thing (quite rightly so), and it was figured that our society should also be represented along with, for example, the month devoted to Buddha. UQ contains many cultures, and is an excellent opportunity to learn about the beliefs of other groups of people. The vast majority of students I know are very interested in learning about such cultures, and it seems ludicrous to me to shut down the avenues of exchange because some are not so tolerant of others’ beliefs.

    Precisely how is the survey ‘overtly Christian’? I was given it myself by a Student Life member, and had nothing shoved down my throat – the text of the survey doesn’t actually include what its authors’ beliefs *are*, it simply asks what mine are! How anybody could find being asked their own opinion offensive is beyond me. If one does find the concept of God ludicrous, all that is required is to answer the question with ‘that’s silly…’, or even to log off the survey. No damage done.

    I assure you, this university has far worse surveys! In first year psych research (which every student must do some part of) one of the options is surveys that can involve up to 200 very personal questions (I’m talking things like childhood abuse here), some of which are worded in a horribly depressing fashion! (agree, neutral or disagree: I am worthless and my life has no meaning).

    It is not known why the link was removed. One can guess that there was complaint, but by whom and on what grounds is not disclosed…

    – Andrew

  7. Anonymous says:

    If i may say, i am a student lifer, and i went out and did some of those surveys, coz as you might now we also did a print copy that we did with people around the great court, and in a number of other areas, and most of the people that i talked to about it, were quite ok with the questions, if they didn’t believe in a god, that was their answer, they said that they wouldn’t ask him anything. none of them really seemed offended by it. and i’ve talked to alot of people in my degree about it, coz it’s computer based so they all did the online one, and the remarks were once again the same. and I wonder what christian contact you have had, because you used the word secular, and i had never heard that word before becoming a christian, and people who act like this towards a faith usually have a reason behind it. I’m always free to talk, I’m Jeremiah on the forum of the Aforementioned survey.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hey dude. i am a member of student life, but before u jump to conclusions, first year, I wasn’t too sure on the whole Christian thing, so i investigated other religions by studying them. i focussed mainly on buddhism and hinduism, trying to work out where the truth lay. i went to buddist temples, spent time meditating (i.e. not prayer focussed but meditation where you clear your mind of everything and sit in the silence in order to be at peace with yourself). i went to buddhist celebrations and went to hindu festivals, became a vego did all that. then, at the end of first semester i came to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was real. and this wasnt by some divine intervention. it was, at least at first, a purely intellectual decision to actually start looking into a relationship with God. that’s when it became more personal. so you do the investigating for yourself and find out what u believe.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “There is very little I, or anyone, can discuss with you which will change your mind. And vice versa. That’s faith, after all.”

    I strongly disagree. You can’t have faith and switch your mind off to all possibilities.

    People have the choice to do this survey or not. No-one is forced and no-one has to give us answers. Many many people out there from all faiths enjoyed our survey and many people actaully said they enjoyed thinking and talking about this stuff.

    I personlly conducted more than 50 surveys on paper and I think I only had a few people who didn’t really enjoy doing it.

    I think that before you consider complaining about something like this you need to carefully consider that there are always more people than yourself concerned. You may not have liked the survey but many did and our winner Elizabeth certainly did!

    Feel free to join the forums at http://www.studentlifeuq.com if you are interested in discussing this stuff further. I’d love to keep discussing this with you.

    (And for what it is worth I appolgise for CypressJim’s out of line comments. I will take this up with him elsewhere.)

    AndrewWalko

  10. Jimmy says:

    Guys guys, I welcome the comments, but there’s a whole blog to explore out there besides this one post I wrote over a month ago (which a disgruntled SL-er had obviously stumbled upon recently and then decided to forward it to his/her fellow disgruntled SL-ers).

    Surely I’ve written other stuff which you may not agree with!?

    😉

  11. Anonymous says:

    Sup Jimmy, sorry about my brief comment. Still, check out Christianity. I’m still here 14 years later.
    CypressJim.

  12. Jimmy says:

    Hey, that’s cool man. I’ve had worse.

    Though I’m not really in the marketplace for a new religion at the moment. But hey, if you ever decide to give athieism a go, you know where to find me 😉

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