By Rachel Potter – Morningside College hosts the annual Goldstein Lecture with featured religious speakers. This year’s speaker was Dr. Sarah Imhoff speaking on “The pulpit and the classroom: Jew, Christians, Muslims, and the Study of Religion.”
Religious studies scholars study people of specific religions. They look at how God affects the life of the believers. Dr. Imhoff touched on how there is no such thing as “the Jewish experience.” This simply means that the Jewish experience is no different than any other person’s experience. There is no essence of Judaism, but religious studies scholars try to figure out what they do and feel.
“I think Dr. Sarah Imhoff’s main point to her lecture was that religious studies is more about the study of people than it is of the religion. They want to find out when, where, why, and how these people are thinking,” said Madison Harpenau, a student at Morningside.
Dr. Imhoff gave the example of the Islamic faith: those who are Muslims believe they are a good and peaceful religion, and ISIS and the Taliban are not real Muslims. Islam should not be thought of as a dangerous religion because the hate groups are not really Muslims because they do not follow the Quran when it says, “Muslims are not allowed to kill innocent people.”
“I am really amazed at how misunderstood the Islamic community is. I think that if we had more religious studies scholars teaching the common citizen what is really in the Quran, then there would be fewer stereotypes. Dr. Imhoff made excellent point in her speech,”said Morningside sophomore Myla Brown.
When Christians kill doctors at Plan Parenthood in the name of Jesus, many Christians would say that this is not what Christianity truly looks like. Every religion has extremists.
“I think that religions either misinterpreted their text or take it to far. Religious studies scholars are trying to clear the misconceptions about these different religions” said Alyssa Ehlers, a Morningside freshman.
Religion became commonly popular in the United States in 1960 during the Cold War. It was thought to be American to have religion. The citizens started to see religious beliefs being taught in the classrooms. Religious scholars where teaching about religion, but they were not telling someone how to act.
“We need to slow down and listen to our scholarly sources, and you will be more informed about different religions,” said Dr. Imhoff.