Comparing religious organizations on campus

Students studying in the Alumni Lounge in the Titan Student Union would not know the Korean Campus Crusade for Christ was holding a service in the Titan Theatre.

Songs being sung along with drums and guitars could only be heard once the doors were opened to enter the theater.

It is here Esther Lee, 20, a human services major and president of the KCCC, and other members of the group meet every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Walking into McCarthy Hall 457 on a Monday between the hours of noon to 1 p.m., students will meet Naeem Ataian, 25, a sociology graduate student, along with other students behind desks forming a circle as ideas and answers are bounced off each other from questions asked from book two of the Ruhi.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Student Association meets every other Tuesday, their room filled with the aroma of Little Caesar’s pizza as they discuss the different events the club will carry out throughout the semester.

Afterward, first the women and then the men go down into the quiet room of the Underground to pray.

There are many religious clubs on campus where students get to express and share their beliefs with others that share similar interests.

Paul Levesque, chair of the Department of Comparative Religion, said “religion is a component in the lives of many students.”

These religious clubs on campus help students “express and ask questions” with their peers.

“The religious clubs on campus provide an opportunity for people to learn more about their own cultural roots and those of others,” Levesque said. “Students can form connections with like-minded students and hopefully also grow in their respect of religions other than their own.”

KCCC is a part of the Campus Crusade for Christ on campus, but Lee said because the culture is different so is the ministry.

KCCC has a “Korean setting” that would make people more comfortable gathering together. However, KCCC is not limited to just Asians.

“Our meetings are open to anyone,” Lee said. “You don’t have to be Asian or Korean to join.”

Lee is not surprised there are many religions because they are “a huge part of individuals.”

She said it is important to have these clubs for the different beliefs on campus.

“Whether I do or don’t share the same belief/worldview with students of other clubs does not change the fact that having a social circle that share the same interests is vital in thriving socially as a college student,” Lee said.

Ataian said he chose sociology as his major because he likes the founding principles, such as universal education, which are similar to the beliefs of the Baha’i faith.

“A lot of sociology is about fighting for the basic rights of people,” said Ataian.

According to Bahai.org, the Baha’i faith believes God is setting historical forces that are breaking down the barriers between race, class and nation, ultimately uniting all civilizations.

When first hearing about the Baha’i faith, it is a bit difficult to grasp what their beliefs are.

This is why Ataian said the club decided to read the Ruhi books during the meetings so new members can get a better understanding of the faith.

The Ruhi is made up of quotes from Baha’u’llah and the students study the quotes to gain a better understanding of Baha’u’llah’s revolution.

Johnathan Matson, 23, an economics major, is a new believer and said Baha’i is like a lot of different religions.

“The Baha’i faith looks at other religions as right,” said Matson. “The prophets are a reflection of God.”

Baha’i is unlike other religions, where children tend to follow the religions their parents grew up in.

Soha Sobahanian, 26, a biology graduate student, said the followers of Baha’i encourage children to “make up their own minds.”

“It is strongly encouraged to make sure you were born in the right path,” said Sobahanian.

Ozair Mohamedy, 23, an accounting major and president of the Muslim Student Association, said their events are intended to educate the Muslim and non-Muslim community and to get rid of the stereotypes and misconceptions.

“People on campus are more educated and that is key to getting rid of the stereotypes,” Mohamedy said.

He also said educated people are generally “a lot more open to different religions.”

Levesque said there are many reasons why there are so many different religions, and one is that most are created by experiences in one’s culture, which may have been influenced from other religious traditions.

So while some may feel comfortable thinking there’s no need for meaning in life, all the religious clubs on campus have one thing in common: to form a community for anyone wanting to connect with others with similar beliefs or just to satisfy an empty stomach.

See what different campus religious organizations are doing at CSUF.

About Cynthia Rodriquez