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Becoming A Better Baylor Bear
Baylor University is a place like none other. Besides being the oldest school in Texas, this fine university we are lucky enough to attend is currently home to a highly admired president, Kenn Starr, and athletic legends like Brittany Griner and Robert Griffin the third. With a class one-zoo habitat for the bears, Lady and Judge, and a Judge Baylor statue that sports a green and gold scarf and hat during the winter, school spirit is everywhere. We are proud to be Baylor. Why? Because Baylor excels, not just academically, nor simply athletically, but spiritually. Baylor was established upon the motto, “Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana,” which means “For Church, For State.” Judge Baylor and the other founding members knew the importance of Biblical teaching, and that is something Baylor has clung to over the past one hundred and sixty-six years. However, many current students have forgotten the school’s mission statement, and now complain against the required two semesters of chapel and religion classes. To them, the classes are inapplicable to their major and future. They wonder whether or not Baylor’s Biblical roots and requirements are still pertinent to this generation. However, Baylor was not created to simply produce excellent surgeons and business majors; it was founded to bring forth excellent, moral individuals. While chapel and religion class might seem trivial, these classes are key to Baylor’s standard of making well-rounded graduates, knowledgeable individuals, and students with high morals and faith.
Religion classes and chapel credits are necessary for Baylor University’s stamp of approval. Baylor graduates are expected by society to have a sophisticated knowledge of religion. A degree from BU is impressive and portrays a certain image about the graduate. Baylor’s alumni have a positive reputation to withhold, and thus, present and future students most be equally educated so they too can measure up to the public’s perception of Baylor University. Despite your religious preferences, you chose to attend a private university. You knew, coming into it, that this was a Baptist school. So four years from now, before you walk onto the stage and get presented with your diploma, Baylor must agree that you are Baylor-worthy, an individual that will properly represent this school’s morals and faith.
The Bible is a great text of the western world. Every student can gain spiritual and educational knowledge through religion class and chapel. Once again, before Baylor University puts their “name” on you, they want to ensure that you are cultured enough, in all aspects. Not only should you know the human anatomy or when to correctly use “who” or “whom,” but you should also know religious doctrines and concepts, even if you disagree. Whether you are an atheist, Muslim, or Buddhist, Christianity is a topic that society will always debate. As an adult, you need a mature, thorough, and professional knowledge of the Christian religion. Even if you choose not to believe or practice it, it is something the university claims to be as vital as basic English and math. Every BU graduate has sat through chapel and religion classes. No, they may not have had Dr. Burleson as a professor or listened to Jillian Edwards lead worship, but they have been there. Everyone has dozed off during the dry lectures-it makes us unified. Personally, in my religion class, we have studied several different faiths, from Judaism to Islam. I have obtained a wide understanding of how other religions view the Bible. I could handle a discussion with a Buddhist monk. I can explain to my parents how certain Jewish traditions bring an entirely new light to certain Scriptures. I have a deeper knowledge of the Bible, and that is enlightening-no matter what religion I profess.
Lastly and most importantly, Baylor University is an academic center where students are free to practice their faith. This blessing might not be available to future generations, so we must learn to fully appreciate it while it is here. While not all do, some students choose Baylor simply for the Christian background. We as a school and as students must never lose that. When we do, how long until we are a Texas Christian University, a fine educational institution but a school in which the ‘C’ can “stand for anything?” How long until prayers are not said at the beginning of ceremonies and games, and our football players no longer point towards heaven after a touchdown? Baylor students are genuinely good people. Once while visiting, my father said, “Baylor is like Disneyland- the happiest place on earth!” I believe that we students are so distinctly friendly because of the way we were raised, the faith we believe, and the morals that we continue to be taught here. The New Testament advocates kindness, which creates gentlemen who hold open doors; Jesus preaches for love and mercy, which leads to professors, faculty, and students who care for one another; and the Old Testament demands that the Ten Commandments be followed, which leads to all-around better human beings.
In conclusion, you, as the professors, faculty, and most importantly, students, must decide what you want your university to become. Baylor University delights in its Christian foundation and wants to continue it for all future generations. If we remove mandatory chapel and religion class credits, we will lose the strong faith that is associated with this university. The religious aspect of Baylor will become void, and it will cease to be a fundamental aspect of our beloved school. I urge you to look at the bigger picture and step away from your contempt for chapel. Yes, it can be dull and tiresome, but in the long run, it will benefit not only you, but also the reputation and future of Baylor University. Religious requirements uphold Baylor’s good esteem, create well-rounded alumni, and helps mature students into people of good character and faith. So, bear the monotone lectures and, in the end, become a better Baylor Bear.