Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve had more and more people come up to me asking why I have decided to start writing for the Harvard Ichthus. Well, here’s my answer:
College is the point in which we all face the same decision: either we decide that up to this point our beliefs were simply superfluities imposed on us by mom and dad, or we choose to embrace them and make them our own. This was a decision I originally struggled with greatly.
Arriving at Harvard, I realized that throughout high school, I hadn’t really given my faith much thought. So for the first semester, I simply ignored the question altogether. When asked if I was religious, I would sort of resort to a default response, mumbling a weak, “Yeah, I’m Christian” without really knowing why. Clearly, I was on shaky ground.
But since then I’ve realized that for me to be able to take a stand for myself and define who I am, I need to be informed, I need to ask questions, and I need to engage in conversations. Maybe unsurprisingly, I’ve now found myself with even more questions than when I started – questions which can’t easily be answered, but that nevertheless demand answering. Consequently, in the past two weeks alone, I’ve forced myself to make time and read. I’ve started reading philosophical essays by Anselm and Kant, books by both Christian Apologists and New Atheists, the Good News and the daily news – anything that can help me understand the role of religion in my life and in the world.
This is something I would’ve never done before – too preoccupied with school work to even think about adding extracurricular reading to the list. But ironically, in burying myself under school work, I was burying my mind. I was content with the silt and dirt of half-forgotten homework assignments rather than searching for the light of truth. I was digging myself into a grave of narrow-mindedness rather than breathing in answers and breathing out questions. Now that I’ve changed this, I’ve found myself thinking more critically about these issues than ever before and in this sense, I feel the Harvard Ichthus has added a new fire to my life.
So being part of the Harvard Ichthus is a chance for me to learn more about myself, to see where I stand on issues which I believe are of central importance to my life. And one thing I’ve quickly realized and which continues to cement and renew my commitment to the Harvard Ichthus is that society is rife with misconceptions about religion. I always knew there were misunderstandings on both sides – but never to the extent I now perceive. We talk in contradictory tongues and look through skewed visions so is it a surprise that our speech is garbled and our sight obscured? There is certainly much to be gained through discussion and debate, but we can gain nothing from the confusion and ignorance which we currently find ourselves in. I hope to change this, to show people that Christianity is intellectually rigorous, personally relevant, and crucially important, that Christianity is a force of good and a source of light.
Why do I write for the Harvard Ichthus? I answer: because I believe we only ever make progress through thoughtful discussion, because I believe it is worthwhile to understand the Christian faith, and because I believe these questions are vital to how I relate to the world. So, now I can truly say with conviction, “Yes, I am a Christian” and this is why my fingers will continue to type and my mind will continue to whir for the Harvard Ichthus.