Get ready folks, this one is a doozy. Those of you that personally know me know that I love Jesus. Y’all know I have a faith, and if you really know me, you know I do not like to call myself a Christian. There are a few reasons for that. I have come across more “Christians” that judge, ridicule, humiliate, and lie, yet still call themselves a Christian. “Christians” have turned my mom away from church choirs because she has a divorce in her past. “Christians” have committed hate crimes to people I love and call family. Now I am not saying every person who identifies as a Christian has done those things. But I am saying that I have had more experiences with those “Christians”, and let me just tell you, it makes it real hard to identify with the Christian faith.

I am constantly surrounded by people of all faiths and lack thereof, and I really enjoy the diversity. But the question I find myself asking is, why is it harder for me, and a lot of other people my age, to openly have a faith? Since when did people in college feel like they have to hide what they believe in? Since when did being a Christian, turn people away from wanting to be your friend? These questions are super real and are questions I feel like a lot of people wonder.

For those of you that do not know, I am a student at the University of Oklahoma. It is an awesome school and I feel super blessed to have the opportunity to get such a good education. But something that really rubs me the wrong way are certain groups of people that like to come onto campus. People from the baptist church right down the road. They scream at us  saying we are all going to hell and tell girls we deserve to get raped because we wear shorts. Guess where those people are every Sunday. You guessed it, front row seat at their church. So why is it that when a college student goes out to a party, has a good time on the weekend, and “lets loose” after finals week, they get ridiculed for not being a “good” Christian, or “good” follower of Jesus? Yet the people screaming at us on campus get treated like saints that could save the world.

I love my faith, and I love the life I have been given by the man upstairs. But I am at a constant battle with myself and the world around me. Can I be a follower of Jesus and still be a “normal” college student? Some would say yes, I would like to think I could say yes, but I can’t. Yeah I have friends and I love them, but I have also had to choose my faith over people since being in college, and people have chosen people other than me because of my faith. In what world does that make sense?

The point of this whole thing is, give us a freaking break. Let college kids have a faith but also have fun. Stop polluting your kids minds and the minds around you with lies. College kids aren’t going to hell because they go to a party and then go to church, and just because someone has a different faith than you does not mean they are less than you or deserve to be mistreated. I have learned the most about our God from people of other religions, not from my own. So give us a break and open your eyes to the world. We, as college students, do our best to please everyone. Criticizing who we are because of the faith we choose to have or faith we choose not to have isn’t okay.

Faith should not be tearing people apart or putting people on pedestals. It should be bringing people together and unifying everyone as equals. I only have a year left in college,  but man I hope by the time I graduate I won’t have to worry about someone “unfriending” me because of my faith or telling me I deserve to get raped. We got a long way to go people, but at least I’ve got the faith in every individual that resides on this earth.

“Imagine how beautiful we could be if we all loved as strongly as we hated.”

~Creig Crippen