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Religion at Fordham

workshedworkshed 4 replies10 threads New Member
edited July 2010 in Fordham University
Clearly it's a Jesuit University, but does this really have any affect on the University in today's light? I'm not religious at all, but am considering applying to Fordham, yet if religion does play a large role I probably do not want to apply. Thoughts?
edited July 2010
27 replies
Post edited by workshed on
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Replies to: Religion at Fordham

  • happy1happy1 23974 replies2404 threads Super Moderator
    In general, the biggest influence is the large core which is at all Jesuit universities. There are lots of required liberal arts classes. In terms of religion, you will have to take two theology courses as part of this core. The first class is required (and the content seems to vary based on the prof.) and the second class is an elective where you can choose classes in Christianity, the Old Testament, Religions of the World etc. Other than that, religion at Fordham is available if you want to partake in it, but in no way is it pushed down anyone's throat. Some students take part, others don't --there is no pressure. Personally, I would not let the religious aspect of the school dissuade you from considering Fordham.
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  • citygirl1018citygirl1018 154 replies34 threads Junior Member
    Yea a lot of the core has to do with theology and religion. Also theres a huge church on the rose hill campus which may make some uncomfortable if they arent very religious. U dont have to be catholic, christian or any other religion but the fact that its a jesuit school is pretty obvious. I mean theres no in ur face religion like ppl arent shoving religion down ur throat or anything....

    They do have some religious impliments that other non religious schools do not imply. For example u cannot have members of the opposite sex in ur room after a certain time and they do not offer birth control in their medical offices. For the most part tho I think u can handle it. I just ignore all the religious type stuff cuz im not religious at all.
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  • sandkmomsandkmom 909 replies37 threads Member
    I can't imagine someone being uncomfortable because there is a church on campus. You don't have to go into it if you don't want to but you do have to accept that it is there for those who do.
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  • ghostbusterghostbuster - 1537 replies53 threads Senior Member
    Its also a classic and historical church whose stained glass windows came from the King of France. Read up on Fordham's history and "Dagger John". Its fascinating.

    Don't be afraid of theology. Some of Fordham's most popular faculty are in the Department of Theology. They are awesome. Some conservative and many liberal. The idea is to engage your thoughts on thinking outside of yourself and your world into the world of others, and the great philosophical questions of the day. Opinions are encouraged. There is NO, repeat NO DOCTRINAL TEACHING.

    In fact, my D1 has had Jewish and Protestant Professors. No body wants to tell you what to think and believe. Only HOW to think. Fordham is 60% Catholic. Many students are agnostic or indifferent. No problem with that. Its about mutual respect.

    And maybe, just maybe you will be enlightened and have an epiphany. It has happened many times. Come with an open mind and open heart. People will respect you if you respect them.

    Church history, by the way is fascinating. Its like the History of Western Civilization.

    Fordham students wont apologize for their views nor should they. Faith is a very personal experience.

    Fordham's faculty have fabulous credentials (look them up!). They care about you as an individual. (My D1 has had only two duds in three full years at Rose Hill.) Some of the faculty have been simply amazing and transformational. Some of those have been Jesuits, one a nun, and several others were Jewish, one was Lebanese and on and on and on. Its a great school.
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  • KaiserinSisiKaiserinSisi 143 replies30 threads Junior Member
    I've been considering making my common app essay about exploring Quakerism, but would this hurt my chances at this school?
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  • happy1happy1 23974 replies2404 threads Super Moderator
    I can't imagine that it would at all. While Fordham is a Jesuit college, there is a genuine respect for all people and their beliefs.
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  • KaiserinSisiKaiserinSisi 143 replies30 threads Junior Member
    Ok, thanks. I've been having trouble thinking of an idea, and this was the only one I've been able to develop in a way that would show more more about me. I've just been working to be sure that it would be okay at all the colleges I'm applying to.
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  • happy1happy1 23974 replies2404 threads Super Moderator
    My personal advice is to write about something that is important to you, something that will give schools a glimpse into who you are. If any college does not want you because of that, you are better off not going there. Again, I don't think an essay on Quakerism would negatively influence Fordham's admission decision at all. Although Fordham is a Jesuit institution, my son knows people who are Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and athiest who are all thriving at Fordham. Good luck to you.
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  • KaiserinSisiKaiserinSisi 143 replies30 threads Junior Member
    Thank you. That's what I keep hearing, but I have been having trouble working what I care about into workable essay topics. I'm glad to hear it probably wouldn't affect my application negatively. Thank you very much for the good wishes. :)
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  • ghostbusterghostbuster - 1537 replies53 threads Senior Member
    Admissions committees want to hear the real you, and see your writing abilities. They are less concerned with "religious content" and thus it shouldnt be an issue for you. Further, theology at Fordham includes the study of other faiths and religious heritage.
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  • ramfan2013ramfan2013 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    the jesuits are super cool. father mcshane basically told the archdiosese of new york to suck it this spring when he gave the fordham faculty health benefits for their legally domiciled adults (which included same sex partners). what i'm trying to say is that for a catholic university, it's pretty liberal.

    as someone who does not believe in a god nor belongs to any organized religion, i had no problem applying and then going to fordham. i was raised catholic and jewish, but didn't think religion was for me. it didn't affect my decision going to the school at all, and i really love the jesuit ideals that make up the school which are basically caring for the whole person, men and women for others, and magis, or more, and one other pillar that i always forget.

    in terms of the actual classes, my faith and critical reason this past semester was the best class i've taken at fordham so far. it really is more of a critical thinking course, and taught me how to analyze and truly dig deep into what i'm learning in order to figure out the truth of the matter, not to mention the fact that i had an incredibly awesome professor (aristotle papanickalaou, check him out if you go to LC).i felt like i got more out of the course because i didn't subscribe to any religion or particular mindset coming in, and i can't wait to take my next theology class and learn more about religion as an outsider.

    basically, it's definitely not shoved down your throat at all. our campus ministry director at LC is also a really cool lady who makes you want to hang out with her no matter what you believe, and no one looks down on you if you're not catholic or whatever. so don't let it's catholic title dissuade you from coming. :)
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  • sandkmomsandkmom 909 replies37 threads Member
    It's not just on CC but I cringe every time I hear the phrase "shoved down your throat" in connection with religion. To me, it implies that religion is hard to stomach to begin with. I get what everyone is trying to say here...that your belief and desire to participate in religious life is solely up to you. And that is a good thing. But that phrase...yuck. JMHO.
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  • ghostbusterghostbuster - 1537 replies53 threads Senior Member
    Three cheers Sandkmom! Thank you. Theology and Religion are something to study at Fordham, whether from a spiritual, philosophical or historical perspective. It implies nothing other than good scholarship if you embrace those courses and do your best. What you believe is up to you. But Fordham will teach you how to think, if you discern the critical thinking that goes on.

    Kids say the darndest things, as Art Linkletter (may he rest in peace) used to say. And kids this age often are in a very rebellious stage and say all sorts of things.

    Fordham has faculty of all faiths as stated earlier. They have students of all faiths and agnostic students. Its an institution of higher learning. Not a convent or seminary. To repeat, some of Fordham's most distinguished faculty teach in the Religion/Theology dept and some also cross over into the History and Philosophy depts. To not take them is a crime in my humble opinion. A genuine missed opportunity. Whether at LC or RH, the opportunity to learn is there.

    And hopefully even for people who have posted here and perhaps need to express themselves as young collegians instead of something else.

    I can assure you that Fordham values critical thought processes even sometimes controversial positions (conservative or liberal, doctrinal or open ended), because my D1 has made a point to write papers for three years that challenged conventional wisdom or conventional positions...even those of the faculty....and with ONE exception from a clown who is adjunct in the philosophy dept freshman year, was well received. Getting an A has NOTHING to do with repeating the pablum of the professors. It has to do with the quality of your argument, the quality of your writing and the quality of your scholarship (research).


    I do commend ramfan for promoting the campus ministry directors. Fordham's campus ministry is one of its jewels and they offer wonderful retreats for freshmen and upper classmen....for those in distress, for those challenging their own belief system and for those just curious and who want a weekend away from school. Fordham owns property upstate a bit (not too far away though) which is fabulous.

    Being the age that students are, its very normal to ask questions and to challenge what they have been taught, or to wonder what the meaning of life really is. That is what the core requirements help you with as well.

    Come to Fordham and explore courses and explore your own beliefs.
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  • sunshowers23sunshowers23 247 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Take it from the current nonreligious student, and not someone's proselytizing mom-- it's not a big issue. I've had two theology professors and, while the class material wasn't my favorite, I still adored the class. (Although I have heard of one theology class where they read Vatican documents and a ton of boring stuff. The guy I know who complained about this class was really religious, too. Try and avoid that when you choose your classes, but I feel like it was an anomaly.)

    The Jesuits try to emphasize the debate over religion, and taking an academic look at these world-wide institutions, instead of enforcing dogma and other crap. It can be more philosophical or anthropological than you may realize.
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  • yenrodyenrod 242 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Sunshowers speaks the truth
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  • sandkmomsandkmom 909 replies37 threads Member
    @sunshowers23

    Negative connotations duly noted and set aside because a current nonreligious student's opinion is of no greater value than a "proselytizing" mom's, but still, I can't figure out where you got the idea in this thread that anyone was seeking conversion here. Seriously? I thought EVERYONE who posted their thoughts on religion at Fordham was truly helpful and added to the discussion. I also imagine that the OP is glad that he or she received opinions from posters with all different beliefs considering that is representative of the Fordham community.

    What I got out of this discussion was that Fordham is an open, accepting and respectful community, one in which you can believe and participate or NOT believe or participate in any faith at all; one in which the study of theology, while required, can be academically challenging and interesting, even spiritually stimulating depending on the student. Some students might hate their theology courses and some students might love them...that's no different then any other core class...and apparently, even nonreligious students can adore them and religious students can hate them. It IS a Catholic school and so there are some rules that conform to Catholic teaching. That is just a fact of life at Fordham and if it keeps someone from applying or from attending Fordham, then Fordham is just not the right school for them anyway.

    I appreciate all of the posters in the Fordham CC community. I love to get the student perspective just as much as I love to give the parent perspective. I think all of the posters in the Fordham forum try to remain an open, accepting and respectful subsection of the Fordham community and there are CC forums that I won't frequent because the posts seem downright nasty. Granted, you cannot fully "hear" the tone in a post. You may take it as critical when the poster didn't mean it that way at all. I've said and I've read both. But honestly, when you refer to people in a seemingly negative way and to their beliefs as dogma and other crap, your post reads, to me, as anything but open, accepting and respectful.

    I wish you continued success at Fordham! :)
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  • ghostbusterghostbuster - 1537 replies53 threads Senior Member
    ^^^^ the thing is, sandkmom, is that Fordham can be a transforming experience for students (and sometimes parents!! lol) if the students make the right choices while there, in selecting the best classes (not necessarily the easiest professors). Its not a one size fits all place either. Some kids prefer certain types of professors who are animated, others prefer a more serious and intellectual approach, or some prefer deeper discussion while others prefer quiet outside reading. The benefit is that there are all types of classes/professors at Fordham and experiencing all of it....embracing it....is where the real sweet spot comes in. For some the core is a bore. (They tend to be in CBA or non liberal arts majors). For others, the core is very much what Fordham is about and its a fabulous experience. The key is to do as well as you can, taking the most challenging courses and then doors will open for students as they rise up in class rank and standing. I know of several cases where the core helped students discern a major area of study that was different than their intended major when they came in the door. An Epiphany of sorts. And that includes Theology. I know of kids who have chosen career paths, including religious life because of their Fordham experience, while others have chosen I-Banking, or major media outlets (networks). What Fordham is not, is a diploma mill, where everyone comes out looking alike, talking alike and thinking alike. Fordham wants its graduates out in the real world discerning truth, working for justice and making a positive change in people's lives, whether they are at NBC television, FoxNews, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, law school, med school, grad school, teaching K-12, or at Proctor and Gamble.

    I encourage all students at Fordham to make a scrap book, write a simple academic diary of sorts of their experience at Fordham. Then reflect upon is as they progress through school, different dorms, different courses and level of work. See if they change their opinions on reflection, examine how they have changed and grown up. Are the friends you made the first year, the first few weeks of school the same today? Or have you migrated to a different crowd? And why?

    Hopefully you can minimize to one or at most two classes the 'duds' along the way. That the vast majority of classes will be courses you never want to end. Or you clamor to take that professor in another course.

    Finally, I commend students to make Fordham better by their experiences there. By helping to improve who/what Fordham is for others who come behind you. Join clubs and make a difference. Speak with Dept. heads about problems...and the Dean of your class, or Dean of the College.

    I hope all of this (and the other responses on the thread) helped the OP and anyone lurking who is reading this and contemplating attending Fordham.
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  • sandkmomsandkmom 909 replies37 threads Member
    Nothing left to say but...GO RAMS!!! :D
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  • sunshowers23sunshowers23 247 replies8 threads Junior Member
    sandkmom and ghostbuster: I would like to refer you both to the comments one of you made earlier in this forum:

    "And maybe, just maybe you will be enlightened and have an epiphany. It has happened many times. Come with an open mind and open heart."

    I found these comments incredibly rude, and hypocritical coming from someone who, immediately after that, wrote: "People will respect you if you respect them." They imply that, somehow, those of us who choose not to believe in religion, and may even see it as a very negative institution, are of some lesser intellect because we have not had some kind of enlightenment. This was exactly the "shove down your throats" idea that so repulses you.

    Normally, I would have left this issue alone. But I did NOT want the creator of this forum to mistake that there was some kind of pressure on students at Fordham to conform to that religious standard, and have some kind of spiritual epiphany. Professors here will NOT pressure a student to conform to their beliefs, or what they teach in class. In fact, it is the questioning of those beliefs that they admire. I was simply speaking from one non-religious student to one who is looking to go to Fordham and trying to give them a real picture of what life is like here at Fordham.

    I hope in the future you can watch what you write on this forum. I agree with almost everything else you say-- that religion should not be ignored as an academic experience. But please don't tell students that they might have an epiphany if they come here. It turns thoughtful, intelligent students away from this wonderful school because now they may be afraid that the environment at Fordham is like this, and other people at school may tell them the same things.
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  • ghostbusterghostbuster - 1537 replies53 threads Senior Member
    sunshowers:

    You have completely misread my comments and put words in my mouth.

    Fordham is a Roman Catholic Jesuit College. There is an element of spirituality, religiosity and theology on campus. There is no need to apologize for it or hide it. On the other hand, as my lengthy (and several comments on this Fordham thread for several years) have mentioned, its an OPEN environment and but for the TWO theology classes that are part of the core requirements, there is NO REQUIREMENT that you conform to any belief system, attend mass or any religious activities/services. Nor will any professor or student ask you to conform to any point of view.

    I make no apology about commenting on Epiphanies. Some students will have them (and I know several who have, by the way) and they can be related to religion, philosophy or even some other life changing event. The point I was making is that Fordham requires theology in its core for a reason and if in that experience a student comes to an epiphany about their faith (whatever faith that may be), then that is fabulous.

    For your information, my D had a fabulous experience with both a LUTHERAN who taught her Faith and Reason (and he is now at Princeton, by the way!), and a Jewish professor. So my comments have NOTHING to do with doctrine of the Roman Catholic Faith or Christianity. That same Lutheran professor wrote a FABULOUS piece about the late Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. whom my D met and attended his lectures before he died. She was also involved in the visit of Pope Benedict and among those few Fordham students selected to see him in a small setting at St. Josephs Seminary in Yonkers. She has gone on several weekend spiritual retreats sponsored by Campus Ministry.

    But has friends who are agnostic.

    Suggesting someone MIGHT have an Epiphany is neither offensive nor wrong nor false. Epiphanies are deeply personal and subjective, and by definition NON DOCTRINAL and NON PUBLIC and NON UNIVERSAL. I make no apologies about being a person of faith and neither does my D.

    I know someone who turned down Fordham last year. When I inquired I learned the reason was because somebody on Rose Hill Society who gave them a campus tour had made snide remarks about the University Church and said, "we really don't practice much faith here at all....its like it doesnt exist." Which was rather shocking and incorrect.

    We as Fordham family should never shy away from our faith and heritage (if we are Catholic) and we should embrace people of other faiths who come to Fordham, even those of no faith at all.

    I find your commentary really offensive and out of place. There is no reason to attack me as being rude nor for suggesting a positive experience can come from a theology class.

    I don't know what your religious experience is, nor do I care. Good day.
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