Religion creates stability for some and conflict for others

College students juggle school, extra-curricular activities and, in certain cases, relationships that may be complicated based on separate religious beliefs.

Although problems can arise, many students find relationships to provide a certain amount of relief that at times seems unattainable.

“I think that relationships are important for people our [peers] age, it provides a source of stability in the midst of the madness,” said Tiffanie Cash, 19, a sophomore criminal justice and biology student from St. Louis. “It’s interesting to get to know different people and understand their cultures,” she added.

However the question of whether people of different religions are able to maintain a relationship still lingers.

Some students feel that the merging and sharing of different beliefs is a part of the college experience. While some students feel that the merging of these different beliefs can only occur to a certain extent.

“I couldn’t date someone of a different religion,” said Gabrielle Riggins, 18, a freshman pre-pharmacy candidate from Jacksonville. “I would fear that they would always try to convert me, and I would always be trying to convert them. There would be constant fighting and it just seems more difficult. We could be friends though.”

Some students however, have been in successful relationships with people of different religions.

Bruce Wiggins, a sophomore accounting student from Jacksonville, spoke candidly about his long-standing relationship with his girlfriend.

“We have been together for three years. She’s Catholic and I’m Christian, but it’s not difficult. We talk about religion, but we don’t argue,” Wiggins said. “We accept one another for who we are.”

Some students have been in relationships with people of other religions and have not had the success that Wiggins and his girlfriend have shared. Christopher Johnson, 20, a junior chemical engineering student from Denver, Colo. said, “I once dated a girl who was Muslim and I’m Christian. The relationship was fine until we would talk about religion and there were too many differences.”

Johnson commented that he did not regret the relationship.

“I learned from her and she learned from me. I guess that’s all that really matters,” Johnson said.

Sharma Shillingford, a senior health information systems student from Miami, questioned whether she would be able to date someone outside of her religion.

“I would be able to date someone outside of my religion I think…they just would have to have the same foundation of beliefs that I have,” Shillingford said. “They would have to believe in God. It just seems like there would be a lot of issues if we were of different religions.”

The question of religious differences continues to plague FAMU. However some believe love conquers all.

Angelo Porter, 19, a sophomore criminal justice student from Jacksonville said, “Love who you love, and do what you do. In the end if you’re happy that’s all that matters.”