Category Archives: Side Note

Unexpected Religiousness

I have to admit; I am rather surprised by how many of my international colleagues are religious.

In the middle east religion dominates and dictates many aspects of our lives. This does not imply that people adhere to it strictly, but it is usually the scale by which almost everything is measured. Religion is so tightly integrated into middle eastern society that if you were to meet a random person in the middle east, it is most likely that you’ll find him/her to be a moderate pious person who believes in god.

Before I came to America to continue my education, I used to think that religion was not prominent in everyday American life. When I came here I realized that it was actually the opposite. The USA is probably the most religious of all industrial nations. American elections are a great proof of that.

So why am I surprised now? Well, I study in a very technical graduate program in a very liberal campus in a very liberal state. I knew there are a few religious communities on-campus (there are a few of us Muslims, and some number of other denominations), but I used to think that most people in my department were not particularly religious. Now in this Jewish and Christian holidays season I found out that a good chunk of my friends and some professors attend the various masses and prayer ceremonies. I think everybody seeks to find spiritual and inner peace regardless of what they do or where they come from.

Anyway, in that spirit, happy holidays to everybody. Hopefully the beginning of this year will be better than the beginning of last year.