Is Chapman a Christian college?
Chapman University is not a Christian college, but a church-related school. We are related to two churches: for 150 years throughout the formation of the academic institution, we have been connected with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and since 2011, also with The United Church of Christ. These particular churches give us a proud religious heritage, and value the dignity of all people and all religions.
The difference between being a Christian school and a school related to these churches is that a Christian school might require everyone to be of one religion, to attend weekly chapel, or to take courses in religion. Instead, Chapman University encourages each student to pursue his or her religious tradition or unique spiritual journey. And because we are church-related, every student’s spiritual life is important here!
What is the difference between spirituality and religion?
‘SPIRITUALITY’ can be defined as including:
- gaining peace within – even in the midst of hardship
- pursuing a spiritual quest by asking and finding answers to the “big” questions, like: What is the meaning and purpose of my life? Is there a Higher Power?
- caring about others and finding ways to be involved in community service
- developing an understanding of all of humanity, including cultures, religions, and how we are all connected
‘RELIGION’ is an established spiritual pathway through which a community, with a shared history, practices, beliefs and culture, pursues these spiritual aspects of life.
Hence, some people pursue this spiritual journey through a particular religion. Others pursue their own unique spiritual path. At Chapman, we are dedicated to helping students connect with a community of persons in their religion, or to connect with a group to foster their spiritual growth.
Do today’s young people care about religion or spirituality?
We are also working with a population who identify spiritual growth as one of the most important components of college life, and even a primary reason for attending college. See “Spirituality and Higher Education,” a seven-year study examining the role that college plays in facilitating the development of students’ spiritual qualities, released by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute.
Today, we are dealing with the most multi-cultural, multi-religious, technologically savvy, globally connected students we have ever known. Our goal at Chapman is to bring the spiritual dimension into their learning and growth as best we can. Contrary to what we hear in the popular press, many young people are deeply dedicated to their religion. They are also, on the whole, highly concerned with the welfare of others and seek ways to work together in community service.