Many flavors of faith

By Thunderword Staff

Many Highline students say they do believe in some form of God, although not all subscribe to a religion.

The majority of those interviewed identified as Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or spiritual with no ties to one particular religion.

Some students do not consider themselves to be part of any particular faith or religion.

"I haven't attended any religious service for the last four years," student Michael Smith said.

Highline student Daniel Kharlanov has been raised as a Christian Pentecostal his entire life. He said he doesn't believe that there is one particular God or superior being, and said his parents' faith has had more of a negative impact on his life than a positive one. 

"My parents' faith made me feel forced into something that I didn't want to do my entire life." Kharlanov said. 

"I had no free space or free will to do what I like or say what I wanted to say. I always had to be a part of the church, singing, and Sunday school. I had no time for myself, no time to be happy," he said.

Kharlanov said he still attends religious services to make his parents happy. 

A couple students considered themselves less religious than some, but still spiritual. 

"I don't believe in organized religion. For me, religion is a personal choice," said Brad, who didn't provide a last name.

Highline student Caitlyn Ngo said while she doesn't believe in God, she and her family are Buddhist, although it doesn't impact her life much more than requiring her to attend religious services. She said her family attends them regularly. 

"I'm not religious, but I still believe in loving and respecting others," said one student.

Others had found themselves more invested in church services, religion, and faith.

 "I pray every day and go to church every Sunday," Decen Thang said.

"I'm a Christian and I believe in God," said Highline student Natalie Alcala. "I go to church almost every Sunday morning."

Student Jennifer Filimonov said she attends church on Sunday, youth group on Friday, and a Bible study group on Wednesday.

"I go sometimes for Friday prayers when I don't have work," Nazar Ahmed said.

For some students, their religious beliefs have changed them as a person, and how they see the world around them.

"My religion is pretty important to me. I grew up in a religious household," Highline student Ryan Reck said. "My religion shapes the way I think about things."

Many found that religion has helped them treat themselves and others in a more positive way.

"My religion taught me to not judge people, including myself," student Omar Ali said.

"Islam determines the way I act and live my life," Faduma Omar said. "My religion as a Muslim affects everything I do, even the food that I eat."

Some students have founded their morals in their religion as well.

 "My faith does influence how I live. There are morals that I live by that are written in the Bible to follow and what our church believes for all their members," Filimonov said.

Highline student Allison Phan said she thinks her beliefs have pushed her to be more of a balanced person.

"I have my own spiritual beliefs that are special to me and that have made me a balanced person. I don't believe in organized religion but at the same time I do believe that there is something for everyone and if your beliefs help you be a better version of yourself, then that's great," Phan said.

Staff reporters Perris Njenga, Sam King, Donnie Williams, and Izzy Anderson contributed to this story.

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