After spreading across campus as a head-scratching mystery movement for days, the "I Agree with Markwell" campaign sparked heated discussion Tuesday night after North by Northwestern spilled the beans on its origins. Specifically, students launched into a frenzy over Markwell's claim in the article that, in his view, atheists are "lost" and missing an "opportunity to know the God of the Universe." The article has been met with hundreds of comments and counting, describing the Markwell campaign with epithets ranging from revolutionary to creative to insignificant to offensive. The comment section has become a virtual debate room, trading thoughts over what the campaign means for Northwestern:
It didn't take long for bloggers like Weinberg junior Miriam Mogilevsky to bring out their guns Tuesday night, offering opinions on the "I Agree with Markwell" movement. In her blog post, titled "We're Not Lost: An Open Letter to Campus Crusade for Christ," Mogilevsky wrote that she found Markwell's statement "disempowering, depressing, and completely contrary to what I believe human nature to be."
"Supporters of the Markwell campaign attest that it’s their right to express their beliefs, just as I’m expressing mine right now. They say that their belief that we’re “lost” is equivalent to our belief that we’re not. But it’s not the same at all. Because our beliefs about not being lost concern only us, whereas Markwell’s beliefs about us being lost concern someone else. Someone else who may want absolutely nothing to do with Jesus."
Medill freshman Rafi Letzter piled on to the criticism, taking to his blog to write off Markwell's statement as an attempt to reach "us heretics" because they are motivated by their practice of "exclusive faith." He posed that the movement's mission is to create a campus without religious diversity. Letzter concluded his statement by challenging Markwell directly.
"I value my culture, background and beliefs, and the cultures, backgrounds and beliefs of my peers. Matt Markwell, do you?"
McCormick junior Jacob Townsend, recognizing the Markwell backlash, responded to Mogilevsky's letter by posting "An Open Letter to Miriam Mogilevsky" to his Facebook page. The stated goal of his letter was to put the "heart behind Christian evangelism" in perspective.
"People think they aren't interested in Christianity, but so many misunderstand what it is in which they are disinterested. I grant you that there are very many people who perfectly understand Christianity and have no interest in it, but I would never force dialog with such a person once they expressed their disinterest in a conversation. However, there are also many people interested in God who have never really had a platform to discuss such things. Using Markwell's name also emphasizes the personal aspect of Christianity. God specifically impacted Matt's life and can specifically impact anyone else's."
Meanwhile the irreverent Willard-based blog Sherman Ave, always quick to offer its own skewed comments on campus issues, threw its hat into the ring Wednesday. The site compared the "I Agree with Markwell" campaign to jellyfish, warning that Cru may be more dangerous than it seems.
"Now I may not be religious like Chet Haze, and I can tell you that I consider myself at least a slightly religious person, but the idea of religion is like a Jellyfish. It’s nice to look at, nice to talk about even, but let that shit get close to you and you’ll get stung."
Sherman Ave even introduced a new medium through which students should add their voices to the controversy: why, memes, of course.
As always, with any issue being discussed on campus, some people take matters less serious than others: