Renee Benning

Date of Award


Document Type



Biblical, Religious and Philosophical Studies

First Advisor

Professor Yeatts


Though hesitant to admit it, I recognize that I have had a large number of negative personal experiences that others will never have that have shaped my worldview. I grew up in a strict, conservative household that assigned others value based on their book smarts and belief in scientific fact. My education consisted of homeschooling and a religious middle and high school, where we were taught the chewed-gum metaphor and that Satan planted dinosaur bones in the earth to trick us into believing that the earth was old. I have been in an abusive relationship, sexually assaulted and harassed, dealt with a slew of mental illnesses and struggled to come to terms with how to rebuild my self-esteem from the ground up. I know what it feels like to be so alone that I questioned if God abandoned me, or if it existed at all. My relatively short life has seen a lot of painful memories that have stretched my opinions about the world, but I found faith and comfort in Jesus and his message.