THEOLOGY COURSE: RE Students Put Their Faith in Rock and Roll

Article excerpt

Byline: STEVE DUBE

THERE may be doubts about whether Elvis is God, but it seems he was at least godly.

The rock legend is one of the stars in a college course that aims to encourage students to study the word of God in its less obvious manifestations.

The course, called Rock of Ages, has seen student numbers at a West Wales college double this year as they turn their attention to the likes of Elvis, Johnny Cash, U2, Robbie Williams and Bob Dylan.

Theology lecturer Chris Deacy also runs a course called Holy Hollywood at Trinity College, Carmarthen, where students scrutinise classic films for their religious content.

Scholars are also encouraged to use the internet to study religion with a course called God in Cyberspace.

The 13-week courses form part of a year-long study of theology that is part of a BA degree in Religious Studies.

``We started last year and this has proved to be a really popular course,'' said Dr Deacy, who studied for his PhD in religion and film at the University of Wales, Lampeter. We had 12 first-year students last year, which was double the previous year, and this year we have between 25 and 30 - and people are still applying.''

The unmistakable sound of modern music can be heard emerging from lecture rooms at the college as students listen for evidence of the influence of religion in sounds that might once have been described as the Devil's music.

``Elvis was heavily influenced by gospel music, and even though Robbie Williams professes to be a Buddhist he sings songs with titles like Jesus in a Camper Van and An-gels,'' said Dr Deacy. …