Why is it that everyone I know that is in a comparative religions class is absolutely disappointed in the content? Why is the introduction to religious studies class so insanely irritating and yet boring? My irritation and disappointment is rooted almost exclusively in the lack of discussion about things, second only to my severe hatred for the route of softening language. I’ll take a moment to explain shortly, but first I’ll rant.
The class that I am taking is called Introduction to Religion and is being professed by Carl Jech, who some of you may not realize is a very nice old man who loves to hear his own voice, but i am already getting ahead of myself. On the first day of class Jech took a large amount of time to argue about the different types of religious studies class in which he explained that calling this class a comparative religious studies class was not kosher, to stay in the right genre of silliness. The reason being that in the history of time it was once acceptable to teach this class in the form of “We are all [Christian], but lets take a moment to explore what those silly dick heads and non-believers in the desert believe! hehe.”
My purpose in this class, while apparently misdirected, was to better prepare myself about religious views and be better prepared for the coming war between the faithless and the faith-more by having studied their book. This class cares nothing about me or my goal, and has by and large shown that it cares little for what is actually going on out there in the world. We spent the first month of this course discussing the Hebrew bible and learning about its origins and as absolutely fascinating as that information was to gloss over, yes i am being sarcastic – my apologies to all of my Jewish believing friends and family – there has to be a better way to cover this material.
I have spent the better part of the last 3 years in hefty and growing debate with Christians and Jews about their beliefs and ill be damned if this class has overlapped it by much more than a casual and or literary glance.
We discussed something that i think is actually at the heart of this whole situation – If i grant to you that there is, in fact, one true religion… how would you be able to tell that you had found it? In my class of idiots, frustrated youth and idolatry touting older folks (and me of course), it took almost 30 minutes of people saying things like…
- You can study them all and choose the one that best fits you
- Fail based on the fact that if god has put a single religion here why would he give a fuck about your thoughts on the matter.
- Obviously, god would have benefitted the actual true faction
- Came up multiple times in the form of age, dominance, strength, how well it subjugates other religions.
- Clearly faulty in that Bill Gates is one of the least religious rich guys in the world.
- Following the one that has the most accurate predictions
- We can all agree that the New Testament was written after the Old Testament, so it shouldn’t be hard to deduce that it is possible to have read the Old Testament and written the New Testament to fulfill prophecy of the Old. Fail.
At this time i got frustrated and raised my hand, to throw out the thing that i’m sure you are all undoubtedly screaming at your monitors. There is no fucking way to be able to tell because the only way we can work to a conclusion is with a sound argument based on true premises and those come in the form of what we call facts about reality. Without these things, the tools of science and reason are bloody useless.
This class takes a very soft approach to religion, as illustrated by the following brainstorm of terms that came to the classes mind when thinking about religion or spirituality…
|Faith||Life after Death||Politics||Obedience||Tolerance|
|Prophecy||Passion||Angels & Demons||Prayer||Sacrifice|
You should see there are quite a few terms that ive taken the liberty of bolding. They are exceptionally telling of the religious and spirituality movement that has overtaken this world.
- If Religion is about love why do they fight and fuss about such inane bullshit and choose to pick up a sword, gun or bomb to settle such arguments? The same question applies to Acceptance, Ethics, Compassion, Tolerance and Justice
- If religion is about Truth, how can there be so many that try so damned hard to contradict each other and moreover, why don’t the religious stand up and confront clear misconceptions, lies, fibs or otherwise atrocious acts committed in the name of religion and correct them?
- By far one of the most important, why do i need to be saved? No i don’t agree with the common notions of sin and or hell, so feel free to shove them both up your ass if you insist on emailing them to me.
Carl Jech is my instructor and by all accounts he is both intelligent about the subject he professes and he is interested in the subject, and it shows. Unfortunately it shows a little too much. While he isn’t pitching tent or foaming at the mouth about this stuff, he is a raving lunatic and it is pulling me quite steadily out of the material.
We were assigned four books, 2 by Jech, Channeling Grace, a book of sermons, and Will the Gay issue go Away… you are free to think about the issues that one intends to discuss. As much as i love reading i really hate when instructors assign books that they have written. it pads their wallets but moreover it just makes me question their intentions and for that matter their ultimate message.
the two final books in this class are a book called world scriptures that provides the students with historical overview and context as well as a selections from the scriptures of the world (so we dont have to buy them). Finally a book called Why do bad things happen to good people, by Rabbi Harold Kushner. This book makes the case for us all coping with our problems by just realizing that Kushner’s god is not all powerful and that we, as human beings, are really empowered to handle our issues on our own.
I intend to write a full review of this book eventually but as things stand I am extremely disappointed by the position that this man holds. As i mentioned earlier i don’t appreciate or care for this softer approach, and if nothing else, this book advocates exactly that. You are not to hold god accountable for any of the horrible things going on in this world because this Rabbi couldn’t imagine a world in any other way. He does a great job co-opting science in an argument about the fall from Eden being the step humanity took away from animals and compares us by saying that animals are all instincts, and humans are none. This polar view of things is just plain wrong.
The beauty of co-opting science is that as science continues to evolve, grow and mature the guy left holding on to and arguing for a straw-man position looks like an asshole. It is something illustrated perfectly as creationism has evolved into scientific creationism and then further sprouting limbs into the political arena with the academic freedom movement. Again i am off topic.
Instead of ranting for four hours and cutting a huge title out of this post i am going to cut this one off here. My religious studies class is an ongoing disappointment spree and ill surely have more to go off about.
Until then, please take care and for gods sake, please stop co-opting science.