“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
1 Cor. 13:7
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“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”
1 Tim. 6:6-8
I keep having trouble with analytical reasoning. The entire focus of the class is to ‘critically evaluate our web of beliefs, discarding those false ones to have one containing as much truth as possible.’ (Not exactly a direct quote, but I’m sure I’ll hear that some time this semester.) But here’s my problem: parallel to taking this class, I am becoming a stronger Christian. We talked today about weak-sense critical thinking, where you employ critical thinking to defend a belief you hold dear, as opposed to strong-sense critical thinking – being willing to evaluate as impartially as possible all the different opinions and settle on the best supported one. In fact, people talked in class about religion as one of the major weak-sense situations. Phrases like “indoctrination,” “mindless faith,” “wouldn’t listen,” “The DaVinci Code” and “changed the subject” flew. In my notes I wrote, “Listen – not all religious people use weak sense critical thinking!! People, stop making generalizations!!!!” It is difficult to sit in class and hear first people using such words as “religion.” Religion encompasses such a broad range of options that anything beginning “all religious people…” cannot possibly be true. Second, when I hear students with no experience in the Christian faith restating general misconceptions (“Religious people [read: Christians] aren’t willing to look at alternatives”; “Religious people are brainwashed”) I start steaming at the ears. It was all I could do not to start arguing right there and then, even though I knew instantly I was outnumbered and outgunned. An entire class, and I would put money on the fact that none of those 35 people share my faith.
Oh, the irksomeness! I really don’t know how to approach this class, because for all I’m willing to be openminded about many things in life, there’s one thing I cannot budge on, and that’s Christianity. Period. I’d love to talk about the rightness or wrongess of abortions, the death penalty, the value of marriage, if evolution is correct… on and on. But ask me to critically reevaluate Christianity… I don’t know. I imagine the professor would say that I’m so well indoctrinated that I can’t open my mind to other options. Say that’s so: well, I think some things cannot be shaky and one of them is faith. I’m not sure how this class will work out in the end because of this.
Later that day…
Political schism within the family. Ian and I have never been able to discuss politics reasonably. Neither have we been brave enough to touch on the Creation/Evolution debate after our intial down-and-dirty fight of two years ago. Many happy, stable families completely avoid the topic of who each person voted for; indeed, Mom doesn’t know who Dad voted for last election. I have this funny feeling he actually did vote for G.W.B. four years ago and regrets it now.
Anyway. I can see that Major American Writers II, henceforth MAWII, will be difficult to take notes in. The entire class was devoted to various people airing their ideas – mostly good ones; thankfully we’re getting beyond the point where people continue expostulating the same lame theories repeatedly – but how to know what’s correct? On the other hand, many of them could be correct. And in the middle of class I suddenly thought, “What if Bartleby is a Christ figure?” And that just brought me back, nearly reducing me to a blubbering mass of putty on the floor. Thanks, Mr. Seymour.
Remember, guys, Ivar was onto something. Keep Clam.
– KF –
40 days to my husband.