Once upon a time, Christians were fed to the lions. Even though that appears to have been political, Christians called it religious persecution. But it shows just how hollowed out Christianity has become that today, persecution is thought to be any instance when the entire society doesn’t accept Christian dogma as The Truth™. The best example of this is the constant complaint about, Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas. The problem Christians have with “Happy holidays!” is that it doesn’t single out Christianity as being true and special.
Well, on Thursday, the conservative world went crazy about a teenager who was being oppressed because a mean old teacher gave her Fs on essays that she was supposed to write that the teen thought required her to argue against Christianity. For example, Breitbart published, Professor Fails Student for Refusing to Conform to His Anti-Christian Bias. Fox News ran with, Student: Professor Gave Me Zeros for Refusing to Condemn Christianity. WorldNetDaily went with, Christian Girl Given Zeroes for Her Beliefs, with the subtitle, “No student should be subjected to such outrageous bias and outright hostility.” As it will likely not surprise you, this is not what is going on.
College students are used to telling teachers what they want to hear. They don’t go running to television stations to complain that they are expected to make an argument that goes against what they believe. In fact, it is part of the learning experience to be able to make arguments that go against what you believe. It is part of learning to think. Only a coward would be so fragile in her beliefs as to think that considering an opposing view would be an assault on her opinions. But as we know, modern American Christians are mostly extremely cowardly when it comes to their faiths.
What actually happened in this case was that the student, young Grace Lewis, decided that she didn’t have to write essays that dealt with events in the history of Christianity. She preferred to talk about the way Christianity is today. But the instructor, Lance Russum, was teaching an introduction to humanities course, not Sunday school. So when Lewis did not write her essays on the subjects assigned, he gave her zero credit. It wasn’t that he disagreed with her homespun Christian apologetics; it was that her homespun Christian apologetics had nothing to do with the assignment.
Here is one of the essay assignments:
- What is something Lady Julian is saying/doing that women should not be saying/doing at that time under the Christian mythos?
- From the article on the nuns, what makes their defiance of male dominance so important?
- Why did Christianity, and its male gods, want to silence these women?
Apparently, by the time of this assignment, Russum had experienced Lewis’ approach to such questions. So he added this note:
In an unintentionally funny response, Lewis wrote, “In conclusion, the questions assigned are not open-minded questions.” Yes, that’s right: reading about a 14th century Christian thinker is designed to make people abandon their Christianity. This can only be true if one’s faith is childish and based upon Christians of all times being perfect. Ms Lewis is a silly young woman and should be treated as such. She certainly shouldn’t be paraded around on television like a star.
To me, the situation is very clear if we change the subject from Christianity to Islam or Hinduism. No Christian would see a problem with that because no Christian sees those religions as being reflective of the true will of God. This highlights the biggest problem with dogmatic religion: it claims to be a destination. Followers of all the Abrahamic religions aren’t searching for the truth. They think they’ve found it. And if that’s the case, then why is Grace Lewis even in school? There is nothing she needs to learn. The Bible told her so.