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(Townhall)   Professor forces a student to violate his religious beliefs. Student complains the college. College does A) apologize, B) Bring the Professor before a committee, or C) Suspend the student and go into denial mode   (townhall.com) divider line 477
    More: Asinine, jesus, Florida Atlantic University, Paul Kengor, colleges, students, Delaware Democratic Party, professors, Ryan Rotela  
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18555 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Mar 2013 at 1:06 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-24 05:41:22 PM  
And as to the class and the act itself, I see what the teacher was trying to do, although he must have known it would have caused a scrap in the end. It's about symbology. It was a depiction of what "we" think "jesus" looked like, although nobody has any idea if he was real or just made up. I'm going with maybe he was a real man, but just that. Not the son of "God", but just a man trying to change things for the better. I have no problem with this. And if indeed this is the case, i wish we had more men or women trying to make things better for everyone.

But to take a man, mortal, and elevate him to Godhood, or at the least, the son of God, to wow the people that you're trying to convert to "Christianity" is reprehensible. Why not just say, hey, here is a guy with some great ideas on how to make things better through some good laws we should live by, and everything wouldn't be so farked up all the time? He's got some good ideas..lets spread that around.

I'll tell you why, because the whole "rising from the dead and "ascending" on wings to be with his all powerful father" not to mention the whole super healing power is MUCH better theater than "just some cool dude with a good idea or two". Little harder to sell the latter. Much easier the former.
 
2013-03-24 05:42:45 PM  

FloydA: That was a pedagogical necessity.


When is singling out any student a pedagogical necessity? It's cruel and an abuse of power.
 
2013-03-24 05:42:57 PM  

andersoncouncil42: What bible verse forbids this?


It's gotta be in there somewhere. Maybe mixed in with the verses that tell followers to execute disobedient children and menstruating women and shellfish eaters and people working on the Sabbath and wearers of blended fabrics and farmers who raise two crops in one field and those who refuse to convert to Christianity and men who lay with other men.
 
2013-03-24 05:43:56 PM  

ginandbacon: FloydA: That was a pedagogical necessity.

When is singling out any student a pedagogical necessity? It's cruel and an abuse of power.


How was a single student singled out?
 
2013-03-24 05:44:40 PM  

ginandbacon: Bit'O'Gristle: or even existed at all

There is quite a bit of evidence that Jesus existed. You seem ignorant.


/you forgot to put the 10 percent of your earnings into the collection plate for jesus. He needs the cash. Watch out, satan is behind you.
 
2013-03-24 05:44:52 PM  

s2s2s2: Biological Ali: s2s2s2: That we don't need religion to act immorally. People who think the world would be much different without belief systems centered around a deity, are idiots.

There's no way you typed that with a straight face.

What would be different?


You do realize that there's a massive amount of violence all around the world that occurs solely because it's commanded by various religions, right? I mean, if you were talking strictly about the US, it might be understandable (though still not entirely correct, since religiously motivated violence still does occur even there), but to say that about the world is just hilariously wrong.
 
2013-03-24 05:45:32 PM  

ginandbacon: FloydA: That was a pedagogical necessity.

When is singling out any student a pedagogical necessity? It's cruel and an abuse of power.


He WASN'T singling out a specific student. For fark's sake, try thinking instead of reacting once in a while.
 
2013-03-24 05:52:23 PM  

ginandbacon: FloydA: That was a pedagogical necessity.

When is singling out any student a pedagogical necessity? It's cruel and an abuse of power.


You sure this was singling out a student? Considering that the most common religion in this country remains Christianity?
 
2013-03-24 05:52:47 PM  

Epicedion: ginandbacon: FloydA: That was a pedagogical necessity.

When is singling out any student a pedagogical necessity? It's cruel and an abuse of power.

How was a single student singled out?


My understanding of this lesson was that it (the way this particular teacher decided to implement it) focused on the the word Jesus. Which would have singled out any devout Christian or anyone with any respect for anyone who followed that faith. It was a sloppy and useless way to address religious symbolism or religion. 

Again, I am an atheist. But I would have no joy in demeaning the sacred symbol of a great many people I love and respect. I would react the same way were this directed at Mohammed or Buddha or Shiva as I said before. I don't get a lot of pleasure from disrespecting other peoples faiths.
 
2013-03-24 05:53:31 PM  

cybrwzrd: I am of the belief that ~95% of the worlds problems would go away if religion ceased to exist tomorrow.


I used to think that way.  Then I realized that we're all savages and we'd find something new to fight about eventually :(

More on topic: I remember doing a similar exercise in one of my University classes (don't remember which one).  A couple of the students had a problem with the assignment, but once the teacher (and a few classmates) explained it, they backed down.  The kid in TFA just wasn't willing to listen.  He wanted to feel oppressed.  That's just my take on it.
 
2013-03-24 05:54:55 PM  

ginandbacon: Epicedion: ginandbacon: FloydA: That was a pedagogical necessity.

When is singling out any student a pedagogical necessity? It's cruel and an abuse of power.

How was a single student singled out?

My understanding of this lesson was that it (the way this particular teacher decided to implement it) focused on the the word Jesus. Which would have singled out any devout Christian or anyone with any respect for anyone who followed that faith. It was a sloppy and useless way to address religious symbolism or religion. 

Again, I am an atheist. But I would have no joy in demeaning the sacred symbol of a great many people I love and respect. I would react the same way were this directed at Mohammed or Buddha or Shiva as I said before. I don't get a lot of pleasure from disrespecting other peoples faiths.


For the exercise to be effective it needed to be a symbol that people would recognize and identify with in some way. If no one identifies with it it's not a goddamn symbol.
 
2013-03-24 05:54:55 PM  

ginandbacon: FloydA: That was a pedagogical necessity.

When is singling out any student a pedagogical necessity? It's cruel and an abuse of power.


That didn't happen though.  No student was singled out.  The exercise was assigned, the students were offered the opportunity to take part or not, this one student chose to be offended (precisely as the exercise predicted), and then after class, when the other students were leaving, this one student confronted the teacher and threatened to complain to school administrators and the media.  Once again, the student was not singled out.  The student initiated the confrontation after class.

Remember that TownHall is not a reliable source of accurate information; it is yellow journalism at its worst.  It is probably unwise for us to base our conclusions on their description of the event, since they have a history of being someone less bound by the tenets of accurate, factual reporting than we might prefer.  Events almost certainly did not transpire in the way that the article describes.

We may argue about whether or not the exercise was ill-advised, or whether or not it was handled properly and competently; I certainly don't know enough to hold any strong opinion about that.  But I do know that when TownHall (or WND, American Thinker, Daily Caller, Breitbart, or any of the other usual suspects) raises a fuss about...well, anything really, that their descriptions are highly suspect.
 
2013-03-24 05:55:06 PM  

Damnhippyfreak: You sure this was singling out a student? Considering that the most common religion in this country remains Christianity?


Were the students asked to write out the name of Mohammed, Buddha, Shiva, or Yahweh?
 
2013-03-24 05:57:43 PM  

ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: You sure this was singling out a student? Considering that the most common religion in this country remains Christianity?

Were the students asked to write out the name of Mohammed, Buddha, Shiva, or Yahweh?


Okay, now you're just being stupid for the sake of continuing a pointless argument.
 
2013-03-24 05:57:58 PM  

ginandbacon: Epicedion: ginandbacon: FloydA: That was a pedagogical necessity.

When is singling out any student a pedagogical necessity? It's cruel and an abuse of power.

How was a single student singled out?

My understanding of this lesson was that it (the way this particular teacher decided to implement it) focused on the the word Jesus. Which would have singled out any devout Christian or anyone with any respect for anyone who followed that faith. It was a sloppy and useless way to address religious symbolism or religion. 

Again, I am an atheist. But I would have no joy in demeaning the sacred symbol of a great many people I love and respect. I would react the same way were this directed at Mohammed or Buddha or Shiva as I said before. I don't get a lot of pleasure from disrespecting other peoples faiths.



I don't think the intent was for anyone to derive pleasure from the experience, but instead an impetus to examine why one values such a symbol, sacred or otherwise. Note that that is what you have explicitly done here - therefore I would argue that the exercise would prove useful to students in the same way.
 
2013-03-24 05:58:01 PM  

FloydA: We may argue about whether or not the exercise was ill-advised, or whether or not it was handled properly and competently; I certainly don't know enough to hold any strong opinion about that.  But I do know that when TownHall (or WND, American Thinker, Daily Caller, Breitbart, or any of the other usual suspects) raises a fuss about...well, anything really, that their descriptions are highly suspect.


Fine but this story is being reported in other media and I know you well enough to know that you care about teaching. I doubt that you would defend this method in ant instance. It reeks of bad pedagogy.
 
2013-03-24 05:58:20 PM  

ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: You sure this was singling out a student? Considering that the most common religion in this country remains Christianity?

Were the students asked to write out the name of Mohammed, Buddha, Shiva, or Yahweh?


Christ on a popsicle stick, stop whining.
 
2013-03-24 05:59:32 PM  

ginandbacon: FloydA: We may argue about whether or not the exercise was ill-advised, or whether or not it was handled properly and competently; I certainly don't know enough to hold any strong opinion about that.  But I do know that when TownHall (or WND, American Thinker, Daily Caller, Breitbart, or any of the other usual suspects) raises a fuss about...well, anything really, that their descriptions are highly suspect.

Fine but this story is being reported in other media and I know you well enough to know that you care about teaching. I doubt that you would defend this method in ant instance. It reeks of bad pedagogy.


*sigh* or any.
 
2013-03-24 06:00:54 PM  

ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: You sure this was singling out a student? Considering that the most common religion in this country remains Christianity?

Were the students asked to write out the name of Mohammed, Buddha, Shiva, or Yahweh?


Nope. Jesus remains the most common religion is this country and would therefore be more likely to have meaning to the largest number of students. I really don't think this could be considered singling out a student.

That aside, you might have a case for something akin to 'singling out' if the exercise instead stipulated a minority religion.
 
2013-03-24 06:03:16 PM  
FFS... this is a hypersensitive culture. Ergo, we cannot ask students to step on the name of their god just as we can't hang Halloween ghosts from trees. The end. Stop being shocked when people are offended. This is the world we live in.

A nation of pussies.
 
2013-03-24 06:03:55 PM  

FloydA: 8Fingers: FloydA: 8Fingers: So none were forced to do it. They were asked if they wanted to participate. And if you choose no, no big deal.
But this one whiney snot-nosed baby, momma bussomed coddled, always needing someone to protect him from bad people and no doubt a liberal.
Decides to get all AW about it and an entire university has to get down on its knees and say were sorry?
What a bunch of BS!

LOLWUT?

Oh common, the course and instructor were probaby known to be edgy, sometimes out of the norm and could be a bit contraversial. And being the liberal, he most likely only took the course and sat there waiting for his rights to be offended so that he could make a big stink and get the 'Oh My Gooosssh', look at what they've done to me!!!!' Attention that he went looking for.


You're using the word "liberal" in a very non-standard way here.  The Mormon church are hardly known for "liberalism," and the type of person who goes to Fox News because he thinks a professor has insulted his religion is extremely unlikely to self-identify as "liberal."

Did you mean some other word?


Nope, a person that would go out of their way, to put themselves into, a position to be offended because they wanted attention about them being offended by something is what aliberal does. Just because he claims to be a devote mormon, its to get more attention. And as far as the Fox theory goes, its a wire story on just about every news group and voice out there.
 
2013-03-24 06:04:37 PM  

Damnhippyfreak: I don't think the intent was for anyone to derive pleasure from the experience, but instead an impetus to examine why one values such a symbol, sacred or otherwise. Note that that is what you have explicitly done here - therefore I would argue that the exercise would prove useful to students in the same way.


That is a very cogent and reasonable response and one I am going to have to think over a little bit. But I am 46 and have had the benefit of a great many incredible teachers. Are you suggesting that a 19 or 18 or 20 year old is able to push back if a teacher (a person in a position of power) behaves in an immoral fashion? Especially if you were raised in a tradition that teaches you to obey and submit to authority?
 
2013-03-24 06:04:58 PM  
Hey, at least people who didn't step on the "Jesus" weren't executed like back in 1600s Japan...
 
2013-03-24 06:05:00 PM  

ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: You sure this was singling out a student? Considering that the most common religion in this country remains Christianity?

Were the students asked to write out the name of Mohammed, Buddha, Shiva, or Yahweh?


As I mentioned up thread, that would not have worked.

Remember, the goal of the exercise was not to get students to step on the paper.  The exercise specifically predicted that they would not do so, and then the class was expected to discuss why they would not.

I also would have been uncomfortable stepping on the paper, even though (a) I am an atheist, (b) the name of Jesus isn't the same as the person or the ideas he represents, and (c) that's not what the guy would have called himself anyway.  Despite the fact that I know all of these things, I still would have been uncomfortable stepping on the paper, and that is the whole point of the exercise.  That symbol has power in our culture; it influences the way that we act, even those of us who are not religious, and that's precisely the lesson that the exercise was supposed to teach.

Unfortunately, in many parts of the US, if you wrote  Śiva or even YHVH, the students would have no idea what those symbols meant, and if you wrote Buddha or Mohammed, some students would actually take pleasure in stepping on them.  As a result, those symbols would not be effective for this exercise.

If the class were being taught in a predominantly Muslim, Hindu, or Jewish community, a different symbol would be necessary for the exercise to have the same effect, but Florida is not predominantly Muslim, Hindu, or Jewish.  A widely respected, accepted, and recognized symbol was necessary in order for the exercise to have the desired effect.  A US flag would have been an effective replacement (although then the teacher would be actually violating the Flag Code, so that's also not a good idea.)

(I don't think the exercise would work at all in a predominantly Buddhist community; the Buddhist students  would all say "OK" and walk all over the paper.  Buddhists are unusual that way.)
 
2013-03-24 06:06:43 PM  

ginandbacon: FloydA: We may argue about whether or not the exercise was ill-advised, or whether or not it was handled properly and competently; I certainly don't know enough to hold any strong opinion about that.  But I do know that when TownHall (or WND, American Thinker, Daily Caller, Breitbart, or any of the other usual suspects) raises a fuss about...well, anything really, that their descriptions are highly suspect.

Fine but this story is being reported in other media and I know you well enough to know that you care about teaching. I doubt that you would defend this method in ant instance. It reeks of bad pedagogy.


I also care about teaching - the exercise is certainly  engaging, something that one strives for in this context. However, like any topic that has the potential to be controversial it has to be handled delicately and with explicit acknowledgement and inclusivity given the diversity of opinion and beliefs. That being said, such controversy should not be shied away from, especially given the topic of the class. If handled well, such an exercise can provide a very teachable moment.
 
2013-03-24 06:07:36 PM  

ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: I don't think the intent was for anyone to derive pleasure from the experience, but instead an impetus to examine why one values such a symbol, sacred or otherwise. Note that that is what you have explicitly done here - therefore I would argue that the exercise would prove useful to students in the same way.

That is a very cogent and reasonable response and one I am going to have to think over a little bit. But I am 46 and have had the benefit of a great many incredible teachers. Are you suggesting that a 19 or 18 or 20 year old is able to push back if a teacher (a person in a position of power) behaves in an immoral fashion? Especially if you were raised in a tradition that teaches you to obey and submit to authority?


All this really shows is that some people need to be shocked out of their cultural upbringings if they're going to participate in intellectual activities about culture at a meta-level rather than just in the mud of their own culture versus other cultures. If you want to be insular and reactionary, just stay home.
 
2013-03-24 06:09:20 PM  

ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: I don't think the intent was for anyone to derive pleasure from the experience, but instead an impetus to examine why one values such a symbol, sacred or otherwise. Note that that is what you have explicitly done here - therefore I would argue that the exercise would prove useful to students in the same way.

That is a very cogent and reasonable response and one I am going to have to think over a little bit. But I am 46 and have had the benefit of a great many incredible teachers. Are you suggesting that a 19 or 18 or 20 year old is able to push back if a teacher (a person in a position of power) behaves in an immoral fashion? Especially if you were raised in a tradition that teaches you to obey and submit to authority?


Still trying to understand why you think the teacher was "behaving immorally", considering he didn't force anyone to do anything and had the students discuss why they did and didn't step on a piece of paper with a name on it.
 
2013-03-24 06:14:02 PM  

ginandbacon: FloydA: We may argue about whether or not the exercise was ill-advised, or whether or not it was handled properly and competently; I certainly don't know enough to hold any strong opinion about that.  But I do know that when TownHall (or WND, American Thinker, Daily Caller, Breitbart, or any of the other usual suspects) raises a fuss about...well, anything really, that their descriptions are highly suspect.

Fine but this story is being reported in other media and I know you well enough to know that you care about teaching. I doubt that you would defend this method in ant instance. It reeks of bad pedagogy.


Personally, I wouldn't use an exercise like this, because there are other ways to get the same message across that have less risk of this type of escalation.  It would have struck me as "likely to piss off the whiniest students" so I would never have even considered it unless a senior faculty member told me to do so.  But that's me- I've got my teaching strategies, others have theirs.  TBH, I doubt that this particular prof is going to be assigning this exercise again if he can avoid it.

But then again, maybe he has had a lot of success with it in the past- getting students to think about why and how we respond to symbols and notions of the sacred.  If so, maybe he was having an "off" day, or maybe this one student was just looking for something to be offended about.  Personally, I would suspect the later, simply because probably 80-90% of the class are Christians, and this was the only student who complained.

But YMMV.  I won't argue with you about it.  It's a sunny afternoon here, and I have whiskey, and that's much more appealing right now than arguing.
 
2013-03-24 06:15:25 PM  

8Fingers: FloydA: 8Fingers: FloydA: 8Fingers: So none were forced to do it. They were asked if they wanted to participate. And if you choose no, no big deal.
But this one whiney snot-nosed baby, momma bussomed coddled, always needing someone to protect him from bad people and no doubt a liberal.
Decides to get all AW about it and an entire university has to get down on its knees and say were sorry?
What a bunch of BS!

LOLWUT?

Oh common, the course and instructor were probaby known to be edgy, sometimes out of the norm and could be a bit contraversial. And being the liberal, he most likely only took the course and sat there waiting for his rights to be offended so that he could make a big stink and get the 'Oh My Gooosssh', look at what they've done to me!!!!' Attention that he went looking for.


You're using the word "liberal" in a very non-standard way here.  The Mormon church are hardly known for "liberalism," and the type of person who goes to Fox News because he thinks a professor has insulted his religion is extremely unlikely to self-identify as "liberal."

Did you mean some other word?

Nope, a person that would go out of their way, to put themselves into, a position to be offended because they wanted attention about them being offended by something is what aliberal does. Just because he claims to be a devote mormon, its to get more attention. And as far as the Fox theory goes, its a wire story on just about every news group and voice out there.


Am I being trolled here?
 
2013-03-24 06:15:29 PM  

ginandbacon: I think I could see how being asked to write the name of your divine spirit on a piece of paper and then being required to step on it might be offensive. I'm not sure who designed this particular exercise, but it kind of sucks ass. There are much better ways IMHO to teach how hypocritical and ridiculous many religious teachings are without doing dishonor to the essential message behind them which is essentially love and tolerance. Jesus was a great man in many respects and even as an atheist, I'm not sure I would want to write out his name and then stomp on it.


They were not required to. The exercise assumes that most will not comply and their reasons are supposed to form the basis of class discussion. The guy complaining is a dick.
 
2013-03-24 06:16:23 PM  

ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: I don't think the intent was for anyone to derive pleasure from the experience, but instead an impetus to examine why one values such a symbol, sacred or otherwise. Note that that is what you have explicitly done here - therefore I would argue that the exercise would prove useful to students in the same way.

That is a very cogent and reasonable response and one I am going to have to think over a little bit. But I am 46 and have had the benefit of a great many incredible teachers. Are you suggesting that a 19 or 18 or 20 year old is able to push back if a teacher (a person in a position of power) behaves in an immoral fashion? Especially if you were raised in a tradition that teaches you to obey and submit to authority?


I think if the student is in a place where they believe that 'pushing back' in a confrontational manner is the right thing to do, we should do our best to ensure that approach should be a last resort. My opinion is that inclusivity and recognition of diversity and dealing with this sort of thing in a sensitive manner is sometimes lacking in the post-secondary context, especially given that many professors do not have much formal training in education.  It's getting better in some regards (more awareness of the issue) but worse in others (more reliance on sessionals who have even less teaching experience), but progress towards competence in this areais slow. I'm also an advocate for the existence of independent entities similar to an ombudsman - someone a student can talk to that is outside of the academic administrative unit.

In summation, the student shouldn't have to push back in the first place if the teaching environment is run well, and if so, there should be an independent entity the student should be able to talk to.
 
2013-03-24 06:17:37 PM  
But...but....but libtards say Christians are not persecuted!
 
2013-03-24 06:18:13 PM  

FloydA: ginandbacon: FloydA: We may argue about whether or not the exercise was ill-advised, or whether or not it was handled properly and competently; I certainly don't know enough to hold any strong opinion about that.  But I do know that when TownHall (or WND, American Thinker, Daily Caller, Breitbart, or any of the other usual suspects) raises a fuss about...well, anything really, that their descriptions are highly suspect.

Fine but this story is being reported in other media and I know you well enough to know that you care about teaching. I doubt that you would defend this method in ant instance. It reeks of bad pedagogy.

Personally, I wouldn't use an exercise like this, because there are other ways to get the same message across that have less risk of this type of escalation.  It would have struck me as "likely to piss off the whiniest students" so I would never have even considered it unless a senior faculty member told me to do so.  But that's me- I've got my teaching strategies, others have theirs.  TBH, I doubt that this particular prof is going to be assigning this exercise again if he can avoid it.

But then again, maybe he has had a lot of success with it in the past- getting students to think about why and how we respond to symbols and notions of the sacred.  If so, maybe he was having an "off" day, or maybe this one student was just looking for something to be offended about.  Personally, I would suspect the later, simply because probably 80-90% of the class are Christians, and this was the only student who complained.

But YMMV.  I won't argue with you about it.  It's a sunny afternoon here, and I have whiskey, and that's much more appealing right now than arguing.


It's raining and freezing here, and there's no beer cold. Bring the suck.
 
2013-03-24 06:21:25 PM  

Epicedion: ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: I don't think the intent was for anyone to derive pleasure from the experience, but instead an impetus to examine why one values such a symbol, sacred or otherwise. Note that that is what you have explicitly done here - therefore I would argue that the exercise would prove useful to students in the same way.

That is a very cogent and reasonable response and one I am going to have to think over a little bit. But I am 46 and have had the benefit of a great many incredible teachers. Are you suggesting that a 19 or 18 or 20 year old is able to push back if a teacher (a person in a position of power) behaves in an immoral fashion? Especially if you were raised in a tradition that teaches you to obey and submit to authority?

All this really shows is that some people need to be shocked out of their cultural upbringings if they're going to participate in intellectual activities about culture at a meta-level rather than just in the mud of their own culture versus other cultures. If you want to be insular and reactionary, just stay home.



I agree that shock and a bit of disruption of existing ideas is certainly useful but we have to be careful about reactions to said shock. It has to be balanced with a recognition that different students will react differently to it, and therefore a soft touch or safety net is prudent, if not necessary. As an example, if it was me running this course, I would have performed it as a thought exercise to take a bit of the edge off and immediately followed up with an open discussion to let the students express what they were feeling (the latter works wonders in my experience in preventing them from stewing in it).
 
2013-03-24 06:22:27 PM  

Epicedion: f you want to be insular and reactionary, just stay home.


If you think that I am from an insular and reactionary background, you might want to get to know me a bit.

Keizer_Ghidorah: Still trying to understand why you think the teacher was "behaving immorally", considering he didn't force anyone to do anything and had the students discuss why they did and didn't step on a piece of paper with a name on it.


I think that the teacher's decision to make this particular exercise about Jesus was uncalled for and weird. It seemed like (from the teaching material) that it should have been a more general lesson. And would have had greater value if students had to confront defiling their own deity vs. the deity of others. That would have brought the point home in a concrete way, do you not agree?
 
2013-03-24 06:25:55 PM  

FloydA: But YMMV.  I won't argue with you about it.  It's a sunny afternoon here, and I have whiskey, and that's much more appealing right now than arguing.


There's a couple of values we can both agree on and enjoy. Sláinte  my friend :)
 
2013-03-24 06:27:37 PM  

Damnhippyfreak: I agree that shock and a bit of disruption of existing ideas is certainly useful but we have to be careful about reactions to said shock. It has to be balanced with a recognition that different students will react differently to it, and therefore a soft touch or safety net is prudent, if not necessary. As an example, if it was me running this course, I would have performed it as a thought exercise to take a bit of the edge off and immediately followed up with an open discussion to let the students express what they were feeling (the latter works wonders in my experience in preventing them from stewing in it).


Which is exactly how the lesson was done in the first place. The kid still decided to turn it into a media circus.

ginandbacon: Keizer_Ghidorah: Still trying to understand why you think the teacher was "behaving immorally", considering he didn't force anyone to do anything and had the students discuss why they did and didn't step on a piece of paper with a name on it.

I think that the teacher's decision to make this particular exercise about Jesus was uncalled for and weird. It seemed like (from the teaching material) that it should have been a more general lesson. And would have had greater value if students had to confront defiling their own deity vs. the deity of others. That would have brought the point home in a concrete way, do you not agree?


Not really, because the POINT OF THE GODDAMNED LESSON WAS  SYMBOLS AND THEIR POWER IN OUR CULTURE, NOT CHRISTIANITY VS THE REST OF RELIGION. AND SINCE CHRISTIANITY IS THE MAJOR RELIGION OF AMERICA, IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO USE IT AS THE FOCUS.

Why is it that farking difficult for you to understand this? Why?
 
2013-03-24 06:29:01 PM  

Damnhippyfreak: the student shouldn't have to push back in the first place if the teaching environment is run well


Exactly and very well put.
 
2013-03-24 06:30:13 PM  

Keizer_Ghidorah: Why is it that farking difficult for you to understand this? Why?


I guess I'm just hopelessly retarded.
 
2013-03-24 06:30:49 PM  
If you step on the paper and feel uncomfortable, or you refuse to step on the paper and place it back on the desk, the point is made: We humans sometimes confer power to symbols that shape our actions, beliefs and emotions.  The only way this exercise doesn't make its point is if I'm the student, because I probably wouldn't have been paying attention and would have sat there wondering why everyone was standing up...but if asked, sure, I'll step on it.  Hell, I would moonwalk on it because it's a piece of paper and it wasn't made venerable in my eyes because I scrawled "Jesus" on it with my Ticonderoga #2.

I will say that this exercise WILL single out a closet Christian who doesn't want anyone to know that he is a true and devout believer.  Either that, or to keep the religiosity secret, the closet Christian steps on the paper and feels like a total Judas the rest of the week.  In deference to those who feel uncomfortable letting the Christian cat outta the bag, the exercise could be tweaked: Have them take out two pieces of paper. On one write "Step here" and draw an X on the paper.  Now, take the second piece of paper and write "JESUS" and place it on the floor next to the "STEP HERE" paper. Ask them to look down at  both sheets and consider whether they would have a problem stepping on the "JESUS" paper, but not the "STEP HERE" paper and then write an  8000 word paper (APA format)  on why.   Oh, and it's due tomorrow, asshats.

/There. I hope you senstitive, closeted Jesus freaks are happy. I was watching basketball tonight, but now I'm doing a stinking paper.
 
2013-03-24 06:35:29 PM  

Igor Jakovsky: You may have a point about the KA's though. I went to some of their parties and they still had pictures of the newly minted brothers clad in Confederate grey.  Would they sincerely be happy to crap on Mohammed or would it have been frat type hijinks?  Not sure.


The confederate stuff is normal. The local chapter had a big ol' picture of Robert E. Lee as you walked in the main door and they've romanticized the "southern gentleman, mint juleps, and pretense" paradigm basically since their inception.
 
2013-03-24 06:36:08 PM  

ginandbacon: Damnhippyfreak: the student shouldn't have to push back in the first place if the teaching environment is run well

Exactly and very well put.

There's only so much as a teacher can do with an insular jerk. Some folks cannot be taught due to their preconceived notion that their way of life is under attack. As a communications major, the student should have had a basic understanding of challenging logical preconceptions, as opposed to taking personal offense to this teaching approach. Not for nothing, but taking the side of this student is not far from taking the side of a petulant child screaming in the checkout aisle at the grocery store.
 
2013-03-24 06:37:18 PM  

FloydA: RickN99: houstondragon: eraser8: Is there a reason our society treats religious ideas so much more gingerly than other kinds of ideas?

This isn't a troll. I'm seriously asking.

Most major wars and a great deal of historical murdering sprees tend to come from arguing over who has the coolest sky wizard.

Or by not showing the appropriate level of fanaticism towards said sky wizard when confronted.

/See: Crusades
//Or: Inquisition
///Or: Romans vs Christians
////Or: Dark Ages
//Etc etc etc

All dwarfed by the murdering sprees of those arguing that no sky wizard exists.

/See:  Stalin
//Or Mao
///Etc, etc, etc

[i105.photobucket.com image 640x454]


Also instructive: the Spanish conquest of Latin America, in particular Mexico. Cruel and barbaric, with forced conversions to Catholicism and you got tortured to death if you didn't (to greatly simply a much more nuanced and lengthy process). The point being, of course, that it is likely that many of the local tribes welcomed the new religion as an alternative to getting your beating heart ripped from your living body by the Aztecs.
 
2013-03-24 06:38:50 PM  

Somacandra: Should have used "Obama's" name. Then [img1.fark.net image 77x27] would worship her.

/srsly, stupid technique


And Fark Liberals would be having cows.
 
2013-03-24 06:45:55 PM  
As written, the experiment is rather innocuous.  The professor needs to learn how to follow instructions and the students need to learn to act like adults attending a university, not whiny high-schoolers.  It sounds like they deserve one another.
 
2013-03-24 06:59:59 PM  

Igor Jakovsky: GAT_00: St_Francis_P: Dinki: Professor forces a student to violate his religious beliefs.

Does Mormonism have a tenet that you can't step on the name of Jesus?

Probably just the opposite. The Bible warns about idolatry and the worship of graven images. He should have stomped that piece of paper good to prove his faith.

I've always liked that Christians pray every week to a God who condemned them for false idols while being surrounded by false idols.

unless you are catholic the most you will see in a protestant church is a cross. The fundies bash the catholics for praying to Mary the Saints, etc.


There's also the "graven image" thing which is common to all three Abrahamic faiths, but which people interpret differently.  Muslims are pretty well-known for  not liking representational art.  Different groups are more or less stringent.
 
2013-03-24 07:00:53 PM  

FloydA: 8Fingers: FloydA: 8Fingers: FloydA: 8Fingers: So none were forced to do it. They were asked if they wanted to participate. And if you choose no, no big deal.
But this one whiney snot-nosed baby, momma bussomed coddled, always needing someone to protect him from bad people and no doubt a liberal.
Decides to get all AW about it and an entire university has to get down on its knees and say were sorry?
What a bunch of BS!

LOLWUT?

Oh common, the course and instructor were probaby known to be edgy, sometimes out of the norm and could be a bit contraversial. And being the liberal, he most likely only took the course and sat there waiting for his rights to be offended so that he could make a big stink and get the 'Oh My Gooosssh', look at what they've done to me!!!!' Attention that he went looking for.


You're using the word "liberal" in a very non-standard way here.  The Mormon church are hardly known for "liberalism," and the type of person who goes to Fox News because he thinks a professor has insulted his religion is extremely unlikely to self-identify as "liberal."

Did you mean some other word?

Nope, a person that would go out of their way, to put themselves into, a position to be offended because they wanted attention about them being offended by something is what aliberal does. Just because he claims to be a devote mormon, its to get more attention. And as far as the Fox theory goes, its a wire story on just about every news group and voice out there.

Am I being trolled here?


I wouldn't put much effort into trolling someone. But I would definetly expect a liberal to think that of someone just because someone sees things diferently.
 
2013-03-24 07:02:08 PM  
He should have done this like 100 times with Mohammed and filmed it, just so he could pull out the tapes and show them after the inevitable butthurt media frenzy over doing it once with Jesus.
 
2013-03-24 07:23:57 PM  
from FAU's website:

"...we can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class.

This exercise will not be used again. The University holds dear its core values. We sincerely apologize for any offense this caused. Florida Atlantic University respects all religions and welcomes people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs."


Too bad they didn't stand strong against stupidity. Something like "The University holds dear to its core values, including academic integrity. We will not second-guess one of our professors simply because one student lacked the cognitive or temperamental capacity to understand a lesson."
 
2013-03-24 07:34:12 PM  

Keizer_Ghidorah: Would you guys have been this angry and hateful and whiny if he had used Jews, or Muslims, or Buddhists, or the Dali Llama


Show me angry and hateful in any of my posts.

I don't really care about this exercise, and would not have been offended by it, but I can understand why someone else might. Is my ability to sympathize with someone else another one of those evils that only religion could have burdened humanity with?
 
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