How do I respond to a well-educated, Christian girl, who almost undoubtedly knows better than to defend the crutch of humanity that is religion? We've been assigned a project for Anthropology class about Christianity. She says we can't just stand in front of the class and present the actual history of the early church, with lies and leaps of faith and improbabilities intact. This girl is stubborn, opinionated and I've never proved her more wrong than I did today, but since it was a faith-based argument she wouldn't hear it. I imagine some people have had similar problems/quandries. Any suggestions?
Is your assignment to make a joint presentation on Christianity, rather than individual, separate comments? If not, could you split the available time or page count, each of you speaking or writing as you see fit? If you must present material that you can both agree on, could you focus on essentially neutral material, such as statistics on church membership by denomination and by growth trends? I hear, for example, that old mainline Protestant churches have declined in membership while fundamentalist churches have been growing strongly. There are also geographical trends. For example, the Anglican or Episcopal church and the Catholic church may now have more members (or at least be growing faster) in undeveloped countries, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere. Maybe there are some neutral facts that you and your partner can agree to present. Maybe your instructor would agree to give you new partner, one with opinions more like yours. Maybe the instructor’s point is have you work with someone whose beliefs are different from yours.
Good luck. I don’t envy you being yoked to a Christian or other believer, however briefly. What if you marry one? If this assignment helps you avoid that mistake, you owe your instructor some thanks.
I appreciate the advice. I think we’ve found a way in which to deal with the problem. You’re probably correct in your assessment of the teacher’s intentions. He’s just that type of guy.
Last semester my Lit Honors class read “Inherit the Wind”. We had this on-line discussion board thingy which we were all required to share our thoughts on the book and/or its message(s).
I was of course the only atheist/agnostic in class. At first, I was excited at the opportunity to stupidify religions (specifically christianity) among my christian buddies and went overoard with my posts doing so.
Time well wasted. No one cared one way or another. The students just wanted to make sure that they met the requirements for their posts, and the teacher only briefed the posts (understandably, there were quite a few of them).
My point: Just do the damn assignment and get a good grade on it. Just don’t go up there saying anything that would make you or I vomit. “We should all respect religions…bla bla bla…” Strictly stay with the “history” of christianity, and it shouldnt be too bad.
ps—if it were me, i would add an occasional sucker punch…ex: “so according to christianity’s view of history, a virgin had a baby…dude rose from dead…oookaaaay….yeah whatever. ahem, moving on…”