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today i woke up at 6:11 am. i hope i go to sleep at 10pm tonight. that would make me happy. please help me.

my english 45a professor is a little bit annoying. i want to like her, i really do, because she seems so enthusiastic about the text and so enthusiastic about medieval literature (she says mid-AY-vull) but sometimes, she’s just annoying. christianity plays a big part in the texts we’re reading, right? so at the beginning of class yesterday, she announced “many of us don’t come from christian backgrounds, and many of us who do don’t consider ourselves religious, or don’t belong any more to any christian or judeo-christian faith, and don’t have access to resources about these things. so if you want to look up who judas is and why the narrator in havelok keeps referring to ‘that traitor judas’ you can go here *starts writing www.n… stops and turns to look at us* and i HATE this name, it’s just oh-so-catholic, but really, it’s not so bad… *finishes writing www.newadvent.org/cathen* it’s a catholic encyclopedia, so it has all the doctrinal stuff, but it’s ok–the catholics are pretty liberal nowdays, right?”

etc. i felt under fire, or something. which is silly, yes, but the subtext was “well duh, anybody ‘cool’ and ‘with it’ isn’t religious, and religious people are these backwards superstitious folk and they’re funny because they’re not enlightened like us.” there was also a subtext of “christianity is this awful thing because so many bad things have been done in its name, and they’re all bigoted fundamentalists” when this girl told us about great reference book on the old testament but “it’s jewish so it only has the old testament, of course” and the professor immediately said “ah, so it shouldn’t have to be called the OLD testament… anyway”

it was a little weird, like she was apologizing for making us learn about christianity.

while i do not like fundamentalists and i guess i see them as “backwards, superstitious folk” myself, i have this feeling like they give the rest of us a bad name, or something. that she had to justify being able to give us the link to the catholic encyclopedia, which she said was a great resource on christian things, by laughing and saying that “oh it’s not that bad, the catholics are liberal now” is a little weird. it’s not so weird that it’s causing me to be offended, not really, maybe just a little put off.

i don’t understand people who refuse to “believe in evolution” because the bible apparently contradicts it fundamentally. i don’t understand people who say things like “have you accepted jesus as your personal lord and saviour ie joined our church and only our church what you haven’t you’re going to hell!” (dat aka cynic814; i just read his post on being more ecumenical) but still.

when i look at myself, i don’t see a fundamentalist, i don’t see a person blind to the truths of science, i don’t see a bigot. but i’m still christian, and even catholic. it is a little unsettling to be thus accused of irrationality every time someone says something dismissive of religious folk.


  1. and i hate the word “religious.” it takes all your personal experiences and beliefs and somehow packages and throws it out the window cuz its “religious”

  2. Dude, you should totally confront your prof. about that. Being liberal shouldn’t mean making lame excuses about certain stuff with intellectual validity (e.g. a reference in your text) just because it’s emotionally loaded. In one breath to recognize that knowledge of christianity is important to understand something, yet simultaneously deny that it might be important…That’s just cowardly.

  3. I’m expecting backlash, but I’m prepared to learn new things.

    Correct me if I’m behind the times in terms of Catholicism, but as far as I know, if you’re a good Catholic, you have to believe everything in the scriptures and everything the Roman Catholic Church (the Popes and Councils) decides is divinely revealed.

    “Further, all those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment, or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed.” (Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council, On Faith, Chapter III. Found in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom (New York:Harper, 1877), Volume II, pp. 244-245).

    Further, from (John Hardon, The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism (Garden City: Image, 1981):
    44. What must a Catholic believe with divine faith?
    A Catholic must believe with divine faith the whole of revelation, which is contained in the written word of God and in Sacred Tradition.

    45. Can a person be a Catholic if he believes most, but not all, the teachings of revelation?
    A person cannot be a Catholic if he rejects even a single teaching that he knows has been revealed by God.

    46. What will happen to those who lack ‘the faith necessary for salvation’?
    Those will not be saved who lack the necessary faith because of their own sinful neglect or conduct. As Christ declared, ‘He who does not believe will be condemned’ (Mark 16:16).

    47. Why is divine faith called catholic?
    Divine faith is called catholic or universal because a believer must accept everything God has revealed. He may not be selective about what he chooses to believe

    Thus, if someone is a good Catholic they HAVE to believe ALL the Catholic Dogmas. They don’t get to examine them, question them and decide they’re true (though I admit that could still happen). That’s the nature of Catholicism. If you are not ready to believe every single one of the Catholic Dogmas, you will be “condemned”. That’s pretty intolerant of those who don’t believe now isn’t it?

    1. That may be true in theory, but it doesn’t work that way in ‘real life.’ People join religions for all kinds of reasons and it’s almost impossible to enforce ideological unity. For example, most Catholics use birth control because that’s the social norm, even though it goes against the church. Dogma’s always changing. So there’s a lot of variety in every religion. I guess that’s pretty obvious so maybe there isn’t much point to this.

    2. I think Ryan’s absolutely right. Also, if you read 45 again, you’ll see that you have to know it is revealed by God. I don’t know about you, but if I knew for a fact something was revealed by God, I sure as hell would believe it. the catch is personally knowing that it IS revealed by God.

    3. I can’t remember if it was St. Augustine that said this, but it was one of the early church doctors that said that it is wrong for a person to deny what is “divinely inspired by God”, or a “divine revelation” especially when dealing with an issue that required, and, went through of a process of intense discernement reflecting upon church teaching, prayer, scripture, and after that extensive process, then eventually the integrity of oneself, and realizing, or having the “truth” revealed, in such process, is entirely within church doctrine. Therefore, it is this process that is entirely accepted as official church revelation, and a lot of these rules that are stipulated are “accepted”, or being constantly being reviewed, but to the best of my understanding, we are held responsible for the creed ((what we say as the recite as the apostles creed)), as being the basic ideas that we as Catholics are expected to follow. I mean, if we believe in that, then i am certain that i can call myself a Catholic.

      In a more personal example, i am gay, and i am Catholic. No, i do not follow every single part of what is the “official Catholic stance”, but the spirit of Catholicism, yes, i do believe in a community and a body within Christ, which is the general spirit of what Catholicism is about, and i don’t think anyone can take that away from. Hell, i don’t think i will be excommunicated, i dare that to happen, but it won’t, because Catholicism is so diverse as an institution that it is impossible to say that Catholics have to believe in every single piece of dogma that exists. If that were to happen, we would be contradicting the very nature of Jesus’ teaching about the law made for man, vs. the man made for the law. If we had to follow catholicism heel-to-toe, then we would essentially be very bad… catholics.
      I was also wondering about one of the references made in 1877, a lot has changed since the second vatican council…
      aside from that… er… i hope i didn’t want to confuse anyone, i was just merely interested in this topic, please ignore my ranting if it doesn’t do you any good. Oh yes! and i agree judy. hehehe, see you around

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