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What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor #239904
06/15/07 05:14 AM
06/15/07 05:14 AM
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Posts: 706
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indigo Offline OP
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A classmate asked about my cross and what Byzantine Catholicism was.I explained a little about Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Byzantine Catholicism. Then she asked if you have to confess to a priest if you commit a sin, and I told her that we don't confess to the priest but to Christ. The priest is simply a witness.She then told me that Catholicism didn't exist first (not that I told her that) and that in the early Church there were no bishops or priests just folks meeting at home reading the bible. Everything else came later and is therefore extraneous.

I didn't know how to respond because, first, I thought the inadvertent attack extremely rude, and second,I never set out to prove Church of Christ was wrong, but just to answer her questions. But it made me realize that this will undoubtedly happen again and I need to know how to respond.

We are in a class with an anti-religion,anti-Christian, anti-Catholic professor who insists on giving his opinions on things he knows nothing about. He keeps saying that religions are all myths. Christianity is an effective one, but a myth nonetheless. He's made remarks about the early church that were factually inaccurate and has frequently commented that Christianity is all about the resurrection. He compared a character from our book (oh, I forgot to say that this is a lit class not theology)to a priest raising the monstrance and I held my breath waiting for something blasphemous to crawl out of his mouth, because he's made some irreverent remarks about Catholicism in particular. Fortunately, he didn't go any further.
I think this professor is going through a religious struggle and is probably a lapsed Catholic so I try to have compassion on him. I don't want to blow my grade either so the first few days I would politely correct him but I stopped after a while. Still, I feel like there is a line and if he crosses it I'm not sure what to do. Walk out, demand an apology, what? I might add I am in the South and he's a northerner. I'd be in the wrong if I embarrass him or make the class uncomfortable.

He also likes to read very explicit sexual descriptions aloud and at those moments I always think the veiled muslims girls have the right idea.Sounds crazy, but the remarks make me feel naked and assaulted.

I haven't figured out how best to respond to all this and welcome any ideas you might have.
Thank you.

Indigo

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: indigo] #239911
06/15/07 07:39 AM
06/15/07 07:39 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 571
Holmdel, NJ, USA
Michael McD Offline
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Indigo,

Church of Christ people are among those Protestants who believe that the "Church" disappeared after the death of the Apostles only to reappear in some recent century. If you intend to have a dialogue with this woman, I would suggest 2 possibilities: a) advise her to read the epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch (+107AD) who speaks about the structure of the Church explicitly; b) check out the Coming Home Network of Marcus Grodi (www.chnetwork.org) and see if they can advise you in more detail -- it's what they do for a living.

Vis-a-vis the professor, that's a tougher issue. As you were describing him, I immediately sensed he might be a "fallen away" Catholic. Since your grade depends on him, direct confrontation may not be wise; in that case, just pray for him. If, however, his antics are repulsive to others in the class also, you may want to get-together with them and jointly ask him to behave better. That takes the spotlight off of you personally.

Perhaps there are professors on the Forums who can give you better advice.

Best,
Michael

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: indigo] #239925
06/15/07 09:21 AM
06/15/07 09:21 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 489
Phoenix
Sophia Wannabe Offline
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Quote
She then told me that Catholicism didn't exist first (not that I told her that) and that in the early Church there were no bishops or priests just folks meeting at home reading the bible. Everything else came later and is therefore extraneous.

Your friend should re-read 1 Cor. 11:20-30, where St Paul talks about the gathering, not just to read the Bible, but to celebrate the Lord's Supper.

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: Michael McD] #239930
06/15/07 09:36 AM
06/15/07 09:36 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,043
Chattanooga
JonnNightwatcher Offline
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Indigo,
you might want to complain to the department head, it stinks like a case of sexual harassment to me, if the MALE prof is discussing such that makes you feel uncomfortable. some of us Southerners need to be a bit more assertive (just like Northerners are) instead of worrying about our place, you young lady need to assert. oh, not all Northerners are like that, many are well behaved and there are some Southerners who would embarrass a baboon with their lack of decency.
as far as the Church of Christ is concerned: they are strong in Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. there are many fine people amongst them, I have had the privilege of knowing a lot of those kind of folks. the CoC (Church of Christ) is part of the Campbellite movement of the early nineteenth century. these Christians sought to "restore" the early Church, thus they are better known as Restorationists. the more liberal sort became the Disciples of Christ, the conservatives: the CoC. the Coc is way congregational in their polity, they do not use musical instruments in their worship (their a capella singing is beautiful, though). they feel that if the NT does not call for it, they do not practice it, thus no piano,organ, whatever in worship (there are many CoC people who are musicians). they practice Baptism of adults by immersion, and observe the Lord's Supper every week. they do hold to Baptismal regeneration, and emphasize that Baptism (in a CoC setting) is necessary for Salvation. the thing about CoC culture is that they are inclined to split off from other CoC people over such things as whether one cup is used for communion, or you can use kmore than one, Sunday School or no, and anything else that would be a cause for breaking up a congregation and starting another one in the search for pure Restored Christianity. my lady friend is CoC, and I value our relationship, so I don't bring the topic up.
hope this post is helpful to one and all.
Much Love,
Jonn

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: JonnNightwatcher] #239939
06/15/07 10:38 AM
06/15/07 10:38 AM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 298
Florida
Wolfgang Offline
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My grandparents were members of the Church of Christ. Man, they sure know their Bibles and love to sing about Jesus!
The Journey Home on EWTN featured a Roundtable discussion on Monday with former Church of Christ members.

http://play.rbn.com/?url=ewtn/g2ewtn/g2demand/smil/home.rm&proto=rtsp

-Wolfgang

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: Michael McD] #239941
06/15/07 11:17 AM
06/15/07 11:17 AM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,398
Georgia U.S.
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JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Offline
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Without knowing more of the specifics (what kind of literature is being discussed, what the professor is actually saying, what kind of college this is, etc.) it is hard to give advice. I do agree with the advice to not confront the professor directly. I don't know about going to the department chair or sexual harrasment. Reading erotic passages from the assigned literature is not sexual harrasment. I've read and discussed such things with students, such as Aristophanes' "The Clouds" which has obscene jokes in it and description of body parts. This is the stuff of literature. Part of being an academic involves being able to read and evaluate this stuff with a certain degree of detachment. As far as the claiming that Christianity is a myth, that is the professor's right. Academic freedom means that the professor is entitled to give his interpretation of institutions, events, texts, persons, etc. He cannot require that you agree with him and he ought to respect your academic freedom. So, unless he is censoring your opinions, then you really don't have a case. Religion is a system of beliefs. And systems of beliefs do not get protected status in the classroom.

Joe

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy] #239953
06/15/07 12:33 PM
06/15/07 12:33 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 560
State College, PA
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tjm199 Offline
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When you say Church of Christ, are you referring to the United Church of Christ? Because it must be a different church entirely from the UCC. My wife is UCC and she played the piano/organ in her church throughout her teenage years, they baptize babies and most definitely do not celebrate Our Lord's supper each week. I'm merely asking for my own clarification. Since the oner person said they are big in Texas and some other southern states, I am presuming it is not the same church as the UCC.

As for the classroom bit, I have to agree with JSMelkiteOrthodoxy. I teach at a Big Ten University (adjunct, not a PhD or tenure track) and the rules of Academic Freedom are pretty broad and vague. They can be interpreted in any number of ways. The way your instructor is acting is unprofessional, to say the least, but he/she is within most of his/her rights to read parts of literature that some people may find offensive. Since everyone is offended by something different, it would be very hard to limit what a prof can say in class. There needs to be some common sense, but that is hardly common, these days. I would suggest speaking to the professor one to one sometime to express your feelings, but I get the feeling the prof would react the same way he/she does in class. If someone is not respectful of other's feelings and beliefs in front of a whole class, why would they be any different in a one to one situation? If your school has an evaluation of the prof at the end of the semester, please feel free to write your opinion. At my school, they pay careful attention to what students say. If a prof gets enough bad marks and comments, I've seen them let go. But if it gets really bad and you can't stand it, I do advise speaking with the prof one one one, expecting the same response. Then go to the department head with your complaints. The one on one reaction would be giving the prof enough rope to hang themselves. I don't mean to get them fired, but for you to be taken more seriously. There is a lot of "chain of command" mentality in Academics. Expressing your opinion in class (which you have), talking to the prof in person and then going to the department head will satisfy any of the Chain of Command people. Good luck.

Tim

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy] #239956
06/15/07 12:50 PM
06/15/07 12:50 PM
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Posts: 706
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indigo Offline OP
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It was good to get some history and links about the CoC; I know so little about them.I'll definitely check out the biblical passages and St. Ignatius' words. This is an opportunity for me to learn more about the faith, and I knew y'all would know how to steer me.

The academic advice is helpful too.I now know how not to approach this.Joe, this is a liberal state university and erotic readings are used in classes, but most professors are tasteful about it or use light humor. I'm no prude.
This an Early American literature class ,so we're reading puritan diary passages. They're in an anthology and are tame but he always manages to find the most grusomely intimate passages. Those passages are explicted for us in extreme detail, not once, but at least twice. Then the passage is read once again and sometimes three times.These sections have little to do with the main point and they're not assigned readings. He surprises us with his handouts during class and proceeds to read them aloud with detached glee. Yesterday he read all the gory details of a miscarriage (and speculated on how this must have looked)while a 7 month pregnant classmate smiled weakly.(This is the mildest of his gory descriptions.)Joe, surely we would've been in the right to stop him. As Jonn has pointed out, I think we were much too demure at this point and should've put him in check.Politely and tactfully of course. Maybe my classmates do need to get together and work out a system of stopping him when he goes too far.

As for the anti-Catholic remarks, I know you're right Joe.He can force his factually incorrect opinions on us as "interpretations". It would seem that a professor would be required to at least present factually accurate information.As for his lapsed Catholic attacks,I guess the best I can do is pray for him as Michael suggests.Though I will write about this during the evaluations....dispassionately and nicely, of course. I'll be sure not to embarrass any baboons!


Indigo

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic profe [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy] #239960
06/15/07 01:03 PM
06/15/07 01:03 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,390
USA
Wondering Offline
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Edit: I started writing before you posted. Sorry.

I've had three professors single me out in class on a regular basis trying to embarrass or belittle me for my Christianity. In the first instance, I mumbled my way through and didn't want to cause any waves. I ended up with an undeserved C and was infuriated. I'd let him do that to my faith to get a C?

The next time it happened, I politely and firmly corrected the teacher each time he would make blatantly false statements. When it was only his opinion, I bit my tongue. He was of the same mind as your professor that all religions are the same: a crutch. Some of my classmates quietly applauded me, but most weren't happy. They wanted to just get through it and get it over with, and weren't happy that I was calling attention to someone other than the teacher himself. I know that some people were starting to question their faith after passively sitting through the class and that they were answered and no longer questioning their faith after my response, so I consider it worth it. I got an A in the class, as well as high commendations.

The next class was the following semester. The professor was a strong Protestant and was of the same mind as this Church of Christ classmate as yours. He would "teach" what the Catholic Church "taught," which was blatantly wrong. Things like the Church forbid printing the Bible and executed people for it, that the Church started with Constantine, that the Church only allows people to believe in Aristotelian theory, and a number of other errors about the Church's teaching about the nature of God. He expected all this to be regurgitated to him and he told me to re-write my own opinion to reflect his teaching. Again, I did the same and did not back down from his incorrect teachings. I did re-write my paper, but not my opinion. He and I had several polite debates, at his instigation, outside of class. I ended up with an A I got in the class, as well as high commendations.

Both teachers stay in touch with me and offer recommendations any time I need them. I don't understand how this is possible. I can only credit the Holy Spirit with guiding me, and with my responding to the prompts.

I recommend praying to the Holy Spirit for guidance before going into class so that you will know if and when to speak up and if you speak up, what to say.

Last edited by Wondering; 06/15/07 01:06 PM.
Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: indigo] #239972
06/15/07 02:41 PM
06/15/07 02:41 PM
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Georgia U.S.
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JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Offline
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Indigo, this is very helpful information. It sounds like your professor is very immature. Here is my suggestion. When you write your course evaluations (and you may want to consult with other students ahead of time), write a very thoughtful, tactful, and intelligent review of the professor and course that is also brutally honest about his inappropriate behavior. But, best to write it in a state of self control, because reviews that are mere rants get ignored. Clearly, what this professor is doing is far different from what I do when it comes time to discuss these issues and texts that make some people uncomfortable.

Joe

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy] #239981
06/15/07 03:37 PM
06/15/07 03:37 PM
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Posts: 943
Wichita
spdundas Offline
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WOW! I've encountered this type of thing before...and of course you know me...I was very bold to confront professors in class not to insult my religion again, etc. I've given foul mouthed professors a piece of my mind and threaten to tell on them to the Dean and with my filing against discrimination. I would still get an "A" at the end in spite of it all.

If some professors say some bad stuff about the Jews...what do you think they'll do?

I think it's high time for all of us to be very aggressive and BOLD to confront professors like that. We must NOT tolerate and allow prejudice against Christianity. It seems like it's the last acceptable prejudices. We have to stop allowing ourselves to be persecuted.

True persecution means that no matter how hard we fight against it, we are still persecuted.

Persecution doesn't meant that we just sit there and absorb it. That would be "false" persecution. Do not deny Christ for the sake of grades in college. Wake up folks. Stand up for yourselves and our faith.

Peace,

SPDundas
Deaf Byzantine

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy] #240009
06/15/07 10:03 PM
06/15/07 10:03 PM
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Posts: 706
small blue planet
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indigo Offline OP
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Wondering, the planting seeds of doubt is what concerns me too. You and Spdundas make good points and if I could do that without embarrassing the professor I would. I'm not sure he'd take well to constant correction. I'd better pray on that one.
Joe, your idea for evaluation is a good one and since the class is pretty small I'm sure I can rally the troops before then.There's power in numbers. We may even want to write out our evaluations ahead of time so the points stay clearly in our minds.
Y'all have been so helpful, thanks.
Indigo

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: indigo] #240016
06/16/07 01:20 AM
06/16/07 01:20 AM
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Georgia U.S.
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JSMelkiteOrthodoxy Offline
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Indigo, I'm just curious. Is this a course in a graduate literature program?

Joe

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic professor [Re: JSMelkiteOrthodoxy] #240126
06/17/07 12:27 AM
06/17/07 12:27 AM
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indigo Offline OP
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Yes,Joe, it is.

INdigo

Re: What to say to Church of Christ folks and anti-Catholic profe [Re: indigo] #240145
06/17/07 08:49 AM
06/17/07 08:49 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
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Irondale,AL
Pani Rose Offline
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Definately take time to watch the round table that was aired on Journey Home last week. The link was posted above, it will really explain a lot to you.

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