Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Post-Christian classroom

This year's "Theorizing Religion" class is like none I've had before. There are some real scoffers, but even the others seem to have a thoroughly post-Christian view of religion - or is that a post-religious view of spirituality? I had the class brainstorm for a definition of "religion" today and, even with my prodding, nobody spoke of god(s) or any kind of supernatural beings, other lives or worlds, scriptures, religious experiences, etc. A Heideggerian might have been amused that what they came up with was beliefs about death, "cause + effect, Nature" with "exemplifying practices," and "laws, codes about life." The circled terms above are those I smuggled in.

But I shouldn't generalize. The scoffers and a voluble Buddho-Pagan dominate the discussion. Are the others intimidated, silenced, resigned? I've heard over and over that Lang classes are full of casual anti-religious judgments but had not really experienced it in my own. But it's still early. The others may open up (I'm trying to create openings). And even the scoffers must have signed up for the class for some reason.

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