Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just Keep Quiet...

So I'm taking this class at SUNY Brockport which I just knew was a bad idea from the start, but I have to get my last two gen. ed. requirements out of the way if I want to pull off the double minor. The class I'm taking is Modern World, and it fulfills an Other World Civilizations credit. And holy crap, is the teacher stupid. I mean I've had some interesting teachers before, to say the least, but this professor's idiocy just blows my mind. She is one of the most ignorant and closed-minded people I have ever met, and she claims to be just the opposite. Of course I butt heads sometimes with my professors, and I always have, because teachers tend to be more liberal, and I'm fairly conservative. Not to mention I'm a Christian, so I'm constantly having to defend my views in that as well. In my senior year of high school I took AP English, and I had this teacher I couldn't stand. He was so mean to me, he always pointed me out as being wrong in front of the class, and he disagreed with every single thing I ever said, and drove me to answer questions in ways that would display my ignorance. However, I had always respected him because he was incredibly intelligent, and even though he often upset me we still had very interesting discussions. Toward the end of the year, I began to realize that he was teaching me something that mattered, something I would never forget: how to defend myself, how to use my emotions to my advantage, how to be strong and confident in the face of opposition. He noticed that I was catching on, and in the last week of school he told me I was his favorite student, that I had done better than anyone else in his class and that he absolutely loved having me. Looking back on it now, I realize he was the best teacher I've ever had, and probably ever will have.

All that to say I have disagreed with teachers before. I've debated them in class; I've won and lost arguments and I've learned a lot. But this professor baffles me. I know I have absolutely nothing to learn from her, save how to put up with idiots for the sake of my grade.

Yesterday she was lecturing on the Protestant Reformation, and how wrong the church was. (Of course I'm not going to argue against that, they were pretty bad.) Then she began to draw parallels between the medieval mindset of the Catholic church and Christians today, saying that ignorance only leads to downfall, and that that's exactly where Christians are headed. (I kept my mouth shut.) She proceeded to tell us how idiotic it is that Creationists are trying to remove evolution from public school curriculum, and that no Creationist knows the difference between scientific fact and superstition. Now, this is a topic I feel fairly strongly about, since people often form preconceived notions about it without considering all sides of the debate. (And believe me, going to school I have been forced to consider all sides of this debate.) I raised my hand and very calmly told her that most supporters of the intelligent design theory are not in favor of removing evolutionary biology from the curriculum, but instead offering the idea of intelligent design as an legitimate alternative to the Big Bang Theory. I said that in fact, many Creationists even consider intelligent design as a precursor to the possibility of evolution- that maybe God designed us to change. (That's not necessarily what I believe, but I know of plenty of people who do.) Suddenly, she cut me off and ranted for half an hour (literally) on how ridiculous everything I had just said was, how I don't even know what the theory of intelligent design is, and how she couldn't be bothered to explain it to me. She said no one thinks the way I had suggested, and that I obviously hadn't read or thought enough about the topic. All Creationists are closed-minded, superstitious and idiots, she continued. None of them know a thing about science, logic or reason.

I was so offended I didn't know that I could even continue, but I tried to get a few words in explaining why I disagreed with what she was saying. Finally she cut me off with a furious wave of her gigantic arm (this woman is so obese it's actually comical), and exclaimed "The Big Bang Theory is a FACT." (Theory? Fact? What?) "It is a FACT and if you are not willing to accept that, then you are not a modern-minded person and you will not survive long in this time."

WHAT?! I'm sorry, I didn't realize that I had signed up for a lesson on how to be a fascist, instead of a class. That is just the sorriest excuse for a lesson I have ever heard! She's supposed to be a teacher! I don't expect her to agree with me, but I do expect her to calmly explain to me why I'm wrong, not make personal attacks. Honestly I learned nothing from the whole thing. She didn't present one fact or statistic or even logical statement that would help me to understand her point. She just forced me to sit there quietly while she verbally stomped me into the ground. At the very end I said "I'm sorry, I was only trying to say that not all Creationists fit into the same mold," at which point she laughed obnoxiously and said with as much sarcasm as possible, "Well, thank you for explaining that to me. I really needed to be corrected by you when I woke up this morning. I feel so much better now."

Wow. Just wow. Jon was sitting behind me, and he laughed out loud at how idiotic she was being. (She didn't seem to notice.)

So the rest of the class yesterday I simply stewed in my anger in silence, furious at myself that I hadn't dropped this class when I had the chance. Like I said, I'm used to confrontation, or having to defend myself; I go to SUNY Purchase, the most liberal school ever. I love it there and I have grown so much in my faith, simply because I was forced into situations where I had to defend what's important to me. Honestly, I like hearing other peoples' views, and I like it when they listen to mine. I don't expect to change anyone, but conversations between people are important.

This was not a conversation. It was a series of one-sided personal attacks on someone who wasn't given the chance to defend herself.

So today she got started on the Big Bang Theory again toward the end of class, and she began talking about how revolutionary ideas are never really accepted into society until their opposition dies off completely... that it usually takes a couple generations for new scientific truths to come to be accepted, simply because those who grew up with the old truth are less willing or even able to accept the new one. Okay, I was with her on this. I could see what she was saying. Then, suddenly, she said "You know what I really and truly believe? This world will be a much better place when your grandparents' generation all die."

I'm sorry, what was that?

"Oh yes, it's absolutely true. Every one of them are racist and homophobic and closed-minded and religious. They grew up in a time when it couldn't be avoided. You know that when you talk to your grandparents you don't understand a word they're saying; it's all homophobic racist nonsense. The world will be much better when they're dead."

This is not an exaggeration. I wish I had a recording. It was just beyond horrifying. And then, she kindly ended the class with "Not to mention, it will be best when everyone who can't accept the truth of the universe, the Big Bang, is dead as well." And that was just when it was too far. She had just had that discussion (or lack thereof) with me twenty-four hours before. I couldn't believe it. She all but said she wanted me dead. I mean I know what she was trying to say was "superstitious people really have no place in modern society, so those who are left had better change" but I'm not a superstitious person! There are PLENTY of scientists, reputable ones, and not all of them Christian or religious at all, who strongly oppose the Big Bang Theory simply because it doesn't answer every question. It's just that: a theory, and whether it's more probable or less, it's still at this point a theory with some holes in it. How could she even say those things? I simply can't understand a teacher who makes personal jabs at people, just because they can.

When I come across a person like this it really makes me sad, because I realize that they have probably met some awful people in their lives who claimed to be a Christian. Someone who used Jesus' name to say some really hurtful things. But she's being closed-minded when she projects that anger, that hurt onto me. That person is not representative of everyone who follows Christ, and it's simply not fair to hurt me like that.

I don't know, I'd be shocked if anyone reads through this whole thing but it felt good to get it out.

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