Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh for the love of academia!

I have to ask you professor types out there - is it not the most frustrating thing in the world when students do not do even the most preliminary research before coming to class? Well, rest assured, it is equally frustrating for those of us who actually did it but have to waste time in class listening to you answer all the silly questions.

In my Classical Islam class we've had such stellar questions as:

So....wait......was the Qu'ran written before the New Testament? Yes, absolutely. Did you not see the bit in there about a time machine?

So do Muslims pray to Muhammad or Allah? And who is the sacrifice for their sins? - The most staunchly monotheistic religion on the face of the planet figured it needed some intermediaries, so please - go ahead and pray to Muhammad.

After the Professor spoke about the importance of the Ka'ba, not to mention its location in Mecca:
Isn't the Ka'ba near the wailing wall? - ............

Now, the second question up there has more to do with students not understanding that there isn't a 1:1 correspondence within religion. There is nobody like the Jesus of Christianity in Islam for the fact that the concept of sin is completely different (seen as more of an issue of ignorance). How frustrating it must be to have to go over such silly things (that could be found on a Wikipedia page - sorry, Jim).

April DeConick has written a blog post concerning "weighing in on Avalos and Koester." She hits on something that I think is relevant here - that some students aren't willing to think outside of their own religious paradigm or they're unaware of the fact that they aren't doing it. I've decided if I'm ever afforded the chance to live out my dream as a professor in a religion department, the first thing I will talk about is trying to see things through different "lenses."


Anonymous said...

man, if i was taking a class on classical islam, and i didn't know things like htat, i would slouch low in my seat, keep my mouth shut, leave embarrassed and then research A LOT before the next class....

Josh McManaway said...

That's exactly what I would do. I'm all for allowing one stupid question, but class after class of really basic questions lets everyone know that you haven't even cracked a book.