By: Matt “Gadget” Latchaw
Go back to the very first paper you wrote in college. Chances are you’ll find some errors and inconsistencies. You may also notice some things that you no longer agree with or some writing that is just plain bad. Here’s one of mine from my first theology class.
“The idea that we have dominion over the earth does not give us the free will to do whatever we want with it without care.”
All of us made such blunders as wide-eyed, bumbling freshmen, and one anonymous Biblical Studies professor at an undisclosed university has taken it upon himself to share the most cringe-worthy excerpts from his students’ papers on Twitter (https://twitter.com/BibleStdntsSay). Here are some of my favorites.
“If your going to make an attempt to live by the Bible then do so, not just when you interrupt something to be in your favor.”
“I love joyce meyers & joel osteen but ive found I dont always agree w/ every interpretation they have of the Bible and that’s fine.”
“Greg Boyd seems to be an extremist who doesn’t want to mix church with the government, so his statements were not accurate.”
“Genesis refers to all humanity as being sinners by inheritance of Adam male and female therefore partakers of sin by birth and by deed.”
“This paper has shown that Christianity and Agnosticism are two different viewpoints.”
“I agreed with Greg Boyd because the whole basis of Christianity.”
“In my opinion, NT Wright’s research into the Bible is just going too far.”
“We should all just accept what God has given us in the world today and not criticizes everything everyone has done.”
Poor grammar, misspellings, incoherent structure, and botched theology abound, and the results are both hilarious and embarrassing to fellow Christian college students. This is not to accuse these students of being ignorant simpletons or lazy slobs. Everyone has to start somewhere in their learning, and all of us struggle with being open to unfamiliar or difficult concepts. It’s easy to laugh at the carelessness and naivety of others, but there’s something deeper going on here.
The authors of these selections are studying theology and exploring ideas within the realm of faith. What’s more shocking than the silliness of the quotations is the apathy behind them. These Christian students have enrolled themselves in a system of higher education that teaches Biblical Studies, but some of them couldn’t even be troubled to proofread their papers before turning them in. On top of the mistakes, some of the selections point out a severe lack of engagement with the curriculum. Each person is entitled to an opinion, but that comes with the responsibility to thoughtfully form one of their own.
Self-referential logic and circular reasoning may work fine inside a Christian bubble of safety, but the point of taking a religion course is to interact with ideas outside of the familiar. In order to grow in faith and knowledge students must challenge and defend different beliefs. As Christians, we spend too much time and far too much money on these 4 years to throw assignments about faith together so haphazardly.
As Christians and college students we need to be confident in our endeavors towards knowledge and faith. We should take the task of externalizing our beliefs seriously so that we can grow. We don’t have to fear confusing or foreign theories. We can trust in the God who is Truth rather than in our own theology so we never sound like this:
“I look at the bible in my own interpretations & I can agree with that.”