Academic Pharisaism

September 21, 2014
Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees

Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bruce Kent

I wish to share with readers an experience I had these last few weeks in my doctoral studies program, especially as regards to one particular experience this last week when an esteemed peer of mine sent me a personal email asking me to stop inserting my faith in God into my discourse, as it makes her feel “uncomfortable” (2014).

Since officially beginning my studies, after having passed—with the help of Heaven—my online statistics course with a hard-earned A-, I began to study under a couple of doctorate instructors at a local university in a general and literacy research colloquium, in addition to an Education Principles class. One of my instructors has seemingly made it her goal to expose and exploit any semblance of religious sentiment among her students, including me. She has said we need to “put yourself out there” and consider any necessary changes to our current views of the concept of truth, learning, knowledge, origins, and consciousness.

Of course, as time continues I find increasingly difficult the management of implied and explicit attempts to censor even the mildest of religious thought and sentiment. Before I even started studying, I had a feeling for what I was in for, since I knew that the establishment proves not only unfriendly to people of faith—and more particularly Jews and Christians—but can often manifest open hostility to people who they label “essentialist” or “idealist.” One guest speaker in the aforementioned instructor’s class, and who happens to be her husband, contended that it is the idealists of the world who become totalitarian dictators. Specifically he argued that Hitler was an “idealist” whose ideology magically mirrors the ideals of the religious conservative (implied).

Ironically, the guest speaker made the claim in process of discussing a number of dichotomies, but more particularly one he titled the materialist-idealist dichotomy, with materialists, according to a subsequent reading in the class, composing those traits common with modern American progressives. In my post online during class discussion, which transpire outside the classroom, I took pains to disagree with said professor and guest speaker by explicating the true nature of government in context with materialists in history, like Karl Marx, Freidrich Engels, John Dewey, Franklyn D. Roosevelt, Vlad Lenin, and Josef Stalin. Further, I demonstrated the incomparable repressions wrought by Maoists and others who subscribe to viewing the world through a materialist “lens.”

Demonstrably, it is the materialist progressives who have precipitated the worst acts of terror and repression known to modern history and not these religious poltergeists whom my professors would have us believe. Conversely, the religious brand espoused by American historical figures like George Washington, have brought the greatest prosperity, liberty, and preservatives for human rights the world has ever known, despite the folly of black slavery and Jim Crow, which undoubtedly prove terrible aberrations of that former spirit of our revolutionary forebears.

But the former dialogue between my colleague and I transpired as a result of my explication on human government under the context of the materialist-idealist dialogue. Moreover, I would proffer that the contest herein described materialized not as a result of my religious fervor or pride, but because my professors and the cited texts have forced it to happen by creating a transmogrified indictment against my brethren and I—people of the Judeo-Christian tenet. Had these texts and professors not slandered my faith by implying that my brethren and I have left our reason in the dust in the hopeless embrace of a myth I should not have found myself reluctantly compelled to so boldly correct their errors.

And because they have done this derisive deed, disrespecting my religion, my God, and all I hold precious and dear, I must unequivocally make a stand; drawing a line in the soiled sand of relativist nonsense. Having suffered long and likewise in my undergraduate years, and having begun in earnest a lifetime of self-led study into the questions that matter and which, for sake of the secular-progressive stranglehold on the establishment, I will ever pursue, I determined never again to sit idle while the authors of the destruction of my nation, my values, our courts, our laws, and our hope carry on in the gross subversion of human dignity and rights.

In one of my posts I quoted an author by the name of Stanovich who cited the Matthew Effect in conjunction with children’s reading proficiency (1986). Stanovich argued that readers who know something more from the start, know exponentially more as time progresses (1986). The Matthew Effect originates in the New Testament where the Savior said that those who have shall receive more, while those who have not will lose even what they have. The discussion we held as classmates revolved on reading ability.

My colleague, rather than responding directly to me in the post, sent a personal email to me. Incidentally, I had made no mention of the Book of Mormon; my colleague erroneously extrapolated this idea. In addition, she does not know of what denomination I subscribe since this topic has never come up for discussion, either in private or in public:

So I’m messaging you personally instead of posting a reply to your discussion on the board itself because I don’t want to in any way offend you.

You made reference to the fact that Stanovich borrowed from the Book of Mormon, which I have not been able to find reference to online. Maybe I just missed the reference in the text itself. I feel like maybe the correct way to start your comment on the board was that you made the connection between the two instead of referencing that Stanovich borrowed it, unless of course I just missed where it said that and that I am completely wrong, in which case I apologize.

If I’m not wrong, I would be very appreciative if we as a group could leave belief systems that exist outside education outside education. Not everyone in our cohort is of the same faith and it makes those who are outside the faith rather uncomfortable for it to be approached in an academic setting.

Again, I’m hoping that I’m coming across as respectfully as possible. I respect you as a person and I value the insight and connections you make each week in the texts we read.

I responded in a reply to her:

Nope. You’re good. He didn’t cite the Book of Mormon. He cited Matthew, which is in the bible. No offense intended. I don’t think Stanovich wanted to offend anyone, either. I think he simply intended to argue that those who are industrious will find it easier to get more; to learn more; to develop more.

On this note, I hearken back to John Stuart Mill who said that all ideas should be free for expression so that the people can come to a consensus as to the best practices. Nevertheless, I think it’s also important to note that Mill wasn’t describing multiculturalism, since Mill wanted readers to discern between better policies and not so good ones.

For further analysis, I might add that people of religion have a right to express themselves, whether in public or in private (please refer to the original meanings canon and the First Amendment). Should we ostracize Jews and Mormons in the way that Hitler did? If Muslims, Jews, and Christians have no corner of society who will tolerate them and their ideas, where shall we send them? To camps?

No offense but it’s just that kind of thinking that leads to totalitarianism. I feel uncomfortable by an establishment that despises religion but I don’t think we should use the coercive power of law or even social influence to silence them as Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler did.

Of further relevance to this dialogue, I need to add that the professor of this class has derogated any reference in the online discussions to religion as “preaching.” Or, to be more precise, she said some kept their discussion points within the scope of the topic. In essence, what my professor meant was that any point in the discussion addressing the manifestly relevant defenses to religion on topics of human consciousness, epistemology, and origin of life must be irrelevant, off-topic, or worthy of censorship. To such discourse one of my other colleagues, in possession of both his courage and reasoning faculty, inquired of the guest speaker aforementioned whether the academy would still demonstrate tolerance toward those ostensible “idealists.” The professor, tongue in cheek, said he hoped the academy would remain attuned to its nobler liberal history in tolerating all ideas. Indeed. But actions speak louder than words and the medium is the message (Postman, n.d.).

In the great tradition of the Sanhedrin, these pompous Pharisees of modern day want us to believe that their dogma remains exalted above the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the doctrine of political correctness exalts itself above genuine tolerance and reason in its desperate vie for power. Sadly, the American people, like our European brethren across the pond who remain somewhat ahead of us along the insidious continuum to self-destruction, have purchased progressive lies at the price of true liberality, liberty, and prosperity. In exchange for peace and strength, we have turned our backs on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and embraced this evil wrapped in a pretty ribbon.

Roger Cohen recently wrote of this cultural phenomenon plaguing contemporary Western society,

It was a time of disorientation. Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.”

And so, before adding my next piece to the bloviating claptrap dominating the headlines of my peers’ posts on the class discussion board, I took my stand. The cat was out of the bag. I had indeed “put [myself] out there” and there was no sense trying to hide anymore, like some of the other dupes and cowards in the room. I prayed only that God would give the courage necessary to draw a line in the sand. I let me peers know I am an idealist believer in absolute, revealed, and material truth. I wrote:

Week Four Readings Summary.

As a prefatory remark, please understand I’m not trying to offend anyone by refusing to divorce myself from my religion (a sort of heretical cognitive dissonance for people who have made covenants to remain faithful to God—and not just on Sundays at the house of worship). You must understand that for people of faith, any discussion or text revolving on points involving human consciousness, the origin of knowledge, and human behavior prove inherently discriminatory and biased when teachers or peers expect believers to remain silent on the points that manifest inherency in their criticism of God, religious intellectualism, reason, logic, natural evidence evincing the reality of God, human consciousness, or the origin of knowledge. Indeed, virtually all of the readings provided by my instructors thus far in my classes remain an explicit indictment against religion. (For further proof of this do some research on the context of the theorists themselves.) And so I will beg your pardon as I agree to disagree with those authors and those points which want to persuade me to deny God and the tenets of my religion.

If what I say here makes you uncomfortable, I cannot well apologize for expressing my opinions, and so without qualification I will ask you to please show the same deference with which I have been compelled so to do while attending classes whose theoretical texts manifest a discreet indictment against my God and my religion. Those of you who have emailed me personally to ask me to censor my thoughts on God must understand that in so doing I would violate my covenants and my conscience; and that in asking me so to do you violate the laws of this country, which provide protection to people of religion against discrimination, including censorship of thoughts simply because you feel uncomfortable about the idea of a Creator. You unwittingly make yourselves proponents of that tyranny which this academy at least pays lip service to in its condemnation thereof. But if the time ever comes where my countrymen and the establishment so corrupts law and culture that it will no longer protect the minority of Americans who still persist in a belief in God, let me unequivocally assert that I would sooner die in a concentration camp than surrender the pathos of my creed, which would inevitably bring upon me the condemnation of that God whom I worship and adore, and which for me, comprises a fate worse than death.

Of import to the above dialogue, I feel it pertinent to show that the Sadducees and Pharisees possessed the same spirit adrift in preference for power, popularity, and gain and which aroused in them a jealousy so volatile that not even the power of God, with all its attendant miracles and truth, could dissuade those lovers of lucre to cease eschewing material facts.  Instead, in the interest of their pursuits, they sought the life of God Himself.  Their tolerance, a politically correct formatted one and scripted in political interest, extends only so far as it allows them to meet their lusts.  In the academy, such nominal tolerance allows those lovers of lucre to extend liberality to those essayists and students who surrender any vestige of virtue remaining for the monkeyshine of secular dogmatism in the schoolhouse, including the relativism and redistribution which form major supports to the corruption of our law.  Thus, when the Sanhedrin moves to try our faith in the earthly courts of secularism, I would that my brethren and I might first live our religion that we may indeed call on God and receive in faith the courage needed to stand against these hypocrites in life and in death.  Perhaps in so doing, we may not only save ourselves and our posterity from a fate worse than death, but also preserve and restore our rights and prosperity to their fullness.



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