On Destroying Students’ Faith
I can’t do it. As critical as I am in the classroom, I recognize that there are important psychological benefits to participation in religious traditions.
In particular, I have a student in AA who looks to a “higher being” to help him. I have another student with a serious physical handicap who turns to” Jesus” for emotional support.
Rather than press the issue when credulity rears its ugly head, I tend to always leave an “out”: “Well, I could be wrong; who’s to say?”
I completely hate this sort of stupid liberal “to each his own” crap, but I resort to it when I’m afraid something I’m saying will destroy a student’s faith. I think it’s an intellectually impoverished position, but the trade-off—not ruining a student’s emotional world—might be worth it.
However, it is quite possible that I take myself way too seriously and I don’t have any such power over my students. Maybe I’m fooling myself to think I could challenge them the way I think I can