Monday, April 20, 2009

Dogs, literalism & synchronicity

I’m speaking to a high school class this afternoon, and fortuitously—I’ll say it was synchronistic (Click on paranormal posts to read about synchronicity)—someone sent me this wonderfully comic debate on the marquees of two churches facing each other on a busy street in Colorado. It’s a perfect illustration of religious literalism. I’ll see if the high school students get it.

All dogs go to heaven

Only humans go to heaven Read the Bible

God loves all his creation Dogs included

Dogs don’t have souls This is not open for debate

Catholic dogs go to heaven Presbyterian dogs can talk to their pastor

Converting to Catholicism does not magically grant your dog a soul

Free dog souls with conversion

Dogs are animals There aren’t any rocks in heaven either

All rocks go to heaven

Dogs & literalism

I was happy to see that the Catholic one showed a whimsical appreciation of literalism and had fun with it—dogs and rocks go to heaven. One email responder, a fully alive Catholic, wrote, " . . .but no cats enter the pearly gates!"
They do TOO.
See comments below.

3 comments:

Diane Meier said...

I can hardly wait to read about how your interaction with the high schoolers goes. Should be VERY interesting! Is it a public school or private Christian school? And how did you get invited to speak? What topic do they "think" you will be speaking of?

Jeanette said...

The name of the public school class was World Religions, an elective for seniors and a few juniors. I was referred to it by a scheduler for a senior citizens group to whom I probably will speak later in the year. It turned out I'd worked with the teacher before when I was supervising student teachers.

It was great. The teacher had said I should take only 40 minutes because she wanted a student group to present for the rest of their 70 minute block, but several times when I asked about stopping, she told me to go on and finally said to take the rest of the period.

I know H.S. students, and these were on a higher level of understanding than I expected. They quickly understood the difference between literal and figurative language. There was some discomfort with the concept of "myth" in an evangelical-type believer, but it seemed to wane as I presented more information. The group also included a Mormon, an atheist, traditional Catholics, and someone with some diversity in her background.

After class I remarked on the high level of their understanding--I'm frustrated by the number of adults who don't get abstract concepts and therefore don't understand my subject matter. The teacher said she's noticing that students today demonstrate higher order thinking.

This is the first H.S. class I've addressed on this topic and now I'd like more. I think world religions should be taught in all high schools.

Didymus Thomas said...

Haha. That is a great illustration. I am glad you received such a great response!