Fun Facts About American Religion, Courtesy of Inattentive Students

It’s the time of year when professors get the pleasure (?) of grading final exams.  While most students do well, there are always some who were too busy surreptitiously surfing Facebook, flirting with classmates, or staring blankly out the window to have absorbed the material correctly.  Their answers on exams are often eye-opening, revealing important new information to the professor.  Here are some examples from a just-completed course on religion in America.

Did you know that:

Billy Graham is a former president of the United States of America.

There was a big debate in 19th century Protestantism.  Conservatives taught that God believed in Adam and Eve, whereas liberals taught that God did not believe in the Bible.

Starhawk thought Jesus was the ultimate trip.

“Anchored to the rock, geared to the times” was the motto of the feminist movement.

19th century anti-Catholics created the Know It All Party.

The popularity of Transcendentalism led Lisa Simpson to become a Buddhist.

“Unitarians believe in a rational approach to religion as opposed to the emotional ridiculousness of some other groups.”

There is a form of Judaism that holds stricly to tradition, unlike the Reform and Conservative movements.  It is called Paradox Judaism.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Fun Facts About American Religion, Courtesy of Inattentive Students

  1. I particularly like Paradox Judaism.

  2. Transient and Permanent

    A fellow professor added another tidbit: a student put on her test that “When someone dies in the Hindu religion, they go to the good karma pile or the bad karma pile.”

  3. I remember in the world religions course I took at Smith, students were always trying to come up with parallels between whatever non-Christian tradition we were studying and their own understanding of Christianity (much to the annoyance of the professors who team-taught the course). So, in that vein, good karma is heaven, and bad karma is hell. Actually, that sounds strikingly like the understanding of karma in My Name is Earl.

  4. Transient and Permanent

    Believe me, this problem is hardly confined to Smith.

  5. Bart

    I’m very partial to the Unitarian comment. I’m taking a Religion and Philosophy course at the moment and dreading the final exam because the professor teaches solely from Western Catholic theologians and philosophers, so I find myself making her angry by telling the class the theories are littered with Calvinism and a one-way view of spirituality. Maybe after Tuesday I’ll be on her list of “favorite non-studying student exams quotes” 🙂

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