I figured out what it is that pisses me off so much about my sacred texts class. It’s not the texts, or the fact that the professor seems hostile to disagreement with her interpretation of said texts. It’s not the amount of readings assigned for a 4 credit course.
All these factors play into my dislike for the course, but they would be surmountable if it weren’t for the main issue: The course was advertised as a critical review of religious literature:
“This survey of the world’s sacred texts and spiritual traditions will explore their poetic and literary influence, past and present. . . . what impact have sacred texts had on the psyche, imagination, and social or political understanding of peoples, ancient and modern? How have sacred texts and stories evolved over time? How have they been passed on through oral and literary traditions and through words and images? What is their role in developing culture, identity, and community? How do they frame philosophical, moral, ethical, and spiritual insights?”
See, that sounds like a critical deconstruction of sacred texts. It sounds like we would be comparing and contrasting different traditions; like we would be teasing out the similarities and differences. It sounds like an interesting and educational course.
Instead, it feels basically a missionary class for Eastern religious traditions. It’s all about connecting to our inner chi or tao or yoga, meditating, and the benefits of a spiritual journey. There’s no critical deconstruction of the texts; just fawning over how masterful and wise the Eastern enlightenment traditions are. I could have signed up for a yoga class and gotten the same new age bullshit, but for considerably less money and time (not to mention less reading). I could have joined a church and gotten the same level of indoctrination pressure. It’s annoying, and it feels like a waste of time, money, and education. I’m almost pissed these credits will be on my transcript, and I’m seriously considering dropping the class.
I’m hoping that when we start looking at the medieval christian texts, the class will take a sharp turn for rational, critical literary deconstruction instead of these oohs and ahhhs about how wise and spiritual the Buddhist/ Hindu/ Native traditions are.