Wednesday, March 14, 2007

attack mode

I happen to have been going through a pretty stressful few weeks. I've just been pushing myself very hard with my studies, so I am always sleep-deprived and tired. Then the whole start of the university year - there's all these things to organise and get sorted. I'm working ten hours a week tutoring, which actually takes up quite a lot of time and effort and I'm beginning to wonder how I'm going to get through the whole semester.

The thing I've found the hardest is this: I am doing two English literature papers, on Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Drama and on the Twentieth Century Novel. Just about every second class the main topic of discussion is "what is silly about Christianity" or "what is hypocritical about Christians". So it's not phrased like that, quite. And I'm probably exaggerating the problem. And the lecturers are actually quite fair-minded and we're only critiquing the religion featured in the books, ostensibly. But - it does always turn into a discussion about religion in general, by students in the class, and basically I feel like every day I am under attack. I don't want to be melodramatic but I'm actually finding it really, really hard. This constant attack on the mind. Essentially I can't defend myself or I'll be told I take things too seriously, I need to be more tolerant, etc etc. The only times I have tried to join in the discussion people look at me like I'm mad. Examples:

Drama lecturer: "Where does the saying 'the truth will set you free' come from?"
Me: "The Bible."
Lecturer: "I don't know if Karl Marx would agree with you about that."
Me: "No, it's an actual verse in the Bible. 'You will know the truth and the truth will set you free'. Jesus said it."
Lecturer: "Oh. Well, I was meaning the Enlightenment." Continues.

Novel lecturer: "Why is it bad when religion and politics mix?"
Random girl, oh-so-originally: "Well, look at all the wars religion has caused, throughout history."
Me: "But if you look at Nazi Germany, it was the Church's refusal to get involved in politics that laid it open to criticism later."
Everyone looks at me strangely and then continues without a response.
[Actually I agree that religion and politics shouldn't mix but this conversation had been going on for about twenty minutes and it was irritating me!]

I am just having trouble getting out of my defensive mode. I don't know when to let things go and when to stand up for what I believe. It's very confusing.