One of the first classes I took at the University was “After the Revolution, What?” It was an upper level Political Science course taught by one of the Chicago Seven. For those of you who don’t remember, there were seven men – political radicals, who were accused of conspiracy to riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. We were to read the books assigned and talk about what life would be like after the political revolution in America. The books assigned were politically to the far end of the left and the discussions were along those same veins. There was even an exercise you could participate in if you wanted extra-credit. One weekend a prison camp was set up and the students were to be the prisoners who had been condemned by the leaders of the revolution. I chose to skip the exercise as I didn’t want to entrust myself to the T.A.’s who were going to be the guards. The next week in class there were several disgruntled students who had been prisoners. Apparently they were not treated well; the young women were especially unhappy with the treatment they had received.
photo by geralt, courtesy of Pixabay
Within a week or so of taking the class, I realized that I did not agree with the things that were being taught and that I was reading about. There was little talk in class of non-violence when it came to getting your political agenda across. It was perfectly acceptable to force your will or political views upon the population by whatever means necessary, including force.
My first term I was also asked out by a visiting professor and I went on the first date. I did not want a second date and avoided the man; however he would call my dormitory and would conveniently show up where I was many times. I would not say he was a stalker, but whatever the category is right below stalker, he fit in. After two semesters there, I transferred to a different college.
Were all of my professors like that? No. I don’t recall any other negative experiences with my professors in college. Most of them taught their classes and had at least a minimal interest in seeing their students do well. But my first semester taught me a few lessons.
The first was to not accept as truth everything I was being taught. Some of what I heard was an agenda that was being pushed by a professor or his assistants. Just out of high school, I did not have a grip on how to disagree with them in an intelligent fashion and so I stayed quiet. But I did not believe what they were saying and just read the books and took the tests. They could teach me facts, but they didn’t necessarily teach me truth.
The second lesson I learned was not to trust a person just because he or she was in a position of authority. Everyone did not have my best interests at heart and there were more than a few educators out there who had the moral equivalence of an alley cat.
photo by falco, courtesy of pixabay
By the time I was seventeen, I had a good understanding of right and wrong. I knew that forcing someone to assent to your beliefs by violence was wrong. I didn’t have a thorough understanding of the Scriptures, but I knew they contained some universal truths that I could rely on and trust. I could use what I had been taught as a filter to sift through the new things I was hearing in class. Was it okay to treat people like animals in a prison camp? No. Was it okay to pursue people for your own selfish purposes? No.
Just as it was then, so it is for me today. I know that I can trust the Scriptures to teach me about moral basics like truth, justice, mercy and love. I can listen to a speaker and use my filter to see if the person is at trying to educate me or if he or she is trying to get an agenda across and is skewing the facts in order to prove their point.
What about you? Who would you trust…the professors or the prophets?