Tonight at the Spurlock Museum I attended a lecture on Scripture and the Rhetoric of Empire, by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorence a professor at Harvard Divinity School. The talk mainly focused on how people have used Christianity to justify expansionism and the military industrial complex. However the talk shifted to feminism and women’s place in society as defined by religion. She did not attack religion or Christianity at all she merely pointed out some specific interpretations people have held through the centuries. She also cited the reasons why some people view the United States as a imperial power and not a democracy. However I disagree with her on the fact that the US is a imperial power we are far from it, but we are also not a full fledged democracy.
I liked this quote in particular where she quotes Desmond Tutu on western colonization, “We have the Bibles now, and they have the land.” Although missionaries sought to convert the then termed “uncivilized” to Christianity it is hard to deny the countries that sent them on their missions had the prime objective of expansion.
So I asked the question to Professor Fiorence, whether she believed racism or gender would be a greater obstacle and she pointed my attention to the following youtube video:
In the video a lady asks Senator McCain how do we beat the B*, and everyone in rooms laughs, and McCain responds thats a good question. Now if McCain had said a derogatory term about Barack Obama he might have been looking at the end of his political future. I had seen the youtube video before and this scenario had not come into my mind. Overall I would say the theme of the lecture as in most religious and philosophical lectures usually centered back to the idea of social constructions. A few of my female friends believe that their ideal lives will happily move along with their husbands taking care of them. I think many people fail to realize that things have changed considerable while it might have been possible to live in a home with one parent working. I’m often repulsed by this stand by your man mentality. Our turbulent economy and rising cost of living will soon make this impossible.
The point I’m merely trying to make in this post is that most people spend too much time not trying to become more intellectually knowledgeable in certain things because they are socialized to think one way. I think one of the great things that I’ve found about college it is a period of your life where you have the ability to be exposed to many different avenues of thought. Whether that be from your friends, or professors. One of the biggest mistakes I find that engineering students make is trying to avoid taking classes that are not in the college of engineering. You might actually learn something from your philosophy or a history class. Realistically most people do not remain in one profession for their entire lives so I think its important to branch out explore as much as you can to prevent yourself from being an ignorant individual in society. I know a few of my friends that have interests in film, and psychology. I personally find religion and history interesting and politics of course.