Suzanne Cherry (smcherry@UNCCVX.UNCC.EDU)
Fri, 2 Aug 1996 09:11:49 EDT

I'm going to express a combination of my concern and a devil's advocate
role in response to Mike's comment that *Jesse-baby* "believes waht he
believes because the Bible tells him so".

I'm troubled by the remark for a couple of reasons. One of which is that
I am a believing and practicing Christian who believes for a variety of
reasons, one of which is that the "Bible tells me so". I've also got a
Ph.D. in rhetoric and comp. I'm wondering if Mike means that a person
can't be a Christian and a rhetor? I don't have too much trouble combing
these philosophies, but I think many people do. This leads me to another
concern that I've been batting around with a few colleagues around here --
at what point do our own religious views or lack thereof interfere with
our ability to read, respond, and evaluate a student's paper? In
Straub and Lunsford's book, 12 Readers Reading, they report on a student
paper that takes a strong Christian position about creation. All of their
readers reacted strongly to the text. One of the readers refused to
respond to it, because it was beyond her frame of reference. In other
words, the teacher refused to even try and respond to the paper, even though
the paper met the parameters of the assignment. The remaining respondants
trashed the paper -- for its logic and its faith and a lot of other things.
But, if a respondant with similar views reads the paper (like me), the
response is vastly different. I agree with a few things the others said --
that a student should not rely solely on the Bible as an authority, and
some grammar/mechanical issues -- but I don't find it reprehensible. So,
this then leads to another question -- we make efforts to allow students to
incorporate non-traditional religious philosophies. I would make an effort
to respond to and understand a student paper about aethism or Buddhism.

Why, then, can't we extend ourselves to understand and respond to papers that
take on a Christian perspective? This is a valid world view for lots of

I don't mean to trash Mike or to suggest that he's unfair. It's just that
his comment got me to thinking and I thought I'd share these thoughts with
y'all to see what you think.