This is a little pet peeve; sorry it won’t be a well researched, carefully executed argument or article. It is just something that popped into my head. Many, many English literature teachers – especially in Asia but also elsewhere – are Christian. Maybe not fundamentalists, but believing, practicing Christians. At the same time, many, MANY of the Western’s world’s greatest literary minds (the poets, the politicians, the founding fathers, the artists, the novelists, the speech makers) were against or at least suspicious of organized religion. Where there were many deists or spiritualists, a healthy percentage (I’d guess around 80%) of writers had turned their backs on the limiting confines of Church orthodoxy and turned instead towards nature, reason or emotion. Writers talk about experience, and feeling, and limitless freedom; they talk of rebellion, of breaking free from shackles, or not going following the crowd. Christian teachers may be extraordinarily fine teachers; they may explain the concepts and literature superbly – but in their minds will always be the unspoken desire to end every sentence with “But of course…he was wrong”. They don’t believe the writers; how can they fully understand or appreciate them? And if the teachers can’t, how can the students?
At best this breeds a smug superiority or condescension towards those geniuses – we paint them as disturbed, crazy, self-absorbed fanatics, unwilling or unable to grasp the Truth of Christianity do to their pride or arrogance. They are victimized, demonized.
Show me a Christian literary teacher who will admit to their students that Satan is meant to be the hero of Paradise lost, representing Milton’s own struggle and revolution against the tyrannical king?
OK. That’s it. I’m sure I’m wrong, and that many Christians are fine teachers. I just can’t grasp how.