This just in! Hu Jintao is the Antichrist!
I’d like to take this time to reflect upon a certain outspoken student in my Thursday evening political science class. For some reason, this guy seems to believe that the rest of the class simply could not live without his comments throughout the lecture. The very first time he raised his hand was to inform us that he was a “theocrat,” claiming that Jesus would be descending any day now to show us how to properly govern our societies. It only went downhill from there, as week after week he spews theories just paranoid enough to be ridiculous and religious enough to insult every non-Evangelist in the room.
I’ve come to calling this guy “the prophet.” He sits near the back, so I’ve never actually seen his face, but when his voice pops up, I bury my face in my hands, because now we’re all going to be subject to his pseudo-religious babbling while the professor tries to change the subject and the whole class murmurs about how much they’d love it if he’d just shut up. Most of the time, he’s extolling some political situation being discussed in class as proof that “the last days are upon us, as foretold by the scriptures!” He’s certifiable, but for some reason he seems to think he’s doing the class some great favor by positing his ridiculous and baseless assumptions in a public forum.
In that respect, the guy reminds me of Raquel Baranow. I used to catch this woman on public access television here in Tucson every so often whilst flipping through channels (I’m not masochistic enough to actually watch public access). The woman mumbles a lot and uses a sound system that must have been purchased during the Truman administration, making it extremely difficult to understand her. In the few moments in which her mealy-mouthed banter resembles spoken English, everything out of her mouth is so obscene, fallacious and historically bankrupt that not only is it impossible to take her seriously, it’s actually rather amusing to try and guess what drugs she’s on as she’s talking.
A word to the “prophets” out there: nobody cares about how religious you are, or how much you believe that the President of China is the Antichrist and hails of fire and brimstone will come through the hole in the ozone layer. It’s not on the exam, so I don’t understand why you’re bringing it up in a lecture hall of over two hundred people except to perhaps irritate every last one of us.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m NOT an anti-religious person, but I am against the kind of evangelical grandstanding that “the prophet” seems to revel in. Humans should have an unalienable right to pursue any religion or no religion, if we so choose, in our quest to bring meaning to our brief time on earth. I’m a Catholic convert from Protestantism; not extremely devout, but I’ve gone to church and read the Bible enough to know the difference between moral and immoral actions, right and wrong, sin and virtue. My personal faith journey is exactly that: personal. I don’t share it unless it’s a welcome subject in a gathering, just as I don’t debate politics with just anyone.
I’m also not anti-speech, as some might accuse. I’m not saying that “the prophet” is violating any sort of laws or infringing on my rights. However, a college kid is well past the age where he or she has to be told that you don’t talk about certain subjects in certain locations, and where hyping up doomsayer theories that might get you brownie points with the reverend only get you mocked and ridiculed in a secular setting. There is a time and place to discuss religious leanings, and it’s not in the middle of a political science lecture!