Here’s an interesting and entertaining look by Tom Beaudoin at what professors often find when grading college papers. Not only are there plenty of yuk-yuk funny bits of bad grammar and tortured prose, some of the “theological” assertions here move beyond merely erroneous, beyond amusing, and deep into that happy-clappy land of the ludicrously ridiculous. The first paragraph on Scripture, for example, is a highly instructive example of suchlike.
Before coming to Fordham to teach graduate students full-time, I taught many undergraduate courses over seven years at Boston College and Santa Clara University. During that time, I collected a list of “student bloopers” gathered from their assignments. I did so inspired by the years of laughter provided by the memory of an article I read in the early 1990s by Richard Lederer, then at St. Paul’s School, titled “The World According to Student Bloopers.” (That pre-Web article can now be found everywhere on the Internet.) Early on in my trundle through thousands of undergraduate papers and exams, I realized that student bloopers were not only entertaining, and often wickedly so, but occasionally generative of a pleasantly orthogonal angle on theology that stayed with me long after.By the way, my collection and presentation of student bloopers does not, of course, mean that I myself am not given to error. I am, and constantly—in both “style” and “substance.” But somehow those just aren’t as funny. (Or at least no one has yet collected mine.) So here, with the most minimal of editing, is what I have after my first seven years of teaching theology.On Faith and RelationshipsMy girlfriend is my most coveted possession. Our love is similar to that shared by Adam and Eve during the reading of the creation story. I believe that God gave sex for humans to use in the pretext of marriage.On GodThe question of whether a higher being exists has plagued man since the beginning of civilized society. The question “Who is God?” is one that has been bounced continuously back and forth. Many ask why God acts the way He does, while others ask the question why doesn’t God act the way He does. The dessert ascetics believed in the ascendance of God. I think God’s ways are mysterious, and the meaning is not going to jump out and bite us in the ass. God is a different person to everybody, and to some he may not have a corpulent form at all. Theocratically, God is so far more advanced than mankind. And while there is nothing you can do to impress God enough to give you internal life, universal salvation is a huge turn onOn CatholicismCertain aspects of Catholic belief are founded on realty. The Catholic religion remains strict on their teachings in order to withhold tradition. However, through Vatican II, Christians are now not the only good people in the world. Doris Day started the Catholic Worker.On ScriptureThe closest written text to the period of the Big Bang is the Bible, which is the underlying scripture of the Christian tradition, and one of the earliest and most influential texts available for theologians. In the Bible, God is loving, forgiving, powerful, and a creationist. In the Book of Genius, God created all the living and nonliving, proclaiming his intention ‘good.’ For tempting Adam and Eve, God scalds the serpent. With regard to Adam and Eve, I am so tired of being told that because of two fictitious people I am not dancing around naked with Brittany Spheres. God promised never to erase mankind again but there is no mention that He won’t screw with us. God led the Israelites out of Egypt to the land of cannon, so they could make scarifeces in the woods. God wreaks havoc on the Egyptians in a fairy tale manor. I really like interrupting the scriptures in class.Luke’s gospel tells of shepherds who come to worship a babe. In the Greek language of the Gospel of John, Jesus is described as the “haggis” or Word of God. Mary Magdalene was the first to see the woman Christ. Women were whitenesses of the death of Jesus. Jesus always tells people that he is the sun of God. Jesus amazed people, starting with his emasculate conception. The passion of Christ is a dramatic, griping story. The New Testament ends with the reformation, and allows the writers to see into heaven. The Bible should not be rewritten because it is apart of the Christian Tradition.On SinLearning about the true capabilities of humans is heart retching. But by following the teachings of Jesus Christ, ultimately a person can lead a life of sinfulness. I believe that Christ died for our sins and even today we are atoning for that.On ProtestantismLuther was famous for writing the 95 Indulgences. After reading Martin Luther, I am thinking of becoming protest. Protestant theology teaches “faith alone,” also known as “sola fillet” or “sola feta.” It also teaches “grace alone,” or “sola gracias.” Martin Luther challenged the ideas of the church, starting the Protestant movement, and inadvertently the ideas of Origen. The antibaptists did not believe in baptizing their babies.On TheologiansAfter St. Augustus’ conversation at Milan, he wanted to seek a wife. He was a theological model and also a Hindu. St. Ignatius believes people are created to praise, reverse, and serve God. He taught that the three stages of the mystical journey are purgative, illuminative, and cognitive. The Spiritual Exercises were written for leaders to use on retreatants. There is also Bultmann’s demythologizing retaliation of the New Testament. Juan Luis Segundo writes theology for Latin America, where it will have the most levity. Segundo argues that we must find Jesus’ deeper, perjuring truth.On Theological AnthropologyThe true nature of the human is to be sociable. Human beings are God’s masterpiece which he wanted to survive. Like God and man, the relationship of parent and child expels a love that bears no restraints.Tom Beaudoin, New York City