I’m three weeks into my World Missions Class (ICST500) and I don’t agree with some of the things that I’m being taught by the material. It’s not the fault of my professor, the school, or the writer of the book. I just simply disagree. I’ve voiced my differing opinion a few times on our discussion boards, but I haven’t been a rabble-rouser. A few years ago, this would not have been the case. The Dan who tried seminary two years ago thought he knew everything…thought there was nothing left to learn…thought he could insert a few ideas into the scholarly world and really stir up the pot.
I’m smarter this time around, but I’m not a coward. I’ve voiced concerns, but not arguments. Let me share a few reasons why I don’t challenge the professor or the material:
1. I need to learn: Part of learning is finding out what others believe, even if I don’t personally agree. If I think that I can get through life without disagreeing with someone, even in Christianity, then I’m dead wrong. Life (and God) has already chastised me enough to know that it’s ok for people to disagree with me. I need to learn from them. Seminary is an academic institution. That’s what I’m here for.
2. It could be that I’m the wrong one: Go figure! Maybe I need to refrain from challenging to keep myself from being humiliated later. As the saying goes “Better that someone think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt!” I am trying to apply this to my life now.
3. Sometimes it’s just best to keep my mouth shut: I’m almost famous on my ship for being a little too headstrong when it comes to my opinions. If I see a conversation that strikes me as needing my input, then by all means, I jump in! So disturbing, and for that reason, I’m trying to realize that sometimes, zipping it is better than alienating people. I don’t expect that I could alienate anyone in my online class, but why try?
I’m sure other reasons exist as to why I should not talk so much or argue points that I don’t agree with. For the record, I’m not advocating that anyone doesn’t present their case to a class. I presented mine a few weeks ago. I’m only saying that, for me, I have to be careful lest I think that the class revolves around me instead of the instruction. We’ll see how this goes.
So have you ever disagreed with a professor or the text for a class? How did you handle it? What were the outcomes?