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Religious Intolerance Redux

A week or so ago Dartblog reported on a column in The Dartmouth, the daily student newspaper, that expressed religious intolerance. A number of students opined on the subject, thankfully very few taken in by the elitist and bigoted stance of the article.

Ostensibly due to constraints of space and time, the student attacked in the article, Nathan Empsall ‘09, was not given the opportunity to respond on the pages of the D. Mr. Empsall writes that:

“It should be understood that the assignment was not just to “read and analyze the Genesis creation story”, but to compare that story with another culture’s creation tale and understand the distinct traditions. [In class] Stonehill insisted on a very literal reading of the Biblical text, which, if accepted as the only proper interpretation, would lead students to believe all Christians believe something that they in fact do not. I did not dismiss her literal reading, but I did try to broaden the discussion by adding the metaphorical interpretation held by many mainline Christians and the academic view that Genesis has four authors and two creation stories. This is what Stonehill dismisses as “obscure religious reasoning” and “isolated, irrelevant examples.” How, I ask, can including multiple perspectives be considered “rigid close-mindedness?”

As has been noted in subsequent opinion pieces, we all have different individual perspectives that shape who we are and how we contribute. This diversity can enrich both academic and cultural discussions. Lucy’s background and beliefs, whatever they may be, are a welcome addition to the classroom, as should be my own Texas roots and Episcopal views.”

The full text of the original article can he found here, and Empsall ‘s full response here and here.

Please do take a look at the full refutation and explanation by the student attacked. There is always a place for more arguments on tolerance and respect. I found it interesting to compare Ms. Stonehill’s secular bigotry to Mr. Empsall’s religious tolerance.


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