This is something that my colleagues talk about all the time.I’m not saying you don’t get misunderstood , but I’ve never actually had a situation where I was talking about a religion story where I felt that I was just being manipulated – except for by Dave Van Biema [of magazine] – I’m just kidding, Dave.
This is a message that I’ve figured out only by talking about my book over the last year.
I’ve been at Boston University now for 10 years, and it was maybe about five, six years ago I started noticing a shift. (Laughter.) I would have to do this iteration with them, and it became really intriguing to me to see when I had to do that and how often I started doing that. I think about one out of nine of my students would pass with 60 percent or better.
When I would say things like in Matthew, blah, blah, blah, the students would get that look like they sort of knew what I was talking about but they really didn’t. And I found that I couldn’t assume much in terms of religious knowledge from my students. Not, who was the pope when [Martin] Luther nailed his theses on the wall at Wittenberg? And one thing that really intrigued me is, at the end, I would give them a list of Bible characters and then Bible stories and I’d ask them to match them.
So But there is this other way of talking about religion that doesn’t assume that you believe in God or that atheists are idiots.
It is just another way to think and have a conversation about this topic.