Question:

Regarding a problem I'm having in college:

I'm in a composition class that requires me to read literature that will sometimes involve sinful situations -- things that I wouldn't read if it was up to me. As well as I'm in an art class that probably will deal with Renaisance Catholic art work, and it's possible we will discuss nude sculptures; though I'm unsure. How should I handle things like this? Is there any way I can go through college with my morals and soul still intact?

Thanks.


Answer:

When a work depicts an immoral situation, you need to ask yourself why it is there. We know immorality exists in the world, so the fact that immorality took place should not upset us. Even in the Bible we read of facts of people visiting prostitutes, committing adultery, committing incest, and other immoral acts. But in some works, the immoral acts are recorded to glorify the sin and not to merely express the fact. In some works it is there merely for the entertainment, using the old cliche that sex sells. When I run across something that is too graphic and looks only there to glorify or promote an immoral behavior, I skip that section. I can guarantee that you won't have missed anything need for your class.

Even better, if there is discussion of that scene, prepare yourself for pointing out why sex outside of marriage was bad -- hopefully you have some facts from the book to illustrate your point. Look for things like it was just an act and not really love because of their later behavior. Look for things that didn't go well because they engaged in sex without commitment. And look for character flaws that made the people rash, impulsive, or ungodly. Notice that I can discuss all these things without having to have read the details of exactly how they had sex from the book.

Profane words are a bit harder to deal with. I again skip them, but for personal reading, if I run across a book with too much profanity, it doesn't get finished.

I have taken teachers aside in the past and told them bluntly that I did not enjoy a reading assignment and listed out why. I remember one that got so bad about sexual situations that I stopped reading the book and just read the last chapter so I knew the ending. I actually got the highest grade in the class when I took the test on that book. But I also told the teacher that I would like to request alternative readings if similar books were required in the future. Interestingly, the reading assignment got much better thereafter.

I suspect that you can treat art work the same way. If nudity exists, then ask yourself if it is gratuitous or not -- most of the time it is. Ask for alternative assignments. Since you are not asking to get out of work and the request comes from your religious beliefs, most teacher will respect the request.

Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate all the help you've given me. I really think it's amazing you devote your life to spreading the gospel and helping others. Hope you and you're physical and spiritual family are doing great!