In my degree program, I am required to take an ethics class. I figured it wouldn’t be too bad. Boring, maybe, but I thought it would be pretty easy. How hard can ethics be? Bad guys vs. good guys…should be pretty black and white.
On the first day, I get there early and find a seat in the back (I am a people-watcher, and I like being by the door so I can make a quick getaway if necessary). I take out a piece of paper and my red ink pen, determined to start the semester off wonderfully. My professor (one of three for the course) walks in and goes over the syllabus, explaining that during the semester, we’re going to be given several controversial topics and we’re going to need to back up our position with ethical reasoning. I look up sharply at the next comment. “Religion is not valid ethical reasoning and will not be used in this course. You are not able to strengthen your stance on a topic with religion or God. We will look at the real ethical reasonings.” I briefly panicked. How in the world was I going to pass this class? I went home, frustrated, assuming that I would just need to become the best liar in the class and write all of my papers to appease the teacher grading it by writing exactly what they wanted (which they were pretty obvious about). I also considered dropping the class and switching my major. I think I was being a bit overdramatic, don’t you think?
Later that day, I realized that my parents did not raise me to give up like that. They taught me to stand for my values and principles, and I became determined to do so. I had been raised to stand and fight for what’s right. Even if I’m the only one. After all, the War of Independence was won by a small number of men compared to the mighty British army. Of course, many died…but they stood for what they believed in, and so would I.
So how do you pass a class that is determined to fail you if you so much as mention your belief in God or your religion? You outsmart them and you follow the rules. Whenever I had to write an ethical paper (such as on the allocation of livers), I used historical, legal documents. After all, are they really going to argue against the Consitution of the United States? Of course, add in a sentence or two about how this relates to Kantism or Utilitarianism (which is essentially a fancy ethical word for socialism) so that you don’t get points deducted for not tying in the ethical views that you learned about. When they ask you if parents should have the right to pull their kids out of school, use historical documents (which, coincidentally, mention God) to prove that that is an unalienable right and that homeschooling never hurt any of our Founding Fathers. And don’t say that you believe in God and don’t mention your religion. Back up your stance with documented facts, and not your beliefs (even if they happen to coincide, don’t tell your professors that).
And when you need to give a five-minute presentation for your final exam and this class has just made you want to bang your head against concrete to alleviate some of the pain it’s caused (don’t actually do that…bad idea) it’s OK to go ahead and put your beliefs in there without ever quoting the Bible. I had to choose an ethical, legal, or social dilemma that the COVID-19 pandemic caused. I chose to convince the class that forcing churches to close while other places were allowed to stay open was unethical and illegal. Without ever bringing religion or God into it (on my own, of course), I used many documents that happened to mention it to prove my point. What documents did I use? The Constitution of the United States, The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and James Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments. I would have used more, but they unfortunately restricted me to 5 minutes and I had to talk super fast as it was. I never once mentioned what I believed. I used the words of our God-fearing Founding Fathers to support my stance on why churches should not be forced to close during the pandemic (if you’d like to read it, click here). And if the professors were to ask why I chose it? Why, I am just playing the devil’s advocate *bat eyelashes and look angelic here*. If they asked me what I believed? I would make sure that there were witnesses that heard them asking me the question before I answered them. Why? Because it’s always good to cover your bases.
This was not the easiest class I have ever had. To be completely honest, the lectures were so painful (and at times laughable) that I would rather have taken both semesters of Organic Chemistry all over again (and that’s pretty bad). Towards the end, I was getting fed up with what they were telling me and I wanted to prove that you could, indeed, use religion as valid ethical reasoning without them docking points and failing you for it. And I managed to do so – all within the context of the documents our country was founded with. Not only was I able to stand for what was right, but I even passed the class with an A, because I followed ALL of their rules. If you have to take such a class, don’t compromise your principles. Stand for what you believe in, and outsmart your professors.
If you do not know 100% that you will be going to Heaven when you die, now is the time to repent and put your faith and trust in Christ Jesus. If you have any questions or doubts about your salvation, click here to read how you can be saved.