Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cultural barriers.

I didn't think that I would have any insight on this  topic, until I encountered a male student from Saudi Arabia a few days ago. The session was going fine for the first 30 minutes or so, until I came across an error in his paper regarding the information he provided. His paper was to analyze three different religions and compare them. He chose Lutheranism, Islamic and Mormonism. I didn't know much about Islamic and Lutheranism, so I didn't have enough insight on those particular topics. However, when I came across his section on Mormonism I found some mistakes. First, he stated that the Mormon religion believed in the trinity. Second, he refused to call Joseph Smith a prophet. I politely explained to him that the Mormons did not believe in the trinity, and that they believed that God, the Son and the Holy Ghost  were separate entities. He refused to believe me, and said that he got his information from Wikipedia and that I was wrong. I explained to him that I was not a member of  the Mormon church, but I had been surrounded by it my whole life and that they truly did not believe in the trinity. He kept dismissing my statements, thinking that I was not as reliable as Wikipedia. I politely said that Wikipedia is not always correct and is subjected to the opinions and ideas of others. Still, he did not believe me. Also, he refused to acknowledge Joseph Smith as a prophet because he did not believe in the Mormon church. I explained to him that if he included the prophets in the other religions he should include the Mormon prophet, to avoid biases. Still, he was not responsive. I couldn't help but wonder what his reaction would have been if he had a male tutor. He seemed to dismiss any input I provided on the content of his paper. Eventually, after explaining the churches influence in my upbringing, he softened his tone a bit and was slightly more responsive to my input. We finally were able to agree that he would check his information for accuracy. Although this was a fair compromise it still irked me. There would be no need for him to check his information if he would have just listened to me. However, I understood that it was important for him to gain the knowledge on his own, versus just taking me at my word.


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