Being uncomfortable in Religion class

Hey everyone,

I really want to know whether this is offensive or i am being too sensitive but i don’t know what to do because i feel very uncomfortable in my religion and ethics class. My teacher (i’ll keep anonymous) is like the class clown and makes funny jokes here and there that everyone laughs about. I seem to be the only catholic in the class and not all the time but the jokes made make me very uncomfortable and i am quite shy so i don’t know if i should say anything. It’s a bit hypocritical because the teacher says to remain respectful because some students were disrespecting the onenote when the teacher asked to put in a favourite prophet and everyone put each other and posting inappropriate photos of phrophets wearing sunglasses. Other jokes are like along the lines of ’ i wonder what Jesus did during his teenage years because we don’t know what happened…probably annoying his parents and sinning’ or look at papa Francisco (Pope Francis) etc. Should i say anything ?? I feel bad though because he praises me and says i have been working hard and he is impressed with my maturity when talking about religion. I know i shouldn’t try to want to be offended but i don’t know i feel uncomfortable all the time.

Please let me know what you think :slight_smile:

If your teacher recognizes this in you, I don’t think you need to concern yourself as much with what the other students are saying, or even his own attempts at humor. If they are not saying anything that is truly outrageous about Catholicism or sacrilegious, just get through the class.

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I’ve had classes where professors would say things that I found to be inappropriate or offensive. Most of the time, I just bit my lip and let it slide because it didn’t interfere with my learning. If you honestly believe that it impacts your learning, I would talk with the professor outside of class and let him know. It’s honestly a giant sign of maturity to recognize the lack of professionalism and deal with it in private. Maybe your professor is completely ignorant that his comments could be offensive. The best advice that I could give is to pray about it.

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This doesn’t sound offensive to me. One can have a joke while remaining respectful.

You don’t make it clear what level of education you are at or where you are from? If you are from a Spanish-speaking country, I assume that Papa Francisco is simply what you call the pope anyway. Or perhaps your teacher calls him that because the pope is from Argentina. Anyway, it doesn’t sound offensive.

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I appreciate the time you took to comment on my question, i am actually from Australia and i am currently in year 12. I agree with you that someone can make a joke and remain respectful but I was watching a video by Father Mike Schmitz who made a video about using God’s name in vain. I just think that because my teacher was saying false things about Jesus for example jokingly saying that Jesus must have been naughty when he was younger to his parents and sinning which is completely against the Catholic teaching which i found to be very shocking seeing that my teacher is a religion teacher so i am assuming they know the Catholic doctrine and Dogma enough to know that Jesus doesn’t sin. Again i am thankful for your comment i just thought i would give you more background since i was a bit vague before.

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So there’s two separate things to address here: The act itself, and your reaction to it.

The act itself is the disrespect shown for holy things. It is never acceptable to make a mockery of the Divine, and just because you see other people do it, including your peers or those in positions of authority, it does not mean that you yourself should ever do it.

Now, from your description, it doesn’t sound like you are engaging in that type of behavior, but I wanted to preface my answer with that because of what I’m about to say next.

The second aspect of your situation is the discomfort or offense you feel when other people do those things. Your own mental and emotional reaction is something completely under your control, and it is important to establish yourself in a state in which those actions by other people do not disturb your own psychological equilibrium.

That means you should learn how to not be offended, and how to not feel discomfort when other people do those things, even though you would never, ever, do them yourself. If other people disrespect the Divine, that is between them and God. It is none of your business, even if they are your peers or superiors. The Lord taught us not to judge our neighbors (Matthew 7:1-5), and to truly live by His instruction, we must reach a state in which we are not condemning other people in our hearts.

Your peers and your teacher are actually giving you excellent training here, and you should be grateful to them. The world is full of people, including people with great earthly power, who make a mockery of God. It is useful that you are exposed to that when you are young, so you can develop the psychological resilience you will need to live in the world.

Avoiding offense or discomfort in the face of things that are an affront to religion is just as important as not partaking in those affronts yourself. This is because the psychological habit of feeling offense, if left unchecked, can eventually fester into fanaticism, condemnation, and hate. And if you allow that to happen, then you yourself would be making a mockery of His teachings, not because of anything you said with your lips, but because of the corruption you allowed to grow in your heart.

So it’s a delicate balance. Do not join them in their wrong actions, but also be at peace with yourself and with God even when others do things you know is wrong.

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Thank you so very much for that wise response it truly did help me. I completely agree with you on how you told me not to judge others, because after i sent that message i went and prayed to God. I began praying my usual prayer the 15 prayers of St Bridget and i came across the line talking about despite all of Jesus’ suffering’s he did not for one moment stop praying to God for his enemies saying "father forgive them for they know not what they do"and at that moment i felt he answered me. You are right i should forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing. Thank you again <3

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I’d say that rather than “avoiding offense or discomfort” we should instead seek to turn it to good by praying for the other person who is being offensive, or quietly telling them what they are doing is wrong.

We don’t have to be stoics who don’t feel a thing when others insult what we love. If someone was insulting my mother, I would not feel it was my duty to avoid being offended or uncomfortable about it. I would however feel it was my duty to deal with my feelings in a mature way rather than responding to the person with a string of angry words, or getting up and punching them in the face, or shooting them, or going home and feeling upset all night over what they said.

It’s normal to feel an upset emotion and we don’t need to repress that. Repression can also be very damaging psychologically as well as spiritually and even physically. We just need to turn our reaction to good. In some cases the “good” reaction might be to say something (someone above mentioned perhaps having a private discussion with the teacher), in other cases the “good” reaction might be to remain silent and just pray for those who mock and insult (as Jesus did at the Crowning with Thorns).

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You make an excellent point about repression, and I’m glad you spoke up to clarify it.

If we repress our emotions, we simply force them deeper into our subconsciousness where they can continue to do harm. What I was advocating was not repression, but rather cultivating a sense of peace and psychological equilibrium in which such emotions do not afflict us. That can involve a lot of introspection and prayer to help purify the causes of those negative emotions within us. I wasn’t clear about that in my post, so thank you for pointing that out.

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there’s an entire days worth of reading in the meme thread here that adds levity to religion, some are more funny than others.

There’s some truth in “cooperate to graduate” which discounts things sometimes, but the class you’re in is also part of life’s education. I don’t think there’s much to worry about in this instance.

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Keep in doing what you are doing and let your actions speak for you. Now if you hear blatantly false or blasphemous things said don’t hesitate to lovingly correct them and have the facts to back up what you say. God bless you and just remember God sees al!.

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