Friday, 21 October 2011

Wars of Religion Part 2: It's a Matter of Opinion




After our last written assignment, my professor knocked off points (got 70% on the assignment, that is below a "C") and told me my opinion was wrong. Here are his comments and an email exchange that followed:

Prof's comments on my assignment:
You overlook the fact that the Scots actually start the fighting, and do so over a prayerbook. You also overlook the Irish flat out revolting over religion. Charles claims that all his actions are divinely ordained, clear religious activity, and the Parliament opposed these claims. How again is this not a war of religion? All the countries that had these official wars also had people using religion to settle old grudges. The fact that there were old grudges (decades of arguing about the place of King and Parliament) does not mean that religion was not the cause. If anything the fact that religion is where they finally spilled over from arguing to killing indicates that it was religiously motivated.

My 1st email response:
The fact that these people were all very religious in their own ways, I agree with. The fact that there were small skirmishes with the Irish and the Scotts and the fact that the king along with being power-hungry, attributed that to God's will, I also agree with. However, the book states:
"By 1642, the king (supported by many of the nobility, great landowners, and conservatives and moderate Anglicans) was at war with many of the parliamentarians (supported by lesser gentry and yeomen, the merchant classes, the large cities, and the Puritan) The English Civil War (1642-1648) consequently broke out. "
According to the textbook, it makes it look like it is upper classes (with the King)against lower classes (with Parliament) and some of those groups happened to fall within Anglicans (upper with king) and Puritans (lower class with Parliament).
This is the third (fourth?) time you have said to give our opinion, and then state my opinion is wrong. Did you want me to discover your opinion and state it? I'm just wondering. Great class, though, I've learned alot, and enjoyed it...and I think I've learned a little about your opinions ;-)

****(This is directly from what he asked of us for this assignment: After reading the article on the various wars of Religion. There is one famous war from that age not included - The English Civil War. Determine whether or not the English Civil War of the 1640's was a "War of Religion"? Be sure to include historical facts to support your opinion. )****

Prof's reply to my 1st email response:
In the online environment almost anything the professor says is immediately latched onto and repeated by students. This leads to a very poor form of education. Any time I state an opinion before an assignment is due all I get back is my opinion. All assignments in this class are left open to allow students the freedom to try their 'wings'. For the first few weeks there are no repercussions for being wrong to encourage students to be themselves. This does not mean that there are not right and wrong answers. Throughout the course most of the assignments do not have a "wrong" answer and whatever choice is made will result in full credit so long as historical support and explanation is included. If a student does the basics of supporting their thoughts with explanation and historical facts they still receive a passing grade, just not an "excellent" grade, or an "above Average" grade. Failure to appreciate the historical facts is a problem, but not the end of the world. By the way there were eight of these assignments during the semester. If you only went astray three times, you got it "right" more times than not, and better than most.
As to your specific questions for this assignment, The Parliament at this time was at the very least extremely rich, and almost all either Nobles, or about to be nobles. Thus when King and Nobles fights Parliament, it is King and Nobles fighting Nobles. Both sides had their underlings from the lower orders. You will notice that by the textbook definition the English Civil War does not start until 1642, when most sources say 1640. And the textbook lists the ECW as lasting until 1648 when Charles was in Parliament hands for more than a year and imprisoned for two by that time thus effectively ending the war. Remember what your text ignores Charles was King of: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (along with a bunch of other places). When the people are in revolt in three of four of the main places it is rather poor form to ignore two of those three.
Does all this make sense?

My 2nd email response:

You do make me think alot deeper than what is given in the textbook, and I enjoy that very much...
Both sides had their underlings from the lower orders. You will notice that by the textbook definition the English Civil War does not start until 1642, when most sources say 1640. And the textbook lists the ECW as lasting until 1648 when Charles was in Parliament hands for more than a year and imprisoned for two by that time thus effectively ending the war. Remember what your text ignores Charles was King of: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (along with a bunch of other places).
I understand, and also agree with you, that a person (or persons) who puts together a textbook will have their own opinions and own priorities on the things that they think are more important (leaving out what they think might not have influenced a situation as much as what they think were the main reasons, etc) because you do have to draw lines somewhere, not every issue and jot and tittle can be brought up, and different people will have different opinions on where the cut off points need to be. I often find myself in disagreement with authors of books, or professors on a certain point on a topic, and even so I learn through the experience. :)
Also, I go onto Christian message forums, and have disagreed with the majority on issues like whether Christians should kill Muslims in wars, whether that is being a good Christian. Most American Christians think in order to be a good Christian, one must support Israel, which to them means to kill Arabs. In my OPINION, being a good Christian means to "PRAY FOR YOUR ENEMIES" even while they are killing me, as Jesus did. I've been kicked off Christian message forums for saying this....(!!!???!!!) sheesh....
I understand that you want us to think about things "from our opinion" before giving us yours, and the reasons for your opinions which do make sense even when I still hold to my own (I can understand the logic although I come to a different conclusion), instead of giving us your opinions right off the bat, and what the textbook says as gospel truth. I agree that I, for one anyway, am learning alot this way, and do enjoy this teaching style better than the other way.





Not that I think it will change anyone's opinions (lol) but this web article also seems to say that although there were religiously motivated people involved in conflicting situations in England during this time, it was the problem of politics, money and power, that was the cause of the English Civil War:
http://www.historyonthenet.com/Civil_War/charlesi.htm

4 comments:

  1. Hi Susan, I'm catching up on your great posts here, and for illogical reasons I've read this post on the prof's grading reasoning & your responses before the previous 2 posts, so forgive my disorder here in my comments.

    It is confirming to my last few thoughts I last posted on your comments to read your last paragraph here,

    "although there were religiously motivated people involved in conflicting situations in England during this time, it was the problem of politics, money and power, that was the cause of the English Civil War:"

    That's in a nutshell what I was thinking on wars in general!

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  2. Hi Musemater,

    This class really helped me to understand these situations and see them with a clarity that I never really had before...and even though I didn't always agree with the professor's opinions, I learned so much from his class that will remain with me always, and am greatly indebted to him. It is encouraging me to veer more in the direction of theology than I previously thought...I will pray and seek out more info in the direction I am to go with continued studies, but this really was so much more incredible than I thought it would be. I thought this would be a dry and dull class, but it was actually very profoundly stimulating and energized me on many things (looking at power structuring, belief systems, basic living and social stratification throughout time, etc) bringing history to life, and making it relevant to things today, things that we have that are still based upon the past struggles and the laws that we have which were engineered over times past in the attempts to solve problems.

    It truly "blew my mind" in a good way. :)

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  3. Your opinion was wrong...HA!


    I'm catching up here, too, but I do like that you are willing to go back and forth with the professor, and that you really enjoyed the class:)

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    Replies
    1. Ma, I recently saw something on that "Know your enemy" series that makes me rethink this "opinion" lol...it isn't cut and dried, for sure, there was alot going on in that conflict....as in any conflict, I guess, we are talking about people, and politics and religion, after all....very complex...

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