RELIGION CLASS STORY

AS TOLD BY DAVID NINOMIYA

I went to the auditorium in the Art Building for my first day of my Religion 150 class in Spring 2001 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  As I entered the room, I saw this old guy, wearing a black shirt, dark brown coat and black pants.  He also had dark sunglasses and was smoking a cigarette.  I thought nothing of this guy, till I saw a few minutes later that he's my teacher, Lee Seigel.

This is a rough transcription of the introductory part of his lecture on that first day:

Hi everyone, this is Religion 150.  I'm sure this is the last time I'll see many of you until the midterm.  Now I know that a lot of you are taking this class because it's a core requirement.  You don't really want to be here, but you're just taking it cause it was either this, or taking philosophy.  I have no idea why they put those 2 in the same category.  Anyway, I'll make you a deal.  You pretend that you're not here, just to fulfill a core requirement, and I'll pretend that I'm not here, just for the money.

As you can see, I'm wearing a brown coat, cause it's what religion teachers are wearing this Spring.  It's the "in color".  Now I am NOT a religious guy.  People wonder about that, but just because someone is a religion teacher, it doesn't mean that they have to be religious . . . or moral.

At parties, people would ask me "what do you do?"  When I tell them that I'm a religion teacher, they immediately put out their cigarettes or put down their glass of alcohol, even though I may be smoking, or feeling woozy from my 3rd glass of whisky.  Sometimes people will tell me what their religion is.  I don't know what they expect me to do, like tell them that yes, you chose the right one, or no, you have the wrong one.

Now religion raises the question of "Who am I?", "Where am I going?", "What is the meaning of life?".  These questions have been asked since the beginning of time.  NOT.  In the beginning of time, guys were probably NOT asking "What is the meaning of life?", rather, "I'm hungry, how do I kill this sabertooth tiger?".

Now you all will be tested on the lecture, not on the book.  This is because I'm very egotistical, so the test material is coming all from what I say.  You wouldn't believe the rush.

Professor Siegel then went on to lecture for the rest of the day, telling us that the bible is a bunch of stories, and making frequent references to Charleton Heston and how his rendition of Moses in "The Ten Commandments.  How Charleton Heston got it right, where he screwed up, etc.  He would go on to make fun of every single major religion in his own quirky way.  This was just the lecture on the first day of my Religion 150 class.
 


 
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