TEoD: Chapter 30: The False Teacher
Thirty chapters in (out of sixty-eight), and seriously NOTHING has happened yet.
We are reminded of this twofold, as Murphy begins yet another class, and notices that Summer Van Doren has not shown up.
Get your head in the game, Murphy. You’ve got a class to teach. Anyway, how could you be thinking about her after you had that wonderful dream about Isis?
Yep, he’s done nothing. He hasn’t started tracking down the Biblical artifacts he keeps daydreaming about, and he hasn’t contacted the pseudo-girlfriend that he real dreams about.
(This is starting to become one of those stereotypical I-have-a-girlfriend-who-lives-in-Canada things. You can just picture Murphy chatting with colleagues: “I do TOO have a girlfriend. She just lives in another state and never visits and we don’t talk on the phone or write letters or email. But she’s real! I even held her hand once!”)
(More to the point, this is also reminiscent of Rayford Steele’s obsession with “a woman he had never touched“—for these RTC males, relationships are actually better…when they aren’t actually relationships.)
Also also, did Murphy seriously expect Summer to audit every single class he ever teaches, forever? I mean, dude, she has a job.
And, in further news of Occasional Characters, Murphy notices that Paul Wallach has shown up to class.
It had been quite some time since Paul had dropped out of his class.
Uh-huh. So why then does he get to just show back up whenever he wants? I mean, I get that this is the easiest and most pointless course on campus, but I doubt the registrar is similarly incompetent. Dean Archer Fallworth has shown us repeatedly that some people at Preston University do actually care about their jobs.
Interestingly, Murphy reaction to Paul’s presence is:
I guess he and Shari are really trying to put their relationship back together.
Wow, so even Murphy understands his own class is pointless. Because Paul couldn’t possibly be there to get his degree (which he should already have, but whatevs); he could only be in that classroom to win Shari back.
Murphy begins class by briefly reviewing the previous weeks: lectures on “the concept of God…[spawning] many cultures to create pagan gods and idols,” and “thinking about both good and evil angels.” And again, he seems to be openly admitting that nothing about this course has anything even remotely to do with archaeology.
Now we’re on to false teachers, which Murphy of course interprets to mean anybody who preaches or teaches anything that is not RTC-ity. He starts with a Letterman’s Top Ten list. Well, it’s a list of ten people. I don’t feel like tracking down all of them, but one I picked at random was Abu Isa, who never actually claimed to be Christ at all. So…whoopee?
Murphy blathers on for pages about these and a second list of ten “false Christs and teachers,” sprinkling in a sentence or two about some (but not all) of them, in such a way that absolutely none of it will stick in the minds of his students. Moving a bit further forward in history, Murphy mentions Ann Lee, whom I only mention because she was a Shaker leader, and I recently heard a radio preacher snarking about Shakers. I had not known this was a Thing in RTC-ity, but apparently so.
And this list is odd in another way: Maitreya is put in the same list with Marshall Applewhite. Seems to me that a guy who leads a mass suicide belongs in a different category than the potential future Buddha. (Interestingly, Murphy puts a year next to each name. Maitreya gets 1959. Why, I’m not sure, except that 1959 was the year the translation of a book containing the prophecy of Maitreya was released. Top notch researching there, Murph!
And this goes on for EIGHT PAGES. Eight pages of Phillips’ distillation of his glances at Wikipedia. And he tops it off with a full page of FALSE TEACHERS who made predictions surrounding the year 2000. And again, this list is just bizarre with regards (or lack thereof) to proportionality: the leader of a mass suicide is once again featured in the same list as someone who just made some bizarre claims. (Why do I get the feeling that in LaPhillips’ eyes, it is much worse for a woman to make bizarre claims than a man?)
Now, as we’ve discussed before, these students are friggin’ pros at this point in the fine art of Dealing with Michael Murphy. So it should come as no surprise when, instead of calling Murphy on the fact that plenty of RTCs have made claims that have not come true, a student asks the following:
“Dr. Murphy, hadn’t there been predictions about Jesus Christ…like where He was going to be born and how he would die, for hundreds of years before the event?”
Yeah, she knows what’s up.
Murphy is just waiting for such a question, because the claims of RTCs are totally different from all other spiritual claims.
Murph cites one Peter Stoner, a Christian mathematician who was in turn cited in Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict. (In true incestuous RTC tradition, McDowell cites Stoner’s book, which was “carefully reviewed” by the American Scientific Affiliation…a group co-founded by Stoner.)
The “staggering odds” Murphy cites is that there is a “one in ten to the twenty-eighth power [chance of Jesus] fulfilling eight prophecies.”
Now, aside from snarking on the completely unquestioned prophecies that may or may not have been referring to Jesus, and may or may not have come true (though if you want to, try this or this), the bell is about to ring (because I guess this is middle school), and one of the most laugh- or cringe-inducing moments in the entire series happens:
“With odds like that, when Christ returns, I don’t think there will be any doubt about it. So think about the importance of following a true teacher as compared to a false teacher. It could affect the future of each and every one of you.”
The bell rang and the students treated Murphy to a standing ovation for a particularly inspired lecture. He blushed and gave a nod of gratitude.
I mean, wow. There are really too many comments for me to make.
First of all, again, the authors have not been to college. I have been in a LOT of college and graduate and professional classrooms, and the only time I have seen a professor applauded for a lecture is when it is either 1) a guest lecture or 2) the last day of classes. Standing ovation for a random weekday lecture with PowerPoint lists and a handout? Not so much.
Especially because (and I do so love to hammer away at this point), this lecture had ZERO to do with archaeology. ZERO. It was about false (non-RTC) teachers, most of them from the 20th century. Dean Fallworth, where are you when we need you?
So there is no way I can read this standing ovation as being the least bit sincere. It’s coming right on the tail of a brown-nosing question that was fishing for a self-serving response from an egomaniac. Student asks the brown-nosing question, Murphy pontificates on Biblical “statistics” for two full pages, gets a standing ovation. There is NO WAY that was not planned ahead of time. It’s a faux-spontaneous act to kiss up and raise grades and put the narcissist in a good mood. For a darker image, think of the opening scene of USS Callister (and yes, I’ll just reference the opening scene, because SPOILERS).
Sure, we have all the many, many times Rayford Steele has insisted on being called “Captain,” and DOCTOR Paul Stepola, the besets spy in the history of the world, but this standing ovation for a normal lecture may be the single best example of this world heaping unearned praise and adulation on its author avatar heroes.
Brilliant PowerPoints, Professor, just brilliant!