People, and I think teens are even more susceptible to this, often tend to think that morality begins and ends with a label. Obviously it's not enough to label yourself "religious" and be done with it. Like the old adage suggests, "Your words are who you want others to think you are but your actions are who you really are."
I try very hard not to get hung up on people's belief systems, but rather to accept them for who they are and judge them by their actions (if and when judgement is even called for). But crowing loudly about one's religion or one's atheism is one of those things that puts me on alert. Are you really that devout or do you just want me to think that?
But to bring this around to a classroom topic, that is why I am here after all, what does one do when the classroom suddenly bursts into a discussion of religion? Such debates are frequently so passionate that students do not maintain the target language and are almost always off-topic. But I feel like an intellectual ogre when I stomp on the discussion and try to bring it back around to the pluscuamperfecto (or whatever the topic at hand might be).
Maybe one could redirect by saying that the conversation has strayed from the topic at hand, but that students were welcome to submit comments in Spanish for later discussion and then give them a forum to do so. A discussion board online might be ideal, as long as rules were posted that no proselytizing and no slandering would be allowed. My experience tells me that only a very few would actually take me up on it, but that it could be a brilliant discussion for those who did. What do you think?
Image courtesy of www.desmotivaciones.es .