I really have to learn to pay attention to those pesky instructions on web sites, really, I must.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about “MOOCs”, i.e., Massively Open Online Courses, both for and against. I decided to check it out, since I really had no idea what a MOOC was, how it worked, or why anyone would want to take one. I went to the Edx web site and saw a menu of courses available, one of which was offered by Harvard and entitled Ancient Greek Heroes, mostly focusing on the Iliad and the Odyssey, but also several other books. I clicked on the link and found some information on the course. I then saw a link that, I thought, one could use to get info on the Edx projess itself, I didn’t bother to carefully read the screen, needless to say. In actuality, I signed up for the course. So, here I am enrolled in an online course from Harvard, one that started on March 13 and ends of June 26 and I have a lot of catching up to do. This is a massive side track from previous plans but, hey, I really should have read the instructions. Besides, God sometimes works in mysterious ways.
Anyway, one thing I note in going over the introductory material for the course is how Christian the themes of Greek literature seem to be. There’s death, resurrection, heros with one immortal and one mortal parent — a good deal of it seems to be in there. I got to thinking about this and wondering how a modern non-believer at a modern, prestigious American university deal with such coincidences, if they thought of them at all. Would they simply say that such things were common among all ancient civilizations or otherwise try to explain them away?
To be honest, I began to wonder about that myself. But, then I remembered Jesus saying, in John’s Gospel, that He was The Truth. I remembered that I believe that it was God, through His Son, that created all things. That means that, any search by any human, for Truth, would more than likely lead to the same explanations, or at least the same hoped for explanations. It could be no other way if the Truth was at the heart of all such pursuits. I was gratified, and began to admire the ancient Greeks even more.
I want to say that so far in the course, nothing of a disrespectful nature has been said about Christianity or those who believe in Jesus by the professor or anyone associated with the course. The professor is very impressive for his knowledge and enthusiasm for Homer’s literature and the ancient Greeks in particular; his enthusiasm, like that of any really good professor, is contagious. This was just some musing on what I thought was a remarkable coincidence.
As to how good MOOCs are, having now gotten myself into one, my opinion is that I think I’m going to learn a good deal from this course and I’m looking forward to the challenge of finishing it. I’ll keep you posted.