‘s Questions

1) What are your views of life after death? (In other words..is there a heaven? a hell? a summerland? nothing at all? etc)

Well, clearly there’s a heavens. You go out on any clear night, and you’ll see it. I tend not to think of the heavens as being where the afterlife is, though. If there is one. Right now, I think that the best way for me to describe my idea of an afterlife is to say that a) there’s some sort of reincarnation, and you are in some sense reborn upon each death; b) that afterlives, like gods, tend to hang around and exist for as long as there are people to notice them and acknowledge them; and c) that afterlives probably involve radically different challenges than the ones posed by ordinary living on Earth. Death doesn’t make afterlife harder, simply more challenging, more in tune with the things you’ve learned in this life.

I also believe your body rots when you die, and that it’s not likely to come back.

2) Do you ever plan to have children? If so, how do you feel the best way to educate them is? and what will their spiritual practice look like?

I would very much like to have children. I’m looking forward to the day when I have some, and I can be a father. I haven’t thought too much about their education or their spiritual practice, but in many ways I hope they will learn from me — keep on learning your whole life long, love learning with a passion, learn love with a passion, and seek to learn all you can about God and the ways that God is misused. I recognize that if I have kids, I might think about leaving this school and town, and going to work at an appropriate high school when the kids are of the proper age, but it’s hard to know how that sort of thing will work out.

3) Have you ever questioned the information that you teach your students, or taught them something that was completely wrong? If so, what did you do?

I teach ancient history, and pretty much all we know about the Greeks and the Romans has been standard data for about two hundred years. The books and the archaeology haven’t changed that much, and it’s difficult to cause paradigm shifts in history.

That said, a few years ago there was an article in the New York Times about the Thera eruption of about 1468 BCE. The article argued that the eruption couldn’t have caused the collapse of the Minoan/Ariadnean civilization of Crete as suddenly as has been supposed/proposed. It argued for a more gradual decline, a process rather than an event. So, I photocopied the article, distributed it to my class, and we talked about it. I made it clear that I liked this new interpretation, but about half the class understood that they were free to disagree with me, of whom about a quarter did. The remaining half stayed stubbornly ignorant of what we were talking about, and did not venture an opinion either way.

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