Swarthmore College has a new set of courses for students next year:
"Queering the Bible” is a one-credit class that surveys queer and trans readings of biblical texts."By reading the Bible with the methods of queer and trans theoretical approaches, this class destabilizes long held assumptions about what the Bible – and religion – says about gender and sexuality" reads the course description
Also being offered is “Queering God: Feminist and Queer Theology.” which is more of the same sort of thing. What's notable to me is not the attack on traditional Christianity -- that's more or less typical on most US campuses these days -- but the deliberate intent of the class as described.
Look at that description again: "this class destabilizes long held assumptions." There was a time in which education was understood to be constructive, edifying, and positive. It was about learning facts and through that, truth.
The purpose of education was once understood to be a method by which young people were trained not just in factual information, but in how to understand that information, how to discern it, and from that how to create and access other information. The purpose was to instill intellectual hunger and a desire for truth.
This course isn't about any of that. Its about tearing down, destroying, and attacking. The class doesn't even purport to bring about greater learning or truth. That's not even part of the intent here. All they want is to deconstruct and demolish the past learning and understanding of things. Nothing is offered which builds or brings about truth.
Ultimately, that's true about most deconstruction theory. The idea is supposedly to break down the previously presumed and known in order to find a deeper truth. But that's almost never what you get. The act of deconstruction is simply destruction in most cases: they rip apart the fabric but replace it with nothing.
It is one thing to pull apart a flawed construction to get at the core and build it properly, but that is not what deconstructionists do. They picked that term as an alternative to destruction which is a bit too on the nose: its one of those cover terms that sounds positive but describes something negative.
The deconstruction of the western left us with nothing close to the reality of the old west, merely modern ideology and mindset imprinted on fiction of the past. Deconstruction of music didn't bring us purer, more musical efforts, but atonal nonsense and random sounds that are rapidly forgotten. Deconstruction of art did not bring us greater heights of artistic truth, but trash and nonsense.
The principle of attacking what was pointless, wrong, and added on to the core truth is wholesome and proper. But that isn't what you get most of the time. Instead, you simply get the attack on what is from the past, by people who have their own agenda and biases they want in its place.
And as I've written about before, that agenda doesn't offer anything to replace what was lost, because it is empty and constantly shifting. There's no foundation, no structure, no meaning. Deconstruction merely destroys. Students from those classes will not come away with anything more, only something less.