We were laughing about it, but I could certainly tell that my friend, who is a devoted and saintly enough professor that he actually ENCOURAGED this girl not to drop his class, is irritated and frustrated. He has every right to be. Such an insistent personality, whatever their particular obsession, all too easily hijacks the learning process for all participants in the class, and he has a real challenge ahead of him.
How could she so NOT GET IT? What kind of emotional limitations cause someone to think they must examine every single intellectual idea and statement through the lens of the salvation story of "Mr. Jesus of the Christ family" (thank you, Eddie Izzard)?
As we were talking about this young fundamentalist's rote responses to every conceivable question put to her faith, it occurred to me that Unitarian Universalists often do the same, exact thing, only in reverse.
Immediate, obligatory disdain for the idea of the virgin birth? Check.
Mocking, insulting cliches shared every time someone mentions the idea of being "born again" or "saved?" Check.
Knee-jerk reaction when someone begins a prayer with an invocation of the Deity, followed by the protest "That word/concept doesn't have any meaning to me/offends me!!" Check.
Eye-rolling expressions of superior logic and maturity when exposed to the Triune God? Check.
And so on and on. World without end, amen.
It seems to me there's quite a sermon or sermon series in the danger of Rote Religion: a quality religious liberals love to accuse and condemn the conservatives for, but which they do pretty derned well with themselves, now that I think about it.