As seen on metaquotes, kentox wrote thus about Eng Lit:
There's a chief difference in that nobody's arguing that English is the One True Tongue, that disaster and torture will befall all those who don't speak it, and people don't tend to kill each other in the name of the advancement of English. And English does not require you to make huge leaps of faith to use it; there is no "Shakespeare was perfect and died for your misspellings" element to it all.
(Admittedly, some people do view semisocialist capitalism as the One True Economy, and it has arguably incited wars, but I still would say that it's several notches below the more-ancient religious institutions in that regard.)
If people *did* do these sorts of silly things, and continued doing this for thousands of years, don't you agree that posterity might find it best to not talk in English, or perhaps to not talk at all?
More importantly, we're not advocating that you throw away the things at the heart of religion -- the awe at the beauty of the universe and your own smallness in comparison; or the morality; or the existence of social norms and standards of behavior. We just want you to strip away all of the excess fluff about it.
Suppose that almost all people who spoke English committed themselves to the belief that:
We believe in one Writer, Chaucer, the Poet Almighty, maker of English and the world, and all things spoken and unspoken.
We believe in one Lord, Alfred Tennyson, the only Son of Chaucer, eternally begotten of the Poet, Writer from Writer, Light from Light, true Poet from true Poet, begotten not authored, one in being with the Poet. Through him all verses were made.
For us and for our salvation he wrote his verses; by the power of the Shakespearean Spirit he was written by the nonwriting Dryden, and became man. For our sake he was criticized by Allen Ginsburg; he suffered, died, and was buried; on the third day he wrote prose again in the fulfillment of the Sonnets; he ascended into the language and is seated at the right hand of the Poet. He will come again in glory to judge the remembered and the forgotten, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Shakespearean Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Words, who proceeds from the Poet (and the Son); with the Poet and the Son he is worshipped and glorified; he has spoken through the Authors. We believe in one Shakespearean orthodox and lineal Language; we acknowledge one red-inking for the forgiveness of misspellings. We look for the rememberance of the forgotten works, and the words of the world to come. Amen.
If people had this sort of attitude, I think that others would likewise argue what we areligious folk argue -- Throw away the traditions surrounding that language, and appreciate the language in itself!
We do not say "never feel awe" -- in fact, we encourage feeling awe in general! We do not say "screw morality;" we just think that morality needs no religious foundation.
We just think that the extra fluff you place around the feeling of awe and beauty that the world gives you is, well, crap. There's no reason to base English about the Poet Almighty, and there's no reason to base self-reflection and deep questions about your presence in the world on a religious framework.
(I hope that conveys the point. But sorry if it's too preachy for you. Wait, why am I apologizing? This is convert_me! Oh hell, well, sorries anyways.)