Friday, November 11, 2011

Why Christian Higher Education is Necessary

Portland State University Philosophy professor Dr. Peter Boghossian will present a free public lecture “Faith, Belief and Hope: From Cognitive Sickness to Moral Virtue and Back Again," November 17 at 7:30 P.M. at Portland State University, Science Research and Teaching Center, Room 155, according to a recent press release.

Boghossian encourages educators and members of the academic community to directly confront faith-based beliefs in the classroom. He will challenge six common obstacles to educators failing to engage student beliefs.

Boghossian argues that faith-based beliefs are a cognitive sickness that have been turned into a moral virtue. To counter this phenomenon, he argues that faith-based beliefs should be treated like racist beliefs, given no countenance and stigmatized. An extensive questions and answer period will follow Boghossian’s presentation, and dissenting opinions are especially welcome.

Some might believe that we need Christian colleges and universities to protect Christian students from the attacks they will undoubtedly suffer at state and secular schools from professors who hold such opinions. Others might say we need to send our students to Christian institutions to indoctrinate them against such ideas. Others might say that Christian universities teach Truth whereas Boghassian's example demonstrates the lies perpetuated elsewhere.

I demur from all such positions. In fact, if that were the basis for Christian higher education, such rationale would feed the suspicions of Boghassian and his ilk who believe that faith, Christian or otherwise, is "cognitive sickness." Instead, Christian universities are places of intellectual inquiry and exploration where junior scholars (students) and senior scholars (professors) seek together to understand the world around them, their place in it, and the implications of their faith for understanding the world. Far from protecting, defending, or indoctrinating, the role of the Christian university is to invite open Christian inquiry and scholarship. This kind of openness is freeing and liberating (in keeping with the liberal arts) and is a true antidote to those who would shut down free inquiry by attacking people's faith as though it were akin to "racist beliefs [which should be] given no countenance and stigmatized."


At 2:48 PM, Anonymous David Z. said...

But what is "Christian inquiry and scholarship?"

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Paul Otto said...

Some would call it "faith seeking understanding."

For me Christian inquiry and scholarship is the response to God's invitation to explore and understand His world.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous David Z. said...

But how is that different than the human call to explore and understand the world? Please define the modifier/adjective "Christian" in this context. Just being difficult. I don't think I was ever difficult for you when I was your student :)

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Paul Otto said...

Where does that "call" come from?


Post a Comment

<< Home