The assertion that education is contrary to religion is especially false in the
LDS faith. One of the main themes of the LDS faith is that the glory of God is
intelligence and that is where He gets His power from. Joseph Smith stated that
ÂA man is saved no faster than he gets knowledgeÂ.
Hands down the best address I've ever read on this subject is entitled "What
Every Freshman Should Know" given by Boyd K. Packer at a USU graduation. The
talk can be found on the LDS website in the Sept 1973 Ensign. He talks about the
great professors and great things that come from post high school studies but
also those who seem determined to undermine the faith of their students. His
assertion isn't that education is contrary to faith but that there are some in
the field who have failed in their faith or who have none and thus feel it their
obligation to "liberate" their pupils from theirs as well. I saw it
myself during my studies in college which is why it rang so true when I read it.
I highly recommend it for anyone who teaches, studies or has a child in college.
Having at least the freedom, intellectually, to abandon scriptural literalism is
an important part of maintaining faith for educated people. Facing a false
dilemma like "Either their was a worldwide flood exactly as it says in
Genesis or the Bible isn't true" forces many thinking people to conclude
"Well, then the Bible isn't true." Hopefully more room will continue to
open up within the LDS faith for more metaphorical understanding of scriptures.
I would add that the statistic that Santorum raised was pretty close to
accurate..it was 64% of kids who enter college stop attending religious
services. However, for kids in the same age group who didn't go to college, 76%
stopped attending services. It was all in the same study. Seems he was
practicing a little selective reading, only grasping what he wanted to hear.
Compare the believer to the critic-Spending your days criticizing
others for their beliefs is a rejection of learning. The very nature of
criticism is self-righteousness, intending to place one's own views on a
pedestal, destroying other's beliefs. It is entirely incompatible with peace and
a dangerous practice. While if accepting the equality of beliefs democratically,
openly, forever searching for more- no such criticism would exist, only open
ended questions instead of critics attacking views.Faith is simply
an act of hope- a motivation by learning there is more you don't know, you
haven't observed yet, etc. The "Lectures on Faith" provide great insight
into this principle. The very nature of faith is open ended and progressive. It
is the nature of learning. The idea that education 'hurts faith' is a
contradiction. What hurts or helps our faith- or our desire to learn. The critic
isn't asking anything, isn't looking for more, isn't building on anything- but
attacking others beliefs. Our desire to know is an act of faith. While critics
desire only to justify themselves, rather than learn of more.Education should teach to search all possibility, even including religious
answers. How many educators actually do that? Few.
Universities and colleges can strengthen the faith of those already well founded
in their religion, but destroy that of those who are weaker. They can lead to
compromises between faith and secular dogma.Opposition strengthens
if it does not destroy in other words.There is a ton of evidence
however of a universal flood but the postulates of the learned of today do not
allow for or encourage an openminded study of that subject. Similar problems
occur in various disciplines that actually counter learning in the very
institutions that profess to dispense and enlarge it.Intelligence is
not wisdom is not knowledge. Eat the wheat and blow away the chaff. There is
plenty of both in academia.
To me this article begs the question; Why should we allow anit-religious people
to influence our impressionable youth? We wouldn't let pedophiles have access
to young people. Why do we feel so obligated to let people who have no faith
whack away at them?
re: DaleCYou are operating in a very strange zone there. A person
who does not share your religious beliefs is not equivalent to a person who
commits terrible crimes. Last I checked, it is not a crime to not believe in
your religion. Exposing your children to other religious practices and
introducing knowledge that may not coincide with preconceived notions is not an
attempt to lure your child into the wiles of the devil. According
to your logic, atheists could make the argument that Mormon missionaries are
just as bad as pedophiles because they come into your child's life and try to
hack away at what you taught them. Perhaps we should also ban religious
Higher education is like everything else - you get out of it what you look
for.If a person's faith is solid and can withstand the scrutiny and
questions that arise when that person is exposed to other views, than there is
nothing to worry about.If a person's faith is not strong, then when
that faith is challenged, the person will abandon that faith - maybe for another
faith, maybe for no faith.It is not education that is the issue or
@ DaleC: You really just compared people with a different belief system than
yours with pedophiles?Do you really lack that much faith in your
faith that you feel completely defenseless around those who may disagree with
it? Do you really feel that your faith is so vulnerable?What a sad,
scary little world you live in.
Those with strong beliefs will not easily be deceived by "education"The "doctrines of men" are easily disproved but there are plenty
of them in college. Students should challenge them more but most are there to
get their certification and don't like to make waves.There are
things that these colleges can teach you. There is not conflict between true
science and true religion, but there are false religious precepts and
"science falsely so called".
This article mention that "premartial sex." Karate is a personal choice,
and as long as the karate is consensual, who is it harming?
I hate to tell santorum, but education is a good thing. Maybe with his religious
background it is better to be told what you should and shouldn't know and study.
Last I knew, LDS are told to read, ponder and pray and make up their own mind.
There are many others that are raised to believe thinking for oneself is a bad
"Hopefully more room will continue to open up within the LDS faith for more
metaphorical understanding of scriptures."Metaphorical
Understanding of the Scriptures?Hopefully each individual will
create a relationship with the Lord and come to know for themselves what they
need to know so they can gain the promised eternal life. Hopefully
we will listen to the prophets, seers, and revelators and gain an
understanding.Hopefully we can each gain a true understanding and
not morph the word of God into what we want it to be!
DaleC,Your comment offers a very interesting point. I don't know
that any measure of prevention could work work for various reasons. But I would
offer one observation which I think addresses that same concern. Education is
controlled by policy, government, and ultimately our society. If our society
doesn't preach tolerance for other beliefs and that freedom of conscience is of
paramount importance- if our society doesn't preach that one should look for
true principles without prejudice against religion, science, etc. then our
education system will not be any different.I believe spreading true
principles to those willing to listen is most effective. I relate it to LDS
missionary work, at least in that this system functions to serve the goal of
teaching others instead of criticizing different beliefs or trying to fix a
broken system like a government. The church is clearly more focused on
missionary work than it is on politics. I think that is a great example on
fixing problems. Politics/policy matters, but convincing others to uphold true
principles in those roles is paramount. Perhaps we ought to fix our broken
values as a society as our first priority, then try fixing broken education,
President Hinckley defined well the LDS view of education:You are
moving into the most competitive age the world has ever known. All around you is
competition. You need all the education you can get. Sacrifice a car; sacrifice
anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of
the world. That world will in large measure pay you what it thinks you are
worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in
your chosen field.You belong to a church that teaches the importance
of education. You have a mandate from the Lord to educate your minds and your
hearts and your hands. The Lord has said, "Teach ye diligently Â¦
of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which
have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things
which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the
nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of
countries and of kingdoms - that ye may be prepared in all things" (D&C
88:78Â80).There is more but I don't have room.
In defense of DaleC,I think a fair examination of their comparing
educators to pedophiles would require looking at whether something is "right
or wrong". If one compared 'how wrong' the act is, then I think we would
miss the point of their comment entirely.A teacher who is trying to
teach youth wrong principles, to be biased and unreasonably prejudicial in all
their decisions would be causing harm to their students. This is no different in
principle than what a rapist does. Clearly this is not as serious as a
"wrong", but in principle- there is a valid comparison. We try to
protect the innocent- we ought to try to protect students all the same.I think we all can understand the credibility of DaleC's comment if we are
willing to give it a chance. I gave it my full consideration and that is how I
interpreted their comment. By my interpretation- they were not comparing the
seriousness of a teacher doing wrong to a pedophile- but simply the principle of
protecting the innocent.If that was the intention of their
examination, then it is a very noble cause. Criticizing those trying to protect
the innocent is not credible.
This is a very well written article and very timely. I have been in higher
education for most of my adult life and recently had this conversation with some
of my colleagues. As it turns out, most described themselves as believers who
went to church regularly, while I was not. We concluded that the difference
between us wasn't one of education but of one's world view.I have
found that higher education is accepting of divergent world views, including
religious ones. Its a place to learn how to get along with people who have ideas
different from your own. Only those who wish to have a strangle hold on people's
minds would find that threatening.
@ A Voice:Unfortunately, you are buying into the same problematic
assumption as DaleC: that not having faith in God is a "wrong." Last I
checked, this country was founded on the principle that people could believe
anything they wanted to believe. Not believing in God does not make you a bad
person. It does not mean are more likely to cause harm in society. Atheists
are no more dangerous than the religious. Sure, there are activist atheists who
resort to personal attacks against the religious, but the same is true of
religious zealots. As I understand Mormon teachings, not believing
in God is wrong. But so is believing in Buddhism, Islam, or Judaism. Should we
not allow Buddhists, Muslims, or Jews have influence on our children either?
I'm sorry, but comparing an atheist, who has committed no foul act, to a
pedophile cannot be interpreted any other way than as offensive.
Being exposed to the world will test anybody, but being tested is what life is
all about. Expand your horizons and learn about people, cultures and values that
are different from your own. It is a big world, but at the same time it can be
very small. We must learn to coexist nonjudgmentally with our fellow man if we
hope to survive in the postmodern era.
This comes back to whether or not adults in our society have the right to their
own personal faith or not. We're all in this journey, and hopefully without much
judgement we can choose ourown path. Some will lose faith and some will gain it,
whether or not they achieved higher education. There's value in higher
education, as well as faith. Don't fret so much over someone elses' decision.
It is funny to read the comments here. It seems like people forget that the
humanities, arts, and non-hard sciences courses (physics, chemestry,
engineering) are taught by liberals. If you want to escape much of the garbage
taught by the liberal elites, don't major in the fields dominated by the liberal
elites.Or, if you want to avoid the liberal indoctrination more
while getting your degree, there are religious universities and private colleges
that are much more balanced in their teaching staffs.
OHBU,I did not state or imply that "not having faith in God is a
'wrong'". Rather that promoting prejudice against religious claims is wrong.
Those are completely different statements.I support and uphold
freedom to believe. That is different than my saying "it's morally wrong to
teach religious prejudice."Furthermore, I referenced faith as a
principle independent of religious claims. I did reference the Lectures on
Faith, but only as it relates to the principle in general. I could offer a
religious examination on the same principle all the same; but contrary to your
premises, I made no such argument.Faith is a principle of learning,
of having evidence that there is observable information that is yet unobserved.
It is a hope for more knowledge- Prejudice against a sources of an argument is
an ad hominem fallacy- which denies progress and its motivating faith.-------Comparing a pedophile to a teacher intentionally misleading
students to a drug-dealer all share logically valid comparisons in regards to
their function in a system of morality. They are all wrong and worth prevention.
No one compared 'how wrong' they are.Your claims rely on a
misrepresentation of other's statements- the Straw-man Fallacy.
Certainly cannot get much stranger, or more pathetic than people being
frightened of education.
The problem is that these kids are getting to college and having their
assumptions challenged. And if there has been some "lying for Jesus"
going on, then those lies are going to be exposed and kids are not going to have
any defense to the challenges. This is going to make them question everything
else they have been taught.Teach your children right. Teach them
the truth. Then things will be alright.An example of this is the
idea that the earth is only 6000 years old. That will not hold up to scrutiny
and when the lie is proven, everything else becomes suspect.Teach
your children real science and to not be afraid of it and then there will be no
conflicts between religion and what they are learning in school and their faith
will not be challenged.
@ A Voice,But you continue to put forth the assumption that someone
who teaches a viewpoint contrary to religious belief is "intentionally
misleading students." Let's pick a hot button issue: evolution. If a
teacher teaches the scientific theory of evolution to a kid that believes in
creationism, s/he is not "intentionally misleading students," as DaleC
seems to believe. ather, they are teaching a viewpoint that does not line up
with what that child or his parents believe. Your comment was made in defense
of DaleC who asserted that letting anti-religious people have access to kids is
the same as letting pedophiles have access to kids. There was no mention of the
anti-religious person harming the children. How is having an atheist person
have access to a Christian kid any more offensive than having a Christian person
have access to an atheist kid?
Higher education enhances faith without question. It is a few morons teach who
attempt to undermine. Some of the u of u professors are intolerable with their
bashing of the LDS, and other faiths. They trash subjects in classesn that have
nothing to do with philosophy, yet feel they have to use thier stage to bash
Education of the how, what and why of our world seems to defeat the cause of
religion. In the way-back there were Gods for anything and everything that
could not be explained in the minds of the humans of that time. But as
education exposed the truth about the unexplainable, the Gods fell away as
easily as they came. Today the only really unexplainable thing of
consequence to our lives is the nature of life and death. Although there are
many unexplainable things still with us, we seems to have stopped assigning Gods
to them. Life and death is our greatest joy and most terrible fear.
There seems to be an extremely strong something about life that drives it to
persist and survive, even in the most inhospitable places and conditions. The
argument that human life is different and better than other forms of life is yet
to be proven. I think that someday we will understand the nature
of life. Through education and the processes of finding the truth about just
what it is, and if it is caused by a God.
Ultra Bob,I would respectfully disagree. I have not found education
to be contrary to religion. I have tried hard to ensure that my children
receive a good education along with a strong foundation in religion.I still think there is much science has yet to explain but that is neither a
critique of science nor a support for religion. Simply an observation that each
question answered by science seems to then create the next series of questions
to pursue.Yes, life and death bring us the most powerful of
emotional connection. I cannot prove to you that life is divine. For me, it
has been something I have felt inside well before my association with the LDS
faith.In general, I find that my religion does not address each
detail of creation, but provides an overall look with an emphasis on the why.
The why informs our purpose.If there is no Creator, there is no why,
and our purpose is that of the grass - to live, to propagate, and to die.
Nothing more. In the grand scheme, there is then no more of importance to the
life or death of a human than to that of a carrot.
The question, "Does education experience undermine faith--or enhance
it?" is a false dichotomy.
Twin Lights. Thank you for your kind response. Whether
or not there is a Creator, life for many of us is a wonderful, exciting,
pleasant experience in itself. If the world ends when I die, I would have no
complaints. Even if I could know them. For those who do not or did
not, enjoy the ride, I am truly glad that there is something called religion
that often makes a bad thing bearable. Even in the most terrible, horrible,
unbearable times religion gives one hope and that in itself is worth the
trouble. Whether or not it is true does not matter. All one has to do is
believe. If there is a God, that is wonderful. But if not, the
future for human beings with all the things to be discovered, all the knowledge
to be learned, all the joy to be had will probably exceed that of grass.
I think there is a general attack on traditional and religious values in most
colleges and universities. However, this does not mean individuals (of adult
age) can't maintain their own values based on their own investigation of these
matters and what they previously held coming to college. Indeed, there are also
plenty of colleges and universities that promote traditional and religious
values as part of their mission. Most state colleges will be the opposite
littered with liberal and ultraliberal philosophies, but again so what? Being
exposed to different ideas doesn't doom one to that ideology and it might even
cause one to strengthen themselves in what they believe in.
Ultra Bob,I agree that life is a wonderful, exciting thing. Often
(though not always) pleasant.I look at religion as far more than
just hope (though it is that as well). It is faith, insight, knowledge, love,
and a host of other things. For me, it has never been just about belief but
about truth. I know, that is a loaded word. But I feel that it reveals the
why. That still leaves plenty of the how, when and where to be discovered by
the human mind.I agree that our joy will exceed that of grass. But
my point is that our purpose would be no greater. Life would be life - no
species of greater or lesser importance. There would be no discerning presence
to rank such importance anyway. We would all simply be competitors for the
planet's resources.Anyway, I wish you well. Perhaps someday we can
talk more. Until then.Regards,
I had good experiences attending two different universities as I earned my two
degrees. I chose to take advantage of activities and associations that
strengthened my faith. had re than one professor during those years who seemed
bent on destroying my faith, or at least challenging it.The real
danger to one's principals is not the "attacks" from college faculty,
but rather taking them for granted and not using them. I don't gain weight by
eating fast food, I gain weight by not exercising and by thinking that fast food
is actually healthy food. Either way, the ultimate choice is mine. I chose to
use my education to gain something; not to lose something.
Pres. Benson said in 1980, and it has been quoted several times in general
conference in the last 4 years: the people who have the hardest time following
the prophets: the prideful who are rich and the prideful who are educated.
Very few rich and very few educated people accept baptism. Pres. Kimball said
decades ago and it was quoted in last years Engsign (April or June---on
welfare---on last page), that if you are rich, you need to give 10 times the
amount of fast offerings that others give. Many educated and rich do give to
charity, I admit. Yet we seldom like to quote the Lord on the chances of a
rich man entering heaven.
Two comments: 1) There is no discussion of the type of religion people come away
from higher education believing in. The increase in "non denominational"
religions could easily explain the increase they see. Furthermore, someone
entering as a Christian and leaving as a Buddhist might not be seen as a
positive move by some, irrespective of their level of activity.2) I
can easily explain how "people of faith" could be stronger the more
educated they are, and not disagree with prevailing assumptions. It goes like
this: the more you keep your faith in a faithless environment, the stronger your
faith has to become. Hence, it might be that the stats presented are more a
reflection of a negative reaction to the secular education than a positive
one.It is sometimes very easy to see the potential flaws in a study.
Without looking at the full details of their methodology, however, taking
potshots at it might not be at all legitimate. But at first glance, this sounds
like an incomplete study which might not actually answer the query posited, even
though it sounds like it does. Those can be the most dangerous kind.
@OBHU asked "How is having an atheist person have access to a Christian kid
any more offensive than having a Christian person have access to an atheist
kid?"For a secular individual, DaleC's assertion and A Voice's
defense of it might sound strange. Pascal's Wager aside, the intent of an
athiest who is in control of the mind of a student is to take something away
from them -- their belief in God. The intent of a Christian is not the same.The same could be said of other advocacy groups, but we are not talking
about them, so I will hold comment on those. Athiests see Christianity as a
threat. Christians are an easy target today, and athiests love to take that
advantage. I knew the religious views and stand of every athiest instructor I
had. And I had to mimic them in class. But not the Christians or Buddhists.Like it or not, from what I have seen, DaleC's assertion really is more
valid than any of the criticisms of it have been.
All I know is that I was a true blue Latter-day Saint, very strong in the faith,
until I went to grad school at BYU.Just sayin'
Every person who comes into this world comes as an atheist. Only indoctrination
imbues the human mind with the idea of a god, just as it imbues some minds with
the idea of Santa Claus.Your arguments are patently absurd.
@ RedShirt 12:48 p.m. March 12, 2012Religious institutions are more
balanced i.e less biased? Really? Not exposing yourself to new
ideas, new civilizations... What would James T Kirk say?If anything
Higher Ed is a "breeding ground" for Deism.
Re: A Scientist 6:55 p.m. March 13, 2012But, I'm deducing you have a
Masters (at least) in a Natural or Social Science... a bastion of those evils
liberals. Had you gotten your MBA & started an MLM then you'd
still probably be one of the chosen ones.Sarcasm off??
@Ultra BobWhat a great post. My sentiments exactly!