Q. AC Grayling, philosopher and author of The Good Book, a humanist bible, is launching a new university with some of the world’s most prominent atheist thinkers._This school year will also bring the world’s first academic journal “dedicated to the exploration of secularism and nonreligion.” After millennia of religious studies, is it time for universities also embrace secular studies?
A. This is more of a matter of whether we should just go ahead and close the gate after all the horses have left the barn.
At a significant number of American universities, secular studies are all we have. While they are sometimes adorned with the trappings of religious studies, the reality is that they have as their basis a completely and utterly secular mindset in which naturalism is assumed as the only educated worldview. Anything that is not naturalism is perceived as superstition on the level with primitive witchcraft.
I know this for a fact. I graduated from Princeton and that was the reigning mindset-then and now.
There is an outright hostility to a biblical worldview on most public and secular campuses. But at least this new university is truth in advertising. That in itself is a step forward, I suppose.
It is an acknowledgment by secularists that they are in fact secularists and that their intent is to approach things from a secular worldview alone. The decision to found this humanist confessing institution stands in opposition to their former practice of taking educational institutions, established with faith underpinnings, such as Presbyterian universities like Princeton, and turning them into cathedrals of secularism while still pretending they pay any kind of homage to the Judeo-Christian worldview of those who founded them.
What is lacking on most college campuses is an appropriate balance between competing worldviews. This environment is characterized by open minds, where people are permitted and encouraged to investigate truth with an understanding there is objective truth and where individuals respect many paths of inquiry to discover that truth rather than seeking to ostracize any that are not limited by naturalism.
Naturalism is well summed up in Carl Sagan’s statement: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”
Richard Land | Aug 31, 2011 2:15 PM