Saturday, February 2, 2013

Christianity vs. Philosophy (Again)

I was reading one of the regular blogs I follow and the headline piqued my interest.  First, some background information.

Between 2000 and 2004 I studied music at Cedarville University; a private, Christian, baptist (even if not in name), liberal arts university in Cedarville Ohio.  I didn't graduate, so I can't technically call it my "alma mater" but I did enjoy my time there, for the most part, and I've always had at least a small desire to return there some day.  My wife attended high school in Cedarville, but that's totally unrelated.

Anyways, it's a small(ish) private Christian college, and when I saw it mentioned on a random philosophy blog, that they were abolishing their philosophy major I looked into it.  What I found was a bit troublesome.  Apparently, after the resignation of the current president, Dr. Brown, and the recent, unexpected resignation of the vice president of student life, Dr Ruby, the university has decided to cancel not only its philosophy major but the physics major as well.  This is terribly saddening to me.  Not because I care about those particular administrators, they were only there for a couple years while I was there and they made little difference in my life as a student, rather because it is apparently stemming from the University "moving back toward conservative fundamentalism."  (That's a complicated quote, quoted from Christianity Today's article, quoting the Fiat Lux blog about this turn of events.)  Don't get me wrong, I'm a conservative, fundamentalist, committed Christian and I often feel that those in my shoes should do more to curb the liberalization of the faith.  The tough part about this issue is that I really don't know why these two prominent administrators resigned and it might have nothing to do with (re)turning to a more conservative fundamentalist stance in the university.

The problem, to me, is that Cedarville Univ and other conservative Christian groups can't seem to find a balance between faith, philosophy, and science.  Is Cedarville abandoning philosophy and physics in an attempt to return to conservative fundamentalism?  I don't think that's really the case, and if that's the goal then they're doomed to fail as an educational institution.  Philosophy is in no way contrary to the Bible, or conservative/fundamentalism.  Perhaps, by the modern media definition of fundamentalist philosophy would present a problem.  The true fundamentalist shouldn't have any issues with seeking out answers to tough questions in light of his/her beliefs.  Being grounded in an unshakeable faith in God's word doesn't mean I can't question it.  My faith is made stronger by my questioning the Bible.  My faith is made stronger by my studying nature, science, and the universe around me.

I'm hoping that the administrative changes at Cedarville work out for the best, and that they bring back majors in Philosophy and Physics.  If they need professors, I'd love to help, but I'm not even remotely qualified ... yet.  Maybe someday.  That would be cool.  Finish my stint in the military/complete various degrees (already have Associates, working on Bachelors), teach overseas for a few years, move back to Ohio, become a professor of philosophy and Asian studies at Cedarville...  The possibilities are endless.

One of the Okuma resort beaches (where we spent two days on a mini vacation)