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November 17, 2008


Dan Cramer

Funny you would bring up this subject now. I just saw a documentary entitled indocrinate U. The thought of sending my little girl off to college only to have the worldview I have instilled in her challenged daily by professors with a completely different view has quite frankly, got me a little spooked.

I think I know what you are trying to say, and I might agree with you. I certainly believe that technical information is only a small part of our education in life. However, that is the part that we need college professors for. I am not sure I am willing to ask any more than that from a college, unless you are talking about a private school were one can ensure a similar culture and worldview.

I wonder what would happen if you were to send George to ISU for an engineering degree, and he came home and told you his calc prof that he greatly admires convinced him only idiots could believe in God?

At this point, I am convinced it is the parents responsibility to instill a moral compass, and worldview in their children, and while it would be wonderfull to think that worldview would be developed at a university setting, I dont think it is very realistic. In fact, I am expecting quite the opposite. I am sure that the values I have tried to instill in my children will quickly be challenged when they enter the doors if higher learning.

Shane Vander Hart

I would say that the foundation needs to be laid before they reach college. Unfortunately that isnt the case anymore.

It makes all the more difficult to do this with a college student. I think that Garbers suggestions are sound though.

I like Augustines quote regarding Cicero to attract them by the way you live. It reminds me of when I taught at a Christian school. We encouraged our teachers to think of themselves as living curriculum.

Garber talks about mentors from within the faculty - one wonders if there isnt a lack of qualified candidates to do that which perhaps is part of the problem as well.

Paul Stewart

Dan and Shane,

I totally agree that the foundation of our childrens worldview needs to be laid before college. However, we need to do a better job of providing a biblical worldview that is big enough to deal with the challenge of a pluralist world. This means we need to let our kids doubt - provide safe environments for them to ask questions, disagree, and wrestle with the deeper questions of life, without labeling them as backsliders or rebellious.

As a child the plausibility of our faith can rest on the authority of our parents, but when we reach adulthood there is a need for personal, firsthand experience. If we do not allow our children to go through a season of doubt and even encourage them to wrestle with the hard questions of life and meaning then they will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the questions of a smart skeptic.

It is no longer sufficient to hold beliefs just because you inherited them. We need to allow our children enough space to let our faith become their faith.

Shane - Garber was referring to professors as well as youth pastors, campus ministers and parents being involved in these areas.


Dan Cramer


Great points. Especialy about training our children, and giving them an opportunity to ask question, and disagree. Although I am not sure it is just our kids we need to give that space to. Some days I am still wrestling with the deeper questions of life. I suppose thats just part of the journey that wont end on this earth.

The only thing about Garbers comments that I really take issue with is he seems to be saying that our moral and spiritual growth in college should somehow be aided by the faculty. Maybe that was possible in Augustines time, but I am convinced the opposite is true today. Largely because of Garbers own comment, the modern university operates under the post-Enlightenment assumption that all moral judgments are nothing but “expressions of personal preference.”

My daughter is a senior in high school this year. I do not expect her belief system to be encouraged next year when she heads off to college. I expect it to be challenged. If her faith is deeply rooted, that challege may very likley cause growth and strength. If not she will likley bend whatever direction feels good. That is exactly what happened to me, and most of the people I grew up with, and we are still dealing with some of the baggage and wounds. That is why I so appreciate your comments about training our children at home.

This has been a very timely post for me, with college on the horizon. Reading and responding has really helped me think through some of what we will be looking forward to. Thanks for that opportunity.

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