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Can the Christian University Thrive?: Baylor 2012
BreakPoint with Charles Colson ^ | July 20, 2004 | Charles Colson

Posted on 07/20/2004 4:20:19 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback

Four years ago, Baylor University announced what it called “Baylor 2012.” Its goal is to “propel [Baylor] into the ranks of the nation’s top tier colleges and universities,” while retaining and even strengthening Baylor’s Christian identity.

The most important factors in becoming a “top tier” college or university are the faculty and the students. To that end, Baylor has committed itself to recruiting faculty “capable of achieving the best of scholarship, both in teaching and research.”

More important, new faculty members must “embrace the Christian faith” and be “knowledgeable of the Christian intellectual tradition.” The goal is “to exemplify the integration of faith and learning.” A symbol of this commitment was Baylor’s hiring a first-rank scholar, Dr. Thomas Hibbs, as the head of the Honors College.

Hibbs, the former head of the Philosophy Department at Boston College, is a prominent Catholic philosopher whose specialty is the Medieval period—an age that best exemplified the kind of learning Baylor is striving for.

Expectations for students are no less demanding. They’re expected to combine “high academic merit” and “Christian character.”

A “nationally ranked research university” with an “unapologetically Christian worldview” is the way that Baylor President Robert Sloan sums up his vision. At first blush, it’s hard to imagine anyone objecting to that, but it has prompted a lot of criticism. Some of the criticism is over the cost, and it will certainly be expensive to achieve Sloan’s goals.

But far more troubling is the criticism of the vision itself. Some suggest that “top tier” scholarship and an “unapologetically Christian worldview” are mutually exclusive.

Some faculty members also have characterized Sloan’s emphasis on Christian learning and preserving Baylor’s Christian identity as part of a “fundamentalist” takeover of the school. As columnist Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News has written, this accusation is laughable.

Some of the most visible additions to the faculty, like Hibbs and his former Boston Collegecolleague Rob Miner, are Catholics. When Sloan speaks of the Christian intellectual tradition, his understanding of that term is broad.

As Miner told Dreher, “Many people at Baylor are more receptive to hearing and learning from the voices of Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas” than those back at Boston College. This is not what you would expect from a “fundamentalist” takeover.

The real issue at Baylor is whether the price of academic respectability is the surrender of Christian identity. Is it true that “smart people outgrow God,” as secular critics insist? Or can Baylor provide an alternative, namely, a university that, in Dreher’s words, “can speak to the broader culture from an intellectually sound but morally distinct vantage point”?

That’s why every thinking Christian, Baptist or non-Baptist, has a stake in the debate over Baylor’s future. The alternative to the worldviews that dominate our culture must come from schools like the one envisioned by Sloan: where faculty and students can come together to show that faith and reason not only go together, but are inseparable.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: baylor; bayloru; breakpoint; charlescolson; christianschools; christianworldview; highereducation
Cool. My oldest will be seventeen in 2012...
1 posted on 07/20/2004 4:20:22 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback
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To: agenda_express; BA63; banjo joe; Believer 1; billbears; Blood of Tyrants; ChewedGum; ...
BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Ping!

If anyone wants on or off my BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.

2 posted on 07/20/2004 4:28:29 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Get in the fight today: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: Mr. Silverback

A couple of the best religion professors at Wake Forest (from my time there in the 1970's) have moved to Baylor - both top-flight academics and professing classical Christians, but certainly not fundamentalists.


3 posted on 07/20/2004 4:30:47 PM PDT by bin2baghdad
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To: Mr. Silverback

My fiancee who is converting to Judaism is transferring to a private Christian univeristy in January.

It's a much better school than the local public university, and the faculty is unabashedly conservative.... light years beyond the AZ state university system faculty which is unabashedly communist for the most part.


4 posted on 07/20/2004 4:32:59 PM PDT by adam_az (Call your State Republican Party office and VOLUNTEER!!!!)
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To: bin2baghdad
.......professing classical Christians, but certainly not fundamentalists.

LOL

5 posted on 07/20/2004 4:36:26 PM PDT by maestro
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To: Mr. Silverback

My daughter (the real cowgirlcutie) will be transferring to Baylor this fall. She has worked her little heart out to get there and this was just one of the reasons.


6 posted on 07/20/2004 4:37:13 PM PDT by cowgirlcutie (wor)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Cheers for Baylor! The Christian intellectual tradition is rich and powerful, and encompasses both Catholic and Protestant thought. Properly understood it is more than a match for the shallow secularism that dominates today's culture. Western civilization during the dark ages was preserved in Irish monasteries. Perhaps our own civilization will survive thanks to places like Baylor.
7 posted on 07/20/2004 4:38:40 PM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: cowgirlcutie

Why oh why.


8 posted on 07/20/2004 4:39:34 PM PDT by I-53 (What does Charlie the Tuna know, and when did he know it?)
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To: Malesherbes
Perhaps our own civilization will survive thanks to places like Baylor.

Baylor will eat itself alive before it gets around to saving civilization.

9 posted on 07/20/2004 4:41:27 PM PDT by I-53 (What does Charlie the Tuna know, and when did he know it?)
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To: I-53

Why do you say that, newby?


10 posted on 07/20/2004 5:16:46 PM PDT by Ol' Sox (Isa Akbar)
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To: Malesherbes

Wasn't Classic Liberalism directly tied to Christanity.


11 posted on 07/20/2004 5:37:47 PM PDT by John Will
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To: I-53
Why oh why.

Baylor will eat itself alive before it gets around to saving civilization.

Why don't you get specific with your criticism of Baylor, if you have any backup for it at all, that is.

I'd rather deal with liberals than with Freepers who do hit and run crap like this.

12 posted on 07/20/2004 5:46:33 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Get in the fight today: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I'd rather deal with liberals than with Freepers who do hit and run crap like this.

You are right, and I believe that Baylor already has a top tier med school.

DTOM

13 posted on 07/20/2004 5:59:17 PM PDT by Ace's Dad ("There are more important things: Friendship, Bravery...")
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To: Mr. Silverback
Does Baylor teach the Young Earth Creationist nonsense that so embarrasses sensible Christians ?
14 posted on 07/20/2004 6:15:09 PM PDT by newfarm4000n (Taxes for social security is theft)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Chill out.


15 posted on 07/20/2004 7:45:49 PM PDT by I-53 (What does Charlie the Tuna know, and when did he know it?)
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To: Mr. Silverback

It wasn't a criticism; it was an observation.


16 posted on 07/20/2004 7:51:33 PM PDT by I-53 (What does Charlie the Tuna know, and when did he know it?)
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To: Ol' Sox
Why do you say that, newby?

Because it's my opinion, and just because you've been croaking to the admiring bog a little longer doesn't make your opinion any better than mine. ;-)

17 posted on 07/20/2004 7:54:40 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: maestro
" .......professing classical Christians, but certainly not fundamentalists. LOL

Is that possible? Let's see: The list of "Fundamentals" from which fundamentalism draws it's name are, if I recall correctly:

Belief in God,

Belief in the Trinity.

Belief in the Virgin Birth.

Belief in the Crucifixion and Ressurrcetion

Belief in Final Judgement, Heaven and hell.

...that's about it,

18 posted on 07/20/2004 8:07:23 PM PDT by cookcounty (LBJ sent him to VN. Nixon expressed him home. And JfK's too dumb to tell them apart!)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I admire their vision and hope the plan succeeds in bringing back everything Harvard was at its inception.

On a lighter, slightly OT note, do they also have a plan to improve in Big 12 athletics?

19 posted on 07/20/2004 8:10:09 PM PDT by T-Bird45
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To: I-53
Because it's my opinion, and just because you've been croaking to the admiring bog a little longer doesn't make your opinion any better than mine.

Opinions generally have substance. Yours did not. I was curious to see if I missed some deeper meaning that you intended, but failed, to convey regarding Baylor. Guess not. :o*

20 posted on 07/20/2004 8:28:27 PM PDT by Ol' Sox (Isa Akbar)
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To: Ol' Sox
I would not necessarily agree with you that opinions generally have substance. Sometimes they don't; for instance, the opinion that whenever one disagrees with a statement, one must immediately point out the "newbiness" of the author, thereby ending the possibility of further substantive discussion.

Enjoy the booster club!

21 posted on 07/20/2004 9:01:25 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: I-53
Chill out.

It wasn't a criticism; it was an observation.


Get up, Liston, I ain't through with you yet.

An observation is when you point something out. When a mother is proud that her child will go to Baylor, "Why oh why" is not an observation. In fact, "why oh why" is not an observation at all, but a question, a loaded one in my opinion. And my opinion on that is an opinion with substance: I can still hear my Basic Training Instructor prefacing his pointed questions with "Why, oh why..." just as clearly as if he were stnding here.

When you say that Baylor will eat itself alive, that's not an observation, it is a criticism (and I'm probably using that word too loosely) that is devoid of observation. You have not provided any backup for your assessment since.

Then I asked you to back up your stuff, and you didn't. Others asked you to back up your stuff, and you babbled at them like an idiot. It looks like you're out of your depth and/or full of crap, so...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...if I were you, I'd hit the silk before those flames get to the main fuel tank.

22 posted on 07/20/2004 10:09:00 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Get in the fight today: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: newfarm4000n
I'm not sure if they teach that, but let's assume they do. How horrible if a Christian university had the same view on this issue as Jesus did.


23 posted on 07/20/2004 10:15:30 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Get in the fight today: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: Mr. Silverback

Why don't you actually read the article? Come back to class when you've done your homework.


24 posted on 07/20/2004 10:17:51 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: I-53
for instance, the opinion that whenever one disagrees with a statement, one must immediately point out the "newbiness" of the author, thereby ending the possibility of further substantive discussion

Oh pfooey. Negative statements of no substance by shoobies are usually troll scat. As a courtesy to others, we point this out so they may avoid stepping in it.

25 posted on 07/21/2004 3:56:13 AM PDT by Ol' Sox (Isa Akbar)
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To: cookcounty
" .......professing classical Christians, but certainly not fundamentalists. LOL Is that possible? Let's see: The list of "Fundamentals" from which fundamentalism draws it's name are, if I recall correctly: Belief in God, Belief in the Trinity. Belief in the Virgin Birth. Belief in the Crucifixion and Ressurrcetion Belief in Final Judgement, Heaven and hell. ...that's about it,

LOL,.......LOL,......'That' is NOT about it!

All of the 'above' is 'meaningless' without the #1 item!

#1 is the ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY of the HOLY SCRIPTURES (Bible!)

26 posted on 07/21/2004 4:19:13 AM PDT by maestro
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To: Ol' Sox
Negative statements of no substance...

Read the article.

27 posted on 07/21/2004 4:34:41 AM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: newfarm4000n

Baylor is accredited. I know of no accredited university that teaches YEC. I went to an accredited Christian university like Baylor and if anything they put greater emphasis on an old earth because so many students came in as YEC.


28 posted on 07/21/2004 4:47:12 AM PDT by Nataku X (You hear all the time, "Be more like Jesus." But have you ever heard, "Be more like Muhammed"?)
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To: I-53
I actually did read the article before I posted it. Neat trick, huh?

There is nothing in the article that supports your criticisms. If your evidence is the one line about "some faculty memebers" getting a burr under their saddle, your case is as weak as a kitten.

Either back your assertions up or lay on the canvas for the ten count, Sonny.

29 posted on 07/21/2004 12:34:57 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Get in the fight today: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: T-Bird45
On a lighter, slightly OT note, do they also have a plan to improve in Big 12 athletics?

Well, they could recruit Silverback Jr. for their basketball team. I expect he'll top out at about 6'5"...

30 posted on 07/21/2004 12:40:31 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Get in the fight today: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: Mr. Silverback

I have been reading I-53's "opinions" on Baylor, this afternoon. It seems to me that "I-53" is amazed at the jumbled vibrations going on in his head that he mistakes for thought processes, and at the blah-blah noise coming out of his mouth that he mistakes for "opinions". We should just pat I-53 on the head and say, "Run along now." LOL


31 posted on 07/21/2004 4:35:29 PM PDT by cowgirlcutie (wor)
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To: cowgirlcutie

LOL!


32 posted on 07/21/2004 4:38:25 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Get in the fight today: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: bin2baghdad
A couple of the best religion professors at Wake Forest (from my time there in the 1970's) have moved to Baylor - both top-flight academics and professing classical Christians, but certainly not fundamentalists

Baylor is almost as removed from a Christian view as Wake Forest is from Southeastern Seminary (origional WFU campus); about 100 miles and 100 years. My pastor's btother was up for the Chancellor's job years ago and could not get it because his brother was too conservative.

They will be as Christian as Harvard is from its roots today. Hey! I'm WFU; a Double-Deacon from Wake MBA.

33 posted on 07/21/2004 4:41:05 PM PDT by Swanks
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To: cowgirlcutie

Ever see "The Poseidon Adventure?"


34 posted on 07/21/2004 7:10:23 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: Nakatu X
Baylor is accredited. I know of no accredited university that teaches YEC. I went to an accredited Christian university like Baylor and if anything they put greater emphasis on an old earth because so many students came in as YEC.


I think you are confusing "official materials" taught in class with the "deprogramming" that is done in bible study. I think the greatest tragedy would be if bright young Christians aren't allowed to understand modern science and destroy the atheist image it has. I really view the YEC as second only to Islam in destroying our great Christian society.
35 posted on 07/21/2004 7:16:46 PM PDT by newfarm4000n (Taxes for social security is theft)
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To: Mr. Silverback
I'm not sure if they teach that, but let's assume they do. How horrible if a Christian university had the same view on this issue as Jesus did.


I would really like to debate this with you but i feel we are in the wrong page. I think its a shame that evolution-Old earth Vs YEC tends only to be debated by Christian hating scientists and YEC Christians and the large numbers of Christians who believe in both the bible and modern science feel disenfranchised.
36 posted on 07/21/2004 7:21:43 PM PDT by newfarm4000n (Taxes for social security is theft)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Either back your assertions up or lay on the canvas for the ten count, Sonny.

Lay what? The correct word for recline in the present tense is "lie."

MEOW

37 posted on 07/21/2004 8:47:52 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: I-53
So...I ask you to back up your assertions and you provide an esoteric grammar edit. Uh-huh.

Kaboom!

That was the sound of the flames on your tail reaching the main fuel tank. Sorry, thanks for playing, and my squadron buddies promise to wait a respectful 3 days or so before they start dating your widow.

38 posted on 07/21/2004 8:56:43 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (Get in the fight today: Freepmail me to get on your state's KerryTrack Ping list!)
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To: I-53

I've read this thread and am curious to know if you have an actual observation about Baylor good or bad.


39 posted on 07/21/2004 8:59:50 PM PDT by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
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To: Mr. Silverback

I don't play with people who don't play nice. Get it? My statement was fully supported by the article. It was my analysis of the situation based on what was stated in the article. If you don't get it, that's not my problem. Why aren't you going after the poster who said Baylor was lacking in Christian character? You don't play fair. That is why I don't take orders from you. Now leave me alone and stop the personal attacks.


40 posted on 07/21/2004 9:10:44 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: Mr. Silverback; cowgirlcutie; I-53
I-53, I just pinged you to because it's impolite to speak about other posters without pinging them, you really don't need to reply to me.

Mr. Silverback & Cowgirlcutie,
First, don't worry about I-53, posting back just encourages guys like him. Second, I've had some contact with Baylor and can tell you a little about what's going on, but I don't work for them, so I can't really give you an inside view. Sloan isn't very popular with faculty, and they've had two "no-confidence" votes on him. He barely held onto the Presidency in a vote from the board of regents about a year ago. The building program is very expensive, but he is turning the campus into a beautiful facility.

The religious clause is fairly simple, and is aimed at ensuring that Christians are teaching. Non-Christians don't like it, but it's a reasonable goal, I think, for a college that seeks to be a Christian university. I debated theology pretty heavily for a while with one of the students at Truett Theological Seminary, and they are liberal theologians. For example, they teach the JEDP theory as fact. We didn't discuss New Testament much, but I suspect they toe the line to liberal theology on that as well. The basketball murder shook the entire campus, and made Baylor rethink it's athletic program. Except for football, Baylor is competitive in Big 12 athletics. I don't see Baylor ever being very competitive in football. They actually wouldn't be in the Big 12, except Ann Richards and Bob Bullock (both Baylor grads) refused to let the other old SWC schools leave unless Baylor was included. Personally, I think if Baylor had a chance to bolt to the Ivy League, they'd leave the Big 12 in a minute. They aspire to be Harvard, not Nebraska.

Baylor has worked hard to mend fences with the Texas Baptists, but there is still quite a bit of tension. A lot of Baylor's future will hinge on whether or not they get the Bush Presidential Library. Many here think they are strongly in the running because they've overhauled the campus and Bush lives close by. This would launch them into the top tier of college campuses. With the LBJ Library in Austin, and the Bush I Library at A&M, I think they've got a good chance, although SMU might also have a shot, since Bush is a Methodist and they're in the Metroplex. I'm hoping for Baylor, because the Library will mean much more to Waco than it would to Dallas Fort Worth.

Baylor will survive, but it's treading some tough waters at this time. However, they are also making significant progress. Hope this info helps.

RK

41 posted on 07/21/2004 9:34:00 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men are ready to do violence on our behalf)
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To: Richard Kimball

Okay. I'll come clean. I'm a recruiter for Harvard and I'm really worried because Baylor has been nipping at our heels. Can you blame me?


42 posted on 07/21/2004 9:45:03 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: T-Bird45

On a lighter, slightly OT note, do they also have a plan to improve in Big 12 athletics?


Who cares what they do in sports as long as they keep the academics at the level they do.
I have one child with a degree from Baylor and one child starting third year there.
In my opinion they have both recieved wonderful educations from Baylor.

(Neither of them plays ball...and I'm OK with that)


43 posted on 07/21/2004 9:46:10 PM PDT by sawmill trash
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To: sawmill trash

I hear the President will be back at the ranch on Friday.


44 posted on 07/21/2004 10:13:11 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Some suggest that “top tier” scholarship and an “unapologetically Christian worldview” are mutually exclusive.

And some people just want to persist in being dolts. You may also want to consider Spring Arbor University.
45 posted on 07/21/2004 10:18:01 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan
Some suggest that “top tier” scholarship and an “unapologetically Christian worldview” are mutually exclusive.

And some people just want to persist in being dolts.

Agreed; one should not exclude the other. The problems come when different factions define those goals differently and aggresively. Then you end up with infighting.

46 posted on 07/21/2004 10:24:01 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: I-53
The problems come when different factions define those goals differently and aggresively. Then you end up with infighting.

Such as when, beginning especially in the mid to latter 1800's, the naturalists set out to take over academe. If you look at the hubris that is Andrew White's "The History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom" you'll see how, by the beginning of the 20th century, they thought they had won.
47 posted on 07/21/2004 10:28:14 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan
they thought they had won.

But, with very few exceptions, haven't they? People's minds are as free as they want them to be, but it seems the institutions of academe' are almost seamlessly un- if not anti-Christian.

48 posted on 07/21/2004 10:45:11 PM PDT by I-53 (How public, like a frog)
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To: aruanan
You may also want to consider Spring Arbor University.

I looked at the link. I don't know anything about SAU, but if they are truly centered on serving the STUDENT without unnecessary distractions, I believe they can be successful. The great Universities focus on what is best for the STUDENTS and let greatness fall where it may, instead of trying to claw themselves to some lofty tier. No pun intended.

49 posted on 07/21/2004 11:10:41 PM PDT by I-53 (The right to freedom of speech shall be proportionately distributed based upon sign-up date on FR.)
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To: I-53
SAU is a great place. It was where both Albion College and Hillsdale College had their beginnings. SAU and Hillsdale have gone in one direction, Albion, in the other; think Haverford of the middle west.

As far as how naturalism has taken over much of the intellectual world but for few exceptions--it's the difference that makes the difference. At one time the intellectual world was pagan; then for about 1500 years it wasn't. It's demonstable that science and technology, though known to the ancient pagans, lay fallow until they blossomed in a Judeo/Christian worldview that posited a real world that could be truly known. It's been the success of science that has served to keep naturalism alive, not vice versa. Some tales, such as naturalism, seem to think that they wag the dog. That's okay. They don't. And the degree to which they're unaware of their own history is the degree to which they're vulnerable. The danger, though, is that when they feel threatened, they'll attempt to use the power of the state, rather than argument, to defend their bailiwick and end up aping the church that they claim kept mankind in intellectual bondage.
50 posted on 07/21/2004 11:37:09 PM PDT by aruanan
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