The Evidence Just Keeps On Coming

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On this blog, our website, and elsewhere, we have written frequently of the ideological atmosphere on campus, one that is far removed from the “marketplace of ideas” ideal.  From professors who dislike Evangelical Christians, to professors who try to indoctrinate students, to an incredibly hedonistic and increasingly leftist culture, the campus atmosphere is particularly noxious to Christian and conservative ideas.  Nevertheless, the skeptics continue to doubt.

Well, the evidence continues to roll in, this time from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s recent study entitled The Shaping of the American Mind.  The first major conclusion from this study is hardly surprising:

American colleges generally fail to significantly increase civic knowledge among their students, but they do influence student opinion on a narrow set of polarizing social issues.

When quizzed on basic civics, college graduates only answered four more questions correctly than high school graduates.  But a college education does make a person more likely to favor same-sex “marriage,” more likely to support abortion on demand, less likely to believe that people can succeed through hard work, less likely to favor school prayer, and less likely to believe the Bible is God’s Word. 

And this shift does not just occur among students.  If a person has taught at the college level, he is more likely to think that America corrupts otherwise good people, that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant today, and that homeschooling is bad than someone who has not.

In short, on far too many campuses today, education is out, and indoctrination is in.  In an environment that fosters a leftward creep among students and faculty, it is vitally important that Christian students and professors remain free to advocate their viewpoints openly and willing to do so boldly.

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7 Responses to “The Evidence Just Keeps On Coming”

  1. Myndi Says:

    It’s true that once they leave college, students are more likely to have views that support traditionally liberal viewpoints. But could it possibly be because, rather than being indoctrinated, they are finally being exposed to ideas and facts other than those supported by what they were raised on?

    Students are more likely to accept the idea of gay marriage because collegiate science and sexuality courses give them the facts about sexual orientation and sexual function, without attaching a stigma or bias. They take those facts, and decide for themselves what to think.

    They may become pro-choice because they have been exposed to statistics and personal accounts of would-be aborted children living lives of poverty and depression in families that can’t or don’t want to support them. They have learned through courses in science exactly what a fetus is while it is in the womb, and at what point it develops brain function. There are both pro-life and pro-choice groups on campus, which are opinion-based. But classes are based on fact. So, once again, students take the facts and decide what to think on their own.

    In classes on business and communication, through internships and part-time job hunting, especially in the crowded Northeastern US, students begin to experience the adage “it’s not what you do; it’s who you know.” The importance of networking becomes apparent in college; through experience, it becomes a fact of life. And students take the facts they learn through experience, and consequently decide their views on hard work and life.

    In public Universities, religion is not to be preached. In any public institution, it is against the Constitution to force religion upon people. So, naturally, those who attend public non-religious colleges are going to learn this fact about the separation of church and state. They will realize the fact that our nation’s Bill of Rights, while allowing for freedom of speech, does not allow any publicly-funded institution to support or practice any religion. So, students will take these facts, and decide whether or not they agree with prayer in public schools.

    In addition to science, mathematics, and history, Universities offer courses in the Social Sciences, one of which is religion. In these courses, students are exposed to a wide-range of religious ideas and texts, all claiming to be the word of God. They are shown cultures outside what they have grown up on, as well as traditional Christian ideas. They take what they have learned in class, and, once again, decide on their own what to believe.

    Censorship of Christianity is not a problem on college campuses. From personal experience living and learning at a public University, I know that Christian groups get plenty of exposure, and opportunities to speak their minds, regardless of what the Speak Up Movement might perceive.

    There are multiple Christian groups on campus. There are Bible-study groups, pro-life Christian groups, Christian Fellowships, and Christian athletics groups. There are programs and forums designed for Christians to discuss their views on various issues in the community. If this is censorship, I think I’m a bit confused as to what exactly that term means.

    College students are adapting more non-traditional views, not because of censorship of Christianity, but because of less censorship overall. Groups other than Christians with traditional viewpoints are being allowed to voice their opinions. Facts normally covered up or brushed aside by faith and doctrine are being brought to light. And isn’t that what freedom of speech should be? Equal rights to speak and be heard… for every group, not just the majority?

    Students are being exposed to new ideas and new horizons, weighing the

  2. Myndi Says:

    facts and opinions, and making up their own minds. And being intelligent enough and enlightened enough to form one’s own opinions about life is what education should be about.

    Education, not Indoctrination… Right?

  3. Chandler Says:

    @Myndi: I wouldn’t be surprised if both your post and mine are censored before long. People naturally feel sympathy for, and are therefore less likely to criticize, groups that they perceive are being harmed en masse.

    It’s interesting that Christians are complaining that it is college campuses that are indoctrinating its students, when one acquires a belief in Christianity only after being indoctrinated oneself. From the sounds of it, their only complaint is that what students are learning conflicts with their own indoctrination. They don’t have anything reasonable to offer, so they simply emote and get up in arms, rather than evaluate the situation objectively.

    Pic relevant: http://www.whydontyou.org.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/christian.gif

  4. Jessica Sideways Says:

    If you want to remain in your Christian Bible Bubble instead of facing the risk of learning new things that might challenge you, you might want to consider going to a private Christian University so that you do not have to bother us who actually want to learn things that can be proven with evidence and logical argument

  5. Vene Says:

    A civics test, really? College is not going to teach gorram civics. That’s the work of high schools. College teaches you information from a very specific field as well as a wide array of general knowledge. Not to mention running into people from places dramatically different from you. After speaking with the people you have been told are “evil” for years and seeing that they’re just trying to live their lives in peace, yeah, they’re going to doubt their religion.

    It’s not the fault of education, it’s the fault of the religion insisting that what it says is the truth when it doesn’t match the facts.

  6. Flail Says:

    Wow… I found this site via an ad I heard on Pandora (your ads work, keep supporting Pandora!). I don’t have much I can add beyond what Myndi has written. I went to a university, and I was very much exposed to Christian viewpoints. I think the objection coming from this article is that Christian viewpoints are not given special priority. The writer apparently thinks that because college graduates are not coming out with the opinions that the writer supports, they MUST be being indoctrinated.

  7. Leaving Home v. Lurching Left « Academic Freedom File Says:

    […] Home v. Lurching Left By Travis C. Barham In the face of growing proof that college students drift left politically and abandon their faith during their college years, […]

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