In 1951, William F. Buckley exposed Yale University's declining spirituality in his best-selling book God and Man at Yale.
Buckley wrote that his university derives its "moral and financial support
from Christian individualists and then addresses itself to the task of persuading
the sons of these supporters to be atheistic socialists."
Since 1951, the spiritual atmosphere on American campuses has worsened considerably.
Buckley may have exaggerated the conditions on campus half a century ago,
but today's mainstream colleges and universities preach nothing less than
atheistic socialism. God, faith and religious tradition have been banished
from the classroom and confined to the small corners of campus life.
According to a new study by the Higher Education Research Institute at the
University of California at Los Angeles, most college and university students
consider themselves spiritual, but find that their campuses do little to
encourage their spirituality.
UCLA researchers surveyed 3,680 students at 46 institutions to discover that
73 percent of American college students find religion and spirituality to
have helped in the development of their identity. But 62 percent report that
their professors never encourage discussion of religion or spirituality.
The report found that "students have deeply felt values and interests in
spirituality and religion, but their academic work and campus programs seem
to be divorced from it."
Today, students acquire beliefs and religious understandings from their parents,
and those beliefs tend to be catalysts for self-control and character. But
when they get to college, students are indoctrinated with all strains of
moral relativism, and without warning, the human spirit is cast out of the
classroom as a meaningless abstraction of antiquity.
But what are the head and mind worth if the soul is not endowed with dignity
by a higher power? What is knowledge without the faith that it is worth something
in eternity? And what is higher education if it cannot operate on the basis
of some great fundamental truths?
America's colleges and universities were founded as religious institutions
dedicated to classical liberal-arts training for Christian ministry and statesmanship.
Harvard's original mission statement for its students was "to be plainly
instructed and consider well that the main end of your life and studies is
to know God and Jesus Christ." When Yale was founded in 1701, it required:
"Seeing that God is the giver of all wisdom, every student, besides his private
and secret prayer, will be present morning and evening for public prayer."
And Princeton University's founding statement was, "Cursed is all learning
that is contrary to the Cross of Christ."
Then, beginning in the early 20th century, progressivism spewed its poison
about economics and politics and religion into higher education.
And in the 1960s, student radicals took over America's campuses and have
occupied them since as the professors of such dogmas as Marxism, multiculturalism
and atheism in general.
Having neglected their former role, universities and colleges of higher learning
have largely become institutions of lower living, hostile to traditional
religious beliefs and moral constraints.
Students cannot expect to grow spiritually by virtue of their enrollment
in a mainstream college or university. Instead, they must go to school armed
and ready to do spiritual warfare.
Hans Zeiger is a Seattle Times
columnist and conservative activist. He is president of the Scout Honor Coalition
and a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan.