Does College Make You Lose Your Faith?

Yes, says Dennis Prager, and he’s pissed about it.

Just as the agenda of traditional Christian and Jewish seminaries is to produce religious Christians and religious Jews, the agenda of Western universities is to produce (left-wing) secularists. The difference is that Christian and Jewish seminaries are honest about their agenda, while the universities still claim they have neither a secularist nor a political agenda… The more university education a person receives, the more likely he is to hold secular and left-wing views.

I’m actually not at all convinced that going to college (the treatment) causes significant loss of faith. It’s a very common econometric error to not account at all for selection bias and to compare the treatment group to the rest of the population. We don’t know if the smart, curious people who entered college would have lost their faith anyways even if they didn’t attend college.

Let’s see what else Dennis talks about.

It takes higher education to learn that America and Israel are villains, that men and women have essentially the same natures, that human nature is good, that ever-larger governments create wealth, etc.

Really now? “American and Israel are villains” is more like a fanatical right-wing stance from Muslim extremists, not from the secular community. You won’t believe how much criticism we’ve put on groups on Hamas and Hezbollah who have made peace so difficult in the Middle East. Both sides deserve criticism.

The idea that “men and women have essentially the same natures” is not really consistent with science, but that’s an interesting empirical/scientific question. It has nothing to do with ordinary humanistic values: the idea that we should treat people equally. But I suspect Dennis wants to twist this into some argument against gay marriage or something.

“That human nature is good” is a stance very few people take. What Dennis Prager is complaining about is the idea that there are some people who reject the view that we are nothing but depraved sinners who must accept a human sacrifice. Christians have an extremist view on this, let’s not forget it.

“That ever-larger governments create wealth” is the best point. Don’t want to talk too much about this.

But the best part is what really pisses off Dennis Prager.

A third reason God is not doing well is that most of the men and women who are products of this secular left-wing education (meaning a large majority of Western men and women) are theologically, intellectually, and emotionally ill-prepared to deal with all the unjust suffering in the world.

As I’ve noted before, the question of why God allows so much suffering in the world is a question that only religious people needlessly torture themselves with. It’s a sign of a very guilty and troubled conscience on their part. As the infamous “If I woke up tomorrow, and God disappeared” Youtube video shows–God-forbid that if God goes away tomorrow–earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and other natural disasters will–embrace yourself for the horror–start to strike at RANDOM according to natural laws. May that day never come!

And finally, the worst of all:

The moral, intellectual, artistic, and demographic decline in Western Europe (people in secular countries don’t even have the will to reproduce themselves) is only gaining momentum. And the consequences of that decline will be far more devastating than all the tsunamis and all the earthquakes that may come our way.

First of all, moral decline in Europe is only apparent according to Dennis Prager’s assumption that he knows God’s law and can therefore tell others what is moral. Yes, Western Europe is changing; it is changing away from the archaic and insane laws of the Bible that for centuries forbade homosexuality, blasphemy, heresy (often for being the wrong kind of Christian), witchcraft, women’s rights, etc. etc.

Secondly, there’s absolutely no evidence that Western Europe is undergoing an artistic or intellectual decline. It certainly is facing a lot more competition from other continents, but I think the assertion is baseless.

The third point is the worst of all.

We really have to give up this idea that societies that produce more babies are more successful. All of this “be fruitful and multiply” nonsense goes against what we know really makes people well-off: the empowerment of women to control their reproductive lives.

The largest Christian church has spent the last century making, through its doctrine and preachings on contraception, the above status completely unattainable for hundreds of millions of women in the developing world. It is a world not just of deep poverty, but also of unspeakable suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. The policies of this Church has had the effect of increasing the suffering of millions of people in these parts of the world, and there’s not a single instance of apology, not the slightest gesture of shame or guilt from the people who have the power to change these policies.

Welcome to the secular world, the world that Dennis Prager says is declining and failing. A quick look at places with the lowest fertility rates–Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland, Canada–shows my point. By any measure, these economies are growing, and the standard of living in these countries is amazingly high.

Will these countries face pressures from an aging population? Yes. But they will be nothing like the world where women are treated like baby factories, expected to marry and have children continuously. Believe it or not, women in the secular world can choose and control their reproductive destinies. They can choose to pursue careers, their dreams, their own happiness, just like men.

Dennis Prager really should be worrying about other things. Leave the colleges and the women alone.


Posted on April 8, 2011, in Humanism, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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