My Reaction to the Campus Free Speech Issue

The public university in America and most private universities and colleges are “dead.”  By dead I mean that by and large they no longer stand for free inquiry and reasoned discussion and debate.  They are being co-opted by various interest groups claiming offenses against them, sometimes by merely being a minority among a white majority.  The groups, like the ones at the University of Missouri and Yale University, and now, California State University at Northridge, all have attacked individuals they do not agree with.  At Yale the issue was “offensive” Halloween costumes (which one sane (and foolish) voice attempted to say were after all allowed by the notion of freedom of expression), at Missouri, it was a vague accusation of failure to address racial concerns, and at Cal State latter, sexual orientation.  In none of the cases did the attackers involved attempt to reason with those they attacked, but instead made demands and even brought charges after a secret investigation.  They even shouted expletive-laden epithets at those they opposed.  The president and chancellor of the University of Missouri both resigned in obeisance to their detractors.

What happened to diversity of ideas?  It appears what these groups want is that everyone bend to their agenda.  For example, the group at the University of Missouri demanded that the university president acknowledge his “white privilege” and that the university increase its number and percentage of minority students and hiring.  At Cal State the homosexual activists have continued a year-long clandestine attempt, with the aid of a university bureaucrat, to get one faculty member removed, who offered a voluntary course which involved a panel on the family at the Reagan Library.

When universities were founded in the Middle Ages it is true that they were not exactly the epitome of freethought, but they were committed to the pursuit of knowledge using God-given reason and bounded by theology.  This at least gave universities a more acceptable set of boundary conditions under which to operate.  The eighteenth century Enlightenment loosened the theological bonds and eventually threw them off.  That development had a few good, but many negative results.  But whether one was theologically orthodox or secular, both sides believed they could achieve absolute and objective truth.  On that there was nearly universal agreement throughout the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century, even when the foundations for truth differed among the intelligentsia.  Universities followed the same path as culture and the elite in general.

But beginning sometime in the 1960s, universities shifted their approach, in response partly to pressures brought to bear by New Left student activism.  They were urged, sometimes bullied (witness the University of California at Berkeley) to radically revamp the curriculum to meet the perceived need for more socially-oriented education centered on the rights of various groups.  Rights talk was certainly in the air, but not traditional rights talk.  Rather the rights discussion was much more narrowly focused on the students themselves and their demands to be heard and listened to.  In turn, their demands were focused not on traditional pursuits of truth but on the “existential” environment—racial issues, the Vietnam War, capitalism (anti-capitalism actually), even the environment.  A certain fragmentation was at work.

This fragmentation was only exacerbated by the rise of postmodern thought in the universities, a strain of “non-thought” that, when its so-called criticism was finished in any given case, left only power as the answer to any issue.  Postmodernism in one direction metamorphosed into the political correctness movement.  The more viral strain of this movement has come more recently, but the problem on campuses can also be traced back in part I believe to the “therapy society,” for which the influence of modern psychology must bear some blame.  Students entering college today are often so permeated with victimhood that they become what some have called, not sympathetically, “snowflakes.”  They are simply too delicate to stand up to any challenge to their feelings, let alone their intellectual beliefs.  In fact, feelings seem to be their stock-in-trade, backed thinly by the indoctrination they have received in (mainly) public schools.

They come to the university with the idea that no one will or should object to their own closely held beliefs.  When those beliefs are somehow challenged or their demands not met to their satisfaction, they react rather barbarically, uncivilly to say the least.  And then they find their advocacy group, which immediately springs into action to remove the “cancer” from the university body.

The result is that many college students would like to see the First Amendment revised or abolished.  And they often act as if it has already happened.  I wonder what they would think if the “thought police” were turned on them?  I think I know.  But unfortunately, they don’t think at all.  But they sure can feel.

As a Christian I certainly feel the weight of my duty to speak truth in love.  But at the same time, I will defend the rights (and necessity) for others to speak truth, even if it is not always spoken in love.  Our society cannot last long on a steady diet of nothing bot sugary saccharine, so-called “love,” really often a disguise for hate.  The truth must sometimes be spoken even if it hurts.  If the public and other universities don’t realize that, they will either as we know them or hopefully be forced to allow freedom of speech by law.

31 thoughts on “My Reaction to the Campus Free Speech Issue”

  1. In all of my years in higher education, I know of no university or college with a lower respect for free speech, for diversity of opinion, and for reasoned discourse than Cedarville University. I know of no perfect university, private or public, but every one I have studied or worked in after my four years at the ‘Ville has been more open and more tolerant. I learned how to think critically AFTER I left Cedarville. My GRE scores on the analytical part went from average to 99% percentile in two years.

    Meanwhile, back in Cedarville…

    Faculty are not free to speak their minds on politics, for fear of dismissal. As if good Christians MUST support of the Republican Party (or else they are not real Christians?).

    Even after they sign the official doctrinal statement (which for some reason morphs–funny how that does that despite a professed acceptance of an eternal, unchanging truth), faculty must live in fear of saying the wrong thing, for fear that their comments will be misinterpreted.

    One mistake, and your job is in jeopardy.

    All faculty must accept a six-day creation account that has absolutely no basis in the scientific method and is supported by no scientific data whatsoever, and is based entirely on a reading of the Bible that shows great disrespect to the text.

    At Cedarville, tenure means nothing. It is a meaningless rite of passage.

    Students who publish materials critical of Cedarville administration can expect to have their publications confiscated.

    Do Bible faculty still not teach a fair-minded view of higher biblical criticism, still pretending that good Christians cannot disagree on certain biblical matters while still accepting the Lordship of Jesus Christ? I assume yes, but I would love to learn otherwise.

    Those who consider your place of employment a bastion of free speech, diversity of opinion, and reasoned discourse need to get out of the bubble. They have no clue what exists outside.

    I speak the truth in love. And, yes, the truth hurts in this case. And that is not my fault.

    My heart goes out to your students. Have a nice day.

    1. Jeff,
      Interesting comments regarding Cedarville. I am a student at Cedarville and while I do not know all the ins and outs of the doctrinal statement that faculty are required to sign, I am familiar with many of the points on it. While it is true that faculty are not permitted to teach against any of the points on the doctrinal statement, they know this coming into the university. Therefore, if they teach against the statement, they are not honoring a commitment that they knowingly made.

      Furthermore, though the doctrinal statement does change, it is not because truth changes or because biblical teaching is relative, but because a Christian institution (whether a church or a school) should always be seeking to understand the Bible better. Often, we do not really think about issues until they are brought up or until they become a big cultural issue. Therefore, sometimes things must be added that were not previously part of the statement simply because new movements spring up within the Christian community that were not previously around. Cedarville adds to the statement occasionally because they want to maintain their conservative values and direction. Although truth (found in the word of God) never changes, people change and people learn. Therefore, as we understand God’s word better, we must adjust our positions. Cedarville’s doctrinal statement is not a creed or a comprehensive statement (although I think this would be better) because they want to allow for difference of opinion on what they believe to be secondary issues.

      In my experience at Cedarville, professors do teach their students about higher biblical criticism. Our professors seek to educate us about modern ideas and movements both in the secular realm and the Christian realm. However, they do not teach in such a way that they leave students with no basis for objective knowledge. Simply put, our professors teach what they (and the university) believe is truth. Although they educate students about different views, they are not going to teach a view that they believe is wrong anymore than you would teach a view that you believe is wrong. It just so happens that Cedarville does not agree with the ideas and conclusions associated with higher biblical criticism.

      Dr. Clauson is correct. Public universities and institutions do not uphold free speech, nor do they uphold free thought and difference of opinion. This is clearly shown through incidents such as the one at U of Missouri. Schools such as these show that what they really uphold are people who agree with them. Professors and presidents who will not acknowledge that students’ opinions are right are forced to resign or are fired. But why? Is it because they are suppressing free speech, open discourse, or respectful disagreements? No, it is because they disagree. Wait, isn’t free speech and respectful disagreement precisely what people at these schools claim they are promoting?

      Students often attend “liberal” schools because they want to be in an environment that promotes “thinking for yourself” and “coming to your own conclusions.” This is all well and good as long as you end up at conclusions that are within what the university upholds– which ironically is pretty intolerant of claims of objective truth or respectful disagreements that challenge their conclusions.

      Lastly, I would like to point out that Cedarville is a Christian school. They market themselves as such and everyone who attends or works at the university is aware of this fact. By nature, Christianity is a religion that is “exclusive” of other beliefs. If Christianity were a religion that encompassed any and every belief that someone wanted to hold, it wouldn’t be a religion. It wouldn’t be different. And then there would be no need for anyone to even say they were a Christian. Yes, Cedarville does have objective standards that “exclude” some beliefs. However, it is because they believe that it is the truth. The truth of God is precious and not something to be taken lightly. Therefore, Cedarville tries to educate its students about other beliefs while still maintaining truth.

      Through my time at Cedarville, I have come to many different conclusions than my professors and the university in general. This is not because Cedarville goes over the top in making sure they give every view equal attention or because they are so close minded that they are not aware of what is going on in the “real world.” It is ultimately because I choose to think for myself. I appreciate Cedarville so much because they have challenged my beliefs and forced me to think about why I hold certain positions.

      1. “Public universities and institutions do not uphold free speech, nor do they uphold free thought and difference of opinion. ”

        I work at a public university, and have done so for over twenty years, and I have yet to see or hear of any repression of free speech. Your statement is in error. Some public universities might not, but some do.

        “is clearly shown through incidents such as the one at U of Missouri. ”

        You and Mr Clauson are way off on this The history of racism at the U of Missouri contains episodes of racism. Professors have claimed that they were called the n-word. Students have claimed the same. Note that the accusers have gone public.

        I know that conservatives–especially those at the National Review online, the apparent source for most of Mr Clauson’s baseless rants–have a hard time understanding that racism against blacks still exists. You clearly have a lot to learn. And, no, you won’t learn it at Cedarville.

    2. So predictable Mr. Adams.

      Your hatred of CU really knows no bounds does it? …as does your total misunderstanding of the issue, but then you probably know that already. You just want to grind your axe some more. Everybody is entitled to their personal opinions but when it comes to teachers in the classroom, if they are teaching at a university with a specific set of values and have signed a pledge that they will not teach in violation of those values, then they have voluntarily limited their rights. No one forces anyone to attend CU or forces anyone to teach there but if you do, you go in knowing what to expect. You will receive teaching (or teach) from a Christian worldview, not a secular or atheist one. There is always room for debate but because the official university position demands a certain world view each debate must occur with those principles in mind.

      The question here revolves around PUBLIC institutions whose stated set of values is to accept ALL viewpoints, and this is especially centered on students, not on faculty.

      “All faculty must accept a six-day creation account that has absolutely no basis in the scientific method and is supported by no scientific data whatsoever, and is based entirely on a reading of the Bible that shows great disrespect to the text.”

      Mr. Adams, will all due respect, every single word you type on this blog regarding Scripture shows great disrespect to the text and to its Author. Recorded history itself is by its nature scientific data and large portions of the Bible are historical narrative. Semantic study of the Genesis text (since you once again attacked creation week) demonstrates that it was written not in a style reflecting Hebrew poetry or allegory, as so-called “pro-science” Christians such as yourself attempt to argue, but in historical narrative, the same as that of Kings or Chronicles, or maybe you don’t think King David was real either. And this historical narrative was written by the God of the Universe. There is no higher form of empirical evidence than God’s Word and for anyone to subordinate it to any other evidence or interpretation, no matter what so called “evidence” one might have shows just how little they actually value the Word of God.

      An example of this are the Hittite people. For centuries, Bible critics pointed to the Hittites and the “fact” that there was no evidence to support them… until that evidence was found. Now the Hittites are just as much a part of accepted history as the Roman Empire. Of course, evidence for the Hittites had always existed in the form of the Bible, but it was not treated with the empirical respect it deserves and still is not.

      The Bible is evidence, it does not require evidence.

      1. “Public universities and institutions do not uphold free speech, nor do they uphold free thought and difference of opinion. ”

        I work at a public university, and have done so for over twenty years, and I have yet to see or hear of any repression of free speech. Your statement is in error. Some public universities might not, but some do.

        “is clearly shown through incidents such as the one at U of Missouri. ”

        You and Mr Clauson are way off on this The history of racism at the U of Missouri contains episodes of racism. Professors have claimed that they were called the n-word. Students have claimed the same. Note that the accusers have gone public.

        I know that conservatives–especially those at the National Review online, the apparent source for most of Mr Clauson’s baseless rants–have a hard time understanding that racism against blacks still exists. You clearly have a lot to learn. And, no, you won’t learn it at Cedarville.

      2. I am 100% confident that I learned far more at Cedarville, including critical thinking, than I would have from you or your institution.

      3. To Jeff Adams:
        I meant to mention this before, but regarding your experience at a public university as normative, I suggest you take a look at the website for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an organization that addresses free speech issues on college campuses and consists of both conservatives and liberals on its staff and board. The site is thefire.org.

    3. Methinks you have committed a non sequitur. This was not about Cedarville, but universities that purport to allow a diversity of ideas, but only allow a few or one main narrative. That is hypocrisy at best. I do hope that you at least all ow that in your classes if you are a faculty member. Now as for CU, I did not at all have it in mind in this blog. It is a different kind of university–the kind with a long and, until fairly recently, respected tradition, as many church schools were founded 150 or more years ago attest. Some have kept their distinctive. Others have not, mostly to their detriment. CU never asserted that is allowed any and all ideas to be treated equally, and we did that for good reasons, rooted in a Christian commitment. But as others have said, we do teach all sides of any issue/idea. We simply don’t let our students to flounder with an answer when “push comes to shove.” We attempt to steer them toward Biblically grounded truth. In the end they have to decide for themselves.

      In addition, some alleged actions you mentioned are not in fact true as you have related them. But be that as it may, CU has never purported to be a place where “every man does what is right in his own eyes,” or in this case, every person believes anything he wishes. Since we have never purported to be what we aren’t and have acted consistently, we cannot be accused of hypocrisy, as i am certainly accusing places like Yale, Missouri and Cal State of being. That fact that you do not agree with the parameters we place on faculty does not in any way affect my argument regarding the other schools. And I would hope you would agree with me about those other institutions. If not you would be inconsistent, as you wanted to accuse CU of the very same thing they were doing, and yet you saw what we do as negative.

      1. You said, ” as i am certainly accusing places like Yale, Missouri and Cal State of being.”

        You are being completely dishonest. Please stop it.

        Your blog post condemned ALL public universities and MOST private universities as being dead, and by dead you meant that by and large they no longer stand for free inquiry and reasoned discussion and debate.

        If you merely said that some public universities do not tolerate diversity of opinion and seem scared to confront controversial ideas, as if they might get hurt, sniff, sniff, I’d wholeheartedly agree and perhaps even join in your criticisms. But that is NOT what you said.

        Cedarville would NOT be hypocritical if it boldly claimed that it did not stand for reasoned discussion and debate and for free inquiry and that it stood instead for something else completely different. Where in your marketing materials does it say that these values are not held? I do not recall any marketing materials telling me that at Cedarville, we teach you WHAT to think, not HOW to think. On the contrary, I was told the opposite. My professors said the same.

        I admit it now. I was fooled. You guys got my hard-earned money.

        And, as I said, I feel badly for your students, especially Nathan D, who has completely drunk the Kool-Aid and is on his second pitcher. As an educator, and not a propagandist, I consider it immoral to manipulate the minds of my students. I know you feel otherwise, and that is your right to do so and probably will continue to rationalize until your dying day.

        Until Cedarville comes clean and admits to all that is indeed a propaganda factory designed to take fresh young minds and turn them into conservative ideologues unable to think critically, I will continue to point out this underlying hypocrisy.

      2. The only one who needs to stop anything is you, Mr. Adams.

        Dr. Clauson is not being dishonest, but you are nothing but petulant, totally disrespectful, and completely wrong that you are “not a propagandist”. All you do on this site is spread anti-Christian and anti-conservative propaganda.

        What Kool-Aid have I drunk? How have I been manipulated? I can think of no belief or position I adopted solely because Dr. Clauson, or anyone else at CU, taught it to me. If you want to blame someone because I do not think like you do, why don’t accuse my parents of manipulating me? I am sure you would believe my parents were completely out of line because they had the gall to teach me their values. I know liberals like you think the State can educate better than parents. Who I am is due far more to them than anyone at Cedarville.

        If anyone’s students should have people feeling sorry for them, it is yours, Mr. Adams.

        “Until Cedarville comes clean and admits to all that is indeed a propaganda factory designed to take fresh young minds and turn them into conservative ideologues unable to think critically, I will continue to point out this underlying hypocrisy.”

        Until many of the public institutions in this country come clean and admit to all that they are indeed propaganda factories designed to take fresh young minds and turn them into liberal ideologues unable to think critically, then we will continue to point out their underlying hypocrisy.

        P.S. If I had truly been manipulated by these men, then why do some of the opinions I now hold differ from some of theirs, in part because of the critical thinking I learned to use at CU? In fact, I know of at least one thing (which I will not delve into here) over which we disagree that you would side with them on.

        So go feel sorry for someone who actually needs it. I have no use for your pity.

  2. I feel so offended, I think I might cry
    I can’t stand the pressure, your comment won’t fly.
    How dare you insult me; My self-esteem’s hurt
    You should be suspended, that’s what I assert!
    There can be no joking, no more poking fun;
    One misplaced word and be sure you’ll be done.
    For I am a snowflake so prone to quick thawing
    Don’t even get close to the line I am drawing.
    I’ll call you a bully, or insist you be fired
    Sensitivity training just may be required.
    I’ll vote for the Libs — they’ll give you your due
    Then flags and mean comments we all can eschew.
    The Democrat party is whose platform I preach.
    For they are the party that champions free speech.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this post and all the comments that followed, but I too will sling a response at Mr. Adams. I majored in English at Cedarville, completing my degree this past May.

    During my time in English and theology classes, we studied, in-depth, the works of Baudrillard, Foucault, Bakhtin, Marx, Horkheimer and Adorno, and countless feminist, Marxist, post-modern, and anti-Christian thinkers. Each was given his or her voice. Each was respected for their insights. Yet, we were also taught, in all our classes, the necessity of interpreting these thinkers through a Christian lens, lest we lose our foundation for critical thinking altogether, slipping into the seas of irrationalism and rationalism.

    So, then, were our profs stifling freedom by encouraging critical thinking, but only within the confines of a Christian worldview? Some might say so, but I’d argue they were actually promoting intellectual freedom. By being honest about our presuppositions, our professors taught us that no one sees the world “anew.” There are no uninterrupted facts. Thus, students must read, intently and respectfully, all kinds of thinkers, but never in a way that is detached from their worldview. Such “freedom” is no freedom at all, but nothing less than intellectual romanticism.

    Cedarville has its problems, it’s reticence towards other Christian traditions being one of them, but intellectual freedom does not seem to be a problem to me.

    1. I am glad to hear that Cedarville has become more diverse in its reading requirements since I graduated. I hope it continues. I have doubt that it will, now that Albert Mohler has gotten his claws into the campus.

      When you say that you learned how to view those through a Christian lens, I would argue that that is a highly problematic concept. The integration of learning through faith is not a biblical concept and is almost always based on a cherry-picking of the biblical text.

      From what I have read on this blog about integration, it seems more along the lines of interpreting knowledge through the lense of modern conservative thought that has little to nothing to do with the New Testament. As if Jesus was concerned about property rights. The Christianity that is at work is not historical Christianity, but rather a modern perversion (see Kevin Kruse’s recent book, for example).

      When Cedarville starts inviting non-conservatives (for example, a leading Democrat who may be a devoted Christian) to campus to speak in chapel, THEN I will be prompted to reconsider. But considering the climate now, that won’t happen. That would go against the underlying mission, which is not to create good Christians, but rather good conservatives.

      Christianity is the completely opposite of rationalism.

      It is grace through faith, not through reason.

      1. Mr. Adams, I appreciate your concern that a Christian University could breed intellectual conservatives rather than Christ-followers. However, you sometimes seem to caricature “conservative” Christians. Your grandfather’s dispensationalism may have tended towards crude proof-texting, but many contemporary conservative theologians (including Carl Trueman, Wayne Grudem, D.A. Carson, etc.) have developed a commitment to the sweeping narrative of Scripture, it’s teaching as a whole and in all its integrity, while continuing to affirm the necessity of interpreting all of life and thought through the lens of faith. Cedarville, I believe, is taking their cue.

        Certainly, Christianity is the opposite of rationalism. But isn’t it also the opposite of irrationalism? Can we really say we take the authority of Christ, God’s logos, seriously if we follow his example in matter of ethics while our intellectual pursuits remain decidedly “neutral/freethinking/unfettered?” This consistency is what Cedarville aims to achieve, and it seems thoroughly Scriptural to me.

      2. A fascinating reply. So integration is based on “cherry picking verses”? Well, sorry, as I conceive it, it is actually a comprehensive analysis of any and all texts related to a particular discipline. Then of course they must be interpreted. It is here you and I part ways emphatically. By the way, the fact that a Christian may be Democrat is not the issue. No one I know believes Democrats cannot be believers. Rather it would be exactly what that person teaches in terms of theology, etc. Unlike public universities, we have a doctrinal statement that sets certain parameters. I am dumbfounded that you would say that integration is not a Biblical concept. What then would you do with Scripture, read it as a historical antique with no real value except its quaintness? That pretty much frees you to make it mean anything you want. I am certain I and others here do integration differently than you would, but other than assertions (and ad hominem attacks) you haven’t told us how you would do it–and I am certain you do it, as no human being can avoid some view of a text they read and (apparently from your comments) rely on for some kind of guidance. So I think you owe it to us to tell us how you approach the integration issue.

        But I also must respond to your other comment. I am not sure how many times I have said it, but I will put it a different way. Despite your assertions that you are a Christian (no doubt in your estimation, a “real” one, as opposed to us here at CU), you frequently don’t write like you are. I will accept your word that you are, but you don’t engage in arguments very much. You seem to want to just attack people. But at any rate, no, I don’t get all my information from National Review. But it does often confirm what I read elsewhere. I am actually willing to engage you in argument/debate, but you haven’t shown any willingness to do that so far.

        Finally, Christianity is not rationalism. Where did you get that from my writing. But Scripture does have to be interpreted. God gave us a mind/reason for some purpose. Perhaps you want to disconnect your epistemology with regard to the “world” from your epistemology of Scripture. But why would you do that? Are you a mystic? Surely you don’t ignore the use of reason in interpretation? It is a means which is part of what it means to be created in the image of God. It is not an end in itself, but it can be used with profit. Integration then uses that means as part of its goal of applying Scripture in every discipline. At any rate, please tell us whether and if so, how, you would seek to make application of Scripture to your discipline.

  4. Nathan D said “I am 100% confident that I learned far more at Cedarville, including critical thinking, than I would have from you or your institution.”

    I hate to say it, but that statement tells me that you know little about critical thinking. Critical thinking requires one to question and to require evidence of claims being made. It also involves questioning oneself and being aware of all times of the potential to be blinded by one’s cognitive biases and preconceptions.

    How can you be 100%–absolutely-confident of what you just said? You CANNOT. You know nothing about my institution, and yet you are 100% confident that you would learn less at that institution than at Cedarville? What an ignorant and arrogant thing to say.

    A true critical thinker is humble, always aware of the possibility if not probability of sloppy thinking. Critical thinkers do not use terms like always or never, since life is not that simple.

    Your own posts demonstrate your naivete. As I said, my heart goes out to you, even if you do not or cannot understand exactly what I mean.

    I suggest reading up on cognitive biases. This is a potential area for growth for you, to say the least.

    1. Referring to another reply on this blog you made the following statement…

      “You clearly have a lot to learn. And, no, you won’t learn it at Cedarville.”

      How is this declaration any different from mine, which was a direct response to that statement? It is NOT. This wording leaves practically no room for an interpretation other than critical thinking and learning can never occur at Cedarville. How confident are you about what you said? Or do you admit that there is a chance you could be wrong about CU? Are you willing to admit there is the possibility students can actually learn at CU? If you can admit that, then sure, I can admit my own statement about you and your institution cannot be 100% proven. Don’t expect me to play by your rules when you yourself don’t.

      I find it laughable that you can think that I do not or cannot understand what you mean. I do, perfectly. Understanding something and accepting it as accurate are two different things. There are many arguments, opinions, etc. that I totally and completely understand… and reject as correct.

      An example: I understand the reasons why many in the 19th Century (and yes, there are some even in the 21st Century) believed that African Americans could not be the equals of whites. I can fully understand them and can make myself see the issue from their eyes so that I better understand why they thought that way even though at the same time I completely and totally (100%) reject their position as true. Am I being ignorant or arrogant in saying racism in 100% unacceptable? If we go by your logic, then yes, I am.

  5. Marc says “I am dumbfounded that you would say that integration is not a Biblical concept.”

    Your statement reminds me of the Australian philosopher David Lewis, who said, “I don’t know how to refute an incredulous stare.”

    Where does the Bible directly command integration of faith and learning? Clearly, not ambiguously, mind you.

    If the Bible can authoritative predict the future (as some say it does in Revelation, although differences of interpretation abound), why does the Bible not command institutions of learning (which did exist at the time the books of the NT were written) to integrate learning with faith?

    I would argue that an HONEST, careful, and fair reading of the New Testament would reveal that Jesus did not come to teach the integration of faith and learning. Rather, he came to proclaim that he is God, and to prepare believers for his very imminent return and coming kingdom.

    And as for your earlier conception of the Bible as “data,” would you kindly provide chapter and verse for that? Considering that the debate regarding the corpus of Scripture was not really settled until the dawn of the fifth century, good luck with that.

    Please provide evidence to the contrary.

  6. Marc says “I am dumbfounded that you would say that integration is not a Biblical concept.”

    Your statement reminds me of the Australian philosopher David Lewis, who said, “I don’t know how to refute an incredulous stare.”

    Where does the Bible directly command integration of faith and learning? Clearly, not ambiguously, mind you.

    If the Bible can authoritative predict the future (as some say it does in Revelation, although differences of interpretation abound), why does the Bible not command institutions of learning (which did exist at the time the books of the NT were written) to integrate learning with faith?

    I would argue that an HONEST, careful, and fair reading of the New Testament would reveal that Jesus did not come to teach the integration of faith and learning. Rather, he came to proclaim that he is God, and to prepare believers for his very imminent return and coming kingdom.

    And as for your earlier conception of the Bible as “data,” would you kindly provide chapter and verse for that? Considering that the debate regarding the corpus of Scripture was not really settled until the dawn of the fifth century, good luck with that. :-)

    Please provide evidence to the contrary.

  7. Marc said, “Despite your assertions that you are a Christian (no doubt in your estimation, a “real” one, as opposed to us here at CU), you frequently don’t write like you are. I will accept your word that you are, but you don’t engage in arguments very much. You seem to want to just attack people.”

    I do actively engage with arguments here,when I see them. But most of your posts are not bona-fide arguments, but rather baseless rants filled with informal fallacies (no, I am not committing ad hom). There is a difference between an argument and a claim. With your posts, I see far too many of the former, few of the latter.

    Many of your fellow writers do a much better job than you do here (and, no, that is not ad hom, either). And, if you read carefully, you can tell that my responses to their posts are less critical and often supportive. You could learn a lot from them.

    Why do you presume that I would care about your opinion regarding my faith? I would say that many of your posts–especially the one in which you downplayed the sad situation at the U of Missouri, –are not Christian-like, but would you care if I questioned YOUR faith, or if I said that you frequently don’t write like you are a Christian?

    Of course not. Now you know how I feel. I should point out that those who live in bubbles should not throw stones, especially at the faith of fellow believers.

    The rationalism comment was not meant to be in response to your post. It was in response to Tyler’s well-written and thoughtful post. You could learn a lot from him as well!

    1. Not arguments. Interesting. So then an argument is only what you agree with? You obviously don’t agree with many of my arguments and more than that, you think they are mostly stupid. But they are indeed arguments. Some of course are editorial type comments, but on a blog that is perfectly acceptable. I know you know the difference. When you can point out the true informal fallacies then you can make your claim with more credibility (once again, of course an editorial-type blog would contain assertions, as it is editorial). Moreover, it appears that your standard for acceptability is is something akin to a 400 page “treatise.” No one can do that on a blog–no space and no time. Some things you simply have to assume or grant the assumption for the sake of the argument. Now if you want a book or article, I would be happy to recommend those (as I have on many occasions) or actually write one.

      1. Let me ask again:

        “If you are so concerned about looking at posts as tea leaves in order to determine if one is writing as a true Christian (or not), perhaps you should start with Nathan D, one of your students.

        Or are you OK with his posts?”

        To continue to duck it is to be rude and not indicative of your faith (then again, by raising the issue in the first place, you already have one strike against you).

        As for informal fallacies, you committed one on your very first sentence: hasty generalization. You did this when you lumped all public universities in the same categories. And the blog post goes downhill from there.

        You seem like an educated individual who has forgotten how to think critically. It does not make you a bad person, and might well be wrong about you. You don’t have to write a 400-page tome to impress me, but you DO have to be able to reason effectively, avoid overstating your case, and be able to provide EVIDENCE for your points.

      2. Jeff,

        Apparently you aren’t paying attention. Or are you purposefully choosing to ignore my correction of your false assumption that I am a current student of his. True, I was at one point, but like I said below, it has been at least five years and we live in different States.

        And as I also pointed out to you, he did not question your faith. To quote what I already said (and you apparently ignored)…
        “He DID NOT question your faith. He specifically said in part of his comments that ” I will accept your word that you are…”. That is not a statement that insinuates he is trying to read your mind or heart. He was simply stating that despite your claim, your arguments do not “sound” Christian. That was his opinion. He did not question your actual, personal faith, and neither do I.”

        You consistently attack my posts as un-Christian and ridicule my reason and my thinking, but never once have I felt you were actually attacking the sincerity of my faith in Christ. Am I simply more thick-skinned that you? Only you know that, all I am saying is that your seeming obsession with perpetuating this topic even when you have been clearly shown the sincerity of your faith was NOT questioned puzzles me.

  8. Marc,

    If you are so concerned about looking at posts as tea leaves in order to determine if one is writing as a true Christian (or not), perhaps you should start with Nathan D, one of your students.

    Or are you OK with his posts?

    1. And I will be the first to admit that some of my replies to you are less than tactful, but perhaps how they come across to you may one day finally make you realize how yours come across to me.

      Now let me say this. My responses and replies are my own. Do not presume to conclude that what I say is endorsed or agreed to by anyone else or that I am under control of anyone else. Dr. Clauson bears no responsibility or culpability for anything I say, neither does any other Berean on this site. As the site administrators they are free to treat my posts however they like and I am sure some of them they are probably not OK with.

      In fact, I would say that the fact they still let me post is testament to their own personal sense of freedom of speech. If you think they should censure me, by all means, tell them.

      1. The question was not directed at you.

        I am still awaiting for a response from your professor.

        It is a legitimate question, only because he opened the gates when he had the nerve to question my faith (as if he can read my mind and my heart).

      2. “The question was not directed at you.”

        No, but it was specifically about me and put in a place where I would certainly see it, therefore it is my business.

        “It is a legitimate question, only because he opened the gates when he had the nerve to question my faith (as if he can read my mind and my heart).”

        He DID NOT question your faith. He specifically said in part of his comments that ” I will accept your word that you are…”. That is not a statement that insinuates he is trying to read your mind or heart. He was simply stating that despite your claim, your arguments do not “sound” Christian. That was his opinion. He did not question your actual, personal faith, and neither do I.

        This is no different than the argument about Barack Obama’s religion. He claims that he is a Christian and believes in the death, burial, and resurrection, of Jesus Christ. Despite the fact that in my opinion some of his actions and political beliefs are decidedly un-Christian, I still take him at his word and hope to see him in heaven one day, just as I do you.

        So no, your question is not legitimate because he did not do what you claim he did.

    2. Professor Clauson,

      As I asked, ARE you OK with these posts from one of your students?

      Are his posts indicative of the kind of Christianity you teach?

      I find it hard to believe that you did not see my question by now. After all, you are the most frequently posting blogger here.

      May I remind you that I am not some guy off of the street. A first-generation student from lower-middle class backgrounds, I devoted four years of my life to Cedarville and am an alum. Did a lot of service work while on the campus, esp in Christian ministry (back when PG was there).

      If a student of mine (I teach only part-time and am involved in other aspects of life on my campus) talked to an alum the way your student talked to me, I’d speak with that student. I would certainly NOT look the other way.

      But at Cedarville, that is OK to do so, huh?

      Speak up.

      1. Regardless of who you directed the question to, let me point out the incorrect assumption you seem to have made. While it is true that I had Dr. Clauson as a professor, it has been more than five years since my last class with him. I am NOT a current student of his and we do not even live in the same State so the idea that he somehow has a “duty” to confront me because you don’t like my tone is completely ridiculous. Dr. Clauson knows this and I imagine that is why he has not bothered to respond. Your assumption is in error.

        But this brings up another point. You seem to think that because you are an alumni and a professor that this affords you a certain superiority over me. It does not. You do not have the right to expect that anyone, student or not, must treat you any differently that you treat them. And your treatment towards me and others on this blog leaves much to be desired. If you cannot treat me with respect, don’t expect me to treat you that way. Your job or education status does not entitle you or your views to special treatment. If you think it does, and your words certainly imply that you do, then I would say you are the one who has a “pride and arrogance” problem.

  9. Wow…quite the “conversation” that’s erupted here.

    Separate from everything that’s been said so far, I found Nick Kristof’s recently NYT op-ed to be extremely helpful: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/11/12/opinion/mizzou-yale-and-free-speech.html?_r=0

    Kristof is critical of both extremes. Initially, he laments the liberal bias present in most public universities that threatens to shut-out challenging conservative voices. He specifically advocates that those universities, for example, invite conservative pro-life voices to articulate their position. He’s also critical of the other extreme, and gives a poignant example:

    “Consider an office where bosses shrug as some men hang nude centerfolds and leeringly speculate about the sexual proclivities of female colleagues. Free speech issue? No! That’s a hostile work environment. And imagine if you’re an 18-year-old for whom this is your 24/7 home — named, say, for a 19th-century pro-slavery white supremacist.”

    One question which arose from my reading this article was for you, Dr. Clauson, regarding the reasonable limitation on freedom of speech/expression. Conservatives don’t seem to be very consistent on this issue. On the one hand, conservatives – as you stated in your post – will do whatever it takes to protect socially offensive or “politically incorrect” speech, even if that speech is extremely harmful to a large population of people. On other hand, conservatives have for lengthy period of time advocated policies with regulate lewd or “inappropriate” expression in modern media and entertainment.

    Do you see that same inconsistency? What accounts for it? And what is the reasonable limitation to free expression (is Kristof’s example of office etiquette such an acceptable limitation)?

    1. Your question is a good one, but first a clarification. I am not asserting that speech that incites immediate violence would be free. On that we all would agree, though defining what incites immediate violence is not easy for courts. The current state of law in part is:

      “The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. For more on unprotected and less protected categories of speech see advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate a message. The level of protection speech receives also depends on the forum in which it takes place.” (Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute, First Amendment).

      So the government can legally limit some of those types of speech. My concern is attempts to limit speech which would otherwise be allowed in any venue, and by any court., that is simple “political” or advocacy speech, or any other category not covered by the above limits. So while certain kinds of speech that Christians would wish to limit may be and are morally objectionable, I could not argue at present that those kinds of speech can be regulated by the state. Of course they can be regulated by private entities and that is their business–sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Moreover, lewd/obscene speech can legally be limited at present, and I while I believe it is offensive, I don’t think it is the root of any cultural apocalypse, but rather one effect of cultural degradation. So I don’t take a staunch stand on that in terms of government regulation.

      Many Christians are actually consistent in opposing any speech/expression they consider to be immoral. But you are right that some are apparently inconsistent. But one can be consistent by distinguishing between speech that is considered “neutral” (political, advocating a cause, etc.) and speech considered immoral as related to a reading of Scripture that ties the speech to “no unwholesome word,” etc. Now that does present a bigger problem. How do you extrapolate that exhortation to private behavior to a mandate for the state to regulate it? That is a problem that cannot really be overcome in my estimation.

      As for office etiquette, since it is private, the company can do as it sees fit, limit it or not. I believe it probably ought to limit obviously and objectively offensive speech, but it should be very careful not to make the determination solely subjective, as many people have very thin skins and in some cases, we could really have no speech at all.

      And on public university campuses, speech must legally be very “wide open” even if it is offensive (the courts have made that clear) and though I don’t always like it, I defend that right legally (though not always morally).

      I hope that at least explain where I am coming from.

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