Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why is it so hard to reason with college-educated millenials about spiritual things?

Why is it hard to reason with students?

Why is it hard to reason with students?

The first article today is from lesbian feminist Camille Paglia. She is a university professor, but liberal (in the classical sense) in her outlook.

An hour-long interview is posted at Reason, and there’s a transcript.

Camille says:

reason: Clarify what’s the difference between a legitimate gripe and whining?

Paglia: Well, in my point of view, no college administration should be taking any interest whatever in the social lives of the students. None! If a crime’s committed on campus, it should always be reported to the police. I absolutely do not agree with any committees investigating any charge of sexual assault. Either it’s a real crime, or it’s not a real crime. Get the hell out. So you get this expansion of the campus bureaucracy with this Stalinist oversight. But the students have been raised with helicopter parents. They want it. The students of today—they’re utterly uninformed, not necessarily at my school, the art school, I’m talking about the elite schools.

reason: So it’s those kids over at that other school.

Paglia: It’s the grade grubbers, the bright overachievers. I’m not at that kind of school [here at University of the Arts in Philadelphia] . I’m at a school of arts and communication where people already have a vocational trend. To be admitted here, you have to already have demonstrated a vocational aptitude. I’m talking about the Ivy League. Now, I’ve encountered these graduates of Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton, I’ve encountered them in the media, and people in their 30s now, some of them, their minds are like Jell-O. They know nothing! They’ve not been trained in history. They have absolutely no structure to their minds. Their emotions are unfixed. The banality of contemporary cultural criticism, of academe, the absolute collapse of any kind of intellectual discourse in the U.S. is the result of these colleges, which should have been the best, have produced the finest minds, instead having retracted into caretaking. The whole thing is about approved social positions in a kind of misty, love of humanity without any direct knowledge of history or economics or anthropology.

reason: Maybe the university is not the place where that sort of stuff is happening anymore. So, for instance, you have think tanks that do a lot of economic or policy work. You have popular historians who are not academic. Fiction and poetry, even as there’s been a rise in for decades now of creative writing programs and what not. Nobody looks to the university to be cutting edge on almost anything really, so maybe it’s just that you picked the wrong hors. Maybe you should have followed the campus radicals’ suggestion and not gone into academia?

Paglia: [As a] writer of cultural criticism, I find that I’m happiest when I’m writing for the British press, and I write quite a bit for The Sunday Times magazine in London. I find that the general sense of cultural awareness means that I can have an authentic discourse about ideas with international journalists from Brazil or Germany or Italy or Norway or Canada even—somewhat, but they have a P.C. problem themselves. I can feel the vacuum and the nothingness of American cultural criticism at the present time. It is impossible—any journalist today, an American journalist, you cannot have any kind of deep discussion of ideas.

The students at the Ivy league universities are so insulated from “vocation” (working for money) and so indoctrinated in political correctness, that they cannot have a civil conversation about ideas. All they can do is state their own views, and if you disagree with them, then they call you names then retreat to “safe spaces”, where all unpleasant communication is blocked . They can’t even explain why they hold their own views except they have been taught to believe that all smart people believe them. They are traumatized by dissent, and they are not able to critically assess arguments and evidence.

Here’s a second article by Eleanor Taylor writing in the ultra-leftist New York Times.

She writes:

KATHERINE BYRON, a senior at Brown University and a member of its Sexual Assault Task Force, considers it her duty to make Brown a safe place for rape victims, free from anything that might prompt memories of trauma.

So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. “Bringing in a speaker like that could serve to invalidate people’s experiences,” she told me. It could be “damaging.”

Ms. Byron and some fellow task force members secured a meeting with administrators. Not long after, Brown’s president, Christina H. Paxson, announced that the university would hold a simultaneous, competing talk to provide “research and facts” about “the role of culture in sexual assault.” Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma. Emma Hall, a junior, rape survivor and “sexual assault peer educator” who helped set up the room and worked in it during the debate, estimates that a couple of dozen people used it. At one point she went to the lecture hall — it was packed — but after a while, she had to return to the safe space. “I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,” Ms. Hall said.

Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being “bombarded” by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints. Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning, a notice put on top of a syllabus or an assigned reading to alert students to the presence of potentially disturbing material.

I have had the opportunity to interact with people who went through the college system in non-STEM programs. The combination of binge-drinking, hooking-up, co-habitating, and indoctrination in secular leftist ideologies like feminism, postmodernism, moral relativism really seems to break down their ability to reason calmly with someone who disagrees with them. They become very brittle and defensive when their indoctrinated views are confronted with critical thinking. I think the indoctrinated views were accepted largely because of emotions, intuitions and peer-pressure, so any kind of questioning using reason, evidence, wisdom and experience are met with this fight-or-flight response. People who are wiser and more experienced aren’t allowed to speak in the “safe space”.

There are two ways I see this playing out. On the one hand, any attempt to lead the thinking of an indoctrinated person is going to be met with insults. For example, trying to teach basic economics is going to be called “manipulation”. Or, trying to tell them to that they have an obligation to behave a certain way towards others is going to be dismissed because others have to take “personal responsibility”. These are just smokescreens that cover the fact that indoctrinated millenials cannot be reasoned with, cannot be led, cannot be told to do the right thing. When challenged, they block all communication and retreat to a “safe space” where their similarly indoctrinated friends are there to reassure them. Unfortunately for them, reality has a way of breaking through the illusions in the long run.

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Navy chaplain removed from unit for teaching Biblical views on sex and marriage

This is from the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

A former Marine and current Navy chaplain has been removed from his unit after sharing the teachings of his faith tradition in private, pastoral settings.

Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder, a chaplain at the Base Chapel Naval Weapons Station at Joint Base in South Carolina, is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God.

According to his legal team, a “handful” of individuals complained about his views on issues like atheism, homosexuality and sexual relationships outside of marriage.

According to Military Times, after the complaints, Modder’s commanding officer wrote in a “detachment for cause” letter that states Modder is “unable to function in the diverse and pluralistic environment” of the United States Navy.

It’s such a diverse environment that if you disagree with the secular leftist view of sex and marriage, then you can’t say anything. And we are paying taxes to pay for these people to violate the basic human rights of Christian employees. It’s not just happening to Christian business owners who refuse to celebrate gay marriage, now. It’s just regular Christians workers, too.

More:

His commanding officer has requested that Modder be removed from the promotion list (despite his ranking as “Early Promote,” the highest rating), separated from his unit, and brought before a Board of Inquiry.

The same commanding officer previously wrote in Modder’s fitness report in October of 2014 that Modder was the “best of the best” and recommended him for promotion.

The board could force Modder, who previously served as a Marine in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, out of the Navy. His case is currently under review.

I thought this was useful to see what pressures authentic Christians face as they try to earn the money they ned to provide for their families in an increasingly secular environment:

Mike Berry, the senior counsel and director of military affairs at the Liberty Institute, is handing Modder’s case.

[…]“He’s in a catch-22 between his faith and his career,” said Berry.

Berry said that Modder offered everyone who sought his guidance a “disclaimer” that he was speaking to them as an ordained Christian minister, stressing that Modder offered “spiritual advice” and “Biblical truth” according to his faith tradition in “private” sessions, not merely “unsolicited opinions.”

But after the complaints of a “handful” of individuals, Modder’s future in the Navy is in jeopardy.

[…]Modder is also approaching his 20-year anniversary of military service. If his case is not resolved by Sept. 1, his pension and retirement benefits could also be in jeopardy.

Seems like he was very careful, but that did not protect him from the complaints of a handful of individuals who wanted to get rid of him for disagreeing with them. And of course Modder’s commanding officer has to deal harshly with him, or he will not be promoted. This is the new secular Inquisition.

Now, try to think with me about how many people are teaching their views on sex and marriage, and using taxpayer dollars to do it. Public school teachers, Planned Parenthood… Heck, in Ontario, Canada, the Liberty Party’s sex education curriculum was developed by a convicted child pornographer. And yet Christian chaplains are the ones who have to face discrimination for stating their views.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

As Christianity declines in Europe, churches are put up for sale

This sad story is from the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Two dozen scruffy skateboarders launched perilous jumps in a soaring old church building here on a recent night, watched over by a mosaic likeness of Jesus and a solemn array of stone saints.

This is the Arnhem Skate Hall, an uneasy reincarnation of the Church of St. Joseph, which once rang with the prayers of nearly 1,000 worshipers.

It is one of hundreds of churches, closed or threatened by plunging membership, that pose a question for communities, and even governments, across Western Europe: What to do with once-holy, now-empty buildings that increasingly mark the countryside from Britain to Denmark?

[…]The closing of Europe’s churches reflects the rapid weakening of the faith in Europe, a phenomenon that is painful to both worshipers and others who see religion as a unifying factor in a disparate society.

[…]The Church of England closes about 20 churches a year. Roughly 200 Danish churches have been deemed nonviable or underused. The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has shut about 515 churches in the past decade.

But it is in the Netherlands where the trend appears to be most advanced. The country’s Roman Catholic leaders estimate that two-thirds of their 1,600 churches will be out of commission in a decade, and 700 of Holland’s Protestant churches are expected to close within four years.

[…]As communities struggle to reinvent their old churches, some solutions are less dignified than others. In Holland, one ex-church has become a supermarket, another is a florist, a third is a bookstore and a fourth is a gym. In Arnhem, a fashionable store called Humanoid occupies a church building dating to 1889, with racks of stylish women’s clothing arrayed under stained-glass windows.

In Bristol, England, the former St. Paul’s church has become the Circomedia circus training school. Operators say the high ceilings are perfect for aerial equipment like trapezes.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, a Lutheran church has become a Frankenstein-themed bar, featuring bubbling test tubes, lasers and a life-size Frankenstein’s monster descending from the ceiling at midnight.

Jason MacDonald, a supervisor at the pub, says he has never heard complaints about the reuse. “It’s for one simple reason: There are hundreds and hundreds of old churches and no one to go to them,” Mr. MacDonald said. “If they weren’t repurposed, they would just lie empty.”

Many churches, especially smaller ones, are becoming homes, and that has spawned an entire industry to connect would-be buyers with old churches.

The churches of England and Scotland list available properties online, with descriptions worthy of a realty firm. St. John’s church in Bacup, England, for example, is said to feature “a lofty nave as well as basement rooms with stone-vaulted ceilings,” and can be had for about $160,000.

There are many reasons why Christianity has declined in Europe, but surely the widespread embrace of left-wing economic policies – even by evangelical Christians – is one of the largest.

Here’s a fairly recent paper (PDF) that explains it:

What accounts for cross-national variation in religiosity as measured by church attendance and non-religious rates? Examining answers from both secularization theory and the religious economy perspective, we assert that cross-national variation in religious participation is a function of government welfare spending and provide a theory that links macro-sociological outcomes with individual rationality. Churches historically have provided social welfare. As governments gradually assume many of these welfare functions, individuals with elastic preferences for spiritual goods will reduce their level of participation since the desired welfare goods can be obtained from secular sources. Cross-national data on welfare spending and religious participation show a strong negative relationship between these two variables after controlling for other aspects of modernization.

I have many friends in the UK who classify themselves as evangelical Christians. They almost all embrace moderate to leftist economics, and they complain to me about why the church is in decline, why there is no interest in apologetics, why they can’t find Christian girlfriends, why they can’t get speaking engagements. The answer is, of course, that by majoring only in theology and apologetics, they have crafted the rope that their secular allies in government are using to hang them. Leftism is embraced by European Christians in part because they don’t want to be like those dastardly Americans with their free enterprise system and their rule of law and their private property and their law-abiding gun ownership.

It just goes to show you why Christianity suffers when we focus on piety at the expense of practicality. Too much A. W. Tozer, not enough F.A. Hayek. I doubt my well-meaning UK Christian friends – who are so proud of their laughable NHS health care – even know who F.A. Hayek is. To think that Lady Thatcher ones brandished “The Constitution of Liberty” by F.A. Hayek and declared “this is what we believe!”. But ordinary UK Christians do not believe what she believes, and now they must reap what they sowed with their knee-jerk rejection of the free enterprise system. Ignorance of economics killed Christianity in Europe, and pious, risk-averse Christians were willing participants in the murder.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

British Columbia law society votes against accrediting evangelical law school

Map of Canada

Map of Canada

Global News reports.

Excerpt:

The Law Society of British Columbia has voted against accrediting a proposed law school at Trinity Western University.

In a binding decision, 74 per cent of lawyers voted against TWU’s program, with 8,039 ballots cast in total – more than 60 per cent of all lawyers eligible to vote.

The society says the decision means that “the proposed law school at Trinity Western University is not an approved faculty of law for the purpose of the Law Society’s admission program.”

The vote was conducted by mail and required a two-thirds majority, with a turnout more than 33.3 per cent.

CBC has the reaction from Trinity:

The president of Trinity Western University says he is uncertain if the new law school will open as scheduled in 2016 following the recent vote by the B.C. Law Society members to reject the faith-based institution.

TWU president Bob Kuhn expressed his frustration with the recent vote as he left a ratification meeting at the law society on Friday morning.

“They had to choose between the principles upon which they made the initial decision and the popularity of that decision among lawyers in the province,” says Kuhn.

“We’re disappointed of course they chose the latter. But that’s the reality of people in an elected position.”

British Columbia is now the third province, after Ontario and Nova Scotia, to officially reject the university’s law school.

Kuhn says it’s not clear whether the Christian university will move ahead with its 2016 opening date, and the school will decide in the coming weeks whether to file a judicial review.

The board members of the B.C. Law Society voted 25 to one with four abstentions to ratify the results of a referendum announced yesterday rejecting the accreditation of a Trinity Western University’s law school.

More than 8,000 of the society’s 13,530 members voted earlier this month in a special referendum to overturn the board’s decision earlier this year to accredit the faith-based law school.

Critics oppose the new law school’s accreditation because Trinity Western students must sign a Christian covenant that states sexual relations are to be confined within the bounds of a marriage between a man and a woman.

Trinity Western Law School has a rule that says that students are expect not to engage in extramarital sex – regardless of sexual orientation, which is in keeping with what the Bible teaches. And the law society has decided that this teaching should disqualify a person from practicing law. What is objectionable about this rule? Well, the people who voted against it would be condemned by it. And so they seek to remove the influence of anyone who believes in that rule. Times change, but human nature doesn’t change. If you don’t want God, you try to silence anyone who reminds you of that fact. It’s also a reminded that secularism isn’t based in anything that science tells us or history tells us or any kind of evidence. It’s about morality. It’s about denying the authority of the moral law. That’s why people reject God, and intimidate those who don’t reject God.

I think this is a good reminder to Christian parents in the United States about why it is important to have some sort of vision for your children. If we don’t get advanced degrees, then we leave these decisions to the secular bigots. We are either going to take having an influence seriously or we are going to lose the power to have an influence. Do you have a plan to counter this?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Obama on stay-at-home moms: “that’s not a choice we want them to make”

Breitbart reports:

During a speech in Rhode Island today, President Obama stressed the importance of public pre-school in America, pointing out that the cost of daycare was getting too high.

“Moms and dads deserve a great place to drop their kids off every day that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg,” Obama stated. “We need better child care, day care, early child education policies.”

Obama explained that in many states it cost parents more money to put their kids in day care than it cost to put them in a public university.

“Too often parents have no choice but to put their kids in cheaper day care that maybe doesn’t have the kinds of programming that makes a big difference in a child’s development,” he said.

Because America lacks public pre-school, Obama said, women often earned less money than men.

“Sometimes, someone, usually Mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result,” he said. “That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

Creating public pre-school, Obama explained, was not only “good for families” but “good for the children.”

So I watched this video in which Obama flat out says that he favors having the government spend more money on social programs for children, despite the fact that we know that mothers are best for young children. He is not the first to push this, Nancy Pelosi did the same in 2013. This is the view championed by Democrats.

These programs are a boon to the government workers who vote for Obama, because they will be run by secular leftist social workers. This is how they earn their living – by separating mothers from their children. They want to avoid having to please customers in the private sector – that’s too risky. They prefer to take over the job of mothering from a child’s biological mother. That’s safe. You don’t get fired from the government, and you don’t have the pressure of having to care about what customers think of you. This is attractive to people on the left – they want work to be like this, even if it means a child’s misery.

How will he achieve this?

Well, he will raise taxes on the husband, so that the husband can no longer support the family on his own. This will cause the wife to have to leave the children and go to work in order to make ends meet. This way, Obama can separate the child from her parents, and from the worldview of the parents. Instead of having parents working to raise their own child, you have the government raising children to believe what the government wants them to believe. For a secular government, this will probably be that family is bad, that religion is bad, that traditional morality is bad, that the free market system is bad, and that bigger government is good. Think of examples like sex education (abortion advocacy) and global warming (anti-capitalism), if you doubt this anti-family, anti-free-market angle exists.

Does it excite me, as a single chaste man, to get married and be a husband in a world run by feminist socialist leftists like Obama? No.

I am getting up every morning and going to work so that I and my future wife can run my family our way – to promote our worldview and our values. We would be doing the work of raising a family, so we should be allowed to pass on our values. But thanks to feminism and socialism, we have these bloated parasites in government who steal our children from us and then charge us money in order to pay for imposing their disgusting, immoral values on them. The American people somewhere along the line decided that even though I earn the money, that someone else ought to be passing on their values to my children. And this would be all the people who traditionally vote Democrat. They decided that. There are many young, unmarried Christian women who vote Democrat. They decided that. They “feel” that more powerful government is more desirable than more powerful families. Nothing they hear in church teaches them not to vote for stronger government over stronger families.

I would like more Christian leaders to be telling the young, unmarried women to stop voting for bigger secular government. Someone has to get that through their heads – that men do not like sharing the duty of leadership with anyone – especially not with clowns who have degrees in the humanities and could not find private sector jobs serving customers. Unfortunately, my friends tell me that the most common books being read by young Christian women on dating sites are books by A.W. Tozer, Francis Chan, Harry Potter, Left Behind, Phillip Yancey, Beth Moore, Nancy Leigh Demoss, Joyce Meyer, Elizabeth George, Stasi Eldgredge and so on. There is a complete lack of seriousness among many Christian women about marriage and family as it relates to economics, politics and education. It’s not just apologetics that is lacking. Everything is focused on feelings, but the attraction and feasibility of the marriage/family plan is diminishing after each election right under our noses. It is diminishing for men. And there is no marriage and parenting without a man, however much Christians seem to be turning toward and celebrating single motherhood – i.e. – marriage to the secular state.

Young unmarried women, if you expect to get married, you’d better start voting for small government. Small government means bigger individuals and bigger families, and that’s exactly what men who consider marriage and families want. Wake up.

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