Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: college students becoming less religious, more depressed

Just how much honor and meaning is there in binge drinking, hooking up and talking about who is the biggest victim?

Campus Reform reports:

According to research conducted by University of California-Los Angeles, 27 percent of college freshmen no longer identify with a certain religion—the highest this trend has seen in 40 years.

According to the study conducted in 2014, among college freshman, 30 percent of men and 25.4 percent of women responded with “none” when asked a religious preference. This is an increase from a 1971 study that recorded 17.3 percent of men and 13.5 percent of women who responded with “none” as their selection.

[…]The same study also showed a profound increase in depression among college freshmen. There is an epidemic of “emotional health issues” within the same students, the study also found.

In speaking with Christians who left their faith in college, I have found that it’s typically not cognitive. They wanted to have a good time after escaping from the nest, and they just dropped Christianity and started drinking a lot and having a lot of sex with a lot of people they barely knew. “Everyone” was doing it – it was fun and thrills, and who cares how it impacts your future and your ability to serve God or get married?

Now I want this to be a positive post, so I’ll link to J. Warner Wallace who has the solution to the problem.

He writes:

In my last post, I summarized the studies and publications that describe the flight of young people from the Church. A compelling cumulative circumstantial case can be made to support the fact that young college aged Christians are walking away from Christianity in record numbers. What can we do about it? What can be done? Whenever people ask me this question, I always say the same thing. STOP TEACHING YOUNG CHRISTIANS. Just stop it. Whatever Christendom is doing in its effort to teach it’s young, the effort appears to largely be a failure. In fact, Ken Ham (in his book, Already Gone:Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do To Stop It) found that young Christians who faithfully attended Bible classes were actually more likely to question the authority of Scripture, more likely to defend the legality of abortion, same-sex marriage, and premarital sex, and more likely to leave the church! What’s going on here? I think I know. It’s time to stop teaching ouryoung people; it’s time to start training them.

There’s a difference between teaching and training. Training is teaching in preparation for a battle. Boxers train for upcoming fights. In fact, boxers are sometimes known to get fat and lazy until the next fight is scheduled. Once the date has been signed, fighters begin to train in earnest. Why? Because they know that they are going to eventually get in the ring and face an aggressive opponent. We train when we know we are about to encounter a battle. Imagine for a moment that you are enrolled in an algebra class. If the teacher assured you that you would never, ever be required to take a test, and that you would pass the class regardless of your level of understanding, how hard do you think you would study? How deeply do you think you would come to understand the material? How committed do you think you would be to the material?

The problem we have in the Church today is not that we lack good teachers. There are many excellent teachers in the Church. The problem is that none of these teachers are scheduling battles. Make no mistake about it, there are battles looming for each and every young Christian in the Church today, but church leaders are not involved in the scheduling of these battles. The battles are waiting for our sons and daughters when they get to University (or enter the secular workplace). The Church needs to be in the business of scheduling battles and training our young people for these battles. Teaching without a planned battle is little more than “blah, blah blah.” This is the problem with traditional Sunday School programs. They are often well-intended, informative and powerfully delivered. But they are impotent, because our young people have no sense of urgency or necessity. There is no planned battle looming on the horizon and the battle of University life is simply too far away to be palpable. It’s time to address the problem not with our classes but with our calendar. It’s time to start scheduling battles so our teaching becomes training.

Just stop it!

I think that’s good advice – but I don’t think that Christian parents or Christian pastors are following it as much as we need to be.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

New study: record high 30.3 percent of millenials live with a parent

Those on the left assure us that the secret to creating more jobs is making it easier for more people to go to college. We have to keep taxing job creators and workers, they say, so that we can pay for more people to get a college indoctrination. I mean education! Well, we have been trying that approach for some time – tax the private sector, make it cheaper for people to go to college. And the result is that we now have a record high number of young adults with college degrees, and a record high number of young adults living in poverty and a record high number of young adults living at home.

The article from Campus Reform tells us where we are now.

They write:

An all-time high of 30.3 percent of millennials are living with a parent, according to data released from the U.S. Census Bureau’s study, “Young Adults: Then and Now.”

The study, released Dec., 4, 2014, and tracks the young adult population from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 Censuses and the 2009-2013 American Community Survey, gathering data about salary, education level, transportation habits, and more than 40 other topics.

Millennials are living at home, and more are living in poverty with lower rates of employment than their predecessors.

According to the report, millennials are more likely to live at home than any other generation of young adults. In 1980, 22.9 percent of young adults lived with a parent, while in 1990 the percentage increased to 24.2 percent. In 2000, the percentage decreased to 23.2 percent, but by 2013 it hit a record-level by jumping more than 7 percentage points.

Millennials are living at home, and more are living in poverty with lower rates of employment than their predecessors. According to the study, one in five young adults live in poverty, up from one in seven in 1980. Currently, the study claims 65 percent of millennials are employed compared to the 1980 number of 69 percent.

Yet, 22 percent of young adults have a college degree, compared to only 16 percent in 1980.

The troubling thing about this for me is how much millenials keep voting, again and again, for higher taxes and more regulations. On the one hand, they want to vote against evil corporations. Tax them more! Regulate them, to save the planet! Then, a split-second later, they go and ask these corporations that they’ve been taught to bash for work. There is work for them, all right – in other countries with lower taxes and less regulation.

Anyway, we want to be positive, so again, I’m going to provide people with useful information.

First, study STEM programs:

  1. Petroleum Engineering – Starting Salary: $103,000 / Mid-Career Salary: $160,000
  2. Actuarial Mathematics – Starting Salary: $58,700 / Mid-Career Salary: $120,000
  3. Nuclear Engineering – Starting Salary: $67,600 / Mid-Career Salary: $117,000
  4. Chemical Engineering – Starting Salary: $68,200 / Mid-Career Salary: $115,000
  5. Aerospace Engineering – Starting Salary: $62,800 / Mid-Career Salary: $109,000
  6. Electrical Engineering – Starting Salary: $64,300 / Mid-Career Salary: $106,000
  7. Computer Engineering – Starting Salary: $65,300 / Mid-Career Salary: $106,000
  8. Computer Science – Starting Salary: $59,800 / Mid-Career Salary: $102,000
  9. Physics – Starting Salary: $53,100 / Mid-Career Salary: $101,000
  10. Mechanical Engineering – Starting Salary: $60,900 / Mid-Career Salary: $99,700

And you should also start investing early, and keep investing:

The good news is there are now more millionaires than ever. But when it comes to retirement, is a million dollars enough?

“If they want to be financially independent, retire at 65 and be able to have an income of $40,000 a year in retirement for 30 years, then it’s likely that they’re going to need a million dollars to retire to generate that lifestyle,” said Bruce Allen, an independent wealth advisor.

Living comfortably on $40,000 a year in retirement, which would require a $1 million nest egg by the time you reach the retirement age, will depend on your expenses, investment returns and health-care costs.

[…]Many retirees make it work with less. According to Census data, the median household income for those 65 and older is $34,000, but that’s almost half the $66,000 for ages 55 to 64. In order to preserve that preretirement standard of living, financial experts say you’ll need more than a million dollars.

And the last piece of advice I would be this – if you are a young person, you should be looking into understanding how to save and invest, and you should be reading unbiased financial news. It’s not enough to hope that the government is going to bail you out. In all likelihood, the government will be coming to you in 15 years, looking for you to bail them out of their obligations to pay the pensions and health care costs of retirees. You should not take pride in being ignorant of economics and politics. This is your problem. Wishing and hoping that things will be OK will not make these challenges go away. Just because your friends, your favorite musicians, your favorite authors, your co-workers, etc. are not talking about these issues to you, it does not mean that these challenges don’t apply to you. They do apply to you. And just getting good grades now is NOT a guarantee that you will be OK later. You’re going to be expected to do more with less in a way that your parents never had to do. They are leaving you a worse financial world than they received.

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

Are secular leftists on campus interested in discussing different viewpoints?

A few stories that lead me to think that they are not.

First, Campus Reform writes:

A female student was threatened by feminist and LGBT organizations at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington after she invited them to attend a pro-life event.

Madison Marston sent personal email invitations to UNCW’s National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), PRIDE, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Student Association (WSSA), to extend an invitation to Ratio Christi’s “Abortion and Human Equality: A Pro Life Defense of the Unborn” discussion. The three organizations collectively declined while threatening Marston for sending the invitation.

“Each of the leaders of PRIDE, NARAL and WSSA ask that you no longer contact us directly,” the email, obtained by Campus Reform said. “As a student organization, your events are on the CAIC calendar, part of Hawk e-News, and disseminated in a variety of other ways, which is sufficient for us to be aware of them. We do not need, nor want, these invitations. If you continue to attempt to contact any of us, we will take further action.”

In the email, the organizations said they already had a separate event scheduled for that same date but also said they will not participate in any debates with the Christian apologetics organization as they do not share the same beliefs when it comes to abortion and LGBT issues.

“As such, we have no desire to debate them with you or your organization,” the organizations said in the email.

[…]“We have no desire to attend any event sponsored by your organization and its narrow beliefs steeped in religious bigotry and intolerance.”

[…]Ratio Christi’s event, scheduled for Feb., 26, will host Adams, an outspoken conservative professor at UNCW, “to present a scientific and philosophical argument on the topic of abortion,” according to the event’s press release obtained by Campus Reform.

The free event has a Q&A portion concluding Adams’ talk, during which Marston, a biology and chemistry major, was hoping the other student organizations could participate.

“I had naively thought UNCW’s pro-choice student organizations would jump at any and every opportunity to participate in events on the topic of abortion,” Marston told Campus Reform in an interview. “Or at least, I thought they would be somewhat interested in having a platform to defend their views. If they believe so strongly that abortion is a woman’s right—why are they afraid to defend their belief?”

[…]UNCW’s College Democrats also declined the invitation to attend the event as “our party’s views do not align with the views of the speaker.”

I think the pro-abortion folks, the LGBT folks and the Democrats are not so much interested in debate as they are in coercing anyone who disagrees with them.

Next article is from Fox News.

They write:

Students at Acalanes High School were given a handout with LGBT terminology – including words like pan-sexual, demi-boy and gray gender.

Teenagers at a California high school were publicly shamed for disagreeing with speakers allowed to push an LGBT agenda during an English class, according to several upset parents.

The Queer Straight Alliance at Acalanes High School, in Lafayette, lectured students in several ninth-grade English classes on Jan. 29 about LGBT issues, according to Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing the parents.

During the class, the students, ages 14 and 15, were instructed to stand in a circle. Then, they were grilled about their personal beliefs and their parents’ beliefs on homosexuality, PJI alleges.

“The QSA had students step forward to demonstrate whether they believed that being gay was a choice and whether their parents would be accepting if they came out as gay,” PJI attorney Matthew McReynolds said. “Students who did not step forward were ridiculed and humiliated.”

PJI is a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases. They are representing several families who had children in the freshman classes — some of whom also are angry because there was no parental notification of the LGBT lecture.

“Singling out students for ridicule based on their moral or political beliefs is a Marxist tactic that should have no place in the United States of America,” Dacus said.

Yes, and Christian parents are paying for it by force – there is no school choice. You are forced to pay for this, whether you use it or not.

And finally, an essay on the bullying of Christians and conservatives that happens in schools, from ISI Review.

Excerpt:

“The new intolerance” is shorthand for the chilled public atmosphere in which religious believers now operate. Many people of faith face unique burdens that would have been unthinkable even a couple of decades ago: burdens of ostracism, of losing the good opinion of their neighbors, of being trash-talked in the public square. Some even face the loss of livelihood or the constant threat and reality of litigation; for a primer, see the hounding last spring of Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich for his donation years earlier on behalf of traditional marriage.

Although this new intolerance has begun to attract attention and debate, the connection between that phenomenon and the rise in unbelief among twenty-somethings remains to be explored. And the scrutiny is overdue. It is well known, and well documented by social science, that many students, not only in America but all over, lose their religion in college. The interesting question is why.

[…]Students, like any other human beings, cannot help being sensitive to atmospherics. Let’s think again of the new force that drives a CEO out of his post for having donated to defend traditional marriage. If the new intolerance can penalize an “alpha” like him so dramatically, how much more menacing must it be to people just starting out, whose futures and livelihoods depend so heavily on the opinion of their peers?

[…]It’s time to air the idea that college students do not stay out of church or synagogue because their education leads them to enlightened conclusions about the big questions. No, the more likely dynamic is that thanks to the new intolerance, the social and other costs of being a known believer in the public square mount by the year—and students take note. Hence intimidation on the quad, multiplied over many years and campuses, is an unseen engine of secularization.

This intimidation didn’t work on me, but I have met Christian women who were very sensitive to peer approval when they got to college. They went from Bible verse memorization to shacking up to abortion to divorce. They started to drift because of the peer-shaming and the professor-shaming, and then it is cemented by the repeated experiences of binge-drinking, hooking up and shacking up. The repeated experience of putting aside God and moral boundaries in order to have fun forms a new worldview at a deep level, and it continues as they age.

Even if they come back to the Christian faith at a superficial (emotional, devotional) level, the underlying worldview is hard to fix. Attempts to re-orient them towards an effective Christian life that addresses the real problems that Christians are facing today in the culture will not be accepted. The self-centered life-plan that was formed in college remains intact, with just a veneer of piety on top to justify it when it’s called into question.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , ,

Can the secular left rationally ground human rights like freedom of speech?

Cheryle Abatte, Marquette University

Cheryle Abatte, Marquette University

Let’s start this post with an example of the secular left trampling natural rights.

Here’s the story from the College Fix:

It has been a rough three months for Marquette University professor and acerbic blogger John McAdams.

Because McAdams criticized a graduate teaching instructor for silencing an undergraduate owing to his traditional views on marriage, the school informed him last week his tenure is being revoked and he’ll be fired.

Though academic observers debated whether McAdams should have named and shamed now-former Marquette grad student Cheryl Abbate – which led to his temporary banishment from campus and canceled classes – even McAdams’ critics are warning the university it’s setting a terrible precedent.

They didn’t fire the grad student for telling her student that pro-marriage views were not welcome at a Catholic university. They fired the professor who made that threat conversation public. The student is not the victim of discrimination, the administrators said – the real victim is the left-wing fascist grad student.

Like I said before, make sure you have money saved when they come after you, because you might as well trust in the tameness of a wolf than the morality of a leftist university administrator. That’s the real lesson for Christians from stories like this.

So why is it that people on the left don’t respect natural rights like the right to free speech?

Well, it’s because human rights are NOT rationally grounded in the atheistic worldview that dominates the university.

Frank Turek explains in The Stream.

He writes:

Atheist Richard Dawkins has declared, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. . . . DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.”

But Dawkins doesn’t act like he actually believes that. He recently affirmed that a woman has the right to choose an abortion and asserted that it would be “immoral” to give birth to a baby with Down syndrome. According to Dawkins, the “right to choose” is a good thing and giving birth to Down Syndrome children is a bad thing.

Well, which is it? Are there really good and evil, or are we just moist robots dancing to the music of our DNA?

Atheists like Dawkins are often ardent supporters of rights to abortion, same-sex marriage, taxpayer-provided healthcare, welfare, contraceptives, and several other entitlements. But who says those are rights? By what objective standard are abortion, same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, taxpayer-provided healthcare, and the like, moral rights? There isn’t such a standard in the materialistic universe of atheism. So atheists must steal the grounds for objective moral rights from God while arguing that God doesn’t exist.

[…]Atheists are caught in a dilemma. To simplify a bit, if God doesn’t exist, then everything is a matter of human opinion and objective moral rights don’t exist, including all those that atheists support. If God does exist, then objective moral rights exist. But those rights clearly don’t include cutting up babies in the womb, same-sex marriage, and their other invented absolutes contrary to every major religion and natural law.

Now, an atheist might say, “In our country, we have a constitution that the majority approved. We have no need to appeal to God.” True, you don’t have to appeal to God to write laws, but you do have to appeal to God if you want to ground them in anything other than human opinion. Otherwise, your “rights” are mere preferences that can be voted out of existence at the ballot box or at the whim of an activist judge or dictator. That’s why our Declaration of Independence grounds our rights in the Creator. It recognizes the fact that even if someone changes the law or the political order you still have certain rights because they come from God, not man.

However, my point isn’t about how we should put objective God-given rights into human law. My point is, without God there are no objective human rights. There is no right to abortion or same-sex marriage. Of course, without God there is no right to life or natural marriage either!

In other words, no matter what side of the political aisle you’re on — no matter how passionate you believe in certain causes or rights — without God they would be without foundation. Human rights would amount to no more than your subjective preferences. So atheists can believe in and fight for rights to abortion, same-sex marriage, and taxpayer-provided entitlements, but they can’t justify them as truly being rights.

So although they may be willing to assume natural rights when pushing their own pet causes, those rights are not rationally grounded, and they will disappear when they have to decide what to do with people they don’t like. That’s why atheists like Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were responsible for killing tens of millions of inconvenient people. That’s why atheists are at the forefront of the abortion cause today. They can’t ground natural rights, and when push comes to shove, they shove them aside in order to get their way. It starts out with the thrusting aside of free speech, and then it goes on to the right to life for the unborn, then the right to life of the born. When stressed, secular leftists will act in line with their own convictions. (Or lack thereof)

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , ,

Republicans propose expansion of 529 college savings plans

I guess by now everyone has heard about Obama’s plan to eliminate college savings plans.

The left-leaning New York Times reported on it:

President Obama is proposing a radical change to the 529 college savings plans held by millions of families, which would require those who use them to rethink their approach to college savings.

As part of his plan to simplify the tax code and help the middle class, one of the 529 plan’s most attractive benefits would be eliminated: Money could no longer be withdrawn tax-free. (The new rules would apply only to new contributions.)

The accounts, many of which are run by the states, allow people to make contributions that grow tax-free. The money can be withdrawn without the paying of capital gains taxes as long as the proceeds are used for education expenses. Many states provide state income tax deductions for contributions as well.

The proposal has now been withdrawn after a huge uproar. The real question is, why would he propose such a stupid thing?

First, it’s important to understand that government raises the cost of higher education with subsidies, which the Democrats favor:

A new study by Dennis Epple, Richard Romano, Sinan Sarpca and Holger Sieg for the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that the impact of these aid programs is clearly different from what federal policy makers intended. “We show that private colleges game the federal financial aid system,” they conclude. Every dollar in new financial aid to students leads to about 40 cents less spent by the colleges on institutional financial aid — so students benefit far less than federal policy makers intended.

In 1987, Secretary of Education William Bennett argued that more federal aid leads to higher tuitions, enabling schools to increase spending. This seems broadly consistent with the latest research results. The net attendance impact of these federal programs, according to the study for NBER, is “modest.” In short, these programs haven’t substantially spurred student access to colleges, all the while burdening taxpayers and student borrowers.

The ballooning federal aid increases schools’ spending. The researchers don’t analyze changes in university spending, but an examination of other evidence suggests that money isn’t going primarily into improving instruction. Colleges have gone on a building spree (financed in part by amassing large debt — more than $220 billion at schools whose bonds are rated by Moody’s alone), and pay and perquisites for top university administrators has risen sharply.

The Democrats already want higher education to be out of reach – that’s why they keep increasing subsidies. So, eliminating college savings plans is in line with this goal of putting higher education out of reach. It’s another way to cause people to have fewer children, something that Democrats are very passionate about. After all, if you can’t pay for higher education for four kids, you’ll only have two. Democrats have this terrible fear of over-population, and it drives a lot of their policies, including abortion.

But that’s not all – there’s another reason to stop people from saving for college.

Second, it stops people from saving their own money:

Megan McArdle suggests, quite reasonably, that this is a desperate move by those who need to finance ever bigger government and are simply going where the money is: the vast American middle class. You can understand why the champions of big government would be slavering over the very thing that defines the middle class, its savings. As she points out, 529s are not the first target. There have already been trial balloons about raiding 401(k)s and IRAs. The truly committed leftist looks upon our private savings as a vast reserve of capital unfairly withheld from its proper function of servicing the needs of the state.

I think that’s the real explanation. This is not so much a rational calculation about how to finance the behemoth state. This is an admission by a man who has no more election campaigns to run, and therefore no pragmatic constraints, about his real outlook and real preferences. A president who just a few weeks ago hailed the triumph of a supposed “middle-class economics” is revealing his hatred and contempt for the middle class.

Republicans would like to see people saving more and more money so that they are less and less dependent on the government. This is because the more independent you are, the more fre you are – and Republicans are for personal liberty.

This is GOP Congressman Lynn Jenkins:

Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins

Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins

Here is her Republican response to Obama’s proposal to eliminate 529s:

Good morning. I’m Lynn Jenkins, Congresswoman from the Second District of Kansas and Vice-Chair of the House Republican Conference.

This is the time of year when high school seniors are putting the final touches on their college applications. That means it’s also the time when families are preparing to start paying for that education — whether it’s a 4-year college, community college, or a technical school. (Scroll down for video of these remarks.)

As a parent with two children in college, I know this can be one of the most rewarding, and at the same time challenging, aspects of being a parent — particularly at a time when costs are going up while wages stay about the same. All told, Americans now owe more than $1 trillion in student loan debt.

And so in the new Congress, Republicans are working to lower costs for middle-class families and empower folks with bottom-up solutions that help prepare you for the future.

That’s why, this week, I introduced a bipartisan plan to expand popular 529 college savings accounts.

As you know, these 529 plans were created to help middle-class families save and plan for college. Many parents open them not long after their children are born. And ever since Congress allowed folks to withdraw from these accounts tax-free for college expenses, 1 million account holders have turned into 12 million.

Unfortunately, instead of expanding 529s, the president recently proposed raising taxes on college savings. If implemented his scheme would have turned back the clock on middle-class families, and taken money from your savings to pay for more government. This would have discouraged families from using 529s, meaning less savings, more debt, and more government dependence.

This proposal increases middle-class independence from the government, and makes people more free to work, earn, save and chart their own course. It’s different from the Democrat proposals which increase dependence on government and reduces liberty.

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

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