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Moral knowledge and public education


Dallas Willard on morality, knowledge, and higher education:

So in fact higher education and the elite professional groups continue to pressure and teach on moral matters—good, bad, right, wrong—and if you don’t believe it just get crossways of what is advocated in morality by them and you will be subjected to full blown moral opprobrium. That’s because in fact no one can separate life from morality. Moral sentiment and moral opinions are always in full force, and perhaps more so now than ever, because they are not subject to rational criticism in open discussion. One of the things that used to happen in higher education and elite circles, though certainly not in a perfect way, was that moral teachings were surfaced, talked about, and subjected to rational criticism. Now they’re not. What is taught is taught by example, tone of voice, selection of subject matters and so on—oftimes by unguarded explicit statements—but there’s no rational criticism directed at them because it’s not taken to be an area of rationality or knowledge. Pressure, however, abounds.

Why does it matter whether or not there is moral knowledge? This is really the heart of the matter: Knowledge alone confers the right and responsibility to act, to direct action, to set policy, to supervise policy and to teach. Sentiment does not do that. Opinion does not do that. Tradition does not do that. Power does not do that. You expect people who act to know what they are doing, don’t you? You probably would not take your car to a shop that said on a sign in front of it, “We are lucky at making repairs,” or “We’re inspired,” or “We feel real good about it.” This is not a matter of convention. It is how knowledge actually works in human life, and it’s very important to understand that. Without moral knowledge there is no moral authority. Hence there is only “Political correctness,” even though it looks and feels ever bit like morality and often assumes a distinctively moral tone and force.

The Failure of Evangelical Political Involvement in the Area of Moral Transformation.

Grad School Fear Factor

Scripture:  1 Peter 4:12-14

12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.


Beloved:  Peter, loves this gathering of Believers and he knows God does too.
Don’t be surprised with troubles come because of following Jesus.
Rejoice when you are insulted because of Jesus.
You are blessed.
Because the Spirit of Glory and of God rests on you.


In his book, What Americans Really Believe, Rodney Stark observes that

people who did not enter college (34%) and those who attended college (33%) were equally likely to witness, but those who attended graduate school (16%) were much less likely to do so.  This may be partly due to the fact that the graduate-educated were more likely than others to agree with the statement: “‘I have kept my religious beliefs to myself for fear of ridicule.’”  A university faculty lounge would be a very uncomfortable place to do any witnessing.  p. 26, What Americans Really Believe.

Fear of ridicule is another form of our fear of people.  Social pressure is real.  But the Spirit of God is calling us to lean into that realm of fear and actually let the glory of Jesus be revealed through our lives.  Faith in the academy persists.  But is does come with its social pressures.  If you find yourself in such circles of humiliation because of your identification with Jesus Christ, count yourself blessed.


Heavenly Father, I have friends who are in the midst of their grad-school fear-factor.  And I have friends who do indeed face the risk of “fiery trials” because of their faith in other countries.  May your Spirit give them courage and wisdom to love people in your name and to proclaim your Gospel clearly.  AMEN.

14 years to pay of your education

That’s how long they think it will take the average Canadian University graduate to pay off their debt.

In Canada, research showed that post-secondary students could be paying for their education an average of 14 years after they graduate.

Most student loans in Canada and the U.S. are taken on by the government, and James Saft, a columnist at Reuters, lamented the fact that lenders do not consider a borrower’s ability to repay:

“In a market dominated by the federal government, which accounts for more than 90% of all such loans, it is remarkable that lending criteria take absolutely no account of current or future repayment capacity,” he said.

Seen here as the government’s problem, I wonder if its really the students’ problem.  And since students think they are “untouchable” most are not really thinking about paying off their debts yet.  Most are overconfident of how easy its going to be.

14 years.

Time to think twice.

Quote is from the Financial Post.

Universities, inefficient by design…

Universities are inefficient by design but also have big payoffs for society.

We assume that private enterprise generates what is so casually called “innovation” all by itself. It does not. The Web browser you are using to read this essay was invented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The code that makes this page possible was invented at a publicly funded academic research center in Switzerland. That search engine you use many times a day, Google, was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation to support Stanford University. You didn’t get polio in your youth because of research done in the early 1950s at Case Western Reserve University. California wine is better because of the University of California at Davis. Hollywood movies are better because of UCLA. And your milk was not spoiled this morning because of work done at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Read more of this article at Slate.