© The New Yorker Collection 2006Frank Cotham

Century Marks

Required course? Last fall, a task force redesigning general education at Harvard proposed requiring a course on religion. The proposal noted that students often have difficulty making sense of their own religious beliefs in relation to their intellectual world, and that religion is central to many of society’s contentious debates. The task force has since rescinded its proposal, suggesting instead a required course on what it means to be human. The committee denies that this change of direction was a response to criticism. But one professor charged that “secular and liberal Harvard rebelled” at the religion requirement (Boston Globe, December 13).


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