Thank you, Professor David Barash. In his first-year biology class, Barash begins with something he calls “The Talk.” He understands that a “substantial minority” of students come in unprepared by their religious backgrounds for the complexity and strangeness of evolutionary biology. They fear that the study of biology might challenge their “beliefs.” So he takes it upon himself to clear up what vestiges of William Paley and William Jennings Bryan remain among students.
I think religion should be taught in college. I’m not talking about “religious studies,” that is, the study of the phenomenon of religion. I’m talking about having imams, priests, pastors, rabbis, and other clerics teach the practice of their faiths. In college classrooms. To college students. For credit.
Anyone who has been on a faculty search committee knows how hard it is to evaluate candidates. You need to look not only at their intellectual credentials and professional competence but also at how they would fit into the institution. But institutional ethos is usually only vaguely defined and talking about personality issues can be awkward.
For much of this century, the waning influence of religion in American colleges and universities was viewed as a natural concomitant of modernization, and it was generally seen as a necessary or even a good thing.
How do you get admitted to one of those small, highly selective liberal arts colleges? Of course, you need excellent grades in high school and an impressive SAT score. But lots of kids bring those credentials. How can you make sure you stand out among the crowd?
American Christians are changing. By most measures, they are becoming ethnically more diverse, with double-digit increases in the percentage of Christians who are Hispanic or Asian in the U.S. over the past 20 years.
I am an avid reader of graduation speeches. A graduation speaker must convey an idea under difficult conditions and in a short time—an almost impossible challenge. So I am fascinated when I find a speech that works.