I am quoted today in a Times Higher Education piece on Cedarville University’s “biblically consistent” curriculum.” Read it here.
The quote is accurate, but it is also part of a larger statement that did not make it into the story. Here is my entire response to the reporter:
On academic freedom: Cedarville is a private evangelical college. As a result, faculty need to sign a statement of Christian doctrine in order to teach there. Any Christian college of this nature does not have academic freedom in the same way that a non-sectarian or public university has academic freedom. For example, a faculty member does not have the “freedom” to be an atheist or reject a belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So Cedarville has the right to define what ideas are acceptable and what ideas are not.
But as someone who teaches at a private Christian college, one that is not as conservative as Cedarville, I think this new “Biblically consistent curriculum” confuses education with indoctrination. Any institution of higher education requires an engagement with the world. What distinguishes a Christian college from a Christian church is an engagement with ideas and culture–all ideas and culture. At a Christian college, this kind of engagement happens through the lens of Christian faith. Cedarville seems to be motivated by fear of the world rather than engagement with it. The college has chosen a path of separation from the world rather than an engagement with it. This is the essence of fundamentalism.
Let’s face it–as soon as graduates leave the Cedarville bubble, they are going to be exposed to what their administration or their parents deem to be unholy or impure aspects of culture. Isn’t it better that they learn how to think Christianly about culture in the kind of community a Christian college offers?
As the THE piece notes, I have written about Cedarville and its new curriculum before. Read my posts here.