It is so deeply troubling to see the degradation of discourse and the dismissal of the free exchange of ideas which all of our universities once stood for.  These are places where we once could discuss the great ideas of mankind that have been developed throughout the course of history, each one making a profound impact on the lives of the people during those eras where they were born but also upon the lives of those of us who inherit the world where life was made just a little bit better just because of a great idea that someone once had.  And these were places where new voices to the academic conversation could try out their newfound ideas without disapprobation, scowls, or snarky comments from the thought police (students and professors alike right there in the middle of the class – I’ve seen them attack people viciously, leaving them hurt, bewildered, and in many cases either close to rage or to tears at the heavy handed, bullying treatment they received for speaking their mind). 

 I can kind of expect this behavior from students to some degree because I’ve been witness to snarky, strong disagreements between my students from time to time.  But the professor in the class is supposed to be the good guy or girl.  That teacher is supposed to take up for the underdog and to ensure that classroom debate proceeds on civil terms with every one being treated with respect.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many times when the professors just jump right in with the pack, tearing off their share of the meat from the unfortunate victim who blundered into their kill zone of what they deem to be dangerous ideas.  And there are still some good schools left, but many of them have become Marxist indoctrination camps where the only acceptable ideas to be discussed are the officially approved ideas that are, of course, steeped in socialism.  Moreover, not just the ideas, but the very perception of people in these indoctrination camps is carefully monitored to ensure that everyone sees the world through the narrow blinders of a socialist perspective which, in turn, defines every stinking thing in sight in terms of class warfare, no matter how mundane or ridiculous the application. 

 And heaven help any unwitting upstart who dares to speak his or her mind that doesn’t fit the approved religion, whether it be a student or a well-educated and respected faculty member.  You may think I’m exaggerating, but I saw this dynamic in action in a relatively “conservative” southern university in the late 90s.  Heaven only knows how far the slide has been since then judging by the reports that I have read from multiple sources over the years, but just to give you a flavor, the subject is covered quite thoroughly by this internet organization The Campus Reform Website .

Moreover, when I attended graduate school in the late 90's, I remembered how religiously fervent students and professors could be when discussing these Marxist ideas and scholars.  It was amusing to see the reverent awe in which some students spoke of the supposedly brilliant ideas of certain Marxist scholars such as Jacques Derrida.  Yet, in spite of the dense, almost indecipherable text of these supposed geniuses, I often had the nagging suspicion that we were all being had by a master con artist who had merely found a rhetorical trick of writing such condensed, complex, and confusing words that had never been seen before so that we would all sit dumfounded and sycophantically assign profound meanings to the complex prose just so that we would not come under suspicion of being ignorant.  Yet, in all of the brilliant, eloquent, rhetoric of these learned men, their words, in the end, signified nothing, like the babbling of a fool.  None of the writings of these people we studied ever changed anyone’s life.  And none came close to the truth of God and the profound wisdom which Jesus spoke when He walked this earth. 

These charlatans offered no enlightenment about the big questions of life, nor could anyone's lives be improved by studying their supposedly brilliant and complicated prose.  Moreover, many of them led debauched lives that no one would want to emulate.  Their lives and foolish theories were as dark and empty as the grave.  And the supposedly transcendent knowledge and rhetoric that they wrote was like the babbling foolishness Shakespeare wrote about in one of his most famous passages.   In a soliloquy from his play MacBeth, William Shakespeare wrote: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/And then is heard no more. It is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing.” 

While the lines are spoken by the protagonist MacBeth at the beginning of act 5, scene 5, and refer to the sometimes horrendous spectacle of life, the last two lines could also just as easily refer to the foolish knowledge of learned men who know nothing of God, who fill their heads with complicated thoughts and much knowledge, but never come any closer to the truth, no matter how many years they live, no matter how many books they write, and no matter how many awards and accolades they collect among their peer scholars.  No matter how voraciously, fervently, and diligently they study, think, and write, they never come one whit closer to the truth, leaving their life's work as mere chaff blown away by the wind to be heard of no more or so inconsequential as to be consumed by the fire in mere seconds.  Their lives are made no better by their accumulation of knowledge, they help no one with their brilliant minds, and the sum total and the end of their lives are "the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12)

The collection of all their life’s learning is vanity, like a “tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing.”  The only source of truth is God.  As Jesus told us in John 14:6, he does not simply know truth; rather, He is Truth itself manifested:  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  And anything that would claim to be truth must lead to Him.  We are warned against the empty knowledge of the world in Colossians 2:8:  “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”  This is a warning that we would do well to heed lest we lead the same lives of emptiness and foolishness of these brilliant scholars mentioned above, just like the legendary Doctor Faustus, who gained the whole world of knowledge by selling his soul to the Devil, yet in gaining the world, he lost his own soul because He never discovered truth.  All these foolish scholars will find emptiness at the end of their lives if they deny the truth of God, thereby dooming themselves to a life of “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7)

I pray that you would be filled with His truth, His peace, and His rest on this, the Lord’s Day. 

 


Comments

When you are a teacher, you have to observe many things in your life. You are the driver and you have to drive it in your own way which would help you a lot. Learn and spread more knowledge.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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