Today’s episode of BreakPoint by John Stonestreet challenges listeners to think seriously about the status of higher education in light of the recent college admissions scandal. Stonestreet argues that higher education is misunderstood on a much deeper level than this particular incident indicates. He discusses how the purpose of college in recent years has been to help students get jobs and make money, without a care for becoming better people.
This is not how college was meant to be. It’s widely known that the first, and still most prestigious, universities in this country had profoundly Christian foundations. Harvard’s 1642 mission statement, for example, says that “Everyone shall consider as the main end of his life and studies, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life.” These first universities existed to train clergy for church service; there was practical training for these universities at one time.
The purpose of university is now much different. The second half of this article from Ben Shapiro, a graduate of Harvard Law School, shows how these once great universities are now pampering students and ushering them into prominent positions left and right. This is why, Shapiro argues, rich people would spend “oodles” of money to get their kids into these prominent schools: a lot of power, and not a lot of hard work.
The ideology of higher education has seriously deteriorated. Individual decisions about college are becoming much more complicated; we may be getting more education about the progressive agenda than our actual field of study. Students have to keep this in mind when weighing their options so they don’t get blind-sided the moment they step on campus, if they decide to choose a campus at all.
“All of this means that Christian colleges have an incredible opportunity to offer a meaningful alternative, given they don’t—as too many already have—fall into the utilitarian trap themselves. Christianity’s robust vision of what it means to be human, grounded in the idea of our being made in the image of God, has been the most powerful force in history driving the educational impulse and educational innovation.”