The Way the University Should Be

This morning I sat down with a handful of colleagues spanning the humanities and hard sciences for a planned conversation about evolution, the Bible, and the implications.  I’m not going to try to document our conversation because that would be much more substantive than a post.  What I will say, though, is that the exercise was extremely valuable for me.  I really enjoyed listening to academics in the sciences responding to a topic and reading set out by a philosopher (not me).

What was especially fun and interesting was the way thing started.  A female colleague in the sciences opened our discourse by asking the philosopher, “Why did you find this author’s argument either intereresting or persuasive?” She quickly followed that by adding, “Because I didn’t.”  In many circles, her question and comment would set up a quick ending to the discussion.  Instead, she merely piqued our interest as the philosopher patiently explained his choice and his opinion.  Soon, we were well down the road in trying to find some common ground.  Before I knew it, over two hours had passed.

This is the way the university should be.  Congratulations to colleagues at Union University for spontaneously organizing this kind of activity and for being so gracious as to invite me to join.


3 thoughts on “The Way the University Should Be

  1. This is so refreshing, I have to take a chance and ask is this going to be the norm? I remember discussions with professors about controversial and not-so controversial topics as a student. Rarely were they civilised for long. People with strong opinions rarely defer to listen to someone else’s point of view. Myself included. So, I am also challenged by this example. This is how the university should be. Wow.

  2. This is the area where the Christian university has an opportunity to shine. I can say that I experienced this greater freedom as a graduate student at Baylor, too. We talked about everything. No false boundaries. No exclusion of faith.

  3. I’m interested in talking with you about coming to our campus, John Brown University, to speak in chapel sometime during the upcoming academic year. If this is interest, please email me when you can.


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