Friday, January 11, 2013

A Plea to Cedarville University, and to Any Other School Considering the Disposal of Philosophy

I just wrote this for a group trying to save a Christian university's philosophy program. I post it here because anti-intellectualism is still alive and well, and simply ought not be-- especially not in Christian colleges and universities.

Any time an institution of higher education decides to kill a philosophy program rather than rallying behind it to help it succeed, the school intellectually handicaps its students.The reasons for this judgment are plentiful, but I shall make this as brief as possible. Philosophy is not just for eggheads or people who want to toss ideas about for a living. More than any other discipline, philosophy actually teaches students how to think well. Logical reasoning, persuasive speaking, and clear writing are all central to the discipline. You cannot succeed in philosophy without being able to clearly formulate, acquire support for, and then lucidly communicate your thoughts. Moreover, philosophy teaches us how to evaluate and sift good arguments from bad arguments, providing us with some intellectual stability in an ever-shifting world, which means in short that philosophy trains critical thinkers. These are all things that are coveted qualities in all people across all areas of life-- Christian and non-Christian alike. But what of the Christian in particular? Does she need philosophy? Sadly, Christianity has suffered for generations from a severe public relations problem. This is because Christians, despite being heirs to a robust knowledge tradition-- indeed a philosophy-- have for generations been neglecting (in droves) the cultivation of the mind. When we reclaim the desire to think well as Christians, then we will increase in conviction and thus in influence among those souls who were previously convinced that no reasonable person could possibly be a Christian. If only we encouraged and trained more wise, knowledgeable, articulate Christians, then we would be a force with which to be reckoned. In short, philosophy is vital in our mission to go and make disciples of all nations. We shun it at our own peril.

Sarah Geis, M.A., Philosophy of Religion (Denver Seminary)
Currently adjunct professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary

If you would like to help save Cedarville's philosophy program, write a statement with your name, attach a profile picture, and send it to

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