The Sacred Values of Secular Academia

The New York Times:

In a 2007 study of both elite and non-elite universities, Dr. Gross and Dr. Simmons reported that nearly 80 percent of psychology professors are Democrats, outnumbering Republicans by nearly 12 to 1. The fields of psychology, sociology and anthropology have long attracted liberals, but they became more exclusive after the 1960s, according to Dr. Haidt. “The fight for civil rights and against racism became the sacred cause unifying the left throughout American society, and within the academy,” he said, arguing that this shared morality both “binds and blinds.” “If a group circles around sacred values, they will evolve into a tribal-moral community,” he said. “They’ll embrace science whenever it supports their sacred values, but they’ll ditch it or distort it as soon as it threatens a sacred value.” It’s easy for social scientists to observe this process in other communities, like the fundamentalist Christians who embrace “intelligent design” while rejecting Darwinism. But academics can be selective, too.

We Christians embrace science when it supports our sacred values, yes. But unlike most others, we admit it. Or at least we should!

Whether we ditch science or distort it depends on what science is—on who gets to define it. If the sacred values Christians hold are true and right, then anything that disagrees with those values ought to be ditched or… or—adjusted. “Distorted” begs the question of which sacred values are true, those of the scientists or those of the Christian.

Everyone inhabits various tribal-moral communities. We all have sacred values.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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