Religion in the academy

There is an interesting CNN article you could glance at:

Harvard committee recommends returning religion to curriculum

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) — Harvard University, founded 370 years ago to train Puritan ministers, should again require all undergraduates to study religion, along with U.S. history and ethics, a faculty committee is recommending.

The surprisingly bold recommendations come after years of rancorous internal debate over what courses should be required of all Harvard students. The current core curriculum has been criticized for focusing on narrow academic questions rather than real-world issues students would likely confront beyond the wrought-iron gates of Harvard Square.

The report calls for Harvard to require students to take a course in "reason and faith," which could include classes on topics such as religion and democracy, Charles Darwin or a current course called "Why Americans Love God and Europeans Don’t."

"Harvard is no longer an institution with a religious mission, but religion is a fact that Harvard’s graduates will confront in their lives," the report says, noting 94 percent of incoming students report discussing religion and 71 percent attend services.

"As academics in a university we don’t have to confront religion if we’re not religious, but in the world, they will have to," Alison Simmons, a philosophy professor who co-chaired the committee, said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

I think this is very interesting in light of what Pope Benedict XVI was arguing for during his amazing Regensburg Address.  He argued for reintegration of theology in the university, which grew as an institution from Christian Europe.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Of course the question is what will they teach about “religion?” There would be a definite difference between someone who didn’t believe and just taught facts (assuming they would actually teach the truth about a religion) and someone who actually believed in the faith they were teaching.
    The other problem I see is similar to what the media does. When they want the Catholic position on something, they go out and get the Richard McBrian’s and the Andrew Greely’s, hardly ones to really represent the truths of the faith.
    For example, who would you want to teach you about Islam: a professor of Middle Eastern culture who does not practice Islam, a “moderate” Muslim, or a “radical” Muslim? All could “technically be qualified to teach it, but you would certainly have very different presentations.

  2. Fr Ray Blake says:

    I thgought this was such an interesting story I have put it on my own website, any movement away from a purely secular accademia is to welcomed.

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