Ms. Dominique

Ms. Dominique
Ms. Dominique

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Pandering to the Religious

When you work at a university in the Bible Belt, this is the kind of stuff you have to deal with. The university plays the host for this show:

“AFTERdark,” an evening of music, motivation, and evangelism geared toward college students, will begin at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1, in the Weede Physical Education Building. The event will include music from country group Blue County, and will feature national guest speaker and author Joe White.

"White, who lives in Branson, Mo., tours the country with “AFTERdark,” speaking to millions of people about Christianity. He has founded 19 schools and an orphanage in Haiti, and is the founder of Kanakuk Kamps, which has hosted more than 20,000 campers from all over the world.

"The free event is open to the public and is being sponsored by PSU’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Cross Quest, and Campus Christians."

A bulk email was sent out to all faculty, and it suggested that faculty could give out "extra credit" to students for attending this religious service. Several days later, and probably because of complaints, the university sent out another email. This email stated that faculty at a state university should probably not be giving extra credit for attending an evagelical Christian religious service.


Of course, by the time the second email went out, all the Religious faculty had probably already promised to give extra credit. So the contrary email sent out several days later probably had litte effect. The damage was already done.

After the event, the local newspaper reported that over 1,000 people attended. These 1,000 attendees were, no doubt, students and local ministers and their congregations who had supported and promoted the event. This kind of event, held on a university campus, gives local ministers a chance to prey on young people, usually when they are away from home and at their most vulnerable. This is why religious cults always hang around colleges and universities. It's a good place to find new cult members. One of the very earliest groups to be labelled a "cult" was based on a college campus in Boston.


Eric Dutton said...

I am not impressed by anyone who uses the design argument as evidence of the existence of God. Yet it does seem to be the most commonly offered argument of "these so-called 'scholars' [who] seem to always fall back on the argument that the Universe could only have come into existence because of a 'God.'" (I think it was P.Z. Meyers who pointed out that they all seem to be chemists.)
Nevertheless, this is a club to which Don Viney does not belong.
I was a philosophy minor at a time when Dr. Viney was the only professor for all of the courses in that field. I took his logic course and two of his comparative religion courses so I was often exposed to his thinking on the common arguments for the existence of God. He believes that the argument by design, the cosmological argument, and almost all other arguments for the existence of God are not valid. The only argument that he believes is valid (and, in fact, sound) is Anselm's second (and rarely published) ontological argument---the first version of this argument is well-known, though unimpressive.
Personally, I don't get it. But the argument to which Don Viney subscribes is unusual in that it DOESN'T argue that "the Universe could only have come into existence because of a 'God.'" It argues that God must necessarily exist, with little else following from that.
Now, that is all tangential to the broader point of your post, but I thought it was something that should be corrected.

I too wince at some of the events for which PSU plays the host. My favorite example is a speech given several years ago by a man who had converted from Islam to Christianity. I don't know how much research PSU did on this man (though it may have been a Campus Christians sponsored event) but the result was absurd. I'm told by some who attended that it was, in fact, a sermon delivered on campus complete with a worship service and an altar-call. The event had been publicized simply as a lecture.

Earl, I suggest we organize a Spaghetti Monster worship service in the Governor's Room post haste.

--Eric Dutton

Earl Lee said...

I agree, since the Flying Spagetti Monster at least seems to have some connection to kansas

Anonymous said...

I hear they have some great Branson shows to see!