December 19, 2005

Patrick Henry College - A Religious Monstrosity

I stumbled upon this article in the New Yorker.

God and Country

It talks about this college in Virginia which has an almost fanatical religious drive and trains its students for careers in politics.

I was first amused by the sincerity of the message-driven, we are all called to be lights out there in this world crowd which frequents this place. After I finished reading and thought about it there was no hint of amusement left.

Religion is a very personal thing and while I am completely non-religious, I have no problem with someone else's religiosity. But when one actively believes and propagates notions like "hell is a place where all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity" in an academic setting, it is very disturbing, to say the least.

I admire, to a certain extent, the purpose-driven and single-minded devotion most of the students exhibit. Waking up at 3 in the morning and studying is admirable. But what is disturbing about it is that none of these students is driven by a rational curiosity. They are guided soley by a mythical love they profess for God. Another particularly disturbing aspect is the seeds of intolerance that are sown in these young and impressionable minds.

These kids are intended to go on and fight for a more religious (and hence, more intolerant) culture in society, including all the causes that are taken up today's fanatics (creationism/intelligent design, anti-gay, anti-abortion etc).

Moreover, these kids are so culturally isolated from the rational world that they face a real danger of a major shock in their adult life. As a student of the college wonders "What happens when they meet people who don’t even read the Bible?".


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