A new study has found that advanced education does not necessarily result in a decrease in religious orientation.
Liberals have long held the ramparts of academic bastions. They make it difficult for conservative (especially Christian) faculty members to enter their ranks. This is a great irony, since one of their hypocritical mantras is that everyone should maintain an “open mind.” Apparently they believe the mind should remain open to virtually everything except for traditional values and faith. Case in point, the gifted C.S. Lewis was denied a full professorship at Oxford, and ended his career teaching at Cambridge University, where the faculty at the time was less prejudiced.
The recent study by sociologist Philip Schwadel offered some shocking results. For example, highly educated individuals are actually more likely than their less educated counterparts to attend worship services. You read that correctly, they are more apt to practice their faith by participating in corporate worship. In fact, data from the General Social Survey revealed that with each additional year of education, the likelihood of attending religious services increased 15 percent!
Lest Christians get too excited over the study, however, there are a couple of caveats. In essence, more highly educated people tend to become more liberal in their theology. This manifests itself in a lower view of Scripture’s authority, and a corresponding tendency toward viewing the God who was incarnate in Jesus Christ as a generic “higher power.”
So, at the end of the day we find ourselves where we began. There are devout Christians across the educational spectrum. Some hold impressive degrees from prestigious universities. Many of them teach, and we should pray that they are able to do so without compromising their integrity.
God and the world don’t value things in the same way. As Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God . . . For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong . . . so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
Ultimately I’m unimpressed by the new data—I’ve always recognized the truly intelligent people in the world are those who follow Jesus.