2 Responses to “Religion and higher education: The effect on faith of being smarter than a fifth-grader”

  1. I valued reading the article. After reflecting on its findings, I wonder whether the authors have considered whether the response of Mainline Protestants would vary depending on the levels of exposure they had in Sunday school, young adult, and adult Christian studies during the years they attended church.

    Ed Lambeth, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri School of Journalism.

  2. Terry Bascom says:

    (1) I think the researchers’ biases show in the assumption that mainline Protestants have ‘more diverse’ beliefs than evangelicals, Catholics and black Protestants. There is wide diversity in the ‘peripherals’ among evangelicals, etc., though the 3 have a few core convictions that – from my many conversations – seem to be missing in very many mainliners. Hence, the issue may well be the core apostasy of mainline Protestants. This has nothing to do with education level, but with (a) how people are “traditioned into” the faith as children, and (b) whether an individual has had a self-identified “personal encounter” with Christ. These aspects should be explored.
    (2) let’s not lose sight of the negative correlation (I think from US Congregations Study?) between highest degree achieved by a church’s pastor and the vitality of his/her congregation. Maybe the problem is not educating laity, but educating clergy! Certainly seminaries are more concerned to produce their version of an academic scholar than a gospel preacher. Sermons and lectures are not the same things, though seminaries don’t seem to know it, which is why almost every seminary-educated pastor I’ve heard hasn’t had a clue how to preach – or, apparently, any desire to do more than lecture in sing-song, stentorian stereotypes of ‘the preacher’s voice.’ So let’s also explore the industry of producing mainline clergy.

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