Liberal learning lacks logical integration and needs a unifying frame

Many educators have declared that a liberal arts education cannot be truly liberal and open-minded, truly humanizing in its effects upon students, if it is dominated by a “Christian approach.” They view Christian faith as a sectarian prejudice that hinders the free and disinterested study of our world.

In a book entitled Christianity and History (1964), E. H. Harbison describes the attitude of these educators and scholars:

Deep at the heart of the American academic world is the belief that the word “scholar” cannot tolerate any qualifying adjective like “Christian.” … Did not the Church burn Bruno and humiliate Galileo? And in the search for historical truth, were not the real heroes those who (like Nalla) exposed the arrogant forgeries of Popes or (like Bayle) laid bare the superstitions on which Christians had been nourished for centuries? Once a man allows himself to be anything before he is “scholar” or “scientist,” so the argument runs, truth flies out the window and prejudice fills the classroom [p. 5].

Even some of the more conservative Christian educators have asserted that the liberal arts are independent disciplines which the Christian student must include in his studies but which he can never relate to a Christian perspective derived from Scripture. Rational inquiry and tentativeness in approach characterize the liberal arts, while assured faith and personal commitment characterize the Christian perspective. Therefore, say these Christian educators, the two remain incompatible, or at least irreconcilable. Such persons would perhaps assign all who are more optimistic about the integration of “revelational truth” and “liberal arts truth” to the limbo ...

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