Timothy Larsen, Wheaton College's formidable Professor of Christian Thought, today writes a formidable article on the experience of anti-Christian discrimination in the academy for the formidable e-publication Inside Higher Ed.
Always interesting with such articles are the comments that follow, insofar as internet comments are ever more than a banal exchange of rambling diatribes laced with ad hominem invective. One can surmise that for many established academicians, the historic Christian faith is so demonstrably without merit as to demand immediate, all-fronts repudiation, even when the Christian who articulates the faith isn't himself being obtusely dogmatic.
We mention this because what Larsen does in this piece is so innocuous, yet it sparks the usual rants. His proposal is simply that someone should study the subject of anti-Christian discrimination in the academy, by whatever quantitative or qualitative means that an intrepid scholar might devise. We find that an excellent proposal, inasmuch as all sides would benefit from the findings.
One can hardly imagine a more blandly neutral suggestion, yet many of Larsen's respondents cannot restrain their penchant to deride Christians as antirationalists who need to be corrected or excluded, as if the classic early-modern attacks on Christian faith were somehow not already addressed thoughtfully.
We (for purposes of interaction on Larsen's article, an "evangelical, low-church Christian teaching biblical studies at an evangelical Bible college," of all things) yesterday lunched with a new friend, an "Eastern Orthodox Christian teaching engineering at a large public research university." SWNID and friend see the issue of anti-Christian bias in the academy very similarly. We note this anecdotally for those who insist that the only ones perceiving discrimination are evangelicals. Of course (in response to one comment) liberal Protestant Christians don't complain of discrimination: their faith demands accommodation of the inculturated certainties of academe. The same goes for other people of faith who don't dissent from the universities' orthodoxies. But Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant who does dissent will experience the scorn that such dissent inevitably engenders--not by all, but with exceptional consistency.
Note well that we stand with those faithful dissenters who remind our fellow faithful that we are blessed when persecuted for righteousness, not when persecuted for rudeness. But dissent itself is not rude, or ought not be for people living in a free republic and speaking in what purports to be an open forum.