Written by Jimmy Williams
Picture yourself back at the university in a graduate comparative literature class.
Your humanities professor enters the room and announces, "You know, as we begin this course unit on 'ritual,' I believe we would do well to invoke the gods." He continues, "You may not be aware of this, but when we call upon the Muses, they really answer . . . they come to us."
"All of our human rituals can be traced back to our evolutionary heritage and the mating dances of birds and mammals. It is part of nature's survival machinery. For example, the male bird who best performed the mating dance was obviously more likely to attract a mate to assure its own survival and pass on its genes to its progeny."
The professor elaborates, "All of what we call our aesthetic and religious aspirations can actually be traced to, and are deeply imbedded in, these biological imperatives of our ancestors. Through evolution they are part of the deep lexicon which we inherited from our first parents."
"And so," says the professor, "I would like first to invoke the goat-footed god named Pan, who assures us of fertility and thus, the perpetuation of our species, homo-sapiens."
"Secondly, I would like to invoke the Islamic-Judaic-Christian God of Silence, who reminds us that He cannot be touched, but by invoking Him we confirm the reality of our own existence in the universe as compared to His silence" (italics mine).
"Let us read this poetry in a spirit of prayer," says the prof. He then reads the invocations, and the majority of the students smile their approval, seeming to enjoy the exercise.
In a later session of the same class, one of the students chose as a project the reenactment of a pagan Greek sacrificial rite, with the class participating on a voluntary basis. With a processional, songs, imaginary bull and meal offerings, the student "priest" clothed in some strange garments was able to create an atmosphere in that class that literally sent chills up and down my back!
Yes, these things actually occurred in one of my own graduate classes at a university right here in Dallas some time ago!
We call this "Higher Education."
These mystical, new age ideas that espouse the reality of some transcendent "something," like "The Force" in Star Wars, are capturing the hearts and minds of our children and grandchildren as we speak.
University student minds are increasingly inclined to believe that "Something" does exist out there beyond their own physical existence; and they also in increasing numbers believe it is personally beneficial to make contact with that "Something":
to give them strength;
to show them right and wrong;
to help them solve their problems and make decisions.
Those of us who are Christians know better. Some indefinable force is not what they need, but rather the Lord Jesus Christ, who claimed to be the Truth and gave us His Word so that we might understand and live that truth. He is the only God who can help these young men and women choose the right path as they stand at the threshold of their adult lives.
That is why I have now given forty years of my life to find ways to impact university students, to give them biblical perspectives on life and to strengthen their discernment in evaluating ideas. The corridors of "higher learning" are filled with many gullible, media-brainwashed youngsters who stand for nothing and fall for anything that sounds good to them.
Frankly, there are easier places to minister. We often are met with hostility and contempt when we go to the campus to represent a reasoned, Christian point of view.
But we at Probe Ministries are compelled to persevere. And we continue to go there, because we know that the university world is as much a fountainhead for error as it is for truth. And it is definitely strategic as we look to the future. Abraham Lincoln perhaps captured this best when he said, "The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will become the philosophy of the government in the next."
©2000 Probe Ministries.
About the Author
James F. Williams is the founder and past president of Probe Ministries International, and currently serves as Minister at Large. He holds degrees from Southern Methodist University (B.A.) and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.). He also has pursued inter-disciplinary doctoral studies (a.b.d.) in the humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. Over a thirty-five year period, he visited, lectured, and counseled on more than 180 university campuses in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. He also served on the faculties of the American, Latin American, and European Institutes of Biblical Studies.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075