Sunday, December 14, 2014

College: where faith and virginity are lost

"Controversy surrounding Rolling Stone’s reporting, or misreporting, of the UVA rape case, highlights the depressing and confusing reality of sexual violence on American campuses," writes Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, in "College: Where Faith and Virtue Go to Die" (Aleteia, December 8, 2014). As a reader said to me, it may be that there is more of a "hook-up culture" than a "rape culture" on campuses, a culture in which rape -- or something not-quite-rape but not-quite-wanted sex -- is simply a predictable by-product.

But here’s a difficulty no one wants to talk about: colleges, most of them anyway, are not in the business of making people better. As a result of various intellectual fashions, colleges have essentially gotten out of the education business and into the activism business – the business of "changing the world" as many mottos boast.

This is another way of understanding the idea that colleges do not wish to act in loco parentis anymore. Such a notion suggests that colleges might aim to finish and complete the work of parents in forming young people – cultivating human, intellectual and spiritual virtues. Instead, most colleges today aim to remain agnostic about virtue, while imparting what they understand to be a neutral creed of self-protection and self-interest.


So colleges aren’t making people better at the most important thing anyone has to learn to do in life – know, love and serve God. Which raises a very interesting question: is it bad to go to college if it makes you worse at religion?

Provocatively, one could paraphrase [the remarks of President Eastman, President of Eckerd College in Florida – where two horrific sexual assault cases emerged in August of this year]. “Hardly anyone’s culture or character or understanding [of the most important things] is improved by attending college.” College certainly isn’t making the typical student any better.

Which brings us back to the difficulties inherent in addressing the perverse sexual culture on campus. The problem is bigger than even Eastman admits. He is right that rules and regulations alone can’t fix it. But it is also true that temperance and sexual restraint are weak recommendations. Religion is, in fact, the only real program for human improvement. Temperance and sexual restraint don’t come from a high-minded resolution to be good. They come from conversion and grace.

So long as we are wedded to a model of college education completely devoid of religious formation, we are bound to remain mired in the miseducation of our youth. It isn’t college that’s so dangerous after all: it’s college without God.
[Hat tip to JM]


Anonymous said...

When I was about 19 and attending community college in my home town, in today's vernacular I guess I "hooked-up" with a girl(oops, young woman) from school and as we "parked" in front of her apartment we proceeded to "fog up" the windows, somewhat.

Before too long, things were headed where, as I understood things at the time, angels fear to tread(or where wise men never go if you are geezer enough to remember Ricky Nelson), so I gently pulled myself back from our embrace and asked the young lady to gather herself and allow me to "cool down", since where we were headed until I came to my senses was not good for either of us. To my, sincere, astonishment, instead of appreciating the value I placed upon both of our characters with my choice of action, the young lady slapped me across my face, knocked my glasses into the back seat of my car, angrily stormed out of my car and never would speak with me again.

My faith was enough, then, to help me keep my wits about me even in "the heat of the moment". I wonder what became of that young lady?

Later on when I went away to study at the University of Buffalo, I came home to my dorm room one weekend evening to find a young lady with tear-filled eyes sitting alone in the "living room" of our suite. I asked her what was wrong. I found out that one of my suitemates had invited her up for the weekend "so she could see the school" but when she came back to the dorm from their dinner she was told that sleeping with him was expected if she wanted a place to stay for the weekend. I knew my roommate was gone for the weekend, so she had our room for the next two nights before she went home. I slept on the couch in our "living room".

I was never close to my suitemate again. I just cannot understand how people do some of the things they do.

God help the young people now.

I am thankful that I grew up in the circumstances that I did.

I lost neither my virginity, nor my faith at college but I easily could have. I was just a regular kid but what the nuns taught me and my parents, as well, kept me from getting lost early like many in college. I pursued my education in college which helped me land a decent job when I graduated. I did not attend college for the bedroom boogie. But, honestly, it was all around me, then. I was just different. In many ways, I still am.

I gave my wife my virginity and my faith is gone along with her.

Who'd a thunk it?

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Certain intellectuals knew that is they were to transvalue the christian markers of the cultural conservatism of particular countries one indispensable weapon for doing that was sexual liberation for such a weapon cleaved youth from their parents and the influence of their church.

One can not engage in masturbation and fornication and continue an authentic life of prayer and once the State-Academy nexus had cleaved the kids from the past, they were ripe for revolutionary plucking.

In loco parentis? Please. Declare the dorms unisex and put students in the same buildings -what could go wrong?

In the eye of the revolutionaries- nothing, for that is part of their plan.