January 08, 2007

Harvard Faculty Shoots Down "Faith and Reason" Requirement

I've just been forwarded a pdf of an op-ed from the Dec 15, 2006 Wall Street Journal in which Professor of Religion Richard Schmaulzbauer of Missouri State U takes Harvard to task for not following through on the university's Task Force for General Education proposal to require all students take a course that would fall under the broad heading, "Faith and Reason."  The proposal came with the rational that the tension between religious faith and reason is one of the defining issues of our times and a course broaching the subject is necessary for molding informed citizens.

I reported on  this back in October or November, I believe, and was very excited by the prospect.  In fact, I figured this was a done deal, but didn't know at the time that such a proposal would be voted on by the faculty.

Schmaulzbauer laments the defeat of the proposal as a missed opportunity for Harvard to set a precdent for other universities and colleges to take faith seriously.

In place of a course on "Faith and Reason", the faculty has countered with a course on "what it means to be a human being."

It seems to me that such a course must deal in some way with religion, right?  We'll see.

The books I'm reading right now in preparation for my next book project would make for an interesting reading list for their proposed class on "being human":

William James' Varities of Religious Experience

Harvey Cox's Religion in the Secular City

On Killing by Lt. Dave Grossman

What books would you add?

1 comment:

Andria said...

Hi Dave,
Congrats on an interesting blog and great first book. I look forward to more!
For the class on "being human" I would suggest:
"The Needs of Strangers" by Michael Ignatieff and
"Learning from Bosnia: Approaching Tradition" by Rusmir Mahmutcehajic.