The unedited version of one of the questionsin the interview the Washington Examiner did with me:
3. Do colleges and universities bear a responsibility to nurture the spiritual lives of their students? If so, how are they doing, or how could they do better?
I think distinctly religious colleges do, such as Patrick Henry College where I work and the array of Catholic institutions in the D.C. area. I don’t think secular or state-funded universities do, and when they try they usually spin out some sort of generic therapeutic spirituality that only makes things worse. I would just as soon they stay out of it.
The real responsibility, though, falls on individual professors, and this is true whether it is a religious or a secular school. It comes back, again, to vocation. God works through human beings–nonbelievers as well as believers–in their callings. As a teacher, I am called to love and serve my students. I do this by teaching them my subject. But I dare not corrupt them, harm them, or use them for my own ends. My impact on their spiritual condition may be minimal or great. At Patrick Henry College, I can be more intentional about that than when I taught at a secular college, but all teachers are part of a vast web of influences in their students’ lives. A heavy responsibility comes with that.