Reading the Times (May 9, 2011)

Looking for a Parking Spot? We’ve Got An App for That

According to the New York Times, San Francisco has introduced an app to help drivers find open parking spots. Utilizing special parking sensors and iPhone technology, the city promises to help frustrated drivers will cutting down on wasted time and energy.

There is concern, however, that drivers will be watching their iPhones while they are driving, instead of pulling over. No kidding!

California College Adds New Major in Secularism

Laurie Goodstein of the NY Times reports that Pitzer College in Southern California has added a new major: secularism. The Department of Secular Studies will examine nonbelief much as a religion department would study belief. Goodstein quotes Laura Skandera Trombley, president of Pitzer, who said, “It’s a serious area of scholarly endeavor, and Pitzer College has a tradition of doing really exciting, cutting-edge intellectual work, so this really fits into the ethos of the college.”

A cynic might wonder why you need a special department to study what is celebrated in every other department throughout the school. But, indeed, there may well be value in a serious examination of secularism and its influence across the world. As a Christian, I think it’s crucial believers to understand secularism, not simply as a straw man to tear down, but as a serious philosophical system that is a matter of faith for increasing numbers of people today. (Yes, I know they wouldn’t appreciate my faith language here. But, in the end, secularism requires an act of faith just as much as religious belief.)

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  • Evan

    I am all for a Department of Secularism at every institution of higher education. If they turn out the way the Departments of Religion have, they will be the greatest forces for spreading the message of salvation through the death and resurrection of the living Lord Jesus Christ the world has ever seen!

    Yes, that was a fairly jaded take on it.

    But seriously, the Departments of Religion that I have been exposed to already fulfill 99% of the objectives of any Department of Secularism as it is. You know it is bad when the professor asks the Christians to raise their hands in the first class and then announces that by the end of the semester, he will have destroyed their faith. How could a Department of Secularism possibly improve on that??

    Well, God is sovreign, even in universities, and I realize that there are still those that have not bowed the knee to Baal in the Departments of Religion. To coin the phrase, “I’m just sayin’.”

  • Anonymous

    Evan: That’s very clever. Also ironic and sad. I actually think that if people study secularism carefully, they will be inclined to reject it.