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May 9th, 2011
12:37 PM ET

College becomes nation's first to offer major in secularism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - I don't know whether to be surprised that it happened or surprised that it took so long: a California college has become the first in the nation to offer a major in secularism.

The New York Times reported this weekend on the move by Pitzer College, a liberal arts institution in Southern California that's one of seven Claremont Colleges.

Some back story from The Times:

The department was proposed by Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist of religion, who describes himself as “culturally Jewish, but agnostic-atheist on questions of deep mystery.” Over the years he grew increasingly intrigued by the growth of secularism in the United States and around the world.

Indeed, signs abound that an aggressively secular demographic is growing in the United States and Europe, even as religion continues to occupy an important place in America and as Christianity and Islam see tremendous growth in the global south.

Last month saw the publication of a so-called secular Bible by an influential British atheist.  A recent academic paper predicted that religion will all but die out in nine Western-style democracies. And the number of overtly secular campus-based student groups appears to be exploding.

In addition to publishing books about atheism, the Pitzer College prof who proposed the new secular studies department has compiled a list of the 65 greatest songs for atheists and agnostics (though the atheism or agnosticism of some titles on the list, like The Beatles' "Think for Yourself,” are debatable).

A few additional details on Pitzer's new department from the Times:

Professors from other departments, including history, philosophy, religion, science and sociology, will teach courses like “God, Darwin and Design in America,” “Anxiety in the Age of Reason” and “Bible as Literature.”

... Laura Skandera Trombley, the president of Pitzer, said in an interview, “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.”

Have you seen other signs that colleges are becoming more interested in the study of secularization and atheism?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • California • Education

soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Secular Coward

    The communists succeeded by force; we will fall by our own free will.

    May 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      And gravity.

      May 9, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  2. zhen

    Speaking as life-long atheist, this like getting a major in breathing. Or walking. I am all for liberal art education, but this is ludicrous.

    May 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      You can be an atheist in the afterlife as well.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  3. Urbanhippie

    Unfortunately even best attempts at civil discourse can lead to intolerance and name-calling. The chasm that separates the theists and the atheists ability to be tolerant and supportive in discussion is the same chasm that separates the belief systems themselves. Atheists can claim all they want 'there is no god', but I believe they are fooling themselves via the same vehicle that they disparage. If (a) god is truly all powerful and beyond the comprehension of our understanding, then the best we can offer is: God does not differentiate itself from physical truths as they are presented to us to the extent we understand them.

    That is why a naturalist or secular view is the non-religious view where atheism remains to claim about something that (1) cannot be proven to every extent and (2) by most humanists acceptance, has no value as either proven or dis proven.

    I am an atheist, which can be considered a belief unsupported by factual certainty, yet more importantly, I remain a humanist, meaning that I can without a doubt assume and assign the responsibility of us humans on myself and us humans for the continuation and hopeful improvement of my (and our) existence.

    We as a people have evolved through many religious and mystical interpretation of our being. I can not place any certainty on my understanding of the universe other than that is a better understanding of our universe than my forefathers. Not in spite of my forefathers, but because of them. Human history is plentiful in the advancement of understanding, and while not free of retraction, history will record the forward.

    Every civilization thinks they understand the 'truths' and that the previous understanding was flawed. Only half of that equation is true, if even that. Progress, and continually reinforced 'progress' is the mainstay of evolutionary theory. For an atheist to think that humans 1000 years from now won't critique their barbaric understanding of the human condition is to fall into the same trap. The best we can do is to identify the logical flaws and emotional desires of our forefathers, apply our newly discovered understanding and remain humble to our descendants that this is the best we were able to achieve in the time we had allotted.

    May 9, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Other than the stating in your first paragraph that atheists are fooling themselves, and then declaring your atheism – you make some sort of sense at logical argument. So yes you are fooling yourself as that is what you declare. Yes each epoch thinks they have the truth – and our epoch thinks that this "truth" has been becoming "truer" linearly over time – and that is our untruth.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • Lisif

      Well said, UrbanHippie. Thank you. I believe that is the best post I have seen all month.

      To those who doubt the value of a liberal arts education, I would say it is more important to teach a person to think than to teach them a vocation. I have a decent job because I am able to think and communicate – and no, I do not work in the field in which I earned my degree.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Urbanhippie

      @Lisif – thanks. I would modify your statement to be simply... "Get an education, its a life-long pursuit" I am an engineer and a boring one at that. I work in almost the exact field I studied in. Education and vocation while they MAY be correlated, have less bearing on each other than people think.

      @Arran – after re-reading my post, I appreciate your response. If I am unwilling to tell people that THERE IS NO GOD, because I condemn that statement to an unsupported claim, then why would I hold that same sentiment for myself? I should in the future reserve my speculation that there is no god as a personal hunch and speak solely to my belief that god (existent or not) has no current bearing on what we should be striving for as humans on planet Earth. Thanks, I truly appreciate the comment.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  4. dave rable

    There are now, for the first time, more places available at colleges and universities than there are potential students. So the colleges have to present degree programs in what the potential customers want.

    What's next, a BA in Carnality? A Masters in Material Possessionism? How about a Doctorate in Sloth Studies? I'm sure there would be tons of students looking for the easiest or most fun study path, so how about Masters in Bation?

    May 9, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      A Masters in Credit Default Swaps!

      May 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Dorianmode

      Oh, and like a degree from the Moody Bible Inst-i-t-ute is worth anything ?

      May 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • tapu

      Dave, that's just stupid. You don't even know what secularism is, do you? I mean really know.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • dave rable

      Tapu, you got me wondering if I did, so I looked it up. Webster's defines secular as "not religious, not connected with a church". So, any field of study could be secular, so long as it is not taught at a church.

      I was only making fun of the idea that such a broad field could be made into a course of study, and proposed other possible fields of study which would be just as ridiculous.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • tapu

      I respect that you checked your understanding. I checked too and that is exactly what Webster's and several other dictionaries at least start out with. In the sense that 'secular' is used in this article, in the proposed course, and in several of the posters' understanding here (if I may presume), it refers to looking for understanding of the world and of our species through reason rather than faith. People reliant on faith can say, "God made it that way." People reliant on reason have to devise cohesive arguments for the theses they arrive at regarding anything that asks for explanation.

      May 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • tapu

      Now here is an extension of the meaning that I hadn't thought of in terms of this article/class:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secularism

      I thought the college was talking about a rigorous reasoning process, but they may be assuming the very specific use of the term as defined at link. I realize now that I have heard "secularism" used to mean building govt completely separate from the objectives of faith.

      May 9, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  5. RJP3

    what a vile ignorance group of people trashing Liberal Arts and degrees in the Liberal Arts .... of which I suspect many of you do not have at all – America has failed each and every one of you

    this country is being manipulated to dance to the tune of very wealthy elites who PAY MILLIONS and MILLIONS a day to manipulate people by appealing to their religious bias – and knowingly manipulate a population that would well be helped by advanced studies in Psychology, Sociology, Mass Communications and Journalism.

    In a world of Fox News, Glenn Beck, Any Rand pathology as a cult of the selfish elites, and Christian Theocracy being pushed as the birthright of select few to rule over other citizens - I think the ignorance spewed here against the study of Secularism (with is only successful when in coexists with Religious Freedom as it has in America) is very a sad sign for our country.

    I also suspect that many of the postings are from people without any degree = or how their ignorance of the Liberals Arts allows those bodies of knowledge to be used against them every single day.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Oh fury one you are truly the speaker for all of us. Go blast this rabble with your spittle and let them know what fortune of mind and body awaits the arts graduate! Long live the philosopher king! And long live punk! And Joyce and the Bard!

      May 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • tapu

      There are some incisive posts in all this, and yours is one of them, RJP.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • someoneelse

      Liberal Arts grads tend to do very little for the world. There are some that actually move and shape the world for the better. I am not against Liberal Arts at all. I am against the practice of just allowing hundreds of low level students who don't have anything better to do into these programs just to get more money. The Subway (restaurant) in my alma mater's town has at least 4 working there 😉

      May 10, 2011 at 7:57 am |
  6. Cedar rapids

    'This is one of the reasons why America is under judgment right now '
    Ah so this course puts america under god's judgment now? do you think that maybe god would have had more reason to judge america during say.. slavery, or taking native american lands or the veil of tears time? jim crow maybe? but no, apparently its things like this course that god has decided the US needs judgment for.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      sigh, meant trail not veil, where on earth did veil come from?

      May 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Did not come from earth.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • tapu

      Good points! I had to say that because there is no "Like" option.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  7. Pastor Evans

    This is one of the reasons why America is under judgment right now and its only going to get worse for people like this ignorant professor and college. Only a "FOOL" says in his/ her heart that there is no God!!! Believe it or not because it is your choice, but God is real and you'll either know that now or at the day of your judgment where you will give an account of your life individually and all by yourself!!! Amen!!!

    May 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ahhh, shaddup, you illiterate dope. The day you can write a simple, coherent sentence to explain your point of view, notify the media. Because until then, you nitwit, you're nothing but a dipwad whose interpretation of the Bible is drivel.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      "FOOL" bE u that duz not let the spirit of the LOURD into your God given hart and greet salavation with open "ARMS"!

      May 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • tapu

      HI, Pastor Evans! I have an imaginary friend too! And He has special powers....

      May 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
    • americanifw

      It's alright guys, let this quack continue...he'll run out of steam eventually, just like all of the other children like him. Soon he'll grow up and realize that even wacked-out adults have imaginary sky friends who watch over them and protect them throughout life. Sheesh, I can't believe I have to explain myself to a (possibly) grown adult.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • mickey1313

      anyone who believes in anything without proof is the fool. Your ignorance only shows how small weak and pathetic the christians of the world are.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Free

      Pastor-
      Psalm 14:1 right? But, as we know, Jesus came to replace what was taught in the OT, and calling anyone a 'fool' is a big no no!

      "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire."
      —Matthew 5:22

      May 9, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  8. Brooklyn

    Sweet, giving people college degrees in useless topics is a great way to get young people ready for the workforce...not

    May 9, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      We will need a lot of secular experts when the rest of the religious world realizes the only place to really practice your religion is in the secular USA. Get ready for the USA to be the last place on earth that actually allows a multi-faith society. We won't need lawyers – we will need secular experts!

      May 9, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • tapu

      So what other topics would you strike from college education? Anything that wouldn't "get young people ready for the workforce," as you would determine. Sounds like Literature, Art History, Music, Anthropology, Sociology.... Awful lot of studies go by the wayside if our Brooklyn is in charge.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • someoneelse

      @Tapu, they should not be completely stricken, but we need to stop bumping up class size and enrollment in these fields. There is just not a need for more 'Art Historians' than engineers. Universities will allow anyone into these fields who are willing to pay.

      May 10, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Frogist

      @someone else: Universities will allow anyone into any field so long as they are willing to pay. That is not an excuse to rid classrooms of science and math, is it? So it's not a valid argument agains the arts. Also you might need to prove your as-sumption that certain degrees do not garner employment before you argue about ways to improve the system.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  9. Joshua

    So, we finally have a course in how to go directly to hell. This is what we call education in Satans brave new america.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      'Satans brave new america'
      lol, come on, you seriously cant actually think like this surely? you must be trolling.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nah, he's really just that stupid.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      It would be better if secularism was not simply seen as an atheist's position.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • americanifw

      I thought that course already existed...biology, right? Or what about geology or chemistry? Oh oh wait wait!!! I know, it's astronomy, that's it, astronomy!!!

      May 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • mickey1313

      hate to break it to, you thesistic turd, but a stance of athism CANNOT BE SATANAC, THERE IS NOT SATAN

      May 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Free

      Joshua-
      "Satans brave new america."
      As opposed to what, God's cowardly old America? Hmm... the America that is too afraid to think for itself, but relies on the words of an ancient text and the men who claim to know what it 'actually' says. Hey, you might be onto something after all.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • civiloutside

      "It would be better if secularism was not simply seen as an atheist's position."

      Totally agree. IMO, even the most devoutly religious should be secularist with regards to the government. Because one you give government the right to interfere with any religion, you've given them the right to interfere with *your* religion. Most people who support religious laws (or who fail to recognize/acknowledge that a given law is religious in nature) do so only because they believe it supports their religion.

      May 10, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  10. Bnejamin

    I'm not sure how this major would work. Perhaps you mean a major in Humanism? That would be far more sensible. However, as an atheist myself, we sitll need to understand religions of the world. Regardless of the ontological validity of their claims, they still have a large influence on culture, both past and present. We should read the Bible as we read Greek mythology.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • mickey1313

      all that needs to be understood about religon, is that people make up stuff to explaine the world around them, when they can not figure it out themselves. Couppled witht he belief that anyone who believes differantly from you is wrong, and evil, and condemed. That is momothesism 101.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  11. Dr. Turi

    Why not introducing the science of "Astropsychology" as a solid discipline? Doing so would bring a fair balance between religion and science or the physical and spiritual realms of consciousness and negate all dilemmas.

    Dr. Turi

    May 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • someoneelse

      There is no balance between the two. One is a belief system, one is a tool. It's like trying to find a balance between liking a movie and using a hammer. Not much of a connection.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  12. secondhalf

    two points....

    One can be an agnostic, or one can be an atheist, but one cannot be agnostic-atheist as the professor described himself.

    Secularism defined is the absence of religion in government and culture, not arguing for it, but also not arguing against it. Based upon the description and course work, sounds like this course will not have much to do with secularism.

    May 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • americanifw

      I hate to burst your bubble dude, but you're dead wrong. There are five types of positions one could have on the idea of a deity: agnostic-atheist, gnostic-atheist, agnostic-theist, gnostic-theist, or simply no opinion or "personal belief". Theism = the belief in some sort of deity or deities. Atheism = the lack of belief in a deity or deities. Gnosticism = the concept of knowing. Agnosticism = the concept of not knowing. An agnostic-atheist believes that there is not god, however, he or she could be wrong. A gnostic-atheist believes that there is no god, and that they are correct. An agnostic-theist believes that there is a god, however he or she could be wrong. A gnostic-theist believes that there is a god, and that they are correct. I hope that puts things into perspective for you. 🙂

      May 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • jeremiah

      that is actually wrong, you can be an agnostic atheist and an agnostic theist. An agnostic atheist is nearly 100 sure that there is no God but doesn't know for certain, whereas an agnostic theist believes highly in the likelihood of God, but they are not certain.

      Theist = Yes, there is a god | Agnostic = no sure | Atheist = No, there isn't a god. - this is of course a very simplified explanation.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • jeremiah

      Should have refreshed the page... great answer AmericanIFW

      May 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      You are right. Cannot be an agnostic-atheist or an atheist-agnostic. That is a error of logic. An atheist says no God. An agnostic says there might be a God. If you believe there is no God then there is no agnostic chance of God either. Even the agnostic position is logically not possible outside of the mind that believes it. Does God exist? No. Things only exist in a physical world – so God does not exist as God is not an existing thing in the physical world. But is God? Yes God is.

      May 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  13. Dave

    An absolutely wonderful thing! Think of all the answers that await us in the ever-expanding realm of the 'natural.' The 'supernatural' has yet to yield one iota of usefulness. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and only rational, logical thought can yield those results.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Person of Faith

      That is simply not true. Anything that you don't understand is "supernatural" to you. Since you don't understand the "supernatural," how can you say there is nothing useful there? Prayer is "supernatural," and how can you say that someone else's prayer isn't useful to them? You are not in a position to judge whether or not someone else's prayer is useful to them. That is for them to decide. Not you.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Exactly why Einstein acknowledged the role of God.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • mickey1313

      aaran, einstien NEVER acknowladged the GOD of the bible. He spoke in terms of the magnificence of the unknown. He certanally did not believe a magic old white man created his eligant universe.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Right – magic old man is not the creator. But Einstein did acknowledge the status of God – in or out of the Bible does not matter. The Bible is a book. God is God. Magic old man lives in a tepee and sells mushrooms to backpackers.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Free

      Aaron-
      As always, the Einstein's own, actual words clearly reveal his real feelings about God:
      "I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
      ...
      "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings." Albert Einstein

      Would you accept this view of "God" as the Christian one?

      May 9, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Free

      Arran Webb-
      "The Bible is a book. God is God."
      So, the Bible doesn't have the answers to what God is, and calling the universe with all it's natural laws "God" is perfectly fine then? If the natural universe is God then why confuse people with that name which clearly has supernatural connotations?

      May 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Free

      Person of Faith-
      No, asserting that something is 'supernatural' is stating that it is beyond any scientific understanding. There are still plenty of things in nature that science does not fully understand, but no scientist is ready to say that we will never find the answer. Things said to lie outside of the natural world, like the power of prayer, gods, the afterlife, and so on are all supernatural in that they only exist as ideas in people's minds as far as science can tell.

      May 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      I'm actually interested more in things unnatural. 🙂

      No, not THAT. I meant, they really need a section for that at Whole Foods.
      The Unnatural section. Where the electrons go around backwards.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:28 am |
  14. LG

    Why only secularism??? From what I've seen of people and what they allow themselves to do I believe they might need more.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
  15. Arran Webb

    Zuckerman is "culturally Jewish" – others who claim cultural Judaism often have a Jewish mother and adhere to following the matrilineal blood line of Jewish descent – a concept wholly revealed in the bible and a decree from God to the rabbanim. Culturally Jewish atheists are splendid folk, often upper middle class, who jovially ignore the God installed premise of their very lives. The men often wear a yamaka as a sign of respect – I respect of what I ask? A respect of fine cloth I suppose.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • chaz Romano (not real name. take that CNN)

      who are you to judge someone?

      May 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • tapu

      Wow, you really know a lot about 'those people.' Hey, is a yamaka like a hamaca? When I was in Mexico, I really loved the hamacas. Maybe they have them in Isreal, too.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Yes a yamaka is like a small hamacas for a mouse.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Aran Webb: There is such a thing as tradition. Just because someone uses the word Thursday doesn't mean they are a follower of the Norse god, Thor.

      May 11, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  16. styve from Palm Springs

    They have already been unofficially teaching it for decades anyway. It has long been a mandatory part of general ed in many of our universities.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • mickey1313

      as they should be teaching it. What they should not teach is anything without any form of proof, like anything having to do with religon.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  17. NyteShayde

    Yep, it's finally happened. Atheism is officially a religion.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Just about. First science becomes dogma and then atheism is an act of faith not logic. There will be a deity eventually and it will probably be the double helix of the DNA model.

      May 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Brian

      Completely the opposite...Atheism is a freedom that enables the individual to express themselves as one, not part of a group or culture.

      May 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Free

      Once something becomes dogma nothing new will be accepted. Science is all about new discovery, so declaring anything as 'dogma' has no place in science. Hence, finding proof of anything, including God and creationism, would be a great scientific discovery.

      Atheism comes with a healthy sense of skepticism, and what religion tolerates any amount of that? Plainly, you haven't a clue what you are talking about, my friend.

      May 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Also now official: not believing in the tooth fairy is a belief system and not collecting stamps is a hobby.

      And if apparently college major = religion, then we can officially celebrate the religions of history, literature, political science, and sports medicine.

      May 10, 2011 at 7:42 am |
  18. Brian

    One of the previous posts echoes my thought as well...I wish this was offered when I went to college. I can see clearly how a course on secularism would spark constructive debate amongst a strong student body. Living in the "Bible Belt", there is a need for open, frank discussion about views that are not against religion, but different. In my opinion, anyone that is a non-believer in this area, Northwest Georgia, is frowned upon for having an independent thought when it comes to social, religious, and political views. Time and again, religious leaders in the south use their respective pulpits to push non-secular political agendas. Say what you will about California, but take it from me, I wish this area was more open to outside debate and issues!

    May 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  19. MIchaelL

    What kind of job are you going to get with a major in secularism....or religion for that matter? You'll either be teaching or unemployed.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Kenny

      College is about getting an education, not a job, MichaeIL. It enchances your overall knowledge of the world and your ability to think. That's what'll get you a job. Assuming, though, that your objection were a good one, it would apply equally well to a major in religious studies, so I presume you're against that as well?

      May 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • someoneelse

      Kenny, you are so wrong, and so illiterate to boot too. Did you not read his post? Your last question was answered. As a former university instructor and someone with graduate degrees, many are entering university with no focus and wasting four years of their life and untold amounts of money to learn things that will not be useful. All education is useful to a point, but you must weigh that with the costs (financial, temporal, and others) and make sure your Bachelor of Art History was worth it (you could have been backpacking around the world and probably learned more). University is a business nowadays, not more unfortunately.

      May 9, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • tim Ricard

      Or one could just major in a helpful subject which would help your employment chances, or just major in one of the countless meanless liberal arts majors.

      May 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      What employment a person can find from the degree they have attained is up to them. People with liberal arts degrees get jobs.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • someoneelse

      Few in liberal arts should be there. Some do it because that is what they are good at and they do it well. Also, a functioning society must have liberal arts grads to maintain a forward trend. Most liberal arts grads though are people who can't do anything or failed into it (hoping to bring their marks up). Show me one liberal art grad that failed into Engineering 😉 They are mostly known as joke degrees because they are (usually, not always). The enrollment figures are much higher than should be allowed, but they bring in money.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • The Easter Bunny

      @someoneelse
      Sorry to bust that bubble, I can see you are SO impressed with yourself.
      My 6 closest neighbors are attorneys, surgeons, and an MBA CEO. They have liberal arts degrees, they earned before professional schools. Don't post if you don't know.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • tapu

      @someoneelse - to quote you: "As a former university instructor and someone with graduate degrees, many are entering university with no focus and..."
      And you're calling someone else illiterate?? All those graduate degrees and a "university instructor" (you mean "prof"?) to boot, and you can't recognize your own classic mistake in that sentence?

      May 9, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      @someoneelse I agree. But the proper term for liberal arts degrees is "Mickey Mouse" degrees.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
    • mickey1313

      I would think a degree is secularism would be worth 1000 fold a degree in religous study, which if not going into the field of thelogy should in fact, count against you, similurly to a degree in underwater basket weaving.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • meghan

      meh. what kind of job is ANYONE from pitzer going to get???

      go pomona!!!

      May 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • someoneelse

      @TheEasterBunny, the best part is you don't realize you actually helped to prove my point. Thanks by the way!

      May 10, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  20. sasha

    It's time we had serious studies on comparative religions of the world with socio-cultural content. Hopefully this type of study will help us see all religions from a global point of view with less bias toward any particular one. And maybe one day there will be peace on earth.

    May 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      War is not about differing religions. Al Qaeda was foremost opposed to US control of middle eastern dictators. When murder is ordered by leaders of nations, rulers, judges, dictators and terrorists the need arises to appeal to some higher authority like God to justify the unjustifiable – murder. This appeal to God's will is after the idealogical decision to kill the enemy has already been made – if it were not God it would be some other moral authority – perhaps it could be the moral authority to save the planet that will justify murder in the future.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • DAT67

      $Arran Webb – "War is not about differing religions" – You were sleeping in your history and current events classes.

      May 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • mickey1313

      maybe one day soon, people will realize that belief if the fantisy of religon is distrying this world.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Arran Webb

      Religion is embodied as the moral cause to justify the immorality of war but the war is for other reasons.

      May 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Dorianmode

      "it's time" ? OK. Be sure and don't say that to any of the programs in just that at any number of major universities and colleges across the country.

      May 10, 2011 at 3:19 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.