Two things have occurred in the past 24 hours that seem to be clearly related to one another, at least in my mind. The first involves a foolish decision made by the so-called "leaders" of Liberty University. In a move reminiscent of the Berlin book burnings of May 1933, university officials have decided that philosophy is not an important discipline to study and have thus summarily dismissed the entire philosophy faculty of the university. Henceforth, Liberty University--whose chief executives claim to seek Truth and uphold critical thought--has dismantled the scholarly foundation of its academy. How can an institution that purports to be the Notre Dame of evangelical Christianity NOT have the most basic of academic programs as part of its panoply of degree offerings? The mere thought of graduating liberal arts students who have not been influenced by a serious faculty of philosophy professors is anathema to me and would no doubt be seen as a ridiculous proposition by most scholars. Of course, I'm sure the university will maintain a philosophy course offering or two, but without a dedicated faculty to support those courses, they will become only notional degree-completion-plan fillers.
The second and related occurrence happened in my morning devotional today. I was reading Exodus 10:21, where Lord says to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt--darkness that can be felt" (NIV). Bam! That verse hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks. In the first place, as a Soldier and former "country boy," I've definitely experienced nights where it was so dark you could almost feel it. The weight of the night sky presses down on you, the noises of the night surround and close in on you, your heart pounds, your thoughts race, and the question of survival flickers in and out of your consciousness.
However, the real weight of verse 21 is in its reminder of the metaphorical "darknesses" we feel in our world. I've been in the presence of people who made my skin crawl; I've been in countries where the weight of political, social, and religious oppression are palpable; I've seen (as you have) governmental decisions in our own country harm thousands of people in an instant. Indeed, spiritual darkness in the forms of selfishness, foolishness, and evil are all around us. And, in my opinion, this includes Liberty's decision to rid itself of its academic core. Satan must be rejoicing to see the gatekeepers of Truth and critical thought kicked out of the front door of such a influential Christian institution of higher education...to see an important light extinguished and another corner of darkness befall Falwell's already spiritually beleaguered university. Every week Liberty seems to do something else to push itself further down the road of mediocrity and further away from God...an evolving situation that creates a weightier and weightier darkness. I wonder what's next?