The Bête Noire of Religiosity
I just received an interesting article from the University of Michigan about a study on the changes in religiosity of students by major. Humanities majors, it seems, are likely to become less religious than they were before the entered college. Science majors remain about the same. Education majors become more religious. The article states:
“Our results suggest that it is postmodernism, not science, that is the bête noir of religiosity. One reason may be that the key ideas of postmodernism are newer than the key scientific ideas that challenge religion. For example, religions have had 150 years to develop resistance or tolerance for the late 19th century idea of evolution, but much less time to develop resistance or tolerance for the key ideas of postmodernism, which gained great strength over the course of the 20th century.”
For some reason, this idea just tickles me. All that work that the religious right is putting in on combating ideas of science, primarily evolution, and their real threat is postmodernism, "a theory that involves a radical reappraisal of modern assumptions about culture, identity, history, or language" (Wikipedia) and, apparently, religion.
Of course this makes sense. Postmodernism is a strong challenge to the idea of absolute truth and absolute good and evil. And we see it creeping into our society in lots of ways. But when one undertakes formal academic study that includes postmodern theory, it definitely challenges religious assumptions.
On another track from the article, it does worry me that education is the haven of the very religious. These are the people going on to teach in our schools, folks. No wonder we're always having religious indoctrination creeping into our schools in defiance of the separation of church and state.