One of the best books I’ve ever read to help me understand the mind of today was The Closing of the American Mind. I have read the book through once and have picked it up on several occasions since reading bits and pieces. In the book Allan Bloom laments the state of affairs in Higher Education. Bloom looked at the problem from the inside. The critique that hit home with me throughout the book was a major shift in the purpose of being educated.
The major shift could be characterized this way. Early in Blooms academic career the goal was to find truth. The idea was that you would survey all the major philosophies and ideas and that you would determine which was best, or which combination was best. The goal of education was to find the best possible explanation and way of doing things. Their was a quest for truth. Through time, however, Bloom stated a switch took place. No longer was Higher Education about the quest for truth, but rather it was about sharing the different worldviews and philosophies without real critique. The student was not so much required to determine which was best, but rather to be tolerate of all and view them all as equally good alternatives.
The result of this new way of teaching was that students no longer developed important qualities like critical thinking, since you no longer had to think critically about the subject. But something worse also developed, which is people no longer sought and searched for truth. If the goal of education was to affirm others worldviews and if by saying one idea is better than another you were viewed as closed minded then people no longer sought for the “best.” The result was the dulling of the mind.
I say all of this because this is the challenge we fact today. We face the challenge as Christians to share truth with people who (an this is a generalization) no longer quest for it. They no longer hunger for it. The goal today is not truth, but rather tolerance. Radical tolerance. Tolerance that refuses to say something is better than something else. This is sad, because those who will live in God’s kingdom are truth-seekers. They yearn to know God and His righteousness. They ask, seek, and knock repeatedly at the door of truth, believing that it will be granted to them.
We have become dull of mind. This might be the largest evangelistic challenge facing us today.