In this morning’s Wall Street Journal there’s an op-ed by Alan Jacobs on Pitzer College’s decision to create a new department and offer an undergraduate major in “secular studies.” It’s an interesting piece, and I encourage you to read it.
The big question, as Jacobs notes, is whether the department will offer a serious and critical program of study or whether it will just be cheerleading for the trend of secularization. The new department’s head, Phil Zuckerman, appears to be a cheerleader personally. Will he ask tough questions about his own beliefs in his scholarship?
The trolls in the article’s comments section deride Jacobs’s suggestion that we’ll know the department is serious when some majors who went in as devout atheists come out as theists, but I think he has a good point. Certainly there are millions of unreflective atheists and agnostics out there two generations after secularization of this culture accelerated in the 1960s, and if they’re confronted with some of the assumptions they’ve been taking for granted, some of them will have a change of heart.