The above photo was on Twitter and I liked it. There has been a brouhaha these last few weeks over the sensitivity of college aged youth and their tolerance levels. I've watched this thing unfold, with different articles coming out, different opinions on social media...and I've been thinking.
The National Review published an article titled:
Campus Commotions Show We’re Raising Fragile Kids
It seems like every week there’s a new horror story of political correctness run amok at some college campus. A warning not to wear culturally insensitive Halloween costumes sparked an imbroglio at Yale, which went viral over the weekend. A lecturer asked in an e-mail, “Is there no room anymore for a child to be a little bit obnoxious . . . a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” Students went ballistic. When an administrator (who is the lecturer’s spouse) defended free speech, some students wanted his head. One student wrote in a Yale Herald op-ed (now taken down): “He doesn’t get it. And I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.”Their pain. Their pain is king. 'All I want to do is talk about meeeee.' There is a new movement afoot on colleges to allow students to 'opt-out' of an assignment if it is too sensitive for them to handle and causes too much pain.
Some colleges are now instituting a 'trigger warning' that some material may be sensitive for students who have experienced trauma. In the article below, notice some of the listed content that may trigger a warning: "colonialism". Depictions of colonialism are deemed sensitive material, enough so that students are warned about it prior, so they can opt out? In my day material covering colonialism was called "history." [Ed. Note: in the following article the professor quoted is this author's sister].
Warning: This education might trigger trauma. Are we coddling college students?
A “trigger warning” informs readers who have experienced trauma — be it war or sexual assault — that content in an article or book may “trigger” them and cause them to re-experience that trauma
That doesn’t sound too threatening, but a September article in the The Atlantic magazine argues the use of these content advisories, taken to the extreme on college campuses, effectively “coddles” students by shielding them from ideas and words they may find unpleasant. Oberlin College in Ohio, for example, had recommended that professors include an advisory when assigning Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” because students may be triggered by its depictions of “racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence [and] suicide.”Todd Friel has some information about the coddling of America in this 7 minute video.
I was amused by a viral video of a mom of a school-aged student ranting about the elementary school car rider line. Some parents who choose to drive their children to school rather than put them on the bus are also choosing to be a traffic hazard and endanger others so that they can drop off their children at the closest door rather than have their child walk an extra 50 feet. Then I was reminded of the documentary called On the Way To School, where children in four different countries are chronicled getting to school and overcoming hazards way worse than walking an extra 50 after being personally driven by mommy- like avoiding being eaten by lions, or pushing your brother in a wheelchair over dirt and miry clay 10 miles, or walking up and down whole MOUNTAIN RANGES. The documentary shows kids from South America, India, Africa and Morocco walking to school in extreme conditions- just for the privilege of being educated.
And the American children who are driven to school and dropped off in the car rider line grow up to be the wimps who opt out of a college level assignment because they are allegedly traumatized by colonialism.
The sensitive college students problem has also infiltrated Christian universities. These same sentiments are appearing in Christian schools and becoming a problem for Christians outside universities, as noted by Friel in the video above and in Dr. Piper's message below. Those who are offended by colonialism, or, words, will certainly be offended by the Gospel! Yet there has been some push-back regarding the hot house flower sensitivity of these American college students at a Christian University, by President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University wrote,
This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!
Dr. Everett Piper, President
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.
I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”
I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.
So here’s my advice:Read the rest of his message for his advice. So what does this mean for Christians? The most basic and literal meaning is that when we proclaim the Gospel, the FULL Gospel, which includes discussion of sin and judgment, it will not be tolerated. At all. The article above says caving in to trigger warnings and opting out 'effectively “coddles” students by shielding them from ideas and words they may find unpleasant.' And the Gospel is the most unpleasant news there can be until the Good News is added to it. If they find mere college content unpleasant, how will it be when a Christian tells them they are sinners, angering God every day and headed for judgment and hell? It won't be tolerated, at all, and not just from cultural pressure or outcry. By law.
Secondly and more symbolically, since leak-over occurs from the world to the faith all the time and our Christian youth will be affected, it means we have wimpy soldiers of the faith to look forward to. I think of the youth in the Bible and wonder where our stalwart soldiers of the faith are going to come from. The Lord our God is always raising up youth for His name, but it seems to me they are becoming scarcer, these brave and strong men and women of the faith.
David was a young man, a boy really, and he was a shepherd. What that means is he was in the rugged outdoors all day and all night. He watched over the sheep and protected them from bears and wolves and lions at the risk of his own life, with only a rod and a slingshot for a weapon. He walked miles and miles leading them to different pastures because grass was scarce. He was alone, out in the open, and had a great responsibility. It is estimated David was between 13 and 15 years old when he was anointed. (1Sam 16:12-13). And then, David slew Goliath. And some youth today are upset because words hurt their feelings.
Timothy was young. Paul admonished Timothy not to let anyone despise him because of his youth. Timothy was pastor and leader of a church with all that entailed, especially the honor of preaching the everlasting Gospel. Timothy was urged despite his relative youth to be so Godly that his life would be a pattern for others to imitate.
Mary was young, maybe 14 or 15, when the angel Gabriel told her she was going to be pregnant. This is normally an event that destroys lives. Yet she humbly said 'Let it be done to me as God wills', then at 9 month gestation, got on a donkey and rode to Bethlehem, then fled to Egypt.
Daniel was young, very young when he was taken in Babylonian captivity. Those taken were being groomed for service, these young moldable youths. Except Daniel was not moldable. He refused the wine and foods because ingesting them would have defiled him. hHe brought his complaint respectfully to the authority, politely asking to be excused from eating and drinking it, but still, in the face of enormous pressure to cave in, Daniel rejected the training and stood for God. (Daniel 1:8). And some youths these days are upset at a sermon on love because it pricked their conscience. Some young men say all they want to do is talk about their pain. Their thoughts go no higher than their own navel gazing.
In reading widely about this trigger warning and trauma pain the sensitive snowflakes are going on about, I notice that when professors tend to use trigger warnings it is due to graphic sexual content. They assign novels that contain sexual violence or graphic sexual scenes among lesbians or homosexuals. In my opinion, the problem is not that trigger warnings are necessary, it is that the trauma-triggering material is even being presented in the first place. For those who are traumatized by violence, then learning about the Civil War, or the Cambodian Killing Fields should be a problem. Yet most professors do not use trigger warnings for that content. But assigning novels to impressionable youth containing multiple rape scenes is OK? I don't think so.
The prophecy says,
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (2 Timothy 3:2)
The video below is 7 minutes and I recommend seeing it.
Neel Kolhatkar’s “Modern Educayshan” gives us a glimpse into the future of American education if things keep going on their present course. If you watch the first 1:20, you’ll see why this video is striking a chord among citizens who fear what our schools and universities are becoming.