Today, I addressed my Substack post to the “Pastors of the West Valley.” This is because ASU West has renamed itself “ASU West Valley,” and I believe that pastors need to know what is happening on that campus. I am a professor at ASU West Valley, where I teach philosophy and religious studies. I am also a Christian and pastor of a church in the West Valley. But my call to action for pastors is not limited to those in the West Valley. Pastors of the Greater Phoenix Area need to know the kinds of radical philosophies that are normalized in university classrooms so that they can inform the members of their churches. Can a pastor, in good conscience, recommend a member of his church be put in that situation? What can pastors do to inform students and build up their faith in light of these challenges?
Pastors, the radical philosophies that are normalized in many ASU classes are direct attacks on Christian belief. They teach that Christianity is merely a system of social control. Christian missionaries are called bigots who used force to impose Christian beliefs on otherwise peaceful societies. And Jesus, if he was anything, is merely a moral teacher who taught people to be nice to their neighbors by paying taxes to a centralized government for welfare safety nets. These things are taught as the truth of the matter under radical gender, race, and class philosophies. This is the lens through which all the rest of the course material is viewed.
Many Christians simply put up with this. They attend and don’t ask questions, knowing this nonsense will be taught because they think there is nothing they can do. But we can do something. We can expose these false beliefs to the light of truth. We can educate young Christians. We can encourage parents to prepare their children. We can show that the basic beliefs at the heart of these radical philosophies are false and lead to destruction in human lives and societies.
So here is my question: why should these radical philosophies have control of the state universities? Why should we assume that ASU and other state universities will always be like this? Why should Christian students have to suffer through classes knowing their grades will be harmed if they speak up? There are many options for students. We can be selective in where we attend or where we send students. We can let professors and administrators know that we will not send students into classes or universities where their Christian faith is attacked and belittled. We can let them know that we will no longer hold our noses and put up with radical philosophies controlling the curriculum.
There are two ways we can do this. First, we can give arguments to show that these philosophies are false. This builds up the faith of those in our churches and equips them to be salt and light in the community. This is an important part of declaring the Gospel to a lost world. Second, we can vote with our feet and not send students to universities that will not treat them with respect. These are two things that pastors can do to help their churches. I am always available as a resource to you if you would like me to speak to your church or to parents about the situation at ASU.
Pastors, now is the time. We can no longer allow Christ, Christian history, and Christianity to be attacked in the public classroom by these anti-Christian philosophies. We can and should work together to profess the truth and build up the faith of those we serve.
Dr. Owen Anderson has been teaching philosophy and religious studies for 21 years and is a professor of philosophy and religious studies at Arizona State University. His research focuses on general revelation and related questions about reality, value, and knowledge. He has been a fellow at Princeton University, a visiting scholar at Princeton Seminary, and a fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has published several books including “Job: A Philosophical Commentary” (2021) “The Declaration of Independence and God” (2015) and “The Natural Moral Law” (2013). He regularly teaches Philosophy of Religion, Introduction to Philosophy, Applied Ethics, World Religions, Western Religious Traditions, and Religion in America.