Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is where knowledge begins, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
When Harvard University was founded in the late 1600’s, its original shield and motto (which can still be found throughout the campus) said this: “Truth (Veritas) for Christ (Christo) and the Church (Ecclesiae).” The website for the Harvard Graduate Christian Community explains the history of this shield: “The top two books on the shield are face up while the bottom book is face down. This symbolizes the limits of reason, and the need for God’s revelation.” In other words, without God, there is no wisdom.
The Harvard Graduate Christian Community website explains the original goal of Harvard: “Harvard University was founded in 1636 with it’s ‘Rules and Precepts’ adopted in 1646, stated as follows: ‘Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Proverbs 2:3).” In other words, wisdom is only attainable by man by seeking it from the God of the Bible.
Dr. Georgia Purdom, PhD Professor in molecular genetics from Ohio State University, explains the change at Harvard: “At some point in Harvard’s history the motto was changed to simply “Truth” (the reference to Jesus Christ was removed) and the seal changed to show all three books face up. This symbolizes a belief that there is no limit to man’s reasoning and God’s revelation is no longer needed.” In other words, Harvard now rejects God as the key for wisdom, replacing God with man as the ultimate authority on wisdom.
In his article ‘How I found God at Columbia’, syndicated columnist and talk show host Dennis Prager explains what he learned while a graduate student at another university that has rejected its Christian heritage and turned secular and leftist – Columbia University: “Since entering graduate school, I was preoccupied with this question: Why did so many learned and intelligent professors believe so many foolish things? Why did so many people at my university believe nonsense such as Marxism? Why did so many professors believe and teach the even more foolish notion that men and women are basically the same? And why were so many professors morally confused? How could people so learned in contemporary history morally equate the Soviet Union and the United States, regard America as responsible for the Cold War, or regard Israel as the Middle East’s villain? One day, I received an answer to these questions. Seemingly out of nowhere, a biblical verse — one that I had recited every day in kindergarten — entered my mind. It was a verse from Psalm 111: ‘Wisdom begins with fear of God.’”
Prager explains how those in the secular, leftist American culture serve to confirm his faith in the God of the Bible: “Most people come to believe in God through what I call the front door of faith. Something leads them to believe in God. Since that day at Columbia, however, I regularly renew my faith through the back door — I see the confusion and nihilism that godless ideas produce and my faith is restored. The consequences of secularism have been at least as powerful a force for faith in my life as religion.”
If our universities produced wise men and women, curricula of moral clarity, and professors who loved liberty and truth, not to mention loved America — there is no question that my religious faith would be challenged. I would look at the temple of secularism, the university, and see so much goodness and wisdom that I would have to wonder just how important God and religion were.
But I look at the university and see truth deconstructed, beauty reviled, America loathed, good and evil inverted, elementary truths about life denied, and I realize that one very powerful argument for God is that society cannot function successfully without reference to Him. So as much as I shudder almost every time I read of another academic taking an absurd position, I also feel my faith renewed. Ironically, the worse the universities get, the greater their tribute to God.” In other words, as with Harvard University, elevating man over God as the source of ultimate wisdom leads to such foolishness that people are drawn back to God!
Our verse this week says that only a fool despises wisdom and instruction. Rejecting God in our schools means rejecting wisdom. As we watch the absurd positions the leftist, secular voices promote in America today, let’s make sure as Christians we understand who we are up against. The easiest way to get shot in a battle is to not know who the enemy is. And they are after our children, in the schools we are paying for.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.