Last time in “Losing your religion…”, I shared a quote by Joshua Greene. His pointing at a positive coorelation between increased rational thinking along with decreasing belief in a god gained a nod from me. Growing up, as I did, the nod serves as a firm hand shake from a distance. His wording, though, suggests that the relation is the result of a direct causal connection, but using coorelations in this fashion too often proves wrong.
Now, I must confess that right along with my nods came an urge to slap his hand, like mom did when I was grabbing at a fresh cookie. Relations between these two classifications of human behavior are too deep and complex for such a simple inference. Rather than Greene’s, hint, hint … know what I mean, know what I mean … nudge, nudge … I would prefer a definite call to test this implication out. It is meaningful to push further, running the risk of losing the higher ground you’re standing on.
Seating a seeming rejection of God in this true point, I see as a mistake. Across my professional years I have known two basic directions of runs through education. Starting off in and completing a pastoral BA but then heading off to gain a masters in Social Work, by inference, should have meant my eventually leaving the church. I didn’t.
In my age group those who stayed in the mix of their Bible college years, by going on to be pastors have dominantly remained there. Those who went on to seminary were even more likely to keep in step. Being thirty years past graduating from college, I know the absolute majority of my college buddies are still pastors. I also know that the majority of friends and aquaintances in graduate school who’d been raised in some fashion of the church were working on their MSW’s to, in their eyes, run a better path in helping people than Christianity offered.
My direct experience isn’t necessarily true across the board, but it is an example of my queasiness with Joshua’s conjecture. I would rather suggest the true correlation between advanced education and decreased connections with religion bespeaks social entrapment. One facet of the dynamic is a too common experience of too many children, who from the start, have no interest in the church. By the time, their 18th or so year rolls around they leave their formal connection with the church on the coffee table back at home. So then, my point isn’t the end of his suggestion, rather I think he is pointing at a set of dynamics with long tattered threads woven back into religion, in general, and the church in particular.