This is good, but it makes me re-think a thought that I’ve been re-thinking more and more the deeper I get into graduate studies. Are we not too critical and too prone to “problematize” in academia? Are teachers really doing their students a favor by putting them in situations where they are afraid to give a constructive answer (e.g., to the question “What is the gospel?”) because they KNOW it will be torn apart, but quite ready to give a critical answer (e.g., to the question, “What are some problems with the atonement?”). My university training has made me 1) quite appreciative of my Christian upbringing and 2) highly desirous to give my future students a positive, constructive educational experience (such as I’ve received from some professors, but not from others). Does that make sense? I guess it seems to me like the problem is not simplistic child training at all, but broadly deconstructive higher education.
I think you need to do us all the favor of either 1) adding to your comment or 2) writing a post about it on your own blog! I’m not fully sure I follow.
In other words, could it be the teacher’s fault (or the teachers’ fault) that Larsen’s students are afraid to offer a constructive response to a simple question like “What is the gospel?”?
My university training made me appreciative of my upbringing as well; I haven’t moved very many theological inches away from where I grew up, and my movements haven’t all been to the left.
But without being able to sit down with you and draw out more fully what you’re saying… I think the thing that really stuck with me from this article is that young adult (and adult) Christians may come to unjustly despise their parents and childhood teachers when they begin to realize that the world is not quite as cut-and-dry as it was presented to them. They may not realize that the presentation was given by people who came to that same realization before they were born; they simply couldn’t get the literal-minded students in front of them to get it, so they offered a more simplistic version of the truth. Does THAT make sense?