Penn State

Sjoerd W. Duiker - Associate Professor of Soil Management and Applied Soil Physics, Penn State University Park

Book Title: A Christian Critique of the University

Author: Charles Malik

Book Description:

Dr. Malik was an outstanding academic – having earned his B.A in mathematics and physics at the American University in Beirut and an M.S. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard University. He published articles on philosophical, religious, political, diplomatic, and international matters. He received honorary doctorates from more than 50 universities in Europe and North America. He was also an international diplomat and served as the Ambassador of Lebanon in Washington in the late 40s/early 50s. He was a signatory for Lebanon of the Charter of the United Nations and chaired 5 major organs of the United Nations. He was chair of the Third Committee of the General Assembly which elaborated the final text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this book Dr. Malik’s love and admiration for the university is evident. He calls it “one of the greatest creations of Western civilization”. As Dr. Malik explains, it dominates the other 6 institutions (family, church, state, economic enterprise, the professions, and the media). The university is the foundation of Western Civilization, because it is the home of freedom – freedom of inquiry and unfettered curiosity, and total fearlessness of and openness to the truth. This book also shows Dr. Malik’s love and admiration for Jesus Christ, who called Himself “The Truth”, Who had a major impact on the university and Western Civilization, but Who’s presence seems unwanted today in the university. The sciences and humanities are governed by philosophies that suggest that Jesus Christ has no relevance to the matter and spirit of scientific research and learning. What is worse is that scientists don’t seem to have the freedom to discuss whether this is true. Dr. Malik tells us Western Civilization will take a turn for the worst if we don’t take serious the question “what does Jesus Christ think about the University”. The challenge what to do about this was put before us 25 years ago by a fearless Christian from the Middle East, respected in academic and political circles alike. His courage and vision inspire me and explain why I select this book upon my award of promotion and tenure at Penn State University.


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