Stuck in the Dark Ages 2

October 7, 2010

It seems strange for your editorial to evoke a battlefront between religion and secularism in universities while also drawing into the debate John Henry Newman ("The space for a spirit to know", 23 September). There is no real battlefront in the academy, only individuals who defend one cause or the other, with varying degrees of influence.

Newman would have us know and value the individual student, and encourage us to use their university education to steer them towards personal wholeness. This journey will involve at some stage - if it is honest - decisions about the value of a religious outlook on life. Only an individual can make these decisions. In this sense, the dilemmas of vice-chancellors matter a good deal less than the personal thoughts and growth of individual students. If a university ceases to care about this, it has lost the plot.

Mark Ogden, Durham University.

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