Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 12. 1965.
Visiting English Lecturer Says: — Neutral Varsities Abdicate Responsibility
Visiting English Lecturer Says:
Neutral Varsities Abdicate Responsibility
It is up to the university Religious Societies to debate the great issues of our times, since the universities themselves have abdicated this responsibility in their "monstrous facade of neutrality."
This opinion was expressed by Dr. R. J. Goldman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Reading University, when he spoke to a small group in the Memorial Theatre on August 6.
Dr. Goldman stated that a truly secular education ensures that no important issues will ever be discussed. To his mind, academic irresponsibility amounts to "opening minds to such an extent that they can't close again." He said this was reminiscent of a remark made about Lloyd George, that "he sat on the fence until the iron entered his soul."
There is one word operative above all others in Dr. Goldman's vocabulary: it is "creative." He referred to the university as "a creative educative establishment" (and education he defined as "the development of the capacity to educate oneself"). He felt that the emphasis in university work should be on stimulation and exploration, making individuals aware of the myriad choices available to them, and not furthering one particular body of truth. He deplored the type of lecture described as "the process of transferring notes from the lecturer's pad to the student's pad, without the contents passing through the minds of either."
Religious Societies likewise should be creative and outward-going, Dr. Goldman felt—not becoming "inverted religious navel scrutinisers." He stressed the need for Christians to keep abreast of contemporary issues and current theology, and advocated a series of common core lectures at every university. These would examine the fundamental Christian values of our civilisation: their origin, and their validity for twentieth-century life. Such lectures are necessary, Dr. Goldman said, if we are to understand our society and make responsible choices.
One of the most controversial opinions that Dr. Goldman holds is that religious and moral training should be separate. His research has indicated that 75 per cent of English adolescents will not embrace their religious teaching. If this is correlative with morality, it would have disastrous social consequences.
A statement he made during the question period was characteristic of Dr. Goldman's emphasis on the need to stimulate creative thinking. He said he believed that "it is not enough for religion to comfort the afflicted: it must also afflict the comforted."