What Harvard wrought in California

Why we should be concerned about the university’s incoming class

(photo from Father Barron’s September 17 Real Clear Religion article)

The following comes from a September 17 Real Clear Religion article by Robert Barron. Bishop Robert Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder of Word on Fire.

It was revealed this week that, for the first time in its history, Harvard University, which had been founded for religious purposes and named for a minister of the Gospel, has admitted a freshman class in which atheists and agnostics outnumber professed Christians and Jews.

Also this week, the House and the Senate of California passed a provision that allows for physician assisted suicide in the Golden State. As I write these words, the governor of California is deliberating whether to sign the bill into law. Though it might seem strange to suggest as much, I believe that the make-up of the Harvard freshman class and the passing of the suicide law are related.

I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised that non-believers have come to outnumber believers among the rising cohort of the American aristocracy. For the whole of their lives, these young people have been immersed in the corrosive acids of relativism, scientism, and materialism. Though they have benefitted from every advantage that money can afford, they have been largely denied what the human heart most longs for: contact with the transcendent, with the good, true, and beautiful in their properly unconditioned form.

But as Paul Tillich, echoing the Hebrew prophets, reminded us, we are built for worship, and therefore in the absence of God, we will make some other value our ultimate concern. Wealth, power, pleasure, and honor have all played the role of false gods over the course of the human drama, but today especially, freedom itself has emerged as the ultimate good, as the object of worship. And what this looks like on the ground is that our lives come to belong utterly to us, that we become great projects of self-creation and self-determination.

The denial of God — or the blithe bracketing of the question of God — is not a harmless parlor game. Rather, it carries with it the gravest implications. If there is no God, then our lives do indeed belong to us, and we can do with them what we want. If there is no God, our lives have no ultimate meaning or transcendent purpose, and they become simply artifacts of our own designing. Accordingly, when they become too painful or too shallow or just too boring, we ought to have the prerogative to end them. We can argue the legalities and even the morality of assisted suicide until the cows come home, but the real issue that has to be engaged is that of God’s existence.

The incoming freshman class at Harvard is a disturbing omen indeed, for the more our society drifts into atheism, the more human life is under threat. The less we are willing even to wrestle with God, the more de-humanized we become.


  1. Michael McDermott says:

    The hollow halls of the pathetic farce of Academentia – Ring with the echo of the MIsandry (Hatred of Men & Boys, Masculinity & Normal Heterosexuality) that informs and motivates the Gaystapo Thought Police.

    During the rise of the Homo-Nazi Reich under pederast founder Ernst Rohm & his diseased prostitute boy toy Hitler – Academentia sold out for power and position (and $$) in much the same way – while the Boy Scouts were Destroyed and all boys forced in to the ‘Hitler Youth’, where like college – they were gotten drunk / drugged and buggered / poxed – with blackmail pictures sent to the family to fill the party funds..

    Then we had Propaganda Minister Goebbels to provide a ‘Beard’ (phony heterosexual mistress Eva Braun) for…

  2. Michael McDermott says:

    BTW – Stating these Facts is Thought Crime in Academentia:

    San Francisco archbishop blasts gender transitions as threat to faith

    “The clear biological fact is that a human being is born either male or female,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said at the start of an address in Manhattan at a conference aimed at promoting an older form of the Mass in Latin.

    “Yet now we have the idea gaining acceptance that biological sex and one’s personal gender identity can be at variance with each other, with more and more gender identities being invented,” said Cordileone, who is the point man in the battle against gay…

  3. It’s rare that when the subject of faith comes up, someone tells me they are an atheist. What I do hear a lot is “Spiritual, but not religious.” To many young people identify being ” religious” with the worst of the Protestant fundamentalist, hypocritical Josh Duggar types.

  4. Michael McDermott says:

    Gosh – Houda thunk the ‘anonymous’ radical homosex Trolls who hound this Catholic Forum and the Church Teachings supported here, would have anything to actually add to the discussion?
    Nobody paying attention I say – so just Scroll by the Troll, and don’t be put off from participating in the actual discussion and please – Don’t Feed the Trolls.

  5. It is true that almost half of Harvard student’s parents earn more than $200, 000 a year, 20 % of their parents earn less than $65,000.

    I was an atheist/ agnostic in college, too. I am no longer.

  6. And they give these students titles of the best and the brightest, and scholarships too, especially at Harvard with its rich alumni making generous donations. So sad, their souls are empty, and they are looked upon as tomorrow’s leaders. Then there are the good spiritual, high morals and values kids of this nation, and they can’t get accepted because of reverse discrimination. Actually for the sake of their souls, it is better that way as liberal colleges will turn them into atheists or agnostics by the time they graduate and then their souls are lost. That is certainly a tragedy we want never to happen, better to not go to college and be poorer, than to be rich and God-less. Like our Lord said what good does it do a man to have…

  7. Linda Maria says:

    I could never understand, in the 1960’s, why Academia let the “babies” all have hippie, liberal “toddler tantrums,” demanding stupid, useless “freedoms,” and wrecking our Nation’s college campuses— and then, wrecking our entire Nation! WHY?? And WHY allow the sickening, degenerate “noise” of rock “music,” partying, dope, and “free” sex?? If I were in charge– I would have demanded keeping good standards, and would have permanently kicked out all of these horrible kids, barring any return!! Go home, juvenile delinquents, and grow up! Your Mommy and Daddy had better teach you good manners, good morals, self-discipline, the WORK ETHIC, respect for society– and ADULT behavior!!

  8. Linda Maria says:

    I will add something, to my above post. Our culture began to move way too fast, in the late 1950’s, and early 1960’s!! Too much technological advancement, too many cars and freeways, too much fast food and fast-everything; too much running around– instead of cultivating a normal, relaxed, close-knit, healthy, happy family life!! Many post-war workers earned a great deal, and could afford new luxuries. Yet– so many felt alienated, dehumanized, and lost, and we saw a tragic breakdown of marriage and family life, morality, and religion! Lots of immoral, liberal, social activists and “quacks” were also ready to sell people a “quick, cheap (and immoral!) fix” to their problems! Very sad!

  9. Linda Maria says:

    The only way to fix our country, and Academia— is to return to God, religion, Traditional Marriage and Family, traditional education (no modern, liberal garbage!), and traditional Judeo-Christian morality, as well as the very authentic, original foundations of our country, laid by our Founding Fathers! The WORK ETHIC, good manners, good speech, good dress, good morals, high standards, and cultivation of an excellent American scholarly academia, on par with the very best, of other nations!! College should be only for intellectuals, who excel in their fields! All colleges should uphold America’s Judeo-Christian morality, belief in God, and welcome and encourage prayer, and all religions!

  10. Linda Maria says:

    It is interesting to note, historically– that Greece was only able to sustain a high level of true democracy, for about 150 years, about three generations! True practice of democracy— a great political system!— requires a lot of hard work, self-discipline, good morals, and sincere dedication! There is another sad thing, that many post-war Americans fail to understand, raised in an era of luxury— America was bought, and has been kept, at a very high price, the price of self-sacrifice, in the blood of those who have lost their lives, or have been left extremely wounded, while defending our Nation, in wartime! That is an unforgettable reality, sadly!

  11. Bishop Barron provides a good analysis of how we have arrived at the socio political situation in our nation’s history, and where we will go for the immediate future unless Christians put Jesus first over our comfortable American life which demands that we walk lockstep with the atheism that now has attained dominance.

    • Linda Maria says:

      I think atheism also is a by-product of extremely selfish, “Me-Generation” self-worship. When he fell from Heaven, Lucifer cried, “Non serviam!” (“I will not serve!”) The Church has a big job to do, to combat Satan, and to teach and preach and inculcate Christ’s teachings, in her people.

  12. I pray Gov. Jerry Brown will veto Euthanasia again. If he signs this bipartisan bill (yes, it received some Republican votes) it will be slippery slope and elderly people will have to avoid going to hospitals to avoid termination in the name of Obamacare and Social Justice.

  13. Jesus said that “MANY” will not be saved, “FEW” will be saved.
    Mt 7:13-14 and Lk 13:23:28.
    At the time of each person’s particular judgment, there will be little excuse for the literate because we have been given the Bible and the CCC.
    * * CCC: ” 1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility.
    This is the case when a man takes little trouble to find out what is true and good,
    or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin. In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.”

  14. Bp Robert Barron has to take some blame – because in his teaching video he states that we can hope that most people are going to Heaven. –
    even though GOD clearly stated otherwise – Mt 13:14-15, Lk 13:23-28.
    Whom do you believe, JESUS or Barron ?
    “Fr. Robert Barron on Whether Hell is Crowded or Empty”
    – – – – – There is no need to believe in God, no need for repentance of sin, no need for a firm purpose of amendment not to commit those sins again – if almost everyone is going to Heaven anyway like Barron claims.

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