I am a 2005 Cedarville graduate with a major in Pre-seminary Bible and minors in Philosophy and the Honors Program. After graduating I taught theology for one year in Africa and earned M.A. degrees in Theology and in Applied Linguistics upon my return. I currently work in the financial industry, and my wife and I are actively engaged in our church and with the refugee population in our community.
The philosophy program, the Honors program, and my meetings with Dr. David Mills as director of each, are quite literally the reasons why I attended Cedarville University instead of any of the other public or private universities I considered. I am deeply saddened that my alma mater is even considering eliminating the philosophy department. I’m also fearful that the University’s hope to equip students to “Think Broadly and Deeply” and to “Engage for Christ” a world fundamentally at odds with biblical truth is in serious jeopardy if it dismantles the program.
I’ve smiled as I’ve read the posts here from numerous classmates and friends from Cedarville. I have little to add, and I echo so many of them: the courses in philosophy that I took at Cedarville, most of them with Dr. Mills, continue to be among the most important courses I have taken, bar none. Where else can we try on ideas, explore them, discover their positive aspects, and dissect their flaws and/or implications? I well remember wrestling through some particularly gnarly passages of Derrida in an independent study and thinking–I have to disagree with this guy on this particular point, but how do I even do it? If I disagree with this, then I also have to go back and disagree with this, and I’m not sure I know how to do that…where do I even begin? It seems so comprehensive!
Philosophy disciplined me to think carefully, diligently, and systematically in a way that few other subjects of study do or can do. Dr. Mills frequently quoted historical theologians and their quest for “faith seeking understanding.” Yet “faith seeking understanding” does not occur in a void; rather, we seek understanding amidst a cacophony of competing voices, some obviously and badly recycled, some seemingly quite novel. The University will be impoverished in a way few can imagine without the continuance of the philosophy program and the model of “thinking Christians” that professors like Dr. Mills embody.
I hope that you, the board of trustees and administrators, would consider carefully the practical and symbolic significance that eliminating the philosophy department entails and choose to continue to support and enhance its mission within the university setting.