I came to Cedarville in the fall of 2010. I have never been the academic type but I lasted two years before dropping out. Currently, I alternate between living at a communal farm in rural Tasmania and exploring the Australian mainland while living out of a back of a van. While not a member of the honours program, I was graciously allowed to sit in on the Making of the Modern Mind. Dr. Mills communicated a multitude of knowledge so effectively that I believe I learned more from sitting in on that one class then from any other class I was actually enrolled in my freshman year. After experiencing the Making of the Modern Mind, I decided to become a philosophy major. The philosophy classes I took were the most practical ones I took while at Cedarville. These philosophy professors, Dr. Graves and Dr. Mills, taught me how to think critically. They made me aware that all of life, including the life of the mind, has an ethical component. They opened my eyes to just how many diverse viewpoints can exist within the body of Christ. They gave me a strong appreciation for art and taught me to think through the essentials of my faith. As I went through the process of struggling with the questions that philosophy brings, Dr. Graves and Dr. Mills stretched me by giving me more than I thought I could intellectually handle. They always respected the human ability to think and, unlike other class, did not try to indoctrinate me with simple answers. Looking back, the only classes that left a lasting impression on my life, were the philosophy classes.
On a deeper level, Dr. Mills and Dr. Graves modelled how to be a Christian. While at Cedarville I seemed to go from one personal crisis to the other, Dr. Graves and Dr. Mills doors were always open if I needed someone to talk too. They graciously offered themselves to me in such a Christlike manner. They acted sacrificially more than was practical. I’m sure countless numbers of students have similar stories.
I believe that one of the reasons these two men are so Christ-like is because God has given them such a deep love for philosophy. Philosophy requires hard work and deep thinking. Dr. Mills and Dr. Graves constantly challenge themselves mentally. They desire to live integrated lives as well. As a result they challenge themselves spiritually as much as they challenge themselves mentally. They question whether or not they love as much as Christ would and end up usually challenging themselves to love more. They question whether they have been handling a certain ethical issue correctly. This same trend, at varying levels, appears throughout the philosophy department. During my short stint at Cedarville, I noticed a desire towards godliness within the philosophy students. They always were challenging themselves to be more in every area. Many of those I know who have graduated with philosophy majors are now involved in sacrificial work around the world; teaching English overseas, working with Teach For America. I’m sure there are many examples I do not know of. Philosophy teaches people to look beyond themselves and to sacrifice. Two attributes that any Christian University ought to encourage. In order to encourage Christ-likeness, the philosophy program should be kept if not expanded. Not solely for declared philosophy majors, but for all students who wish to become more Christ-like.