By: Paul Murano – May, 2019
Although my social media posts, website blurbs, and newspaper articles pull no punches in articulating my personal take on important issues, my teaching style is very different. My approach in the college classroom is objective and Socratic, allowing for students to think for themselves by following reason wherever it may lead. In philosophy classes I do not give my own conclusions or opinions on ethical issues in order not to short-circuit the learning process of students discovering and owning their own reasoned conclusions.
I have a tradition in that after the final exam is complete and the semester is officially over I invite students to voluntarily remain in class to ask me questions about where I personally stand on all the issues covered through the semester, and my reasons why. A good percentage of them usually remains.
I have two general observations to share from this accumulated end-of-semester experience:
The first observation is that there seems to be three general categories of young adults to consider. The first are those hungry for the truth. This is the majority. They have been raised in a culture of intellectual and moral chaos, causing utter confusion and dissatisfaction with their lives. Most of them sense an alternative to what the world offers, but do not know what it is. Their hearts are open. The second category of students includes those who aren’t ready for the truth. They know their thinking is inconsistent and unreasonable, but are not yet ready to examine or challenge themselves. This is often due to fear that truth may be too painful to handle at this point in their lives. The third category are those whose hearts are closed and hardened. They harbor deep seated anger and animosity, often due to a perceived need to uphold a lie in order to justify their moral life choices. They unwittingly deflect onto others their own unconscious self-loathing. Fortunately, there is usually only one or two of these students per class. They are almost always female.
The second observation I have is that foreign students raised in non-western cultures tend to think more clearly than American students. They haven’t been formed in the nihilistic propaganda piped in through the media and confirmed by academia. They are virtually untouched by the poison of secular progressivism, and do not have the burden of having to sift through all the intellectual snares and moral pressures that haunt young Americans today.
All in all, for Americans and foreigners alike, I am rather hopeful that it may not a lost cause. However, young people must be reached before they settle into middle age and become too comfortable or too angry to embrace the truth. Most of them are hungry for it now, as painfully confused as they may be. All they need are more sane people to rise up with courage and role model what a person of integrity looks like in a culture of denial. They want to be challenged, but need to see what wisdom and courage looks like, from more people like you.
Paul Murano teaches college philosophy and theology and is talk host of ‘Beneath the Surface’ radio show and podcast – where faith and reason meet. He also has a youtube page of videocasts, and is a solo musician who plays oldies and originals. Check out Paul’s website at Paulmurano.com, and email him at PJDM@aol.com.