Integrating Faith and Learning
Concepts that will assist in integrating our faith into our learning begins with
the belief that a Christian college is distinctive in that the Christian faith can
touch the entire range of life and learning to which a liberal education cannot.
The main objective for attending a Christian college is that it offers academic
excellence with a deep understanding of the foundational commitments of
Christian faith. Holmes statement that faith and learning interact rather than
integrate is somewhat confusing because he later on talks of integrating the two.
The need to integrate a positive attitude and motivation is a good place to start.
It is hard to have a positive attitude towards college if you are of the belief that
college is only a means to what is really important; a job or career. But if we can
integrate a positive attitude towards the journey that leads us to the end goal of
the perfect job, or better yet, a rewarding and fulfilling career, the journey will
be an enjoyable one.
Holmes speaks of a foundational approach integrating faith and learning. He
identifies history and philosophy as “foundational disciplines”. In history there are
many samples of faith in creative contact with learning that we can refer to. It
is also very important to explore how faith can improve on our ability to learn, to
go beyond our scientific limitations and ask ourselves the how, and why faith
plays a part in our studies.
Holmes also approaches the concept of integrating ethical issues with learning.
He states that the ethical approach to integration must explore the intrinsic
relationship between facts and the values of justice and love. This is where faith
integrates with a belief in and commitment to God with an ethical learning how to
value judgments. Holmes goes on to explain that the greatest effect of Christian
theology is in the humanities where we'll find explicit views of human nature, of
God, of morals, and of life. Being able to use Christian theology along side, or with,
our learning habits opens doors not normally available to the non-Christian student.
Another approach Holmes takes is the worldview. That we, as Christians are able
to see all things in relationship to God. He breaks the worldview into four
characteristics. First, that we can see things as a whole, a systematic understanding
approach of life and everything that encompasses. Secondly, that a worldview is
exploring God's creation in every area of life and learning as it is related to the
wisdom and power of God. A third characteristic would be thinking pluralisticly.
Being open minded and giving thought to the different experiences we have from
practically ever other person on this earth. Going beyond the Christian perspectives
we share with other Christians, but exploring our differences. Fourth, a worldview
is confessional and perspectival. Perspectival being an acute clearness of a mental
vision and understanding.
Students need to work their way painfully through the maze of alternative ideas
and arguments while finding out how the Christian faith speaks to such matters.
They need to be exposed to the frontier of learning where problems are still not
fully formulated and knowledge is exploding. Faith affects learning far more deeply
than learning affects faith. Integrating learning will contribute to the creative...
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