Faith and Inquiry

My wife’s uncle recently, and somewhat smugly, said something to the effect, “It’s too bad you’re studying philosophy (or perhaps any subject) at BYU since you only get one perspective.” For the most part, I’ve found this is simply not true. I’ve found professors and students not nearly as homogeneous as often portrayed. Though I agree with my wife’s uncle that we should engage in dialogue with those of differing opinions, since there are, of course, disadvantages when only a single perspective is represented on a topic, I’d like to focus on one potential positive interpretation of the sameness he suggested. There is at Brigham Young University a shared ground of faith, and not only should that faith be a vital element of BYU, it can play a similar role at other religiously affiliated schools. I would like to suggest briefly three ways that faith influences, or can influence, scholarship and the teaching and learning process. First, faith can open up inquiry, encouraging us to seek truth. Second, faith can make certain things stand out or become salient as we learn and research. Third, faith can give us a vision of the divine potential in others, and this vision can transform the learning process.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 49:2
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