With the nation and the world at large continuing to fall into division and strife, as particularly seen on social media following the recent election, many outlets are looking for solutions to the problems at hand. For Forbes, their solution is a familiar one to Christendom students: a liberal arts education, which allows one to see the world from a multi-faceted view, enabling one to understand others’ opinions and see beyond one perspective.
Written by Willard Dix, who covers college admissions for Forbes, the article sees a liberal arts education as a salve to society’s wounds, which are so often caused by peoples’ failures to understand other perspectives. In specialized educations, students’ viewpoints are often narrowed and restricted to only a few subjects, resulting in many of today’s college students not being capable of debating some of the most crucial topics of the modern day.
“In times of great division, the capacity to see others’ viewpoints and the imperative to assess one’s own become more and more important. A liberal arts education works for us, no matter what our political leanings are. We need it now more than ever,” says Dix.
For Dix, and much of academia, the liberal arts broaden the mind and liberate it from unthinking prejudice. They allow people to gather the facts of any given subject, interpret them, and then make informed decisions based on them, resulting in different viewpoints — but different viewpoints backed up by knowledge and understanding.
Dix lays out this key point through an example from his undergraduate days, when he was assigned two readings concerning the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Rather than both simply laying out the facts of the era, the books presented two entirely different ways of interpreting the period. Through this exercise, Dix was shown that history is not simply names and dates, but is rather about the interpretation of those facts as well. The world works in the same way, and a liberal arts education allows one to see the world not narrowly, but rather in a multi-faceted way.
“[A liberal arts education] forces students to see multiple viewpoints and continually challenge their own. It removes the comfort of assuming there are “right” answers to big questions, that civilization moves in a linear fashion or that facts are facts no matter who looks at them. But it also introduces students to the pleasures of debate and the ever-expanding world of ideas. It opens doors, enabling the mind to go wherever it wants in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. It bends toward openness instead of containment,” says Dix.
Many of today’s problems arise out of a simple failure to listen from both sides. It was precisely for these situations, and others, that a Christendom education was created, as it opens the minds of students to history, philosophy, theology, and other disciplines, in order to help them understand multiple viewpoints and come to reasoned conclusions. Rather than look at subjects through a keyhole, Christendom students are able to see the full picture, wrestle with complex problems, and see them through the light of reason, all tied together in the tradition of the Catholic faith.
To read the entirety of this article, please visit Forbes.