This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 40, number 03 (2017).
A battle over free speech dominates the newsfeeds of online media. The rhetoric grows harsher as two sides seek to establish competing narratives. Are our universities dominated by a privileged class that forces vulnerable minorities to study in a hostile environment, or is the problem really that emotionally fragile students cannot handle dissenting opinions without experiencing emotional meltdowns? It can be difficult to establish a clear definition of safe spaces or to determine limits to the right of students to govern their participation in curriculum they find troubling. Any effort to communicate is frustrated by different sides using similar moral terminology with different meanings, one objectively grounded and the other emotionally grounded. We must recommit to understanding universities as institutions aimed at fostering open dialogue in pursuit of knowledge and truth. The Bible offers examples of countering bad speech with good speech through the examples of both Jesus and Paul. We cannot become so afraid of offending others that we cease to equip the next generation of intellectual leaders to confront the most difficult issues of our age. [READ ARTICLE HERE]