I noticed two contrasting articles from a couple of back issues of World Magazine (and yes, I promise to do more than just read and comment on what World says). The first article is from the May 14, 2005 issue, and talks about a Princeton senior who plays high stakes poker. Two quotes from him are enlightening. The first is on the value he places on his chosen profession: “My parents thought I should do something useful…I thought that [winning $10,000 last summer] was pretty useful.” Apparently, the usefulness of the job is determined by how much money one can make from it, and how quickly.
The second quote concerns his post-graduate career: “I don’t think I can make $120,000 doing anything but poker”. Hence the career choice: that which will make me 1) the most money 2) in the easiest way, is the career for me.
I contrast this with an article in the previous week’s World. In the May 7 issue, there are a few quotes from a man who taught at Princeton Theological Seminary. J. Gresham Machen gave a commencement speech many years ago, and he said the following: “The man who today enters upon the Christian life is enlisting in a warfare against the whole current of the age.” I have to agree; the current of the age is this: get a job that makes money. Machen also says that conflict with the world “can be avoided if the one who professes Christianity adapts his message to the desires of those who are about him.” Ouch.
I was thinking of how this applies to the average high school kid who professes Christianity. This student is taking his Biology test and is confronted with some question about evolution. If the student believes that God created the earth, putting that down as an answer will result in getting the question wrong. The student is now faced with a dilemma. Do I answer honestly and get the question wrong, or do I give the expected answer, even though I don’t agree with it?
Here’s how I think the reasoning goes:
I can give the expected answer, even though I don’t agree with it. The expected answer will get me a good grade on this test. A good grade on the test will get me a good grade in this class. With a good grade in this class, I can get into a good college. A good college will help me get a good job. A good job is one that will make me more money.
Thus we run into the current of the age.
I have the opportunity for the next week to spend some extended time with high school and middle school students. I plan to ask the students, test out my theory and see if I’m right.