Despite everything that I've done - educator, banker, engineering technician, insurance, published writer - I only have one college degree.
I picked up some engineering classes. I've managed to get my insurance license as well as a few other certifications here and there. I tell people sometimes that I have a Masters because honestly I feel like I do. I am something like 12 credit hours shy of a degree in Biology as well.
My degree in education taught me two things and two things only. The first was how to research. If I don't know something I'll find out about in a matter of minutes or hours, depending on hard the subject at hand is. The second goes hand in hand with that research. It taught me how to think. How to question? How to debate.
It's served me well over time.
So when I hear a story about the lack of education among a certain religious group, in this case the Jehovah Witness group. I want to scream at my radio.
Not only do they pressure their youth not to go to college, but also to drop out of high school. It seems to me that any faith that can't handle the pressure of being questioned is no faith at all.
One of their leaders, Tony Morris, actually comes out and clearly states that even associating with those of another faith can make you question your own. "If we are in continued association with those who do not believe the same, it can erode our thinking and convictions… It is one thing to work on a job with others, and quite another matter to immerse oneself in an institution of “learning.”
The old days of the perfect 1950's family are long gone. Frankly we have to stop yearning for them.
Back to the topic at hand. Jehovah's Witness believers have the lowest education out of all believers. No surprise when you consider that quote above.
As such they are often the lowest paid workers in the United States. Now in their defense I do understand that they believe that the Judgment day could be as early as next Tuesday. Why prepare for the future when you have no future. Seems rather dark and disturbing to me.
I started thinking about education in general and the Western Religions. Islam had a fantastic history of encouraging education and the sciences in general. Frankly don't let the morons of ISIS or other groups fool you. They still encourage education and science.
When your speaking to your Indonesian doctor or your engineer from Bangladesh, chances are that he or she is a Muslim. Indeed, according to a 2010 study, something like 23% of the world practices Islam to some extent.
I'll do the math for the Jehovah's Witness's in the group. That is nearly 1 in every 4 people on earth.
Judaism has a long history of supporting education. So does Catholicism. In fact, the Catholic definition of a miracle is something that science can not explain.
All these faiths have grown and changed over time. Sometimes because of history, sometimes because of changes in the society, sometimes because you just can't explain something without reexamine something core to your belief.
I suppose that is what scares more fundamentalist sects (like the morons in ISIS or the Witnesses). Because if you are able to question God, then you have to look within your self and find your own failings. You have to face up to the fact that maybe God did create the Homosexual. Maybe God, in fact, is planning something other than your narrow world view.
It's a shade of Grey. It's in that grey area that really cool stuff happens. It's called growth, it's called learning. I'll take a shade of grey over something black or white any day of the week.
I know that education can't solve all questions. Your faith though has to be tested now and again, if it's not then it's not a true faith. It's just a lie you tell yourself.