The Saving Nature of a Liberal Education

Crisis Magazine | 7/23/2019 | Ashley G. Miller
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Reading good books can help save your soul. A liberal education and Christianity share a mutual pursuit of the truth. With the torrential influx of electronic entertainment and the focus on STEM-based disciplines, people today are reading books less than ever before. This is one of the great crises of our time. The National Endowment for the Arts annual survey found that only 43 percent of US adults read literature. Probably even fewer are reading the great books, yet the need in our culture for what books provide a person is greater than ever before. Reading books offers pleasure, utility, truth, and salvation.

I’ve always loved reading for the pleasure of it. I’ve always proudly worn the title of “bookworm,” but I only wanted to read because it was fun. As I read voraciously, I learned voraciously, but this was an accidental byproduct. I didn’t realize how much I was learning about the human condition. I just liked books. I liked the stories. I found them immensely pleasurable. The stories and characters were thrilling; adventure, mystery, fairytales, and fantasy were the drugs I couldn’t get enough of. It didn’t occur to me to read something that would help me get a job, or discover the truth of my humanity, or even to read to find eternal salvation, despite the religious component of my education. I just liked to read for fun. I never had a single doubt that I wanted to be an English major in college.

Decision - English - Pursuit - Pleasure - Books

So my decision to major in English was hardly a noble pursuit; I only wanted to bask in the pleasure of books. I didn’t even consider that there was so much more to books than enjoyment. I waved off the questions of “What are you going to do with that major?” not because I stood...
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