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Monday, February 16, 2009

Graduate School Drop Out

Most people know that I am a Christian, but what they don’t know is that once upon a time I used to worship an idol. It was the most important thing in my life--more important than my health, my family, and even God. I’m referring to my ambitious career goals. They sounded something like this:

I will get all A’s in school at any cost.
I will graduate top of my class.
I will enter the prestigious universities.
I will get a PhD and become a renowned professor.
My research will be published in the top-tiered journals.
I will have a large house and live comfortably.
I will walk on whomever I have to walk on and compromise almost anything in order to achieve my lofty goals.

Compare this self-centered ambition with that of another being mentioned in Isaiah 14:13,14.

For you have said in your heart:

‘ I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’

That being was none other than Satan himself. Of course my ambitions were motivated by other factors. I grew up poor and I became determined to never experience poverty again. That however, does not excuse my self-centeredness.

Oh how the pendulum has swung! Fast-forward just a few years later and here I am a graduate student in my apartment typing a blog entitled graduate-school drop-out. Perhaps I’ve ventured into the dangerous territory of indifference, but somehow none of that stuff that I prized and worshipped so much really seems that important in the long run. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias once said that “The loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced what you thought would deliver the ultimate, and it has let you down.” And how correct he was.

It took me two years to get into graduate school. I had to delay applying to graduate school as a college senior because of some unexpected issues. I applied hoping to be accepted fall 2007, but because of low GRE scores I didn’t get in. No problem I’ll just work harder. After all, nothing’s more important than my personal advancement. So I applied again this time I did get an acceptance letter. When that letter came in the mail I was nothing short of elated! Now I will be a success. I won’t have to wash dishes, clean windows, and serve french fries anymore. Now I will have purpose!

So here I am a graduate student. I spent every cent I had to move to 475 miles away from home. I often worked for 10 to 12 hours straight at the restaurant last summer so that I’d have enough money to move. I said goodbye to everything familiar and important to me in order to sip from the fountain of intellectualism. And what a pathetic, sour fountain it is! What a lonely moment!

No. I don’t regret moving, but I do regret going to graduate school. Instead of the fountain of untapped knowledge I anticipated, I stood face to face with pluralism, secularism, postmodernism, atheism, relativism, and nihilism. Class discussions scoffed at the idea of creation. Students and professors frequently bashed God and His sacred teachings. Indeed I met people who were “forever learning but never coming to knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 3:7)”: People who spat on religion but referred to “my kind” as the close-minded ones.

The so-called scholars are indeed, as Ravi Zacharias put it, educating themselves into imbecility. The studies are ostentatious and esoteric, but lack even a shred of wisdom. Such jewels of knowledge such as parent’s behavior affects children, Gender and race discrimination still exists, and divorce is bad pepper their sacred literature. Millions of dollars every year are emptied into the intellectual abyss and for what? To prove--I’m sorry I’ve misspoken because research never proves anything it just suggests or provides evidence for--what common sense already tells us. What a Godless wasteland! I want nothing to do with it. How quickly do dreams crash and burn. Alas “Vanity of vanities… all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecc. 1)

As I look back on all the opportunities I had to learn more about God, all the opportunities I had to witness, all the time I could have been spending “seeking first the kingdom of God” I am reminded of another quote from the band Lifehouse “I know where I’ve been and I don’t wanna go there again.” With these thoughts in mind I consider abandoning transient university dogmas in order to pursue the Way the Truth and the Life.