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God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation are Changing America [Paperback]

By Naomi Schaefer Riley (Author)
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Item Number 119347  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   274
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 3, 2006
Publisher   Ivan R. Dee, Publisher
ISBN  1566636981  
EAN  9781566636988  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Religious colleges and universities in the United States are growing at a breakneck pace. By the tens and hundreds of thousands, some of America's brightest and most dedicated teenagers are choosing a different kind of college education, one that promises all the rigor of traditional liberal arts schools but also includes religious instruction from the Good Book and a mandate from above. In this eye-opening report, Naomi Schaefer Riley investigates these schools, interviewing administrators, professors, and students to produce the first comprehensive account of this important trend. With a critical but sympathetic eye, she takes the reader inside the halls of more than a dozen schools that are training grounds for the new missionary generation Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Mormon, and even Buddhist. What distinguishes these colleges from their secular counterparts? What do its students think about political activism, feminism, academic freedom, dating, race relations, homosexuality, and religious tolerance? The surprising answers in God on the Quad are a key to understanding the forces at work in post-9/11 America."

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More About Naomi Schaefer Riley

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Naomi Schaefer Riley is a weekly columnist for the "New York Post" and a former "Wall Street Journal" editor and writer whose work focuses on higher education, religion, philanthropy and culture. She is the author of several books on those topics. Her book, "'Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America" (Oxford, 2013), was named an editor's pick by the "New York Times Book Review." Ms. Riley's writings have appeared in the "Wall Street Journal," the "New York Times," the "Boston Globe," the "LA Times," and the "Washington Post," among other publications. She appears regularly on FoxNews and FoxBusiness. She has also appeared on Q&A with Brian Lamb as well as the Today Show. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in English and Government. She lives in the suburbs of New York with her husband, Jason, and their three children.

Naomi Schaefer Riley has an academic affiliation as follows - Institute for American Values.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
When you find yourself burning at the stake...  Jun 13, 2008
You will understand what Riley means by her subtitle. The schools the author reviews run the gamut from ultra-crazy (Bob Jones University), to institutions that aren't much different from secular universities (Baylor and Notre Dame). The common theme is that the crazy schools are cheap to attend, are utterly intolerant, and are beholden to the worst of the millennialist philosophies. Hence the gory interest in WWIII starting in the Middle East.

Riley's thesis is that religious schools, most of the world calls them madrasas, are pumping out good little believers with outstanding morals and ethics. Never mind the Catholic church sex scandals, since the students are so isolated they have virtually no knowledge or understanding of the issue. Never mind that Bob Jones university only recently allowed interracial dating. Never mind that "pro-life" high powered rifle toting adherents commit murder in the name of God. But I digress. Riley paints secular schools as dens of drug abuse, sex abuse, moral and ethical vacuums, and philosophical deserts. She seems to be saying that Christian madrasas are the only way America can right itself, since the rest of society is unguided by higher principles. Riley also seems to suffer from the same sort of delusion that most of her subjects do; something is terribly wrong with America and religion is the answer. Whoa! Here comes the part about burning at the stake. If religion is the only answer, it follows that only one religion is the answer, if the evangelicals are to be believed. The race is on to become the dominant religion and to form the new theocracy. Unfortunately for the fractured protestants, the Mormons seem to be in a much better position to become that dominant religion.

The book itself is an interesting read, but the screaming omission is that there is no discussion regarding the reason why Religion is the answer. I realize it's a very narrowly focused book, but to paraphrase Sam Harris, just replace the word God with "The Tooth Fairy" every time it shows up in print and you understand the absurdity of churning out graduates from a strict creationist school like Patrick Henry College. PHC specializes in home-schooled children who have been brain washed from an early age. The Earth is only six thousand years old and dinosaurs walked with our recent ancestors! Woo hoo! Riley should have explained why having a theocracy of idiots would make America a better place. Is it because those who survived the new inquisition would all think alike? Is it because we'd have more Christian soldiers to do the bidding of the supreme leader? What about the lawyers from Ave Maria law school who use the Bible as the basis for understanding law? Will they argue that it's okay to stone to death unruly children?

As a cautionary tome, God on the Quad is scary. Millions of minions out to save your soul or burn you to carbon should you disagree with their bizarre interpretation of reality is our future if Riley is correct.

And just to refresh our collective memory, 600 years ago, everyone thought the world was flat, that the Sun revolved around the Earth, and that drowning someone was the best way to tell if she was a witch or not.

I can hardly wait until the New United States of Creationist America is formed. I'll make millions selling kindling.
An interesting (and somewhat biased) look into religious colleges  Jul 6, 2006
Prior to starting this book I did not think that I would like it at all; however, I was mistaken. I highly recommend this book for members of the higher education community and those of particular faiths that may be attending college.

"God on the Quad" starts with a rather strange introduction which speaks of "red states" and "blue states" and makes a large number of generalizations about liberals and conservatives that may anger some people. After reading the entire book I could not really determine how the introduction frames (or even relates to) the rest of the book. If you, as a reader, feel that you get offended by political commentary then I recommend you skip the introduction. Starting at chapter 1 the book is worthwhile.

The book starts with a few case studies from various religious colleges: Brigham Young University, Bob Jones University, Notre Dame, St. Thomas Aquinas, Baylor, and a few others. Obviously the faiths of the schools and degree of fundamentalism range from each institution to the next. After the case studies, Riley follows a few themes such as "sex, drugs, and rock and roll," minorities and diversity, and political activism at religious institutions.

The problem I have is that Riley does not hide her biases towards various schools. For example, she writes with a negative voice when writing about Bob Jones University. I truly felt like there was nothing good about Bob Jones University, according to Riley. One reason for this may be because of the way she was treated on the different campuses. I do believe that her research would have been presented better if the biased voice had been removed and equal comparisons had been made.

Another big problem I had with the writing is that Riley makes the assumption that "secular" means "anti-religious" and makes it a strong reoccuring theme throughout the book that secular institutions foster hostile climates for students of faith. While I think she has some merit here, I would've liked to have seen more investigation into this percieved phenomenon. For example, do religious students feel uncomfortable at secular institutions because everyone in their dorm drinks? Or are they uncomfortable because everyone makes fun of them for not drinking? There is a huge difference that would be worth further exploration before actually accusing secular institutions of fostering hostile enviornments when, for the most part, they are trying their hardest to accomodate every single diverse individual.

Finally, this book does provide a lot of insight on why students choose to attend religious colleges and also how religious colleges are expanding and filling a niche in the overall spectrum of higher education.
Misleading title?  Jan 18, 2006
First, I must say that "God on the Quad" was interesting, but as I read through BYU, Notre Dame, Yeshiva, and others I began to wonder whether Riley was writing for parents looking to find out whether they should send their high school seniors to these schools or if she really was trying to answer "How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America". I feel she did have to enlighten others on campus environment, atmosphere, etc, but she did not go far enough into how this generation was going to change America. Like another commenter, I get the feeling she'll have to write another book to get to her original thesis.
The Quad & Beyond  Aug 25, 2005
Looking forward to a sequel,focusing on how the graduates
of these colleges fared in the "real world" after leaving the
Quad. Otherwise, very interesting and insightful.
Interesting and enlightening  Jun 22, 2005
A well-written, fair-minded survey of various religious colleges and universities (including my alma mater, "Old" Notre Dame) and how they are grappling with issues of race, gender, political correctness, and other battlefronts in the cultural wars raging in the country. The major focus is on half a dozen schools, including ND, Brigham Young, Thomas Aquinas College (an orthodox Catholic "Great Books" college), Yeshiva, and the "notorious" Bob Jones University, but other institutions are covered as well. Any simple-minded hypothesis you may have formed regarding the "inferior" quality of education at schools with an explicit religious emphasis is sure to be overturned here. (For example, did you know that the hyper-fundamentalist Bob Jones University has a well-regarded art collection? I certainly didn't.) Far from being backwaters laden with hicks and idol-worshippers, these colleges and universities provide some real intellectual "diversity" amidst a sea of sameness, have preserved an air of academic seriousness in an era of increasingly trivialized scholarship, and possess the inestimable advantage of a framework of "shared values" within which to examine the surrounding culture - and change it in meaningful ways.

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