A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a brother who is well into his 80’s. He went to college, got his Bachelor’s Degree and was a school teacher for many years. During that time, he was an elder in his congregation, had many privileges and cared for his young family. This was back in the 1950’s. Nobody ever gave him a hard time about “higher education”. He was saying that the witnesses prior to the late 1960’s could go to college and nobody (usually) would give him/her a hard time about it. Very few people at that time went anyway.
So I asked him what changed the org’s stance on college. He told me that the Vietnam War changed everything. In the late 1960’s many college campuses were hotspots for protests, drug abuse, violence and free spirit. So at that time, the general feeling about going to college was frowned upon. The reason he gave was that since all of this was going on at colleges throughout the U.S. in the late 1960’s, Christians should stay away from college altogether.
After the Vietnam War, the org never changed their anti-college stance. Even now, the org still uses drug abuse and free spirit as reason to not go to college. They have also added that it takes away from spiritual pursuits and that it opens your mind to “the world’s thinking”.
The funny thing is that the org always suggests going into the trades. I have worked around the unions and trades. Believe me when I tell you, I have heard some of the worst language in and around the trades. Drug and alcohol abuse also runs rampant. If you are a laborer, you sacrifice your body every day and can be unemployed for up to 20-30 weeks a year. Please don’t get me wrong; I admire tradesmen and women and the work that they do. My point is that if you join the trades, is that really a “better” alternative to college?
In conclusion, I never made the Vietnam connection to college until I spoke to this brother. What are your thoughts?