“If we take faith seriously as a system of thought, rather than just treating it superficially, as a nebulous feeling you have about the universe, then it doesn’t just affect what a university should try and teach its students about religious belief, but who it should try to have doing the instruction. By which I mean you can often tell just how seriously an idea is taken in an academic setting by how many teachers actually subscribe to it.

To take a non-theological example: when Marxism, in all its varied forms, was taken very seriously in western life – in its philosophical manifestations, as an economic theory, and so on – there were a lot of actual Marxists teaching in the faculty of major universities. And there were many more Marxists then than there are today, when Marxism is seen as discredited, antique, and so on. Marxism is a deliberate extreme case, and of course there are still some Marxists in faculties somewhere.

Similarly, as with Marxism, an academic environment that took religion seriously would not only have a number of serious believers teaching, but also a wide range of theological views.”

New York Times columnist, Ross Douthat, on speaking at The Veritas Forum at the University of Michigan.