Evangelists are needed in the colleges to overcome "atheism and moral chaos"--this is the prescription recommended by the Reverend Doctor S. Edward Young, a Presbyterian minister of Brooklyn. Dr. Young assumes that the tendency in the colleges is toward atheism, and he assumes, moreover, that moral chaos is the natural outcome of atheism. Neither assumption seems justified.
If college training means anything to a man, it means stimulating his desire for truth. Love of truth may become such an obsession that he will frankly suspend his judgment when the evidence is, insufficient or conflicting. This is intellectual honesty, and is as necessary for religious as for scientific doctrines. When a truth is once accepted by such a method, it is no longer subject to doubt. Belief is then firmly grounded. Is religion able to stand this test? If so, Dr. Young's fears are groundless. If not, it doesn't matter. Truth will prevail.
Dr. Young's second assumption is based upon a very restricted faith in the human race. Human morals are not dependent upon codes and creeds to any great extent. There is something much more fundamental in human nature which leads men to strive for the good, the beautiful, and the true. All codes have sprung from this human longing, and are but imperfect formulations of it. It is a great error to exalt a code, which is a result, not a cause of morality.
That there actually exists in the colleges a condition of "moral chaos" is as absurd as it is untrue. Some capable investigator ought to examine this charge against the colleges for the benefit of the general public. Among those who do not know, this will be the only way to dispel an erroneous impression created by a certain type of current fiction on college life.