Open Letter to Dr. Terry Moffitt and teachers of “Understanding the Times”

June 2, 2009

Dear Dr. Terry Moffitt and to those who teach “Understanding the Times” to high school students,

It is with pride that I tell you that after graduating third in my class at Wesleyan Academy in 1994, I continued to Montreat College where I graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in english communication (1998). I excelled in sports, theater, student government, edited the student newspaper, and maintained a job in the campus library (where I spent most of my free time). I completed three internships (in public relations, newspaper and on a feature film set) before graduating which led to opening a successful graphic design and photography business in Chicago, IL in 2001.


I am forever grateful my elementary to high school foundations. I’m still amazed at information that I still reference in social situations daily. In short, Wesleyan provided me with lessons I still use.

Unfortunately in college, I had to expunge large amounts of information in order to excel. In particular, the classes I took from you proved to be a great disservice to my education. When I marched forth spouting “Understanding the Times (U.T.T.)” philosophies and ideas from my 18-year old tongue, I was the fool in the classroom. I deliberately deleted much of my Wesleyan education as a result.

I was particularly embarrassed in my bible and science courses.

For example the first day of a bible course on Genesis, I gave a stock answer from U.T.T. about a literal understanding of the opening chapters. My peers hardly contained their laughter. The professor was the chaplain of the school, and he didn’t take me seriously. Despite every ounce of conditioning about how the world may mock me for believing in Jesus and all sorts of self-inflationary rubbish that pervaded my mental capacity, it could not overpower the embarrassment felt that day.

Science courses followed. I found that I was ill-equipped. I did not have a basic understanding of science and — at first — I fell very short of impressing my professors. I finally admitted to myself that to achieve academic success, many things I learned at Wesleyan needed to be disregarded.

Your lectures on creationism/Intelligent design were tossed over time. I dove into biblical scholarship and discovered a wealth of information that Wesleyan academia clearly ignored or chose to avoid. I learned a fair dose of Greek and Hebrew. I considered seminary, but lost interest over time.

Now more than ever, it is time to declare that religion and science must be kept separate. As evidenced by Kitzmiller v. Dover and the genetic work and evolutionary advancements published and advanced by evangelical Christian Francis Collins, I sincerely hope that you’ve stopped teaching creationism in exchange for science.

In the event that you continue the Understanding the Times curriculum, I beseech you to stop; I implore you to stop.

Understanding the Times makes kids ignorant and ineffective in academia and in everyday life. Frankly, it makes them appear inferior. I’m fed up with this perspective that the people I love and admire are ineffectual in an academic sense. And instead of pushing myself away from them, I need to embrace them and help them understand excellent academic achievements that do not include fear-laden, fact-less, purpose-less, mediocrity in a bankrupt version of what Wesleyan teaches as “academia.”

To be effective and honest Christians working and living in this era, an education based on science is paramount. The stupider Christians appear, the volume disappears from their message. It’s as if Christians are screaming at each other that everything is okay while their megachurches are burning down all around them.

If Christianity is incapable of keeping science separate from religion, than follow Dr. Collins, who clearly disagrees with the path the Christian agenda has taken. Yes, he is aiming to reconcile science and religion through writings and through this site. Yet he has said, “Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things”

If you are going to teach kids to think they are academic, arm them with the real tools, not an apparition of tools. Tone their academic muscles with weights rather than pump them full of mental steroids that beguile them into thinking more highly of themselves than they ought.

Doing anything else is a disservice.

I submit this letter to you with utmost respect and in full regard of your doctoral status. My credentials pale in comparison. At the very least, I forgive you for spreading false information.

I wish your family the best in health, happiness and progress.

Esse quam videri,

Jeremy Witteveen

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5 thoughts on “Open Letter to Dr. Terry Moffitt and teachers of “Understanding the Times”

  1. I do not practice religion for religion causes chaos. I’m studying health science. And let say no degree or piece of paper is going to save anyone from what is about to happen on this so called earth. I employ you to try and stop it with you world of science. Nevertheless I will be stupider if that is even a word until the breath is taken away from my body…

  2. I do not practice religion for religion causes chaos. I’m studying health science and let me say that no degree or piece of paper is going to save anyone from what is about to happen on this so called earth. I employ you to try and stop it with you world of science. Nevertheless I will be stupider if that is even a word until the breath is taken away from my body…

  3. I do not practice religion for religion causes chaos. I’m studying health science and let me say that no degree or piece of paper is going to save anyone from what is about to happen on this so called earth. I employ you to try and stop it with your world of science. Nevertheless I will be stupider if that is even a word until the breath is taken away from my body…

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