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The Plain Truth – June/July 1980
The Plain Truth – June/July 1980
How Ambassador Is Unique

by Herbert W. Armstrong

Here the founder and chancellor of Ambassador College provides a frank, straightforward explanation of its basic policy.

AMBASSADOR COLLEGE is rooted to an educational policy and a philosophic approach which permeates the institution.

Today we live in a different world. Frightening changes have occurred. The world went along on a comparatively even keel from the dawn of history until the 19th and 20th centuries. Suddenly knowledge increased. Nearly all modern inventions have appeared during the past 150 years.

In the brief span of a lifetime the world has passed with accelerating speed through the age of invention, the machine age, the age of science and technology, the nuclear age, and now, the space age. The sudden acceleration in scientific development is evidenced by the astounding fact that 90 percent of all scientists who ever lived are living today.

And with these developments has emerged a new age in education. Today’s world is what its leaders have made it, and these leaders are the product of this world’s education. But what kind of world has this education produced?

A Progressive World?

It appears to be a progressive world, suddenly newly enlightened and fantastically advanced. It has become a modern world, producing awe-inspiring inventions, labor-saving devices, dazzling luxuries undreamed of a single century ago. Today there is instantaneous communication, worldwide. We fly around the world in two days, and orbit the earth in minutes. The miracles of radio, television, hi-fi stereo sound reproduction, and cinerama entertain an amusement-hungry world. Assembly-line mass machine production has made available a myriad of exciting new devices, and simultaneously increased incomes and shortened work hours, thus providing both the leisure and the purchasing power for the masses to enjoy all these new luxuries.

A fascinated, entranced world has looked ahead to the magic dream-world push-button Century 21, when human labor would be all but abolished, with idleness, ease and luxury enjoyed by all – seemingly breathtaking PROGRESS!

So it seems. But there is the other side of the coin, and it’s high time we AWAKE from the trance and take a hard look at it.

True progress is not measured by the false yardstick of gadgetry, mechanical devices, and the fatal concept that labor is a curse and idleness is a blessing. Science, industry, and modern education have concentrated on developing the machine while degenerating the man!

Education – and the world of its creation – has lost all knowledge of the PURPOSE and true meaning of life. It has lost all sense of true values, while blindly pursuing the false. Education has failed to teach THE WAY to peace, happiness, and abundant well-being. The actual bitter fruits of this modern materialistic “progress” are increased unhappiness, discontent, boredom, and moral, spiritual and educational DECADENCE! The American and British peoples are travelling the identical road that led to the fall of the “great” nations of the past – Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Rome!

This is a very deceptive world. With all this “progress” it remains a hard, cold fact that never before was the world filled with so much discontent, unhappiness, and suffering – never so much ill health, mental disturbance, frustration and suicide, even in the “affluent” nations. Never before so many divorces and broken homes, so much juvenile delinquency, crime and violence. That is, unless, as Jesus remarked, it was “in the days of Noah.” And never before was it possible to erase human life from the earth by the educational and inventive genius, and the productive capacity of man!

This is a deceived world that doesn’t know it is deceived! WHY?

There is a reason. There has to be a cause for every effect.

Sir Winston Churchill put his finger on the answer. Speaking before the United States Congress, he said: “… he must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below of which we have the honor to be the faithful servants.” This implies a Higher Power, above, doing the working out. This is the starting point of a right and true Education. This strikes directly at the FOUNDATION of knowledge – the most important, most needful of all knowledge – the PURPOSE of human life, understanding of the true values, and knowing the way to every desired result!

Yet right here, at the basic starting point, is precisely where education jumped the track of its true mission. And this chaotic, mixed-up, unhappy world is the result.

IS there PURPOSE – MEANING – to life? Science can give us no knowledge of purpose beyond trying to enjoy the passing moments. Education does not have the answer, nor teach it. Aristotle, Socrates, Plato all lacked the answer. Augustine sought the answer all his life – in vain! Of this most important of all knowledge, the world is utterly IGNORANT!

In such a world is it any wonder that the great minds doubt whether there is any real Higher Power working out His intelligent PURPOSE? IS it any wonder that some dim-brains are giving the world a fresh shock, with the ridiculous slogan: “God is dead!” To state that God is dead is to confess there really was a God – and if God was, God still is, for unless He is the Eternalthe Everliving – He never was GOD!

In the second and third centuries we had Gnosticism – meaning “we know.” Today most educators, scientists and great minds are AGNOSTIC, meaning “we don’t know – we are IGNORANT!” And this IGNORANCE they glorify in the guise of “KNOWLEDGE!”

TWO Alternatives

As a BASIS for knowledge – as a FOUNDATION for education, we start with two alternatives. Right here is the CHOICE between fact and fancy – between true knowledge and ignorance, between TRUTH and error. Is there the Higher Power with design working out intelligent PURPOSE, or are we mere accidents of a blind, unintelligent, purposeless force of nature, descended from a single-celled amoeba sparked to life by “spontaneous generation,” “electro-chemical action,” or some other unknown accidental process?

The only truly scientific method is to PROVE a proposition before accepting it as scientific FACT. But has either science or education PROVED the evolutionary theory? Emphatically they have not! By its very nature it is a theory not subject to proof. Has either science or education PROVED the non-existence of a personal supreme God, of supreme intelligence, wisdom, and POWER to create? Emphatically, they have not! WHY, then, do so many great minds who profess knowledge and wisdom doubt or deny God’s existence? Simply because of something inherent in human nature – something of which they are ignorant – a spirit of vanity, coupled with hostility and rebellion against their Maker and His authority!

Is it, after all, rational, intellectual, to willfully assume fables, unproved and unprovable, to be fact, while ridiculing provable Truth, branding it folklore?

But what of the other of the two basic ALTERNATIVES as one’s approach to knowledge?

There is the Higher Power! And at Ambassador College this is not carelessly assumed, but definitely, rationally, scientifically PROVED! And there is PURPOSE! Humanity was put here for a PURPOSE of such transcendent magnitude that even the great minds, in their carnality, cannot grasp it! And there is A WAY to peace between individuals, groups and nations, but tragically none of this world’s leaders were taught it! There is A WAY to happiness and abundant well-being. But modern education does not teach it.

So it all boils down to this crux point: There are the two alternatives as a starting point – a BASIS – a FOUNDATION for knowledge. This world and its education have adopted the fictional, false FOUNDATION. And this erroneous foundation becomes the concept which becomes its approach to knowledge. It got off on a false start. Hence it is axiomatic that this world and its leaders are not being taught the true values, but pursue the false – the world is left without knowledge of life’s PURPOSE and meaning, devoid of right goals, in utter ignorance of THE WAY to every desired blessing!

What an indictment against a complicated, highly organized, monumental system of education that has become DECADENT!

This gigantic system is ready to topple! It will soon fall, along with the civilization it has spawned! But a better day is soon coming! The happy WORLD TOMORROW is soon to dawn! It will be a world of PEACE, of PLENTY, of HAPPINESS.

But how? I have travelled through a portion of China (Hong Kong), and parts of India. Millions there are starving. In the poorer districts – which are the many – the filth, squalor, wretchedness is simply indescribable. The same degenerate condition of degradation and suffering fills many parts of Central and South America, and of Egypt and other parts of Africa. Two thirds of the people on earth live in such destitution. I thought of the joyous WORLD TOMORROW that is coming, and immediately the question came to mind, HOW can abundant well-being be brought to these teeming impoverished millions?

And the answer was obvious. Correct the CAUSE – lack of right education.

On the other hand, I have known many of the world’s leading men – industrialists, bankers, scientists, educators. And most of them – the highly educated – were not happy. Some committed suicide. Their minds were of high calibre, their IQ’s were high. They had learned much in material knowledge – they had learned how to earn a living – but they had not learned the true values, nor how to live. It will require a right education, available to all, to correct all the world’s ills.

Very soon, today’s decadent education will be replaced by the educational system of the WORLD TOMORROW. This already has been introduced in Ambassador College. And like the proverbial grain of mustard seed, it is already beginning to spread around the world.

Ambassador College knows and teaches the PURPOSE and true meaning of life – the TRUE VALUES that pay off – and THE WAY to peace, happiness, and abundant well-being. How do we know? We don’t guess, or theorize or express unfounded opinions – we have it on AUTHORITY! The Bible is that Authority, and it is PROVED to be the revelation of the Almighty living GOD to humankind. The Bible is the world’s biggest seller, but also the Book almost nobody knows. Few even know what it is.

When you purchase a gadget or mechanism, you receive an instruction book which the maker sends along with his product. The most complicated mechanism ever produced is the human mind and body. The Bible is our Maker’s instruction Book which He sent along with His product. It is the authoritative revelation of the most necessary basic knowledge otherwise inaccessible to the mind of man – even the great minds! It is the FOUNDATION of all knowledge, and the approach to acquirable knowledge.

Here is what modern education doesn’t know, and fails to teach:

What is MAN? WHY is man? What are the TRUE VALUES? What is THE WAY to the most necessary objectives – peace, happiness, abundant well-being?

Basic Knowledge Ignored

This BASIC KNOWLEDGE cannot be acquired by all the mental, inventive, mechanical, exploratory, observational or philosophical powers of man. This kind of necessary knowledge is received only by revelation! It has always been accessible. Yet science and modern education grope hopelessly in the dark, searching, researching, speculating and philosophizing in vain for the acquisition of knowledge that can come only through the very source it rejects! Astonishing? Yes. Intelligent? Well, hardly!

In the WORLD TOMORROW we shall have world PEACE. There shall be universal prosperity. There will be knowledge of the TRUE values, and people will cease chasing the false and suffering the painful consequences. People will learn THE WAY to real happiness and find it. Life will be continuously interesting, comfortable, invigorating.

How will this be brought about? By a universal education that will banish ignorance, and teach these basics utterly omitted from today’s education. But I am not naive enough to suppose that this will blossom forth automatically by the imminent general acceptance of these truths on the part of all who are involved in the existing educational system. The leaders of this world are no more willing to accept truth, confess and change from error, than they have been in the past. The SOLUTION will never come through the hands of man. What has been conclusively demonstrated by educational experience is the utter unwillingness of human leaders to confess truth and the utter inability of MAN to educate and rule over man. The awesome Creator God is now going to intervene in human affairs! He is going to send the living Jesus Christ to earth again – this time in the supreme power and glory of God! He is going to reveal Himself in awesome glory to a world that has denied and rejected Him! He is going to set up world government by divine rule. By supernatural power He will abolish the present decadent educational system – and replace it with the true system of the WORLD TOMORROW! The change will be made by the enforcement of divine GOVERNMENT of the living Christ, against whose Law and Authority they rebel today.

This basic FOUNDATION of all knowledge and right education has always been accessible. But the great and near-great – the best minds – swayed by vanity, greed, and carnality, have spurned, rejected, and foolishly ridiculed it. Ambassador College is pioneering in the educational system of the WORLD TOMORROW. And a foretaste of that peace, happiness, and abundant well-being is literally radiated by Ambassador students.

Yes, all of this – and more! Ambassador students learn HOW to live – THE WAY to happiness – but in this most important living, the “how to EARN a living” is not neglected. When they find THE WAY to enjoy a monetary competence, however, they enjoy knowing HOW TO LIVE, as well. Their marriages are happy and permanent – their home and family life is peaceful and invigorating. Their children are well-trained. Yes, life CAN be worth living!

Missing Dimension in Education

It is generally recognized by educators that dangerous evils have leavened the educational system. Curricula, generally, have become wholly materialistic. Demands in scientific, technological, industrial, commercial and professional fields have put the emphasis on the purely technical and intellectual, at sacrifice of spiritual, moral, and cultural development; on curriculum rather than on character; on earning a living, at the neglect of learning how to live!

Universities have grown so large, students lose their identity, moving along a huge, academic conveyor belt. Personality development is sacrificed. Personal contact between student and instructor becomes almost non-existent.

The most essential knowledge is the purpose and meaning of life – the true values as distinguished from the false – and THE WAY to peace, happiness, and abundant well-being. But this basic and most important Dimension in education is entirely missing from traditional curricula.

In a very real sense, this vital Dimension is DOUBLY missing – in two vital spheres: 1) The Campus Sphere: On the campuses the leaders of tomorrow receive whatever intensive education is provided, in course programs of two, four, or five or more years. Yet in the organized system that has devolved to our present, the very foundation of all knowledge is absent from curricula. That BASIC knowledge involves the meaning and purpose of life – life’s true destiny and how to achieve it. To know what we are, and why we are. It involves also the discernment of the true values from the false, and knowledge of THE WAY to achieve them: in other words, to know the way to peace, happiness, prosperity, security, abundant well-being.

Since the HOME and a tightly knit FAMILY STRUCTURE is the foundation of a healthy and lasting society, vital BASIC knowledge includes also true instruction on the sanctity of marriage, instruction in a right and healthy type of dating leading to a right mating and happy marriage; instruction in the laws that make for a happy and enduring marriage; on child rearing, child discipline, and the responsibilities of parenthood and a happy family life.

Just as important in this Missing Dimension is personality development, character building, a right knowledge of spiritual and moral values, and respect for law and authority.

But this Dimension – teaching students not only how to earn a living, but HOW TO LIVE – has been ignored. Education has gone materialistic. Emphasis has been on the intellect alone. Students have been left to form their own moral codes. Permissiveness has resulted in a flouting of authority.

2) The Home and Family Sphere: In a healthy and happy society, education must begin in the home! It must put major emphasis on the necessity for FAMILY life. Yet in our western world the FAMILY system is breaking down. Few parents have themselves been taught how to start education in the home. Few have adequate knowledge or ability to teach their below-school-age children.

This breakdown of our family system is inscribing the handwriting on our national wall! The need of right education in this sphere is far more vital to the very question of SURVIVAL than is recognized!

On-campus education prepares tomorrow’s leaders. They will be tomorrow’s parents. But TOMORROW will be too late! The trend of disintegrating family relationship must be checked and reversed TODAY, if society is to be saved alive.

The concentrated higher education on campus is not enough! The Missing Dimension in education must reach TODAY’S adults and parents IN THE HOME! The Ambassador worldwide EXTENSION PROGRAM is pioneering in this area of education.

Ambassador students are taught the MISSING DIMENSION in education – the underlying PURPOSE and the real meaning of life; the worthwhile values; the basic laws of success, not only in economic fields, but in life as a whole. They are given individual attention in the development of character, poise, culture and personality. They are taught to think about what they are doing, while they are doing it. Ambassador College is, literally, a character-building institution. It is therefore unique. The Ambassador motto is “Recapture True Values”!

This basic difference is the magnet that attracts graduates of other universities to Ambassador. The result is a seemingly incredible fact: Many incoming students are from other colleges and universities – domestic and foreign – and many of them already hold degrees. Students holding Master’s degrees from some of the most famous and distinguished of the world’s universities are among those who have entered Ambassador for undergraduate work. These students come to Ambassador to obtain the all-important knowledge and training unavailable elsewhere.

Educational Philosophy

The striking difference in basic educational philosophy at Ambassador should be clearly understood. And also, the reasons!

Higher education is now in the throes of a life-and-death crisis in the Western world. Student revolt has been inflamed into rioting and violence. Prominent educators recognize with alarm the dangerous drift into materialism and collectivism. At the same time they confess their helplessness to change the situation. Major colleges and large universities find themselves in the clutch of an established system which no one chancellor, president, or chairman can alter.

Something is criminally wrong in education today!

Ambassador College came on the world scene free from the shackles of tradition. Ambassador has dared to recapture the true values – to blaze new trails, while retaining all that is sound and what has been proved good in educational experience.

Moral bars have toppled. University campus students say bluntly that with the waning of church and parental influence, “we decide for ourselves on codes of morality.” A newspaper headline says: “Students in Search of a New Morality.”

Stuffing minds with crass materialism, while moral, spiritual, and emotional development is neglected, produces lop-sided, unbalanced education and is criminally dangerous.

The first law of success in life is the choosing of the right goal as the aim of life. Where there is no sense of the true values, there can be no meaning to life, no right purpose, no aiming at the right goal. There can be no well-balanced, broadening, and worthwhile education where the true values have become obscured from view, where character building is a lost and discarded art, and minds are filled with dead knowledge and false materialism.

This tragic state of affairs in today’s higher education is the natural result of the mass-production machine age with its demands for highly specialized technological, scientific and professional training along purely materialistic lines. Emphasis is upon specialized training in preferred fields for financial rewards. The development of the man himself – his character, right sense of values, knowledge of the real purpose of life, and the laws that govern happiness, peace, and abundant well-being – is neglected. Modern education commits the crime of developing the machine while failing to develop the man.

Where is this leading?

Eminent scientists warn publicly that they are frankly frightened by this trend which now threatens to annihilate human life from this planet! This world’s education is failing to instill a knowledge of true values and a God-fearing sense of responsibility for the direction of these new and awesome forces into peaceful and productive channels. The question now is whether this new technology is creating the Frankenstein monster that shall destroy its producers and all humanity!

At Ambassador College students find the true values. They learn the real purpose of human life. Life takes on true meaning. Emphasis is upon character building. Students learn not merely how to earn a living, but how to live! Students acquire a well-rounded, broadening, balanced education. There is not only mind development, but also that of personality, true culture, poise and emotional maturity.

To that end, the small student body on campus and the small student-faculty ratio provide a distinct advantage. On campus the relationship between student and faculty is as happy and helpful as it is unusual. The smaller college, adequately staffed and outstandingly equipped for its needs, with high character and cultural surroundings, offers greater opportunity for self-expression and activity in the area of the student’s talents. It can give more personal attention to the individual student’s problems. It produces an altogether different and more desirable campus atmosphere.

The Ambassador policy is based upon the recognition that true education is not of the intellect alone but of the whole personality – not alone of technologies, sciences and arts, but an understanding of the purpose of life, a knowledge of the spiritual laws which govern our lives, our God-relationship and human relationships; not a memorizing of knowledge alone but a thorough training in self-discipline, self-expression, cultural and character development; not book learning only, but broadening travel and experience; not only hearing and learning, but doing.

In other words, the curricula are planned to give students a broad, cultural background – a foundation for the art of living happily, usefully, successfully, abundantly. Hence the emphasis upon character building and spiritual development is aptly stated in the Ambassador motto: “Recapture True Values.”