Ancient crowd control ... it still works!
a) Many people who *wake up* to the fact that they can do incredible things and have access to amazing resources if they pay complete attention to *now* instead of waiting, and waiting, and waiting until they are dead...
b) Those who wake up as described do not need any middle man to tell them how to squander those precious strings of moments, or to convince them that they are *unimportant*.
Then, the wonderful invention of religion as a method of crowd and mind control was a very necessary historical development, following these easy steps:
1) Make up some semi-plausible, non-falsifiable story to *tell people why they are here*.
2) Convince them that their lives are only important as to the way in which they comply to rules, handed out by the religious *authority*, and that their potential to self-develop should be ignored, as they should wait until they are dead, i.e. the true meaning of life is death.
3) Tightly integrate *membership*, i.e. thinking only in *approved* paths, with social acceptance.
4) When they drink the Kool-Aid and step off the plateau of reason, never to return, you have them. They now have to go on crusades, strap bombs to themselves, whatever you as a *religious authority figure* want. Then, if they try to step out of line or think/obtain their own inspirations, just threaten to magically take away the non-falsifiable reward after death, by excommunication, barring from the *order*, or casting them out of their society. Thinking of it this way, it gives me a new appreciation for insurance salespersons; at least they actually have to pay out something afterwards...
Convincing educational institutions - institutions which are supposedly a bastion of rational and critical thought - that they have to bow to pressure from a non-rational thought process, is just ludicrous. This professor was only doing his job; convincing students that they should always think for themselves, and not to essentially *waste their lives*, their precious moments waiting for their deaths. The educational institution invalidated its educational mandate when it bowed to pressure from sources who could not prove the validity of their claims.
The importance of life at this moment should not be discounted, and neither should the dangers of brainwashing.