So is it just me, or are Christian colleges really pushed in the church community, while secular college is shamed?
It’s like people assume that as soon as you leave the little Christian bubble you’ve been raised in, you’re going to jump straight into a life of sex, drugs, and alcohol. Which I think is stupid, actually. I mean, if all the adults in the church think that we have no backbone and can’t stand up for ourselves, why don’t they try to do something about it instead of just tell us about the impending doom that lies ahead as soon as we graduate?
There are three major warnings that I think we all get as Christian teens against secular college that I would like to just shoot down right here and now.
WARNING #1: If you go to a secular college your professors will all brainwash you so you no longer know what you believe!
Ok, first off, if you can’t decide what you believe on your own, you need to sort that out. Personally, I’ve had tons of profs I don’t agree with. I’m in psychology, we have a lot of wacky stuff going on.
I’ve actually had a prof say during a lecture that anyone who doesn’t think that homosexual marriage should be allowed and encouraged can go f*** themselves. What we as a Christian culture need to learn, I believe, is that other people’s opinions don’t undermine ours.
Your neighbour is allowed to believe whatever he wants, and my professor is allowed to believe whatever she wants. But that doesn’t have to make a difference about what you or I believe. That’s why it’s an opinion.
So the truth is this: yes, you will hear opinions differing from your own. Yes, they will often be against Christian principles. But is that really so bad? Is it so awful to have to listen to someone who doesn’t agree with you about everything?
Isn’t the real world full of people we don’t agree with, and who are going to believe that what we have faith in doesn’t exist? Of course we are! I just don’t think the answer is to run away–I think the answer is to be prepared and then deal with it properly when faced by it.
WARNING #2: You’ll quickly fall into the partying scene because everyone’s doing it and there’s no escaping it at the evil, secular school!
Let me just say this: people respect your beliefs.
I came from a background of homeschooling, from a relatively sheltered life, into a secular university where I quickly made quite a few non-Christian friends in my classes. So I had no experience turning down parties or any of that kind of temptation. But I didn’t really have any issues with it even in my first year here. I mean, I was invited out to a ton of stuff, but when you explain “Oh, sorry, I’m a Christian, so I don’t really drink or party”, people generally respect that.
I’ve gotten teased a bit obviously, but I don’t force my beliefs on anyone and they show the same courtesy towards me. It’s not like you’re going to be dragged kicking and screaming to a party, or that people are going to pour shots down your throat or hold you upside-down for a keg stand. There really are other options, and, unless you hang out with jerks, people aren’t going to make your life miserable if you choose not to get drunk or go to parties.
I don’t think that we, as Christians, give the rest of the world enough credit. A lot of my very good friends I made in my first semester were pretty hard-core when it came to partying, but they were really cool about the fact that I had a strong faith and they respected me for that. I just think we should stop condemning people before we give them a chance to prove themselves.
WARNING #3: You’ll never meet any Christians if you go to a secular college!
This one is the biggest lie of all.
Ok, let me give you two scenarios. First, there’s a group of about 3,000 kids who are all at a baseball summer camp. You really want to meet some people who are extremely good at baseball, and want to get a real team together, but everyone plays, so how do you figure out who actually is gifted at the sport and who is just there for the ride?
Scenario number 2: You’re at a camp for sports of any kind. There happens to be a group for baseball, but there’s also one for basketball, soccer, swimming, lacrosse (do you guys play that in the states?), etc. Now you’re trying to make a baseball team. In which scenario is it going to be easier to find people who are on the same level?
On the one where they have the choice to do something else! This is how I see secular university. If you get involved in a Christian fellowship group on campus, you’re automatically meeting kids who are completely invested in the Word of God. Here’s a truth that I’ve watched over and over again: just because you go to Bible school doesn’t mean you’re invested in the Bible. It’s a lot easier to be a Christian when everyone is than when you feel like you’re a minority.
At my school, we have a group of over 100 people who get together every other week for large events and Bible studies every week. It’s pretty intense study, there’s great accountability, and it’s a fantastic way to meet other kids. I’ve met some of the closest friends I’ve ever had through this group, including my fiancé, and a lot of it is because we are very self-selected as Christians who want to not only stay Christian, but to grow and to deepen in our faith together.
So if your goal is to really find good Christian friends, you can completely achieve that at a secular university.
So there are my three answers to those arguments I’ve heard from either spokespersons from Bible colleges all over the States and Canada as well as people who I’ve talked to about which school to go to when I graduated.