Dan Dupee on The Challenge of Academic Hostility Toward Christianity

Parents frequently share with me their fears surrounding college and their kids. Parents ask, “Is it possible for a young man or woman who is a Christian to survive college, faith intact?”

My answer is, “Yes!” Still, I’m not sure it is the right question.

Every month a report comes across my desk with stories of students, some of whom came to college with a faith and many of whom did not. These stories usually have plenty of ups and downs, and they often track with someone who has been through a crisis. What they have in common is their honest portrayal of young people who are not just surviving college as Christians but thriving.

I’m not suggesting that college is without its share of difficulties. Parents are concerned about the hostility of American higher education to religious faith for good reasons. Just a short time ago, the entire California State University system stopped recognizing Christian fellowships on campus whose only fault is to insist that their leaders actually be Christians.

The surrounding, prevailing culture does not see faith and intellectual pursuit as compatible. Facts exist in one realm and faith in another, never to meet. And so Christians are often assumed to be folks who can’t handle reality and who are part of something that will die away as scientific discoveries supplant the need for belief in a supreme being.

So if we are steeped in a tradition that is suspicious of intellectual inquiry, and surrounded by a culture that reinforces this belief, we might not send our kids into a place of intellectual rigor with all that much confidence.

What makes me so confident students can thrive in college, particularly in light of the kinds of challenges young people face these days? First, I rely on the nature of God and the truth of Scripture. God loves and pursues college students, and Scripture affirms repeatedly that God’s affections toward His children are unchanging. I hold fast to Scriptures, such as Philippians 1:6, where Paul encourages the church: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This reminds me that God is not done with our children as they transition to college. Neither is He done with parents as they transition to empty nests.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Dan Dupee

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