Potential college attendees, be informed that when Paul wrote In Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”, he was writing to some very educated people! In speaking to that ancient Italian world of intellectualism and the arts, one might think that Paul would have given more “ink” to a warning about being influenced by the “worldly” education of the Roman people. However, let’s be clear. Paul did pen multiple scriptures in his letters to other churches warning them about the difference in the world’s thinking. I think Paul understood that doctrinally strong, spiritually focused Christians are not easily swayed by the earthly philosophies of man.
Possibly lacking a full perspective on why it is happening, some of the largest evangelical denominations in America have reported that they are losing an estimated 85% of their youth after they go off to college. Some of those denominations choose to blame the effect of secular college professors and their biases against the Christian faith and their attempt to de-Christianize the young minds coming through their classrooms. Some of these same national denominations are aware of micro-budgeted youth programs within their churches. Many times, they don’t even have an effective youth group at all, then blame others when their teens fall away from the faith while attending college.
Certainly, some professional educators have based their opinions of the Christian faith on isolated cultish extremes and legalism which are not derived from the Spirit of Christ. However, most professors are clearly taught themselves to be inclusive of all forms of religion coming into their colleges. College students, you can learn things which will identify the few anti-Christian zealots and their philosophies. This will enable you to live out your faith confidently at college, without fear of being intimidated by anti-God rhetoric.
No matter where you go after college within the work world of the career that you have chosen, you will also encounter people who are hostile towards your Christian faith. Some of those people will no doubt consider it their mission in your life to prove to you that your Christianity is foolish and will try to pull you away from it. It is very important for you as a young person to equip yourself ahead of time to internalize very solidly what you believe and what the Bible teaches about your interaction with those in the world around you.
You must realize that these college professors who have never experienced being born again have no idea what it is like to live a life for Christ. They have never experienced genuine spirituality and truth based on living for eternity rather than just living for the here and now. Their job is to teach you about mathematics or the sciences or world history and required classes so that you can complete the four years of school to get your degree. Surely their opinions will come out in the lectures, and you may even hear them mock your faith or perhaps the life lessons your parents taught you. However, you have to give your professors grace and space since they just do not know what you know because they have never experienced it.
As a wise elder pastor I knew once said, “Sometimes you have to answer a question on a test by saying ‘The book says that…. then leave it there.’” If it ever comes down to a debate with a professor, be polite and say, “Professor Smith, I am willing to respect your right to believe what you want to, can you please do the same for me? I am asking for tolerance concerning my faith.” I assure you that word tolerance will send them to their corner because their job could be in jeopardy if their boss ever got wind that they were not being tolerant of what you believe. Love your professors with Christ’s love no matter what they believe, and they will learn something from you, namely, just how real your Jesus is to you!