Just a few weeks into a bran new college semester and already I feel the tension between two opposing worldviews that perceive academia in extremely different ways. I first noticed this when I heard a Professor of mine make, what I thought to be an outrageous statement. While lecturing on the Incan culture the class reacted in detestation at some of the savagery details mentioned during the class, by which the Professor replied by saying, “Now, now… We cannot judge by today’s standards.” Essentially, she wanted the class to be completely neutral on the topic. I did not dwell on it too much until I realized that her statement was a recurring message among all my professors. The entire College preached this philosophy of neutrality. No religious worldviews are allowed in the classroom. If an academic topic is brought to the students attention, they must leave their presuppositions (by which they perceive all of life) in the parking lot before engaging in scholarly discussion.
The problem is no Christian student can be neutral. Christ, our Lord said, “Whoever is not for me is against me,…” (Mat 12:30). This truth is easily accepted when applied to basic matters of faith. However, when applied to academia, the conclusion is so often overlooked. If a college is not for Christ then it is against Christ. Jesus’ clause leaves no neutral ground in scholarship. Christian students must not give up Christ in their academic endeavors.
The alternative would result in giving up true knowledge. As students, our whole purpose for attending college is to gain knowledge, but Christ is the very source of acquiring it. The Apostle Paul tells the Colossians that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Col 2:2-3). The student who attempts to act neutral in their learning is robbing themselves of true knowledge. It is impossible to fully comprehend History, Science, Poetry, Logic, or any other subject if we do not submit to a Biblical worldview.
What can we do as Christian students to honor Christ this semester, rather than submit to the college’s demand to be neutral? First, What is probably the most immediate and simplest thing we can do is not compromise our Christian worldview. Every paper you write, every question that is asked of you, and every opinion you share in class must be in submission to Christ. This might mean a sacrifice on your part. Depending on whether your Professor professes Christ as King or not, this might mean sacrificing an A for a B. We cannot deny Christ in the class room. He warned us that if we deny him before men, he would deny us before the father (Mat 10:33).
Second, we can challenge our Professors (and no, I don’t mean antagonize them in such a way as to get kicked out of the classroom). I mean when given the opportunity, ask questions that would perhaps demand a deeper philosophical answer. Ask in such a way as to put the Professor on the defense. For example, when my Professor made the statement, “we can’t judge by today’s standards.” I asked her, by what standard can we not judge by today’s standards? This was intended to challenge her to evaluate her own personal ethics according to her worldview. The nature of my question was to point out that her ethics are not timeless and only applies within the current era. Such ethics are arbitrary at best. However, be ready when the same challenge is presented to you. My Professor may have asked, “Can you demonstrate a standard by which we can judge history by?” This will be your opportunity to talk about the righteous God of the Bible, so be prepared to give an answer.
Lastly, we must share the gospel with our classmates and professors. Jesus tells his disciples …All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… (Matt 28:18-19). Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth and College has no exemption from His authority. Because Jesus has that authority he tells us to “go therefore,” and (if applied today) make disciples of all college classes. If the faculty and the students are to recognize Christ as King of College, they must be made into disciples first.
The notion that college students can and should be neutral in scholarship is a myth. As long as Christ reigns over all creation, neutrality cannot exist. Facing the education system can be nerve-racking and challenging, but remember that God is for us, so who could be against us? (Rom 8:31). There with be times of ridicule and mockery. God has a blessing for such Christians who endure such things (Mat 5:11-12). Be bold when faced with scholarly confrontation. If you have no boldness then pray that Christ might give it to you.