How to Handle College Classes That Challenge Your Faith
Written by Christi Given | February 17, 2014
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
College can be a challenging time to live out your faith. For one, many students are away from their families, their close friends (who truly know them and their values and core beliefs), and are being taught in a postmodern perspective of the modern world. In some rare cases, you can be placed in a school with a more Christian or conservative worldview, but that is only if you choose to attend a private Christian or Catholic school.
Recently, a PI girl asked in our Girl Talk Forum about how to deal with her beliefs and maintaining a Christian perspective in her college classes (and, in particular, her philosophy class). Great question! Read the full post here.
In classes that teach about different ideologies outside of your worldview, you can remain anchored by reading the scriptures daily and asking God to teach you different things through His eyes. We don’t want to be ignorant or closed-minded when it comes to learning what is being taught in our society and educational institutions, but we also need to guard against being swayed into a false mentality. Again, how do we guard against this? We pray, we read the Word, and even talk with your parents, mentors, youth pastors or friends.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8
Regarding philosophy in particular: This is pertaining to opinions, beliefs, our existence, our bodies, reality and other ideologies. We need to really examine what is being taught, and if you are concerned with your walk being compromised, remember it is a class and that you don’t have to believe everything being taught, but can simply glean from it a way to further deepen your faith.
I look at classes that oppose my faith or are more secular as a challenge to really get to know who Jesus is and know WHY I believe what I believe. I saw classes like this (when I was in junior college before Christian university) as an opportunity to comment and be a light. If a peer or student has a question or if you feel uneasy about something you learned, you can always be prepared and know to look to God’s Word. The Bible is all-truthful, all-powerful, living, sharper than a sword and will cut through any lie. (Hebrews 4:12) So remember, when you are taught something contrary to God’s Word, don’t be surprised, especially if you are in a secular public college or university.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” –Hebrews 4:12
Learning is a beautiful, wonderful experience, and even if you don’t agree with everything being taught, you can be better equipped to KNOW what young people are being told, whether true or false. We all need to be informed about different belief systems and history, and also it is beneficial to be well-rounded so that we can help point others to the right path and the right way.
Here are some practical tips on how to deal with courses that oppose or challenge your faith.
1. Pray and Read God’s Word:Know what you believe and why you believe it.
God tells us in the Book of Peter to ALWAYS be ready to give an answer. We are to also put on the full armor of God and clothe ourselves in prayer and with the scriptures. (Ephesians 6)
“…Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” –1 Peter 3:15
2. Be Teachable: Be open to learning about ideologies, but stay anchored in faith.
Some recent polls (see details in “Christianity Today” here) indicate that many Christ followers leave the faith once they are in college. Why? Because for one, they are not ANCHORED. Two, they are not always sober minded–there are many parties and temptations in college and in the world, so it is easy to get off course. There are many postmodern ideas being taught. (The recent debate on creationism is a great example of this!)
3. Shine Your Light: You can go against the grain without being mad or offended.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”-Matthew 5:16
We need to learn to pray about the spiritual warfare that goes on within our society, government, school systems and ultimately the world system. We need to show people, even our teachers, love, and even can be an example to them. The Bible tells us to shine our light, and that when light is in darkness, the light will be like a city on a hill. Light will outshine the dark. When we stand up for our faith in boldness, it can be a witness to many people. Just like a Daniel, a Joseph and an Esther, we can rise up and be leaders, too.
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” – 2 Corinthians 10:4
How do you handle opposition? Do you know any good scriptures to help you face the current of the culture? Comment below!