Faith Attack

  Once at a major state university, a young woman stayed after class to talk with the professor. "In today's lecture, you said you're a Christian," she blurted out, almost in tears. "I've never heard any other professor say that, and every day at this university I feel as if my faith is under attack." If you had any notion that the college campus is a friendly place for Christians, think again. The professor in this story was Jay Budziszewski of the University of Texas, who has written a new book called "How to Stay Christian in College." The university campus has changed dramatically, Budziszewski says. And Christian parents and teachers had better prepare young people to defend their faith in an increasingly hostile environment. Take one of the biggest intellectual fads of our day: postmodernism. The best way to define postmodernism is that it is a reaction against modernism--which began in the Enlightenment, when many intellectuals proclaimed autonomy from God and sought to find truth by human reason alone. Postmodernism represents the collapse of that hope: It insists that human reason alone is incapable of coming up with any overarching, universal truth. In postmodernist lingo, we can have no "grand metanarrative"--no Big Story--that makes sense of reality. What does this mean for the Christian student seeking to express his faith in the classroom? If a believer talks about the biblical worldview of creation, fall, and redemption, he's likely to be shot down precisely because what he's telling is a "metanarrative"--a Big Story--that claims to describe ultimate reality. But Big Stories have been ruled out of bounds. Case closed. Discussion ended. If that weren't enough to rule out a biblical perspective, consider some further implications. If there's no Big Story making sense of all reality, then reality itself dissolves into bits and pieces. That's exactly what postmodernists say. They think truth is in pieces because they don't believe in a coherent reality that's the same for everyone. They think personality is in pieces because they don't believe in a self, a core identity, that's responsible for everything we do. They think life itself is in pieces because they don't believe it has any ultimate purpose or meaning. How can Christian students respond to these challenges? The answer may surprise you: We can begin by acknowledging a grain of truth in postmodernism. It is absolutely correct that, apart from God, there IS no overarching Truth, no coherent reality, no ultimate purpose to life. But we don't need to succumb to despair, as postmodernism does. The solution is to return to God. That's what the Gospel is all about. Christian students can be confident that biblical faith has answers to the intellectual challenges they face on the college campus. An outstanding resource is Jay Budziszewski's new book, "How to Stay Christian in College." Contact BreakPoint at 1 800 995-8777, and we'll tell you how to get a hold of a wonderful College Survival Kit, including Budziszewski's marvelous new book, for your own children or grandchildren who are headed for college this fall. Christian students don't need to be defenseless. If we do our homework, we'll discover that God's truth gives an answer to every ideology--in the classroom and in the world beyond.  


Chuck Colson


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