Many young people begin to question their faith when they reach young adulthood. There has been debate as to whether it matters if their child attends a Christian or public university. Does a Christian college protect the faith commitment of young adults, or is this phenomenon simply unavoidable?
Students at Christian Schools Are More Likely to Keep the Faith.
Some research has been done on this topic. Gary Railsback from George Fox University found that students in state run college are more likely to give up their faith than those from Christian colleges. It may be obvious why this is true. Christian universities are full of Christians. When you are surrounded by like-minded people it is easier to believe the same way. Also, when you can openly share your faith with others it helps you to grow.
People Will Try to Influence You.
Your faith will likely be somewhat challenged by your academic experience in college if you attend a secular university. You are likely to encounter at least one professor whose main agenda is to make Christians doubt their religious faith. While the majority of college professors are religious, the percentage of them who are atheist and agnostic is higher than the general population, especially in the science fields. Even the textbook in certain subjects can reveal anti-Christian sentiments of the authors. In a Christian university, the administrators and professors do what they can to assist you in maturing in your spiritual life.
It is Possible to Stay Faithful at a Secular School.
Even if you attend a secular university, the outcome of this experience is up to you. Christian ministries of almost every denomination are present at most public colleges. That is a great place to get connected to other Christians. There are also resources from Christian college ministries to help you on your journey. It is true that many well-known Christian leaders have received an undergraduate degree from a Christian university. However, there are some Christian leaders who were educated in public universities as well. Among them is Lee Strobel. Strobel was an atheist in college and later went on to become one of the most well-known teachers of apologetics today.
It is Natural to Question Your Faith.
It should also be noted that another study shows that faith is tested in young adulthood whether in a Christian college or not. When Texas University surveyed 18-25 year olds, they found that people in college were actually less likely to disassociate from their faith than people who don’t go to college. This shows that it may not be the college atmosphere that plays the biggest part in determining how you handle this important time in your spiritual life.
Young adulthood is a time where we are trying to find out who we are. We naturally question things like our religion and the belief system of our parents. Attending college in an environment that supports your religious beliefs may make that process easier.