5 Essential Characteristics of a Christian College
- Compassion and Service
- Personal Responsibility
- Order and Industriousness
Conservative Christian colleges can be quite different than secular private or public universities. While many students at Christian schools are not religious, the essential theme at a Christian college or university is religion, and most students attending these institutions are practicing Christians who support political causes such as limitations on abortion and free-market solutions to social problems. Here are five traits common to conversation Christian colleges.
Christians are used to seeing religious ideas expressed out in the open when they go to church, but in the day-to-day lives of most people, religion is more often avoided in conversation. It may sound obvious, but Christian schools are more overtly religious than most other public spaces. The foremost mission of a Christian school is to educate students, however, so the overall atmosphere at a Christian institution of higher learning is rational and academic, unlike a church, which is a place of worship and spirituality.
One political trend of the last 60 years is the preference for liberal politics held by most college students. While Christian millennials tend to be more liberal than their parents and the previous generation of Christians, they typically line up on the right side of the political aisle. Opposition to abortion and illegal immigration and support for gun rights and fiscal responsibility are common positions held by students at Christian universities. The range of opinion on the political right spans from libertarian centrism to reactionary authoritarianism. Far-right politics are not popular on college campuses, whether the schools lean left or right. The typical student at a Christian school holds center-right conservative beliefs as opposed to libertarian or liberal beliefs.
3. Compassion and Service
While the contemporary political left has positioned itself as the voice of compassion and service to humanity, this role has traditionally been assigned to the church, according to American Prospect. In the days before the Great Depression and New Deal politics, the political left and right were aligned much differently than today. Free-market libertarians were on the opposite side of the aisle from Christians, who often supported socialism and spoke on behalf of “the little guy” in many instances. The virtues of compassion and charity are still valued greatly by Christians, and a culture of service to humanity is encouraged by the church.
4. Personal Responsibility
Personal responsibility is one of the most fundamental values of English-speaking culture because it determines how the cost of civilization is paid when all is said and done. Right-leaning students advocate for this principle because they are the ones most interested in preserving the traditions underpinning society. Personal responsibility is the idea that individuals are responsible for the consequences of their decisions. Shared responsibility, in contrast, is the idea that the consequences of individual decisions are borne by the community.
5. Order and Industriousness
American Christian culture is based on the strictly biblical Protestant Christianity of the European Reformation. Order and industriousness were highly valued by Puritan immigrants who believed that heaven favored productive individuals. Material success was taken as a sign that the creator was pleased with the decisions and lifestyles of successful people. This culture of hard work and commitment to self-improvement is still very much alive today.
Political conversations on college campuses can be extremely heated, and intensely passionate points of view on all sides of an issue can clash in irreconcilable ways. No matter what your political views are, you can expect to see the above-mentioned five attributes on display when you attend a conservative Christian college.