Beware of Secular Universities!

This is in the Christian Post, which describes itself as “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website.” They have a comments icon, but we can’t get it to work. Their headline is How evangelical kids can get their faith shaken on the first day of university, written by Dr. Randal Rauser, professor of Historical Theology at Taylor College and Seminary, a bible college in Edmonton, Alberta. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Let’s consider the first morning at university for one hypothetical 18-year-old raised in a typical evangelical church subculture. His name is David. David’s Christian leaders were seeking to grow his faith strong. And so, as he grew up in the church he was taught a deep suspicion of many views contrary to his evangelical Christian convictions.

What a wonderful childhood! The theology professor says:

For example, he was taught that the Neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution is wrong. But not simply that it is wrong: he was taught that it is a lie, that it is a theory on its last legs which is sustained by little more than the anti-Christian animus of those who propagate it. He still remembers the sober words of his youth pastor: “Don’t let the evolutionist make a monkey out of you.”

Wise words indeed. After that the professor tells us:

David was also warned about atheism. Atheists, he was taught, are godless people who hate God and repress a deep anger toward him. They don’t want to live in accord with God’s law and that’s why they reject belief in him. So they are merely fools, as it says in Psalm 14:1.

David’s family did a great job — he’s a fine young creationist. But then it all goes downhill. The professor continues:

With that background, David faces his first morning as a new student at a large public university, a school with more first-year students than people living in his hometown. When he arrives David encounters a bewildering number of cultures and languages, to say nothing of the staggering number of life philosophies on other. [Other what?] The Christian subculture in which he was raised is now inundated by a tsunami of alternative perspectives he hardly knew existed.

How horrible! Let’s read on:

David arrives early at his first class: Biology 101. Having been warned for years of the absurdity of evolution, he is gritting his teeth, seeking merely to endure the class in the hope of becoming a medical doctor someday. [A creationist physician? Hee hee!] Immediately David is surprised by Dr. Smith. She seems friendly and very intelligent and she conveys a deep love for the natural world as she projects various images of nature on the PowerPoint screen. With surprise, David realizes that she also coauthored their textbook, a formidable five hundred page tome full of diagrams and pictures and charts.

Very insidious! That ol’ devil is slick! Another excerpt:

Dr. Smith provides an overview of the syllabus, noting how they will study the properties of life, the differences between plants and animals, the flow of genetic information, and … here it comes … how life evolved on earth. [Gasp!]


As class ends and David gathers his books, he experiences a degree of relief. Dr. Smith doesn’t seem nearly as hostile toward Christianity as he had expected. But that first class has also planted a seed of doubt. Is Dr. Smith trying to make a monkey out of him? Is evolution really just a lie, an absurdity sustained only by the anti-Christian animus of its defenders? Could a reasonable person interpret the origin of life in that manner? And if not, how does he explain Dr. Smith?

But that’s not all. It gets even worse! Here’s more:

Still, David doesn’t have time to process those questions now. He needs to get to his next class, Philosophy 103. If David was nervous about Biology 101, he is outright fearful of this next class. His youth pastor had warned him that the philosophy teacher, Dr. Braun, is an atheist. [Oh no!] … Apprehensively, he takes a seat in the back as Dr. Braun saunters into the classroom sporting a black turtleneck, a ponytail, and a pair of Freudian spectacles hanging off his nose. “Definitely a philosopher,” David chuckles to himself.

What happens in that freak’s class? We’re told:

Over the next hour Dr. Braun describes many of the great problems of philosophy: why are we here? Is there meaning in life? How can we know anything? What is the good? And is there a God? In each case, he briefly summarizes the various views that different thinkers had taken, all in pursuit of that overarching goal, the search for wisdom. David is entranced by the lecture and before he knows it, the class is over. As he walks out, he is both intrigued and confused. Dr. Braun seems to be many things, but a fool is not one of them.

Ghastly, isn’t it? And now we come to the end:

That’s David’s first morning. Now think of four years of experiences similar to those, experiences that erode the simple and austere categories that David had acquired while being raised within his Christian subculture. From that perspective, it should hardly be surprising that many young Christians like David find their faith under serious assault in university.

Okay, dear reader, you’ve been warned. That’s what will happen to your kids if you send them to a secular university. They’ll lose their faith and end up in the Lake of Fire. We hope you read this before it’s too late!

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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28 responses to “Beware of Secular Universities!

  1. Heaven forefend. The kid might learn something!

  2. Wait until David discovers beer.

  3. What the hell are “Freudian spectacles?” Stage shows with suppressed sexual innuendo?

  4. Michael Fugate

    The problem is that David’s parents attended churches where the Bible was taught as history and science – there are plenty of churches where the Bible is put on surer ground.

  5. Laurettte McGovern

    Good! Perhaps there is hope for David after all as he is exposed to the real world

  6. “Freudian spectacles” are frames like your mother used to wear. Alas, young David failed to notice that Dr. Braun was wearing stockings, too.

  7. Holding The Line In Florida

    @Draken Not to mention Rhum, Vodka, Tequila and scantily clad young ladies.

  8. “Don’t let the evolutionist make a monkey out of you.”
    We see what the real problem with evolution is. It isn’t that it violates the second law of thermodynamics. It isn’t the lack of transitional fossils. It isn’t that the Bible proves it wrong.
    The problem with evolution is that it says that we have our place in the world of life. We can’t understand the way our body works in isolation from other living things. We are eukaryotes, animals, vertebrates, mammals – and worst of all, because it is so obvious, we are most closely related to chimps and other apes.

    On a completely different track. Let’s say that Dave’s cousin Pat goes to True American Founding Fathers Bible College. Pat is impressed by Dr. Smith’s lectures on the Bible. Dr. Smith has been giving those inspring lectures for forty years. Pat was among the inspiring Dr. Smith’s last students, for Dr. Smith dies suddenly. But Dr. Smith left a manuscript for a book in which it is explained that Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch, and that there was no World-Wide Flood some few thousand years ago, It seems that Dr. Smith was not telling the students what he really believed, because he would be immediately fired if that came out. Pat is confused.

  9. “The ~~Christian subculture~~brainwashing in which he was raised”

  10. well, that formatting didn’t work so well….. but meant so “fixed the typo!”

  11. They say that like it’s a bad thing.

  12. What is the point here? That Christian kids are precious snowflakes that need the cocoon of Christian college? (Sounds like Rauser is drumming up business!)

    Or is he saying that maybe, just maybe, churches shouldn’t lie to kids?

  13. The author says “David realizes that she also coauthored their textbook, a formidable five hundred page tome full of diagrams and pictures and charts.”
    And we all know that science charts and graphs are FAKE. And even if they are accurate, which they’re not, if anything disagrees with David’s denomination’s interpretation of scripture, it must be the work of the DEVIL.

  14. Michael Fugate

    In that post, Rauser interviews John Marriott (Biola U) about this book:
    You can read the 1st chapter – which is very thoughtful about people leaving Christianity.
    He lists 5 characteristics of those leaving:
    above average intelligence
    open to new experiences
    low tolerance for fundamentalist and right-wing authoritarian attitudes.
    inability to process and reconcile difficulties with their faith.
    high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty.

    I don’t think Ham would find this book appealing.

  15. First year courses: “Biology 101”, I get. But “Philosophy 103”? What the heck happened to “Philosophy 101 & 102”?

  16. This reminds me a bit of the movie “The Polar Express”. While the most conspicuous part of the movie is how much the Tom Hanks action capture encroaches into “uncanny valley”, I find the moral of the movie highly questionable. It encourages belief in Santa Claus (presumably into adulthood) by virtue of being able to hear a little bell. I find it questionable that this sort of belief despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary is something one should aspire.
    The Bible of course mentions that childish things are forsaken by adults. Santa Claus and creationism aren’t all that different in that regard.

  17. @Michael Fugate
    This is someting in that blog, something not particularly important, but I wonder about: That adults, not children, believe in fairly tales.
    I was surprised to learn as a child that several of the characters in Westerns were real people. Billy the Kid, Buffalo Bill, Doc Holliday. On the other hand, I think that many aduts believe that the characters they see on television, on soap operas, on reality shows, etc. are real people.

  18. So in Randall’s story rationality wins over indoctrination and superstition. Good! Though I taught in “secular” universities for decades, I attended a small christian college, not a fundie one, but a liberal one where everything was questioned. The OT and NT were taught as largely myth, and evolution was accepted as very real. Over half the students didn’t belong to that denomination, and a great many were already atheists. So were some faculty, including, I suspected, one or two with the title “Rev”. In many ways I was fortunate. Sadly, I don’t think college is the mind expanding experience it once was, particularly at state schools where the emphasis is on jobs and careers.

  19. @Scientist: That sounds remarkably like the small christian college I attended in Pennsylvania where, in religion classes, I learned that much of the historical parts of the bible had been shown to be wrong by archaeologists. And it confirmed my opinion that most of it was pure mythology.

  20. Michael Fugate

    The big difference today is that many more individuals are going to college and universities are struggling to keep up with faculty, facilities, and funding. Where once a high school diploma was enough to get a good job, now it is a BS or BA. Due to the numbers, there is a huge push to decide on a major and graduate as quickly as possible. STEM majors are also requiring more and more core courses leaving little time to explore the humanities or even other STEM programs.

  21. @abeastwood. Good to know there were other such colleges. Mine was west of the Mississippi and, sadly, it closed some years ago.

    @Michael Fugate. How true! More humanities should be required. STEM doesn’t have a monopoly on critical thinking. Just listen to a literature prof analyze a poem! I was fortunate enough to not only complete the Biology major, but also take math courses just short of a major and philosophy courses just short of a minor. I have fond memories of the philosophy courses, and the lively debates they often caused. Ah, so long ago!

  22. Scientist – Phillips?

  23. Decades ago I overheard a creationist technician bragging to another technician that he did have a college education because colleges could turn your head completely around to where you would believe anything. Such people are amazingly immune to recognizing the irony of their own idiotic statements. For them reality is what you believe, evidence be damned.

  24. @Douglas E. Nope.

    I should have added that I for years I fought administrators, and often fellow faculty, who reflexively associated critical thinking (I dislike the term, but …) with STEM. There’s probably more critical thinking in a literature course than in most general biology courses, exceptions acknowledged. Sadly, humanities departments are in decline, shadows of their former selves. One reason retirement has its advantages.

  25. Shorter CP: How dare secular academics refuse to live up to the caricatures Christian leaders have carefully crafted at them, but instead turn out to be knowledgeable, engaging and sympathetic figures!

  26. I’m aware of Dr. Rauser, and he’s a somewhat liberal theologian who maintains a friendly relationship with the atheist community. Surely his point here is that a fundamentalist, creationist upbringing sets up Christian youth for failure when they enter the real world.

  27. Indeed and you can check this on his own blog.