More than ever before, faith and Christianity are being challenged, in the world at large, but even more so on college campuses. Despite a study by Neil Gross and Solon Simmons and published in Sociology of Religion stating that the majority of college professors are not atheists or agnostics, and that it is not true that higher education leads to unbelief within the professoriate, their study data does not back up that assertation. They just make it sound like it does.
While it is true that of the 1,417 professors surveyed only 9.8% of said they do not believe in God, and 13.1% stated they did not know if there is a God, leaving the combination of atheists and agnostics at 22.9%. However encouraging this sounds, we must look at the evidence in a comparative light to know what the numbers are really saying.
In the population as a whole (none where polled for Gross and Simmons’s study) the percentage of atheists and agnostics combined is 7.1% meaning that among college professors, unbelief and uncertainty about the existence of God is more than three times more prevalent than in the general population. Making college kids three times as likely to be confronted with a person in authority whose opinion they respect that does not believe in God. Another issue is belief in the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Only 6% of professors believed this, with the opposite opinion being that the Bible is a book of fables, legends, and moral precepts. (Huffington Post)
Coupled with peer pressure from friends, who use their new-found freedom to try out their wings and fly away from religion and other prohibitions of parents, many college students find themselves awash in a sea of questions beginning with “does God really exist?” A number of studies and books have been written in regards to the issue of young people leaving the faith after high school graduation. This website has an excellent list of them with a short synopsis of each. (Cold Case Christianity)
What can be done? Everyone must be the guardian of his or her own faith. Remember your convictions and the times God has spoken to you and guided you. Read your Bible daily, even if just one chapter. It is imperative for Christian college students to find a church to attend in their new locality. Assembling with other Christians is important for spiritual growth. Find or start a Bible study, one that works with your schedule. We must each guard our hearts lest we give the enemy a foothold in our lives. It will not be easy. Falling away will seem natural and simple, but it comes with a high price.
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
Some day we will stand before God and give an account of our lives; let us press on to the reward laid up in Heaven for those who love Him.