This week I’ve been sharing various truths that can be helpful to teach students early (maybe even before you have the chance to teach it from the stage)…
This one’s a more serious notion I would want to make sure students were regularly (and quickly) reminded of. Generally, I feel like Christian students haven’t had much exposure to “college-level” arguments against their basic beliefs… until they get to college (naturally). Further, many collegians will also have come from environments where the peer pressure to take certain social stances isn’t nearly as tough as it suddenly is in the dorm hall or classroom.
Those two things – their foundational beliefs about God, and their moral convictions based on His word – will be questioned vigorously, with arguments that are both smarter and more vigorous. So students will be exposed to academic, social, and emotional reasons to question those truths themselves.
We can’t inoculate students to these sorts of challenges, and I believe that sometimes we actually set them up for failure when we assure them (often in high school) that opponents’ arguments are all weak and easily defeated.
Instead, one of the things students most need at this point is the realization that questions are going to come, but you have to seek out answers. Many will hear high-level arguments or observe apparent unanimity against their beliefs and immediately succumb because they don’t realize there are actually good arguments on “our” side. Others will simply “sit with questions” for months or years, little recognizing that doubt is growing – until one day the doubt has won out. Either way, “college-level” Christian answers to critics won’t ever have been considered.
The more we can help students understand that resources are available as they work through important questions, the less likely they’ll be to wilt – at least permanently – in the face of challenging profs and peers. They’ll actually come out stronger and healthier after addressing such questions – they just have to be willing to address them.