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Christians who decided that secular college was the better fit

sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,813 Senior Member
edited August 2011 in Christian Colleges
As a Christian parent, I would really love to see my son attend a Christian college such as Taylor, Grove City, or Wheaton. That was the plan but it does appear almost certain that my son will not apply to any Christian schools because of his extreme stengths in math and physics. I have very mixed feelings about it. I know there are many good strong orthodox support groups on various campuses but I also know there are weaker support groups and certainly some extremely erroneous and bad teaching at secular schools as they try to sway our Christian kids to abandon their beliefs.

I was very delighted to hear of Christian professors on the campus of Harvey Mudd and Princeton but they are definitely secular campuses. I also feel that my son will be missing out on some amazing courses in theology, philosophy, and religion from a Christian perspective by not attending a Christian college.

Yet, he has been gifted in areas that are best developed at a secular school....and I know some very strong Christians attend secular schools.

I think I need encouragement that we're making the right choice. When the math prof at Grove City told my son to look at secular colleges because Christian colleges didn't offer enough for him academically, that's when it became clear that he most likely wouldn't be attending a Christian college.
Post edited by sbjdorlo on

Replies to: Christians who decided that secular college was the better fit

  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 3,541 Senior Member
    I went to a secular school and don't regret it. However, being in the same boat (more or less) with middle son choosing a secular school I will say that there are concerns. I saw many leave their faith without stopping to question if the challenges to their faith were worthy or not. My own faith was seriously challenged, but I did my own research beyond the questions and feel my faith was strengthened. I know of very few others like myself, esp compared to the numbers dropping their faith (or active faith).

    Based on my own research I've made sure to raise all of my boys knowing more than I ever knew (about the reasons for faith) while they were growing up. At that time, I just assumed they would all attend my Alma mater as I truly did love the experience there. Oldest dashed that dream when he wanted a Christian college. He's perfectly happy at his Christian college and I'm now convinced that it was the right choice for him. It opened my eyes to Christian colleges (at least some of them) and I thought they could be good options for all of my boys. However...

    Middle son is also not going to my Alma mater, but secular choices are a better academic fit for him, so... I'm making sure he knows the challenges that will come and how I ended up answering them, but in reality, those challenges will only become real when he experiences them himself. And, his response to those challenges will have to be his own. Being Arminian (not believing in once saved, always saved --> believing in free choice, not chosen), I am concerned, but we're moving forward and I'll keep praying. There isn't a day I where I don't think about it, but I end up hoping that God does have a plan and will bring other sincere Christians into my son's path wherever he ends up going. I know it is possible. Time will tell if it happens.

    For what it's worth, there are students who go to Christian colleges and still drop their faith. I'm not certain in those situations that they ever had a true faith as much as mom and dad making them attend a Christian college, but I do know many of my peers in secular U did have a true faith (as much as a human can tell). To this day I mourn their "loss." Of course, there were others there who just "shared" mom and dad's faith too...

    No real "help" here I'm sure, but just wanted to share that you aren't alone.

    Many Christians go to secular colleges and come out with a stronger faith. Many Christians go to secular colleges and come out with no faith. We won't know which category our offspring will fall into until it happens. We'll get ours started with a Christian organization on campus, but only he will decide if he continues with it once the challenges come his way.
  • DolorousEddDolorousEdd - Posts: 1,274 Senior Member
    but I also know there are weaker support groups and certainly some extremely erroneous and bad teaching at secular schools as they try to sway our Christian kids to abandon their beliefs.
    There are few schools that actually have a significant amount of professors trying to convert students to atheism. "Secular school" doesn't mean "atheist school," it means "everybody school." Of course the Christian groups are smaller, but they are often stronger, because everyone there is there because they're going above and beyond the norm for students there. Rather than the Christian group being just all the students, it may actually be a close-knit group.

    We all face tests to our faith, at one point or another. Faith untried is hardly faith at all.

    How does your son feel about this? Does he prefer Christian/secular schools? Does he mind one way or the other? If he isn't worried, I don't think you should be.
  • MomofbassistMomofbassist Registered User Posts: 698 Member
    Yes, there are many influences at the secular schools. My two sons have chosen the secular route and the older one, a junior, found the way all by himself with a lot of prayer,too. He joined a small Bible study group that he and the other members have turned into an officially sponsored school organization called campus ministries. They receive support form the school student association but also from the local churches. The club seems to appeal to many students who are seeking. They have quite a diverse group both ethnically and from a religious perspective. They even have had wiccans who attend. So, pray and have your son put on the full armor of god and have faith that God has a plan for him and it may just be to let his light shine forth on a secular campus. Jesus did not stay with the Pharisees but with the tax collectors,etc.
    Also, our local church, Bible based, has many "hard' science college professors that attend so science, secular universities and God are not mutually exclusive! (At older son's school, the faculty advisor is a retired physics prof.)
  • DolorousEddDolorousEdd - Posts: 1,274 Senior Member
    Also, our local church, Bible based, has many "hard' science college professors that attend so science, secular universities and God are not mutually exclusive! (At older son's school, the faculty advisor is a retired physics prof.)
    I agree! Some of the greatest men of science have been men of God.
  • mspearlmspearl Registered User Posts: 1,233 Senior Member
    hmmm...if your son is secure in his beliefs then he shouldn't be so easily swayed by secular and erroneous teaching. Right?
  • HPFan13HPFan13 Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    I have chosen to attend a secular school over a Christian school also :) I am excited about it!!! Both of my older siblings attended a secular college, and they came out just fine. :) I believe it's what I'm supposed to do. To be a light. I hope this helps.<3

    "And if our God is for us then who could ever stop us , and if our God is with us then what could stand against."
  • HPFan13HPFan13 Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    I can't even pretend to chance you, but apply to all of your schools, pray about it, and the right door will be opened for you! :)
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    Remember this ...so-called Christians allegedly experience a "higher" (there must be a better word, greater? no definitely not ...) rate of divorce than secular couples.

    I'm not really sure. It might be to be careful in deciding what we wish for. Better yet, pray for what God might wish for us. And it might not be "which school" or Christian vs. secular. God made it all. And all of us. Do we really think he abandons those who go to State or the local community college? Our boxes are small, our faith so weak, our listening for His call so poor, our willingness to obey so resistant.
  • HPFan13HPFan13 Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    Something your son could also do is look for a pastor or Christian group in the college he is looking at! Just look at the clubs and organizations in that school. He could connect with others that way before he even steps on the campus :) Just really pray about it and you both will feel at peace where he should be :) It works, I promise. <3
  • susgeeksusgeek Registered User Posts: 1,603 Senior Member
    I faced this issue with my sons in high school. I had looked at Christian high schools for older S and discovered that in order to get the math and science courses he needed for engineering, he needed to be in public school.

    Just trust that your son has been given a talent he needs to use. If he also finds he wants to study deeper theology, he can pursue that later.
  • HPFan13HPFan13 Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    LasMa, very pretty writing. I agree with what you say <3
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,813 Senior Member

    Thanks for your post. I became a Christian on a secular campus when I was 20. I wouldn't wish my path for anyone but God does indeed reach out in all places at all times to those who are in need of a Savior.

    May He work through our "cracked pot" kids (and parents) to bring glory to Himself and many sons to glory wherever that may be.
  • TimothyHTimothyH Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    LasMa does point out the best point. God makes our children to be what he wants them to be. If he made your son to exceed at Math and Physics, he will be more than faithful to guide him into using those gifts.

    I would like to point out another tidbit for thought, though. Think of King David and his "education" as a Shepherd. I think very few people would see that education sufficient for being the King of a Nation, but David learned the skills he would need in his career in an unusual way.

    I realize he will have a hard time using those skills without precise training, but as you already know, just let God point the way. God's word tells us he knows the plans that he has for us. If he knows his plans, and if we are faithful to listen to His Spirit in us, then whether we follow the best path or the most out of the way path, he will bless our faithfulness and complete the Good work He starts in us.

    As a matter of honesty, I work as a recruiter for a Baptist College, so I personally would love to see God train more of his scholars and scientists at Christian colleges. However, I also know Paul did not study under "Christian" teachers, and God still turned him into the great evangelist he was.
  • Whistle PigWhistle Pig - Posts: 4,093 Senior Member
    LasMa makes her case nicely. Thanks for sharing.

    Tim contends that God makes us what He wants. Not sure I concur with that theology, as it's only part of the message of His promise.

    Paul says it biblically. God knows his people in advance, and causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called to his purpose for them.

    I'm not sure I can find anyplace that it says God calls students to secular or sectarian colleges. Rather, what I think that says is that wherever we may be, when our hearts are right, God will use us and our circumstances.

    So I'm not sure there is reason to think that He "loves" Wheaton or GCC and doesn't Slippery Rock or Michigan State. I think he DOES love people in these places as much as he hates behaviors in all.
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