Answer Tough Questions

The college campus is flooded with worldviews. A lot of people naturally conclude that it is arrogant for anyone to think their worldview is absolutely true, and that it is especially rude and close minded to suggest there is “one way” to God.

Students today want to be seen as open minded, accepting, and tolerant. They seem to be very sensitive to the idea of imposing ideas on others and are wary of being imposed upon. The topic of religion and faith is one that students are uncomfortable engaging with their peers. There are negative assumptions that when Christians engage in conversations about faith, they just talk and do not listen, and all Christians are just trying to tell everyone else they are wrong.

Many people do not see how having faith in Jesus or being a Christian truly makes someone different in a positive way. People involved in Christian activities and those not involved seem to be the same, so Christianity must not make that much of a difference. Students experience this as true as they see the Christians around them gossiping, partying, sleeping around, not exercising compassion or care toward others or the environment, etc.

There is a perception that Christianity is a defense mechanism that some people construct to give them security and assurance. The perception is that Christianity is a psychological crutch to help weak people deal with their fears and insecurities. This is essentially to say that religious people invented their father figure in heaven as a security blanket to ward off fears and heal their wounds.

Christians on college campuses are often thought of as being judgmental. They live differently from those around them by avoiding drinking, sex, parties, and a lot of other things students find fun. This can lead them to appear judgmental of those around them; often, the truth is Christians are judgmental of those around them.

Priests abusing kids. Megachurch leaders misusing finances. Christian students partying on Saturday night and heading to church Sunday morning. Christians treating homosexuals hatefully. Youth pastors addicted to pornography. Christian families breaking up. The list could go on. If Jesus transforms lives and if he was raised from the dead, why do his followers seem to blend in with everyone else? In fact, aren't they more evil because they claim to have found “real life” and a transforming worldview?

When many people think of heaven, their minds are filled with images of golden harps, clouds, and angels. Heaven is pie in the sky when you die, and for many savvy people, that sounds completely uninteresting. Christian worship on earth seems boring enough. So why would anybody want to sit through a worship service that goes on forever?!

Astute observers of the Christian faith notice that it does require a wholesale life change. If your conversation partner makes this objection, then you can take heart in their acknowledgement that it is a big deal. Personal autonomy is one of (if not the) most important values for this student generation and they view any traditional religious structure as confining.

Today’s students often see themselves as globally aware, culturally sensitive, and tolerant of alternative views. In light of this, it can seem arrogant, intolerant, and close-minded to suggest that Jesus is the only way to God, or that Christianity is the true religion. Students might be okay with each person finding their own truth, but they are suspicious of any one truth trumping all others.