Certainly, it is not wrong to receive an education; however, you must consider the spiritual influences behind the college courses you intend to take and the ways college might affect you spiritually. If someone were to tell me they planned on attending a for-profit state college and staying on campus while majoring in some sort of liberal arts, I would immediately be concerned. Conversely, if the same person were to consider a local (and better yet, online) non-profit Christian college with intent to major in a professional or technical subject I would feel much better about it.
If you want to struggle spiritually, then going to college is a way to make that happen. Professor Todd Hall at Biola’s Rosemead School of Psychology (a Christian college in Southern California) wrote an article titled Spirituality at a Crossroads for the college’s 2010 fall magazine. In this article “Hall and a team of researchers launched a groundbreaking study designed to track the spiritual development of 500 Christian college students from freshman to senior year.” Hall later developed a test that measures “22 indicators of students’ spiritual lives using the ‘Spiritual Transformation Inventory’ (STI)… To date, more than 3,000 students from nearly 40 Christian colleges across the United States and Canada have participated.”
The results of these tests, which I have personally participated in, reveal that as the students move from the freshman too senior years they statistically score lower in 19 out of 22 of the STI’s measurements every semester. This means that the longer the student is in college, the less they read the Bible, pray, or attend worship services.
College students reported that they struggle in three main areas: Relational conflicts, busyness, and lust. College years fall at a time that most students are transitioning into adulthood and making personal spiritual decisions that will influence how they live for God. If the vast majority of polled students who attend Christian-based colleges experience a decrease in building a personal connection with God, I can only imagine how much worse it would be in a non-Christian college or university. College should be something that is approached with prayer and a plan on how you or your child can stay close to God.
Since writing this article I have received several communications. I would like to share some of these with you:
A woman wrote this: "I do agree that public education is devoid of any learning about God. I am a teacher in public education. So, I get to see it first-hand. However, I do not feel it is to blame for people losing their faith...it is the parent's responsibility to train the child up in the ways of the Lord. It is not the Church, the school, or any other medium's responsibility. I think the blame falls on upbringing."
I agree that a parent should raise a child to serve God, but is sending that child to a school that "is devoid of any learning about God" raising it correctly? A Godless public school will challenge your child's faith and many will lose a relationship with God over it. The Scriptures teach us to stay focused on God in the morning, afternoon, and evening: From waking up to going to bed.
Another man wrote and said, "As an individual that works in an academic setting, I come across students who grew up Christian and as they progressed through the public school system lost their faith."
And another man told me, "I lost my faith by the second year in college. By roommate was a philosophy major and after spending many nights debating with him I begin to doubt my own faith. I have only recently found it but again but I still look outside of the Bible for guidance, I still have doubts".
March 3, 2017 I received this email:
"While in high school and college I saw a lot of people lose their faith because of a biology class or a philosophy class. I thought if I could become a teacher I could help students understand that one can be intellectual and a creationist (intelligent design) at the same time. They don't have to be at odds with one another. It seems that in many colleges you are snubbed and looked down on if you believe in God or creationism. Left-leaning liberal colleges certainly do not want conservatives joining the faculty or getting tenure because that might, as you say, "change the vision" of the culture they are trying to create."