I’ve been hearing it since the beginning of time. “You’re lucky you are where you are now, because in college, people will treat you differently for being a Christian.” “At college, people will really attack your faith.” “Be really careful around liberals, because they hate Christians.”
I made a mention in my last post of how ridiculous I think this is, but now I have the answer to THE question: What really happens to Christians at liberal schools?
In a word, nothing. Or nothing bad that is. Yes, you will meet people who disagree with you. Yes, your beliefs will be challenged. And yes, you might question everything you ever believed. But in my mind, these are all good things. I did come to college to get educated, didn’t I?
Now I can’t speak for every school, everyone you might meet at these schools, and every setting etc. I can only speak from my experience. To be honest, I haven’t actually started classes yet, so I don’t know if professors will try to force me to sign a paper saying “I don’t believe in God.” Though I seriously doubt it.*
That said, I do believe I have been thoroughly exposed to so-called “liberal college culture”. I am attending one of the more liberal schools in the country, and my experience here began with a service project for first-years, which was a rather liberal program. To top it off, I was in the Gender and Sexuality focus area, which may have been the most liberal focus area at the liberal program at the liberal school.
In case you are still doubting my amount of exposure, here is a picture from a game we played:
Okay, if you were half as horrified by that picture as my mother was, you’re probably wondering how I survived.
When I walked in, I was afraid. I was afraid everything I heard before was true and the people I was about to meet wouldn’t accept me because of my background or faith. In reality, I found my new friends more accepting than the vast majority of people in Christian circles. Yes. More accepting.
By the time I left, I was almost a different person. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge, some of it interesting, some of it… less necessary. I’ve gone from some one who knew next to no LGBTQ+ people to someone who wonders if straight people (especially straight guys) are a myth. But I also finally had the chance to speak out about issues important to me and to be heard.
The people I’ve meet here– religious and non-religious– want to talk about all viewpoints and meet people with all beliefs. They don’t reject me because of my faith, and I don’t reject them for their beliefs. My belief system, faith, and sense of self have all grown in ways they never could have without the people here.
If you simply respect the differences in yourself and other people, you’d be amazed what can happen.
*This post has been in the works for a long time, so I actually have been to classes. And yeah, everything was fine. We’ve discussed religion but from a neutral standpoint.