Atheist Students And Christian Universities.

The attached link is about a Student Body President at a Christian university, Northwest, located on the U. S. West Coast.  The student is a life long atheist but wanted to study at Northwest. After confiding his lack of belief, he said he has lost friends and been treated differently by other students.

While I’ve know of a couple of students who grew up here in Fargo, ND, who attended that school, I don’t know much about it.  What I know is that there are many nonbelieving students  at smaller colleges/universities in this part of the U. S., schools that were founded by major Christian denominations.

Concordia College, for example, had about 75 students on a “nonbelief” list serve a year or two ago.  It took a couple of years and a new President, but the nonbelieving students now have a club which is officially recognized by the Concordia Administration.  I understand all the other colleges in Concordia’s conference, St. John’s, St. Olaf and so on have officially sanctioned nonbelief clubs.

I’m sure many would ask, “Why would a student enroll in a university that had as its founding goal the advancement of Christian principles if the student was not Christian?”  The answer would be the student wanted to study there and the University wanted to student to be there.

These are colleges who want to prepare students for the secular world they will live in.  They do not screen for belief.

Moody Bible College in Minneaplis does screen–I don’t think you will find any nonbelieving students there, except the closeted kind.


22 Responses

  1. Brad

    “After confiding his lack of belief, he said he has lost friends and been treated differently by other students.”

    That right there is what is wrong with a lot of these Christians. They say they believe in Christ, but then proceed to abandon what Christ taught.

  2. pqbd

    On the other hand a state funded university I attended in North Dakota was very tolerant of an aggressive Campus Crusade for Christ, CRU, club, cult or whatever it is. The university email system was used extensively for their meeting and special event agendas and on several occasions over the years bible verses were written in colored chalk on sidewalks at the entrances and between campus buildings. It was interesting to watch students as they either walked around this graffiti or right over it. Darn I should have sampled this behavior and wrote a paper for English class. As I recall most students walked right over the stuff. I did and thought it was a bit much.

    1. Wolfy32

      I was raised in the churches that sponsored the campus crusade for Christ… There was a huge push to get “Christians” back into colleges, schools, government positions, because if we didn’t…. everything would fall apart… Moral decline would set in…

  3. Wolfy32

    one thing that confused me while attending A Catholic College was their openness to welcoming and celebrating other religions and faiths. Campus would be used for non-christian activities. Students were encouraged by teachers (I had a project in one class to do this) to go and visit other churches, faiths, denominations, etc and write a report on the service(s) visited.

    It went against everything I was raised in. This is the only right religion, no other religion is valid. And here Christians – albeit evil catholics were here welcoming other faiths.

    It was most likely when doubt first set in about how I was raised. How could Christian faith differ so greatly, from no one is welcome unless you believe, to everyone is welcome???

    1. Wolfly32 “One thing that confused me while attending a Catholic College was their openness to welcoming and celebrating other religions..”

      That’s interesting. I’m sure you know of the tension in the Catholic hierarchy over this. Academic Catholic colleges have standards they must meet and their faculty and staff try to prepare student appropriately. Inside the church hierarchy are fundamentalists who don’t like this. There are attempts to put everything the universities teach and do under the supervision of the local Bishop who is appointed by Rome.

  4. Wanna B Sure

    Related:—–See article today on Huffpost religion–“Remembering Albert Camus & Longing for the Old Atheism”.

    1. Wanna 5:15 “Related–See article today on Huffpost religion, “Remembering Albert Camus & Longing for the Old Atheism.”

      Thanks for that reference. That is, of course, the religous establishment’s wish, that things could be like they were when Christianity ruled the roost.

      The reason atheists like Camus seem today like something better than atheism today is because times were different. There were plenty of athiests like Dawkins, you can still buy there books from old atheist publishing houses, small places like American Atheists, American Humanists, etc. The reason we have the Dawkins and Harris’ is because publishers began to realize there was money to be made publishing these more strident styles.

      It was the public that changed, not the atheists.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        Then clearly,” because there’s money in it”, the new atheists are more active due to pressure from the publishers, And all along you and others place blame on authors on the other side. Principles be damned. Let’s hear it for “hypocrisy” and opportunism.
        I think I have also shared in the past that I find little beyond the “feel good, warm fuzzy” subjectivism in today’s current crop of Christian book stores either.

        1. Wanna 9:32 “Priciples be damned.”

          Joel Osteen is a product of today’s tastes and values as it Richard Dawkins. Bart Erhman was the first in his field of critical analysis of the Bible to write a book using layman’s language. It was on New York Times best seller list for seveal weeks. There is these days a lot of interest in looking at the Bible through objective eyes instead of believing eyes.

          At the same time, if it were possible to nail these secular writers to the wall showing they are absolutely wrong, I think the public would be less interested in what they have to say. That hasn’t been done.

          1. Wanna 10:24 “Yup, just follow the money. Tell’m what they want to hear.”

            Maybe you and I share an idealism. We both sit here and put forward our views and neither gets paid a darn dime!!! 🙂

          2. Wanna B Sure

            You should play an accordion. The definition of an optimist is:–An accordion player looking for someone willing to listen.

          3. entech

            Tell them what they want to here has a long history in Christianity. The Nicene Creed and so on were based on the voices of the bishops of the time, the bishops gained the ideas and their authority from the groups that could gain and keep the most converts.
            Tell them what they want to hear is what puts bums on seats.

            Bums on seats, a common metaphor in Anglo countries, where bum is a slightly vulgar word for the buttocks. Equivalent I believe to “butt”. The nice people use the euphemism “behind”.

          4. entech 11:10 “Tell what they want to hear is what puts bums on seats.”

            And, $ in the collection plate. If Christianity had never engaged in “tell them what they want to hear” it would have died our centuries ago.

            Then, parts of the faith say, “We never change, we don’t engage in ‘tell them what they want to hear.'” It, too, is what they want to hear.

          5. Wanna B Sure

            There’s a lot of ‘bums” that get elected to political office by using the same “tell’em what they want to hear”. Then they write books about it later.

          6. Wanna B Sure

            As far as the creeds go, there were those who didn’t agree, or want to hear that to this very day. There are those anti-triunity groups that reject the creeds. Both within and without belief traditions. Starting with Arius, (not a bishop). It probably would have been more popular not to have a Trinitarian formula in the creeds, but then there would there would be no need for the creeds in the first place, and Universalism would have ruled the day.

          7. Wanna B Sure

            Jon @ 11:36- The popular trend today is to approve just about anything. That really packs them in, and the collection plates from what I hear.

          8. entech

            “probably more popular”,? if it had been more popular it would have survived. Marcionite ideas were “almost as popular” but did not survive.

            You were preaching and converting in a society that was basically polytheistic, the one God undivided and unique was a bit lonely in a polytheistic world, three was much more acceptable.

  5. noblindersonme

    Interesting comments on Concordia . Why do they have so many ‘non-beleivers’ on campus ? Why would so many like that go to college there? etc. I have a close realtionship to Concordia . Maybe it just simply says a lot about the wonderful true Christian faith that does exist there!
    Another good question would be is how open other ‘Christian colleges’ like Falwell’s Liberty college etc , are in this matter. Are they as open as Concordia ? Politics seems to trump other stuff at so many Christian institutions, Concordia does NOT seems so restricted.

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