When you go to college, you are separated not only from your parents, but also from your community and your church. You essentially enter a free form existence defined by peers in your same situation and professors. During this time you will make the decisions which ultimately set the course for the rest of your life. What part of society will you align yourself with? In the midst of making these decisions, you will be confronted with a great deal of information and ideas that you have never heard before.
Industrialization and secularization in the 19th century led to the creation of a class people who held no allegiance to the world as it was, but who could spend their full time employment looking for a world that they wanted to be. Outside of the of the guide of revealed morality and principle, and wanted to be free from what they thought was its negative influence, they launched a series of attacks against religion. Although such attacks had been present throughout history, and had been forseen by the 18th century French thinkers, and ultimately the French Revolution, it was not until the 19th century that these developments really reached their critical mass.
The 19th century was a transitional era – a transition from life as it had basically existed since the dawn of time with minor improvements, to a life of machinery and innovation. Scientific and intellectual inquiry was advancing rapidly and just beginning to take on its modern form. In this transitional phase several major attacks were leveled at the foundation of Christian Civilization, which have held sway ever since. These seemed like novel and irrefutable ideas at the time, but the advancement of science, and the opportunity for ideas to be put into practice, has for the first time in over 150 years turned the tide of evidence strongly in favor of the Christian. This is well evidenced by one of the 20th century’s famous atheists, Anthony Flew, turning away from his atheism by following the facts.
This does not mean that the academy is ready to recognize this turn of events. In fact, history shows that such fundamental shifts are rarely well received by the academy. They take time for adoption, often as a new generation of scholars encounters the evidence freshly. You should not be intimidated by your professors then. There was a time in the 20th century when Christians had to take their faith in spite of the known “facts” of science, but no longer. Now it is the secular academy which must try to keep you from the facts, and intimidate you into their version of the story. If you have courage enough to follow the facts, however, you will find that far from a backwater belief for the uneducated, Christianity is an extremely reasonable religion with a plausible view of every academic subject. Nothing could be clearer evidence of this than that those who wish to slow your discovery of the truth will rarely resort to reason, and more quickly resort to denunciation and name calling. If their view is superior, why would there be need for this? These shrill attacks are designed to intimidate you. Dare to think for yourself.
The 19th century leveled three major charges against Christianity which you will still hear parroted in the modern university, but which are largely obsolete.
- The Attack Against the Bible. The Bible was claimed to be a book of mythology, and to have been written long after its time by a variety of authors, instead of a divine author. First, Moses could not have written the law because it was thought there was no writing at the time, then it was claimed that multiple authors must have written it. A century of digging in the desert has shown time and again that the Bible is an impressively accurate representation of the ancient world. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls showed that far from being a fluid text the Bible had changed almost not at all. Literary criticism has revealed elaborate metaphorical structures which undermine the JEPD theory. In short, the Bible as we have it is basically what it claims to be from a documentary perspective.
- Darwinism. Darwin did his work in an era when comparatively little was known about the functioning of the human body (remember a gunshot to the leg usually meant amputation), and very little was really known about the complexity of life. Doing groundbreaking work on the Galapagos islands, he postulated that the apparent similarities in the variety of life could be traced back to a common ancestry, and that the complexity of life could be a combination of mutation, chance and time. 150 years later, we are able to observe that not only is life FAR more complex that anyone in the 19th century had ever dreamed of, it exhibits properties that no scientist can explain through evolution. Furthermore, after 150 years, the “missing link” is still missing! No one has ever found a convincing set of transitional fossils which should be plentiful under the evolutionary system. And no major beneficial “macroevolutionary” change has ever been observed, even under lab generated conditions. Darwinism was a fascinating idea, the only problem is that the primary evidence for it is the zealous faith of biology professors.
- Marxism. Marx successfully critiqued not just the capitalist economic system, but everything about the capitalist society, and his thought found its way into every major discipline. In 1918, V.I. Lenin was able to put Marx’s ideas into practice, the first revolutionary state, on that would be built explicitly on atheism and on the desire for the eradication of religion throughout the world. It’s utopian vision was to liberate the working classes. For 70 years the Soviet Union fomented revolution around the world, but when it fell in 1991, and the records were examined, far from bringing mankind the promised utopia, the Communist vision of a world without God had murdered at least 100 million people. It was a prison state where those who dissented were executed or imprisoned, and no one was allowed to leave. Though rich in natural resources, its cities were dull and grey and its people poor. It’s fall so convincing, that even the remaining Communist states abandoned its economic and social policy. Life without God has already been tried and found wanting.
The basis for rejecting Christianity then is not the facts. It is a choice to accept some facts and ignore others, often based on intellectual intimidation.