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Meditation 806
On losing faith at university

Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Malcolm Forbes

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Once again I turn to Billy Graham to show how bereft of logical thought and anti-education a Christian ministry can be.

Last Sunday, presumably to have a column relevant to the U.S. Thanksgiving, Billy Graham's column[1] published the following question.

Q: Our son came home from college for Thanksgiving and when we got ready to go to church, he said he wasn't going because he did not believe in God anymore. What's happened to him? This has stunned us.

Perhaps not that unusual a circumstance. A young person in college rejects the religion he or she was brought up in, and the parents cannot understand it. Now how did Billy Graham respond?

A: We sometimes forget that most new college students are away from home for the first time and their newfound independence can sometimes throw them off balance before they realize it. They find it exhilarating to cast aside old beliefs and adopt new ones, just as your son has done.

The problem is that they usually don't have the ability to evaluate new ideas carefully and critically. Nor do they realize that they don't embrace such ideas because they are logical, but just to prove their independence. Unfortunately, on many campuses it's popular to reject the past and some professors take delight in encouraging this.

...and for brevity, the rest of the answer is tell your son you love him, get some books for him from a Christian bookstore, have your pastor talk to him, and pray for him.

Perhaps Billy Graham thinks all universities should be just like the institutions he attended - Bob Jones College and then Florida Bible Institute - places where they teach blind obedience to an ancient text and unthinking opposition to genuine critical thinking and logic. That's not education!

The real problem[2] here, is that the son is actually being educated. He is learning to think for himself. He is exercising critical thinking. He is learning to apply logic to the beliefs his parents drilled into him in the first eighteen years or so of his life. And yes, some professors (and it should be the majority of them) do take delight in giving their students the tools to question what they have been taught in the past.

Based on his answer, I can only conclude that Billy Graham is against a real university education. His form of Christianity cannot stand up to the light of actual knowledge.


  1. College-aged son need to be brought back to Christ, Billy Graham, The Calgary Sun, Sunday, November 29, 2009
  2. a problem for the parents, that is