Orthodox Students in an anti-Christian Environment
The title follows the advice of Jesus to his disciples: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16) Academic teachers almost universally enjoy challenging students to question authority, yet are taken aback when their own authority is questioned. They know that they are addressing a class of impressionable minds, and almost make a sport of attacking the positions of the students. The Orthodox Christian student must refuse to be intimidated and discouraged.
Most of these teachers took years to acquire the knowledge and the skill to successfully defend their belief system, including their atheism. They only ask you to question the authority of those who have instructed you so far, such as your parents, religious teachers, or others with upright morals, but are highly indignant when their authority is questioned. Their pattern of teaching is nothing new, for there have been antagonists like them from before recorded history. Their arguments are nothing new, there were teachers of atheism and other false teachings who confronted the Apostle Paul when he was preaching the gospel in Athens. The arguments may be new to you, but you should know these challenges to the faith have been answered by many apologists since the beginning of Christianity.
And what is unfortunate is that many textbooks, no matter of what category, mostly expound an anti-Christian viewpoint. Christianity may be ridiculed as being closed-mind and backward-looking, but academics do not claim to be insulated from the same unhealthy trait. It is interesting that Christian writers expounding the Christian Faith are often accused of being biased, while secularist thinkers expose their own arrogance, hypocrisy and narrow mindedness, disallowing others their freedom of opinion. Dismissing the faith of young people, these pompous academics move to crush that which they do not understand. Surely, we who possess the Ultimate Truth, all we can do is not to be discouraged or intimidated? Is there no active defence or even attack, not with the purpose of harming or embarrassing those who ridicule our Faith?
In whatever way you enter a debate with your academic teacher, you must remember that you must behave within the boundaries of your Christian principles. Some tips:
• Remember, your teacher is a better debater than you, so don’t place yourself in his scope. If you do, expect to be blown out of the water.
• Don’t be embarrassed by your commitment to your Orthodox faith. Experienced Christian academic teachers have discovered that most students are secretly wishing to find a spiritual basis for the meaning of life. They will secretly envy you for your faith.
• Commit yourself to the Orthodox Fellowship in your Institution. Not as a periodic visitor, but as an active and creative member.
• Get to know your faith, so you can defend it with robust arguments. This needs lot of study and research on your part.
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
Source: Lychnos July-August 2019