College students need apologetics in face-off against atheist professors

by Kelly Ledbetter |

(REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)Comedian Eddie Izzard speaks after being presented with the 6th Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts February 20, 2013. The award is presented each year by the Humanist Community at Harvard, the American Humanist Association, and the Harvard Community of Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics.

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (Christian Examiner) – "Dad, I don't believe in God anymore."

An apologetics training in response to an increasing number of grieving parents who have heard these words from their college students looks at ways students can speak respectfully, but firmly to their professors, many of whom are atheists.

The instructors at Fearless Faith are convinced a contributing factor to why 70 percent of young evangelicals admit to abandoning church is a lack of worldview and apologetics training for students in how to resist the influence of their atheist professors.

Frank Turek, founder of CrossExamined.org and author of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, offers the Fearless Faith seminar to address the fact that college professors are five times more likely to be atheists than the general public and may be hostile toward Christianity.

Unprepared students who find the college environment frightening and toxic can easily fall into a crisis of faith.

In an interview with Apologetics 315, Turek describes a distraught U.S. Marine father's experience a few weeks after his Christian scholarship-winning daughter went to college. The daughter called her father and said, "A New Testament professor cast a lot of doubt on the New Testament; we don't know who wrote it, there are errors in it, we can't trust it. So, Dad, I'm an atheist now."

Turek counseled the dad to affirm his daughter's commitment to finding out the truth and to give her apologetics training. "Now, will apologetics training completely guarantee your child won't walk away?" Turek asked.

"Of course not. But it will lessen the probability. You see, it's easy to walk away from something you've doubted your whole life. It's more difficult to walk away from something you know beyond a reasonable doubt is true," Turek said.

Fearless Faith is a day-long seminar given at churches to teach students fearlessness about defending their faith. Students will learn how to respond calmly and respectfully when their faith is challenged, how to find flaws in common arguments for atheism, and how to defend the basic tenets of Christianity.

Mike Adams, a Fearless Faith instructor, professor and author of Letters to a Young Progressive, wrote that many students are unprepared to think critically about their professors' and university's worldviews and lose their faith by being taken unawares.

Dealing with anti-Christian viewpoints

Adams suggested asking the professor thoughtful questions rather than taking the bait to defend Christianity in front of the class. "Isolated questions can be effective in the classroom," he teaches.

Analytical thinking and certainty about one's own beliefs are necessary for this approach.

"When your Marxist professor lectures on topics like socialism and cultural relativism, just take good notes and try to think of questions that expose flaws in his worldview," Adams recommended.

"For example, 'Professor, isn't putting Jews in ovens wrong regardless of the geographical location and time period of the people doing it? In other words, isn't there such thing as a universal moral code?'"

Students also need to learn about their rights in and out of the classroom so that they will know when their freedoms are being legally challenged.

Apologist and detective J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold Case Christianity, is also a Fearless Faith instructor. "Can a case be made that young Christians are leaving the Church in record numbers?" Wallace asked.

"Yes. Can a case be made that many of these young people are leaving because the culture around them has impacted them deeply and caused them to question the truth claims of Christianity? Yes, again."

Wallace argued rather than merely teaching young people about faith, churches and families need to train them for battle.

"Make no mistake about it, there are battles looming for each and every young Christian in the Church today. The battles are waiting for our sons and daughters when they get to University (or enter the secular workplace). The Church needs to be in the business of scheduling battles and training our young people for these battles."

The Christian College Prep Course offered by Fearless Faith helps students and parents understand why Christianity is true, some ways that secular culture attacks Christians, and how to be ready to engage in that battle.

Of his call to train young people, Turek said, "To always be ready to give an answer, to demolish arguments, to be set in defense of the gospel. To say nothing of the commands, just pragmatically, you need to teach this. Wherever you are, it's important. There's eternal consequences here."

One final Fearless Faith seminar is scheduled Oct. 31 at Saint Peters and Paul's Church in New Braunfels, Texas.