I’m finishing grad school in less than two months, and I was telling someone recently how glad I am to have spent the time there. This is for a lot of reasons: I’ve enlarged my perspective, I’ve met people who work in my field, I’ve gained valuable knowledge and sharpened my skills. But, most of all, I was surprised to say that I’ve enjoyed being challenged—even being challenged about what I believe.
At the Catholic institution I attend, religion has not been even an afterthought in my classes. Few, if any, of my classmates are Catholic, and most of my professors aren’t either. But ethics and Truth—in the form of discussions about postmodernism, relativism, humanism—has been a recurring theme. So many times in these discussions, I’ve caught myself struggling, wishing I could return to a Christian environment where at least no one vocally questions Creation or the authority of Scripture or the sanctity of life. Yet, it is also in these discussions that I’ve learned to wrestle with difficult concepts that are increasingly prevalent in today’s world.
In a particular class I took this year, I was the only person who believed rules of English should be taught and one of two who believed professors shouldn’t use classrooms to push political agendas. I was the only one who admitted a belief in absolutes and the only voice of Biblical Christianity. If I, a Christian woman, hadn’t been in that class, there would have been no representation of what we know is Truth. I wonder how many American college classrooms are like that. Should not that alone make Christian young people—Christian young women—consider the mission field of secular education?
I recognize that academia is not the only place to come against these ideologies: as Christian women, we interact with the world around us through work, clubs, etc. But the classroom is the training ground for so many Americans; it is where they receive their fundamental beliefs. How can we impact that world without going to it?