Ladies and gentlemen, lend me your ears.
When we think about what college to go to, or what college to send our kids to, what do we most often consider? Usually the most significant consideration is job prospects once we (or they) come out on the other end.
The more you think about this, the less sense it makes. College is not just a place to go get a rubber stamp on your forehead saying you're fit to work a specific career. College is a crucial, years-long experience that will shape one's life -- for the rest of their life!
Listen to Dr. Abner Chou, Interim President of The Master's University:
Universities as an institution and industry are not neutral. The very purpose of undergraduate education in our society is to inculcate a particular way of thinking. That is precisely why a student cannot attain certain types of jobs right after high school. Employers assume that a college education solidifies a student's reasoning so that he or she can operate rightly in the workforce. Just as vocational schools train individuals to work with their hands, so undergraduate education trains the mind. So, by design, universities work to ingrain a pattern of thought in their students. That is why every school does not merely offer classes in one's major but has general education requirements that shape how one writes, communicates, reasons and perceives society. Thus, universities are not neutral ground. They are purposed to push someone to a certain form of rationality.
Classrooms then are not neutral. Professors have academic freedom to express their convictions. They teach subjects from their perspective and draw students to their conclusions. At secular institutions, the viewpoint in the classroom will be anything but Christian. As the Washington Times reported, professors who identify as liberal outnumber those who hold more conservative values by 12 to one. One Christian professor in a top secular university reports that if his colleagues knew of his faith, they would make his life difficult. So, in a university designed to impress how to think, one will encounter an environment that will do everything it can to convince someone to think contrary to everything that his or her parents, pastor and church have labored tirelessly to instill in them. Is it the best use of resources, then, to pay for someone to contradict everything you stand for? Furthermore, is it the best use of resources to pay for getting less instruction than you need? After all, it is documented that because of the thought agenda of college campuses, most classes in one's major are increasingly becoming more dedicated to political and cultural correctness than to actual training. In what other situation would we pay more to not only get less of what we are paying for but also to get more of what we despise? Yet, that is the decision we often make in higher education. This is far from neutral.
Dorms are not neutral. Headlines illustrate that this environment is far from benign. Drunkenness, partying, drugs and sexual immorality all pervade college housing. Confusion about gender issues will only make this worse in days to come. We can never underestimate the power of influence in these environments. Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33). We know the importance of holiness. It pleases God and is the way of life (Prov. 3:18). Would we ever want to jeopardize that? The Scripture bemoans Lot's time (cf. Gen 19:9, 14) in Sodom and Gomorrah for it tormented his soul (2 Pet. 2:8). Why would we ever put our young people there? Do we want to be a stumbling block to those in our care? This is not morally neutral.
Conversations are not neutral. Sometimes we are confident that our young people will withstand the pressures of secular schooling. We may even prepare them to stand for their faith in the classroom. However, the influence of undergraduate education is not merely in the classroom. The sway of individual conversations that happen every day with faculty, staff and one's fellow students is equally influential if not more powerful. In these interactions, subtle but profound shifts can occur. For example, someone might ask, "Well, do you really think this person can change? They don't feel like they can." The moment one accepts this idea, a shift of truth occurs. Truth becomes what one feels as opposed to what the Scripture says. Reality is based upon experience and not upon the Bible. That simultaneously displaces the authority of Scripture. The Bible is now subject to our thinking rather than the other way around. Likewise, sometimes people will say, "Well, isn't it loving just to accept people the way they are?" Again, when one acknowledges this idea, one has changed the biblical definition of love which is based upon God's standard and not sinful society (cf. 2 John 5-6). College campuses also appeal to a notion of justice that is far from the reflection of God's character in holiness (Lev. 19:1; Deut. 10:17-18; 24:16). Faith is not just crushed in the classroom but changed in a thousand micro-conversations that happen every day. At that point, students can still confess Christ, but their faith has definitions of truth, authority, Scripture and various points of theological doctrine that are entirely different from what the Scriptures say. At best, this leaves the student vulnerable to error, if not embedded in a false version of Christianity.
All of this personally impacts a student and those effects are not neutral. University is the transition to adulthood. As such, it has massive ramifications upon the rest of one's life. A person's vocation, geographic location and lifestyle are determined in school. We could add on top of that: who they marry, their view on family, and their sense of parenting, each of which is developed in these years. Political philosophy and how one perceives society are also formed. There is a reason that society views college as the place where one's thinking is completed. This is a transitional moment to that very end. What happens in undergraduate education exerts tremendous weight on the rest of one's life.
There's more. You should read the whole thing.
Also, check out this video from Chou:
If you or someone you love are in the season of life where you're considering higher education, we at Not the Bee strongly recommend The Master's University. And not just because they paid us to publish this post 😁 -- we know plenty of people who went to TMU and we have followed John MacArthur (TMU chancellor) for years and have HUGE respect for their total commitment to Scripture and their refusal to back down and drink the world's Kool-Aid.
Don't be fooled into thinking higher education is neutral -- it's not!
Take us home, Dr. Chou:
All of this goes back to truth. An education undergirded by Scripture is consistent with the biblical truth our children have been taught and builds upon it. This kind of education is coherent. Since classes do not contradict or compete with each other, a student's instruction compounds to give the deepest and richest understanding of one's life and major. This heightens one's effectiveness in the world. An education based on biblical truth forms convictions that are needed for one's personal life, family, vocation, the church and one's participation in the plan of God. An education based on Scripture makes the most sense.
Deuteronomy 6 reminds us that part of our love for God (Deut. 6:5) is instructing young people in God's Word (Deut. 6:7). From Israel's foundation, God stated that a biblical education was crucial for the nation and a powerful demonstration of devotion to God. May we have the greatest urgency in giving our students a holistic education, from beginning to end.
This article was sponsored by The Master's University.