By the Evangelical Portal Team
We are beginning a discussion on "The Life and Death of Faith on Campus" here at the Evangelical Portal at Patheos. This means that we will gather together accounts from individuals whose faith lives underwent transformations-whether those transformations were for good or for ill-during their undergraduate or postgraduate years. And we will reflect on the current state of faith at secular and religious institutions of higher learning. Specifically, we are asking: why is it that faith springs into being, persists and perseveres, or withers or even seems to perish in the university years? Why do some students emerge from their undergraduate and graduate programs more fervent and grounded in their faiths - while others apparently abandon or repudiate their faiths entirely?
To discuss these questions, or to share your stories, please visit the Discussion Forum just opened for this purpose.
While there is much more to come, thus far we have several discussions worth noting. We sat down recently with the Reverend Dr. Mark D. Roberts, one of evangelicalism's leading authors, speakers and bloggers, and spoke with him about his own struggles of faith, what advice he has for those wrestling with doubt, and how he believes God looks upon the doubter. See the interview. We have also heard three ‘testimony' pieces so far:
- An interview with John Frame, Homeless at Harvard: Part One and Part Two, describing one innovative way of finding spiritual life in and around the margins of Harvard University.
- Timothy Dalrymple's Things Fall Together: The Life and Death of Faith on Campus, which recounts a turning point in his own faith at Stanford University.
- Elizabeth Pope's Completely Transformed by Christ, which describes how she became a Christian after reaching Boston University.
Yet we also have articles of a less testimonial nature. The Academic Fruits of the Spirit, from Donald Opitz, author of The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness, seeks to develop a specifically Christian approach to education. Also:
- Jordan D. Teti's Striving for Veritas: The Heart of Education reflects on the author's experiences at Harvard and how they illuminated what an education is essentially for.
- R.R. Reno, an author at First Things, shared The Culture Wars, which comments on the changing ideals and expectations at America's elite educational institutions.
- Please note as well, since so many of the students most active in college fellowships today are Asian-American, an article from Calvin College entitled Generations of (Korean) Faith.