This leads me to wonder seriously about parents who deliberately send their children to live on the campus of a secular university. Nowadays, we have all heard the horror stories about the brain-washing PC residence hall sessions. But even aside from that, as one commentator put it,
It takes a lot of personal fortitude to hold onto what you believe in when everyone around you operates entirely on the presumption that it doesn't even exist. You have to be able to go home at night and think about it, you have to be able to drag yourself out early in the morning and go to church, you have to be able to say "eh, not this time" when good clean fun goes bad.Right. So surely living in the dorms must make this effect particularly strong. Or so it would seem to me. I mean, what if there is no "home" to go to in order to get away from the atmosphere and think about it?
So I was thinking over reasons why parents and children agree to do this. These seem to me to include things like this: 1) The assumption that going away and living in dorms at college is a necessary part of growing up, an absolute rite of passage that it would be cruel to have your kids miss out on. 2) The worry that sending your child to a Christian college will not get him a good enough education and/or will not allow him to get a job. 3) The worry that sending your child to a local college, so that he can live at home, will not get him a good enough name on his transcript to allow him to get a job. 4) (Related to 3.) The assumption that, despite post-modernism and the death of the academy, there is enough objective difference in quality across disciplines between a more "elite" secular school and a secular school that no one has ever heard of that your child really will get a good education at the former and not at the latter and that you therefore have a duty to send your child away from home to go to the former.
I certainly understand that parents agonize over such decisions, and I don't want to sound harsh. But there is that whole thing in the Gospels about gaining the whole world and losing your own soul. This is not meant as an advertisement for Christian colleges. Christian colleges often have their unique problems, some of which arise from the fact that young people and parents go in trusting them and are therefore particularly vulnerable to faith-attacking professors and trendy movements (like the Emergent Church movement, for example). But I would say this: Question all of 1-4 if you have a decision of this kind to make. And try to do something other than sending your children away to be immersed in the "college experience" of a secular college. For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?