Education writer Jon Fortenbury interviewed a student who lost his faith while in the middle of his undergraduate education at a Christian college — and offers a few tips for other students who may find themselves in similar situations:
1. College students are generally friendly and accepting
Even though [Justin] Mart didn’t make his non-Christian views widely known, most people he told or who found out didn’t rebuke him for it.
“A lot of people were more curious than they were condemning,” said Mart, who has since finished a nuclear engineering master’s degree at Oregon State University. “I was lucky to have quality friends who didn’t judge me. Fellow Bible majors asked questions but didn’t try to convert me at all. They were largely respectful. I also spoke to professors about my views and they were all very respectful and didn’t rat me out.”
This, to me, is the ideal situation. Not all Christian colleges are as welcoming of anyone who strays from the party line. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is stick it out, get your degree, and then get the hell out of the bubble. If you’re fortunate enough to have a few close friends you can trust, tell them your secret — you definitely don’t want to hold it in if you don’t have to — but if transferring isn’t an option, there’s a lot to be said for knowing what it’s like on the “inside” so you can speak out against it once you leave.
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