Why do three out of four Christian students lose their faith the first year of college?*
Advocates of the university system point to two main reasons:
1. As young people are exposed to new ideas in a college setting, they realize they don’t have compelling reasons to accept Christianity as true. 2. All young people go through a process of exploration and growth. It is natural for students to separate themselves from their parents’ belief system as they take on a more independent identity.
Christian ministries often claim two very different reasons:
1. Virtually all secular universities in the U.S. are anti-religious by nature. Professors are openly hostile to Christianity and work at promoting a humanist agenda in the classroom. 2. Many young people raised in Christian households leave home with a faith that is not their own. They may consider themselves to be Christians in a vague, cultural way, but they have never accepted Christ personally.
So which of these reasons is correct?
All of them.
Most Christian students step onto campus for the first time totally unprepared to defend and live their faith.
And it isn’t just the classroom that’s the problem. It’s the environment. Being a Christian is incredibly difficult on a college campus. This isn’t because--as some would claim--the things that happen on campus are more real than the things that happen “back home.” It's because they're less so. College life is a kind of young adult fantasy that is only revealed to be a lie when a student graduates and is faced with family, the need for a job, and a huge amount of debt acquired via student loans.
By that time they have formed habits, addictions, patterns of thinking and spiritual problems that may influence their lives for years.
Fortunately, it is possible for students to survive college with their faith not only intact, but vibrant. It is possible to thrive as a Christian in a college environment!
What is College Boot Camp?
College Boot Camp is a 10-session seminar designed to equip young Christians for the challenges they will face when they go off to college. The course includes recorded video seminar sessions, lab-work and exercises, and optional participation in a community forum.
It is not primarily an apologetics course, though several of the CBC topics are apologetic in nature. However, students must be prepared both intellectually and spiritually for the rigors of higher education. We do teach strategies for talking--and relating--to college professors and other students. But thriving in college as a Christian student is not a matter of winning arguments. It is a matter of maturing in one’s identity in Christ. It also involves recognizing one’s weaknesses, learning to see how we are shaped by our culture to accept wrong premises and to respond foolishly to peer pressure.
In short, College Boot Camp is an inoculation against common secular lies, and preparation to be an ambassador of Love and Truth to one’s peers.