The first historic hidden attack on college campuses
The cracks first appeared in the late 1700s and early 1800s, culminating with the influence of Charles Lyell’s three volumes of Principles of Geology in the 1830s. Belief in an old earth seriously wounded widespread acceptance of the Flood and the biblical chronology, and Lyell basically just “finished off the victim and nailed the coffin shut,” as AiG historian Dr. Terry Mortenson says.
This old-earth belief quickly permeated universities by the mid-1800s, setting the stage for Darwin’s evolutionary model in 1859 (Origin of Species) and his later work on human evolution, The Descent of Man (1871), both of which required long ages (Remember -in Genesis 1:1 God created the heavens and earth. This is one continual act of God. He doesn’t create heaven. Take a pause for a billion years, then create the earth. Earth was not created in vain (Isaiah 45:18); we are still living in the first heaven and the first earth (Rev 21:1). There are no “Gaps with God”. However, after Christian Universities adopted these compromises, the slide from biblical Christianity to naturalism soon followed.
College is for Christianity
Most colleges in the United States that started over 300 years ago were initially Bible-proclaiming schools. Harvard was named after a Christian minister. Yale was started by clergymen, and Princeton’s first year of class was taught by Reverend Jonathan Dickinson. Princeton’s crest still says “Dei sub numine viget,” Latin for “Under God she flourishes.”
Harvard is the oldest continuing university in the United States. Harvard produced several founding fathers, including John Quincy Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, and Samuel Adams. Harvard’s original purpose for its students was: “To be plainly instructed and consider well that the main end of your life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ….” One requirement of students was that “Everyone shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be able to give an account of his proficiency therein.”
Princeton, founded in 1746, produced people like James Madison, Benjamin Rush, and John Witherspoon. John Witherspoon became an ordained minister and was president of Princeton University (1768-1776) until New Jersey sent him to Congress.
During those years at Princeton, the average graduating class was between 17 and 28 students per year. In the nine years that Witherspoon taught at Princeton, the school graduated one President, one Vice President, three Supreme Court Justices, ten Cabinet members, twelve Governors, twenty-one U.S. Senators, and thirty-nine U.S. Congressmen, plus many who held state offices. A full one-third of the founding fathers were trained at Princeton University.
In the United Kingdom, the earliest university-type establishment was probably the College, established by the Celtic preacher St. Illtyd in about AD 500. Oxford University was established by various religious orders. Likewise, Cambridge University was established in 1209 by Christian leaders. Saint Andrews, Scotland’s oldest University, was founded principally for the teaching and study of theology. The commitment of these religious founders might be suspect, but many of the later colleges were founded by Bible-believing Christians. The University of Edinburgh had a thoroughly evangelical beginning, founded under Presbyterian auspices.
Christians called Atheist
Except Jewish people, who enjoyed exemption thanks to an alliance with Rome dating back to the second century BC. All people in the Roman Empire were expected to worship at least some of the gods. In short, Atheism was not an option. A few philosophers and writers in the Greco-Roman World questioned the existence of traditional gods ( Zeus, Hera, etc) . It was rumored that Epicurious (fourth century BC), who publicly taught that gods existed but took no part in human affairs, was really an Atheist but kept his opinion silent out of fear of the public. After all, Socrates (5th century BC) was forced to drink Hemlock (Athenian law prescribed death by drinking a cup of Hemlock- a highly poisonous European plant), having been convicted of teaching Atheism to youth. Ironically in the first three centuries of the Christian Church, Christians were routinely accused of Atheism for they did not acknowledge the existence of the Greco-Roman gods and refused to worship the emperor. (Unimaginable p.59 Jeremiah J. Johnston)
Objections on campus
Religion poisons everything!
Disciple: I’m afraid I have to disagree.. Religion doesn’t poison everything. SIN POISONS EVERYTHING….INCLUDING RELIGION.
There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God!
Disciple: What do you mean by evidence? What kind of evidence would you expect to detect if a space-less, timeless, immaterial, intelligent moral creator existed? The bottom line is that there is a plethora of evidence for the existence of God (Cosmological argument, teleological, fine-tuning, etc.
Who created GOD?
Disciple: That’s your first mistake. You are assuming God is created. To assume he was created means something greater than God created God. An eternal, timeless, spaceless, moral being doesn’t need a cause. Only contingent (or dependent) beings need causes. The bottom line is that either the Universe or God is eternal. God is the “uncaused first cause”.
Ok, Mr. Bible thumper. What is your moral argument for the existence of God?
Disciple: If we can agree that one specific action is morally wrong, such as torturing babies for fun, murdering six million people in a holocaust, killing 60 million Africans in the slave trade, then clearly GOD EXISTS!
Disciple: Only an unchanging moral authority can provide unchanging moral laws that unify us even though we’ve never met! If there is no objective moral lawgiver…then there is no objective moral law. Basically, without God, anything goes. Without God, nothing is really good or evil; nothing is true or moral. Hitler, Stalin, child sex traffickers, pedophiles, rapists, cannibals, etc.. are not morally different from Gandhi? The bottom line is that God is the only moral backdrop to hang everything else!
Can an Atheist be Moral?
Disciple: Absolutely. You can eat a meal and deny there was a cook. You can read a book and deny there was an author. You can obey moral laws and then turn around and say, “There was no lawgiver,”…or “I don’t believe in a lawgiver. Furthermore, how does an Atheist who doesn’t believe in God explain where he got his moral law (if not from God)?
I don’t believe in God.
Disciple: Belief doesn’t equal truth! If I don’t believe in gravity, will I immediately float away? If I don’t believe in food, will that absolve me from dying of malnutrition if I say with passion aloud, “Having a relationship with food is ..ahem, not for me” ??? What you believe has nothing to do with the truth. However, the truth should determine what you believe.
I’m an Atheist; I’m not religious!
Disciple: You’re actually very religious. Atheism, Evolution, are all religious as they cannot be proven. Atheism is not merely a lack of belief in God but a belief that all reality can be explained without God. THAT TAKES A TON OF FAITH!! You’re actually very religious.
Yeah, but the bible contains Miracles… and Miracles are impossible!
Disciple: How do you know that? What “truth” gave you that conclusion?
Natural laws describe what “normally happens”. But if something “outside” of time, space, and matter intervenes (basically God), then natural laws can be overpowered.
What’s the greatest miracle in the bible? The resurrection?
Disciple: No. The greatest miracle in the bible occurred before the resurrection, and we have scientific evidence. The greatest Miracle in the bible is the very first verse “ In the beginning God created the heavens and earth.” If that verse is true, then every other Miracle in the bible is possible. The fact that we are talking is literally a miracle, lol!
Yeah, but there are no Miracles today?
Disciple: Not true. The entire Universe is one big miracle. God created the universe out of nothing? You’re actually living in that Miracle right now! Remember, in the bible, miracles confirm the message… And the message is the word of God, which is complete.
Ok.. so then God can do new miracles?
Disciple: True. God can do a miracle anytime he wants. But God doesn’t provide any new miracles as it is related to the word of God because the bible is complete, and God does not lie.
Yeah, but Man wrote the bible, so it can’t be trusted.
Disciple: By that rationale, I cannot trust what you are saying since you are also human. You can’t trust what you’re saying, either. It’s true people make mistakes, but it’s not true that all people always make mistakes. If we did, we couldn’t trust anyone (this would include leaning on your understanding).
The Bible teaches hate!
Disciple: The truth is “hate” to those who “hate the truth”.
All religions are fundamentally the same, with incremental differences.
Disciple: Actually, all religions are incrementally the same and fundamentally different!
It’s arrogant to say Christianity is the only way! How come Christians claim exclusive rights to the truth?
Disciple: Truth, by its very nature, is exclusive. If it is true, as the Bible teaches, that Jesus was crucified, died, and rose from the dead, then it is not true, as Islam claims, that Jesus never died in the first place and that somebody else was killed in his place. Both claims cannot be true. Truth is exclusive. Remember.. if I were to tell you that this building was on fire and there was only one doorway out to save yourself… does that make me arrogant or right?
The Bible authors had an agenda!
Disciple: What author doesn’t? Atheists have an agenda. Christians have an agenda. Have you ever noticed that “neutral people” usually never write powerful books? Do you think survivors of the holocaust had an agenda when they wrote their books? Of course. Their experience caused them to be dead accurate! Same with the bible. Many people will die for a lie they think is the truth (Islam). But no one is going to die for a lie they know is a lie!