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thestarofthesea
Sep 21st 2008, 05:42 PM
I was going to put this in the "educating our children" section but I thought it was more likely to get read here.

I'm wondering about how a person's formal education impacts their faith, if at all. One example that got me thinking about this is just talking with friends. Nearly all of my Christian friends went through private schools or were home-schooled, and believe it reinforced their faith and gave them a good foundation in Biblical understanding. At the same time, most of my secular non-religious friends, and friends from other religions went to public schools. A lot of these friends grew up in Christian homes, went to church at least occasionally or at least were familiar with Christianity thanks to a parent or other relative. So, I'm just wondering about that. What kind of educational background do you have, and how do you think it impacted your faith or your decision to become a Christian?

For myself, I voted "public school, discouraged my faith" and "Christian private school, encouraged my faith".

I went to public school through seventh grade, when my parents started becoming concerned about the roughness of the school, my choice of friends and the negative environment. The school system was very well funded, so we had the best of everything in terms of resources like computers, books, a really wonderful library and well-educated teachers, plus financing for tons of clubs and such. However, it was also an environment very hostile to Christianity. In middle school (sixth grade) some students tried to organize a prayer group but couldn't find the necessary teacher to sponsor it. A nearby church tried to set up a Bible study after hours using a large meeting room, which other businesses and clubs were allowed to request, and were denied. If someone talked about their faith, the teachers would encourage us to challenge them and "never accept an argument without visible proof". My parents were Christians in a loose sense of the word. Well, to be fair, they were strong Christians in personal faith, poor Christians in activism. What little I learned from them before that point, about Jesus, was pretty well smashed by fourth grade or so. However, I got transferred to a Christian private school for eighth grade. At first I hated it and rebelled, but I received a lot of encouragment and came around. That school encouraged my faith as much as the other one discouraged it. So, I really believe that a person's schooling can impact their receptiveness to Christian teachings, their interest in matters of faith, how they feel about "religious people" (in my first school, we were taught religious people were weak and mindless) and so forth.

I'd love to hear other people's experiences!

Cloudwalker
Sep 21st 2008, 09:58 PM
I went to public school all the way until college. It didn't effect my faith because my faith didn't come from there. I was raised in a strong Christian family and that is the background of my faith. When I went to college I started out in a public university but eventually ended up going to a private Christian College (more than one actually). While at those schools my faith was both encouraged and, due to a scandal, challenged and discouraged. However it as at that same school that God called me into the ministry. I now have a BA in Biblical Studys, a BA in Religion and Phylosophy, and a Master of Divinity and a faith that cannot be shaken!!!!!

CoffeeCat
Sep 21st 2008, 10:02 PM
Tricky question. In terms of what I was actually TAUGHT in classes up to highschool, my education had very little impact on my faith (or non-faith). I went to two different elementary schools.... one public and one religious. I went to two different highschools, both public. In university my college was at least nominally religious, but I didn't take any religion classes there. I suppose I could say that due to the nature of my degree, faith DID come up fairly often (it'll do that when you're studying History, English and Philosophy.... all three discuss God often enough, in various ways) and my professors were all intelligent, thoughtful people I appreciated learning from. My undergrad, the last 3 years of it, were when I actually came to faith. And it didn't end up happening because of school. There were other reasons.

But talking about school alone..... there are TWO "school" factors that I think MIGHT influence someone's faith, and here they are:

1) What you study. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure that studying what I did certainly didn't do much to push me away from God. It made me continually think about God, even though NONE of my professors actually preached at us. Friends of mine chose to study psychology or the physical sciences, however, and those programs often encourage students in them to step AWAY from faith, and look at the world "rationally". One friend said that his coursework in a biology-psychology double major "trained the faith right out of him". :( So it might be that we COULD be influenced by our studies if we have the choice to pick a certain subject to focus on.

2) Peer group. I can't say it enough. The PEOPLE you meet in school affect you far, far more than the material you're asked to read and think about. Schools develop their own cultures, and students are a part of that culture. Who they socialize with and admire acts in a BIG way towards how well their faith is going to hold up. In the Education program I'm in now, I've been wonderfully blessed to meet all kinds of great folks from across the "belief spectrum" and I'm learning from them.... but it's a GREAT joy to have found fellow Christians to talk to and pray with and worship with. That's certainly influenced me this year.

Just my 0.02!

thestarofthesea
Sep 21st 2008, 10:29 PM
I went to public school all the way until college. It didn't effect my faith because my faith didn't come from there. I was raised in a strong Christian family and that is the background of my faith. When I went to college I started out in a public university but eventually ended up going to a private Christian College (more than one actually). While at those schools my faith was both encouraged and, due to a scandal, challenged and discouraged. However it as at that same school that God called me into the ministry. I now have a BA in Biblical Studys, a BA in Religion and Phylosophy, and a Master of Divinity and a faith that cannot be shaken!!!!!

Hey, that's great! (the last sentence)


1) What you study. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure that studying what I did certainly didn't do much to push me away from God. It made me continually think about God, even though NONE of my professors actually preached at us. Friends of mine chose to study psychology or the physical sciences, however, and those programs often encourage students in them to step AWAY from faith, and look at the world "rationally". One friend said that his coursework in a biology-psychology double major "trained the faith right out of him". So it might be that we COULD be influenced by our studies if we have the choice to pick a certain subject to focus on.

2) Peer group. I can't say it enough. The PEOPLE you meet in school affect you far, far more than the material you're asked to read and think about. Schools develop their own cultures, and students are a part of that culture. Who they socialize with and admire acts in a BIG way towards how well their faith is going to hold up. In the Education program I'm in now, I've been wonderfully blessed to meet all kinds of great folks from across the "belief spectrum" and I'm learning from them.... but it's a GREAT joy to have found fellow Christians to talk to and pray with and worship with. That's certainly influenced me this year.

I really get what you're saying. My older brother is also a double major in pre-med biology and psychology with a philosophy minor. He attends a public college, a state university, and he lives at home with my parents and commutes to save on expenses. Since he started going, three years ago, he's changed so much, particularly in his beliefs. Prior to starting on the program, he was very active in church. My family aren't really churchgoers, so since he was fifteen or sixteen, he's been the sole churchgoer in the household. Then, he took a few classes with a particular professor who praised philosopher's like Neitzche (spelling?) and had the class read books like "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins. The instructor used every class period to tear about Christianity and attack students brave enough to admit their faith. My brother became convinced by his arguments, which led him to his current minor and also has affected his faith. He's now an ardent evolutionist, constantly discusses how reality is constructed and God is made up by people, and how there is no afterlife. He's also become mostly friends with people who are "out" as gay or lesbian, and people who have criminal histories. His friends are like him, they go to church still but claim it's boring, they hate it, they drink, they smoke, etc. He still "believes in God" but even though he calls himself a Christian, I don't think he feels it. My parents, and our family as a whole, strongly support being as educated as possible and never censoring anything, but I do wish my brother had sought out mentors or a clergy member to talk to about his doubts before they solidified. I fully believe the attitude of some professors and what they taught as fact led to these changes in him.

I did a semester at the same school my brother goes to, but I hated it. It just felt threatening and I found it really hard to make friends. Plus, it's a big school so I was just a statistic and none of the profs knew my name. Now, I just started at a private single-sex college and it's so much better. The environment is really encouraging and I'm making friends who seem sincere. You're right that friends have a lot to do with it.

SirTanTee
Sep 21st 2008, 10:48 PM
Public school; it never affected my faith. I do plan to go to a secular college.

holyrokker
Sep 22nd 2008, 01:51 AM
Public school K-12. Became a Christian in grade 10.

Graduated from a state university.

Still a Christian 32 years later.

DanceswithGod
Sep 22nd 2008, 02:24 AM
I went to public school, it affected my faith -- didn't say how. I was not in a Christian home, so what I got at school was not much different from home. Then I was saved in 8th grade. I realized the differences then. But, because of my personality and my conviction, it had an adverse effect in that I was motivated to learn more about the Bible and be ready to face the things being taught.

I now teach in a private Christian school and feel that as a teacher I feel encouraged in my faith, so I pray that the students do also.

Soulangel
Sep 22nd 2008, 03:20 AM
I went to public school and it didn't affect my faith, we weren't taught faith in school. However after school I used to be taken care of by a catholic family 'til my mum could pick me up, so I observed a lot of what they did, the catholic school was straight across the road from the public school! We started going to an Anglican church on Sundays when I was in the later years of primary school for awhile, then the catholic church for awhile as well. But nothing came of it. I just knew God was around for many, many years..........

AngelAuthor
Sep 22nd 2008, 08:35 AM
I started out in a private Christian school and daycare (single, working Christian mom) until the 4th grade and then went public school all the way. That early Christian education is key...key to my being Christian today.

MrAnteater
Sep 22nd 2008, 01:59 PM
My children will be home schooled or go to private Christian school.

I will not subject them to the immorality being taught at public schools and the junk science like evolution.

xSTEADFASTx
Sep 22nd 2008, 04:58 PM
I got saved while in highschool; and kept pressing for something more.

AngelAuthor
Sep 22nd 2008, 07:53 PM
My children will be home schooled or go to private Christian school.

I will not subject them to the immorality being taught at public schools and the junk science like evolution.
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