Faith vs education: You don’t have to choose

Richard Rodriguez preaching at 1200 Church.
Simone Williams | The Famuan

It is a common narrative that once young adults go off to college, they stop going to church. In fact, Campus Renewal reports 70 percent of Christian teens become “disengaged with their faith as they transition into college.”

Some argue that an increase in education makes it very hard to rely on the faith that Christianity requires. However, there are young black intellectuals in Tallahassee who are disproving this myth.

Over the weekend, 1200 Church on West Tharpe Street hosted guest pastor Richard Rodriguez for a talk titled, “Is God A Racist?” The talk focused on disproving the myth that the Bible condoned American slavery.

His lecture was as much a history lesson as it was a sermon, and Rodriguez quoted Bible scriptures and historical dates with equal ease. However, the most moving part of his lesson was his testimony about how his faith and adoration for God only strengthened the more educated he became.

“I went into graduate school loving God,” said Rodriguez, “and I came out loving him even more.”

He also explained that losing faith in Christianity is a matter of pulling away when you encounter educated doubts, rather than diving deeper to find that educated answers do exist. 

Sign for the "Is God A Racist?" sermon at 1200 Church
Simone Williams | The Famuan

Pharmacy major Nick Smith agrees that being an educated Christian requires you to double-down on your study. He rededicated himself to the faith during his junior year of high school and has only grown closer to God since then.

“(Education) is able to push you away from God, however my faith has only gotten stronger,” Smith explained. “Despite all other theories, there is nothing that can make me doubt that there is one true God and Jesus Christ died for my sins.”

The truth is, students might decide to disengage from the regular study of their faith for a number of reasons.

Being in charge of their own schedule might make a student more inclined to choose other activities over regular church attendance. Maybe the student might not have felt that questioning their faith at home would be accepted, so now they are on their own without having fortified their faith. Also, life experiences might cause a student to doubt their faith.

The good news is that there are college-based church groups that focus on supporting young educated Christians in this major transitional period of their lives. There are also students who remain faithful through personalized study and build very supportive relationships with other Christian students to keep them on the right path.

Despite popular belief, college campuses are actually full of students who prove everyday that “faith” and “fact” don’t have to be antonyms.