Go to college and lose your faith? Less likely now than in years past.
Sociologist Christian Smith of Notre Dame relays this encouraging information:
“among recently surveyed college students, 2.7 times more report that their religious beliefs have strengthened during their college experience than say their beliefs weakened.”
Dr. Smith traces this “clearly perceptible” change to the 1990’s. He credits it in part to an increase in committed Christian professors, both evangelical and Catholic, at secular universities in the U.S.
He also notes that we are now in a post-secular era, in which religious topics are no longer automatically dismissed as “anti-scientific”:
“American culture and perhaps Western culture seems to have shifted from a secular to a post-secular era in which secularist assumptions are no longer simply taken for granted but are rather on the table for questioning and religion is increasingly considered a legitimate topic of discussion.”
Since 1981, Faculty Commons has been sharing the gospel with professors, plus mobilizing and equipping those who are already believers to share the good news with their colleagues and students. We too are seeing a shift toward an interest in spiritual issues among professors.
What a terrific time to be proclaiming the good news of God’s love and forgiveness to this strategic group of people!
Are you, like us, moved by the vivid photos of the devastation in the Northeast from Hurricane Sandy?
Would you like to provide tangible help to those who are most in need?
Cru’s Here’s Life Inner City ministry has already built a network of 100 partner ministries in New York City. These groups are ready to distribute urgently needed food to families whose neighborhoods have been wiped out by the storm.
Just $36.71 will provide a Box of Love in Jesus’ name, with more than enough food to feed an inner-city family of six.
Click here to join us in showing Jesus’ loving care to needy storm victims.
What does the Chick-fil-A controversy have to do with college professors?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. The roots of this controversy lie on a mid-western college campus nearly a century ago.
We’ve written before about the global secular elite, a highly-educated group who believe that religion is harmful and actively promote a secular (God-less) agenda. “They are very influential,” explains sociologist Peter Berger, “as they control the institutions that provide the ‘official’ definitions of reality, notably the educational system, the media of mass communication, and the higher reaches of the legal system. They are remarkably similar all over the world today.”
You see them on TV all the time—they are the “experts” who offer authoritative opinions on news and talk shows. They also hold powerful positions in our federal government, where they appear to be attempting, says Georgetown University’s Thomas Farr, “to edge traditional religious ideas out of the public sphere, both domestically and in foreign policy.”
Because, as New York Times columnist Ross Douthat explains, the “Western leadership class regards Western monotheism’s ideas about human sexuality—all that chastity, monogamy, male-female business—as similarly incompatible with basic modern freedoms.” Meaning sexual freedoms.
Farr, who tracks religious freedom issues worldwide, concurs. They object to “traditional religion-based arguments,” he says, because those arguments “stand in the way of sexual liberation and its fruits—such as the rights to abortion, sodomy, pornography, no-fault divorce, and same-sex marriage.”
This is the reason for the attempt to intimidate Chick-fil-A’s Christian president, Dan Cathy, into silence about his commitment to the Biblical definition of marriage. In the minds of the secular elite, both freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion must be sacrificed on the altar of the sexual revolution.
How did we get here? What is the origin of the sexual revolution? It did not, as most think, begin in the 1960’s. The sexual revolution began over 75 years ago—in the mind of a professor, on a university campus.
The first sex education class was taught at Indiana University in 1938. Entomologist Alfred Kinsey began his career studying the variation in wing size, abdomen length, etc. of one species of wasp. Then he applied his research techniques to the variation of sexual experience within the human species.
Professor Kinsey assumed that no particular sexual activity was right or wrong, but simply a natural variation like a wasp’s wing size or abdomen length. His work launched the sexual revolution in American society, because it completely separated religiously-informed morality from sex.
It is professors who continue to advance the sexual revolution. Princeton’s Peter Singer is, according to The New Yorker, “the most influential philosopher alive.” As do most of his academic colleagues, he supports gay marriage, but he doesn’t stop there.
“Singer believes that any kind of ‘fully consensual’ sexual behavior involving two people or 200 is ethically fine,” Marvin Olasky wrote in World Magazine in 2004. This would include a host of sexual practices (including necrophilia and bestiality) that are prohibited by God in the Bible because they are so harmful to both individuals and society as a whole.
This is why Faculty Commons takes the gospel to university campuses. Because the professors who run these places are so influential. It may take 75 years, but eventually their ideas change the world in which we live and raise our children.
We have enjoyed some great family times on this trip, too. We slept off our jetlag at the Northumberland cottage of our friends the Redfearn family. We arrived in the midst of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, commemorating her 60 years on the throne. The whole country was enjoying one giant party together!
England is full of well-preserved historic buildings, some of them over 1000 years old. This is Bamburgh Castle, former home of the Anglo-Saxon kings of Northumbria in the 7th and 8th centuries.
We also visited Cragside, a Victorian-era mansion built by industrialist Lord Armstrong with the latest in “modern conveniences.” He used the hillside streams to generate hydro-electric power to run an elevator and make his home the first in England to be lit by incandescent bulbs.
Daryl got a crash course in cricket from our friends Jonathan (on right) and his son
He tried his hand at the bat himself. It’s very different from baseball!
Jonathan took us out to the Farne Islands, which during the summer are home to tens of thousands of nesting birds. Here is a shag feeding his (or her?) downy baby.
Grey seals sun themselves on the rocks until the rising tide washes them off.
Our favorite birds were the cute puffins. They fly rather awkwardly on their short wings, ski to a landing on top of the water using their bright orange webbed feet, then bounce once or twice on their round bellies before diving below the surface to capture a large mouthful of small fish.
One of the privileges of our biennial staff conference is listening to some of the best Christian speakers in the country. This year, Cru is making many of these sessions available to you. Scroll through the list of videos at: Cru Conference Videos.
Pastor and author Francis Chan is one of our favorites.
Dr. Rene Rochester is a dynamic speaker and professor who ministers to inner city youth.
Cru VP Steve Sellers outlines a detailed explanation of our name change from Campus Crusade for Christ to Cru.
Vonette Bright reminisces as we celebrate Cru’s 60th anniversary together (she’s a good story-teller).
At Campus Crusade for Christ, we have known for many years that our name hinders our mission.
“Campus” long ago ceased to describe the scope of our ministry, which grew to include both huge cities and remote, rustic rural areas worldwide.
“Crusade” morphed into a negative word—one which alienates people who don’t yet know Jesus.
Two years ago, our U.S. leadership began a lengthy process to choose a new name for our U.S. ministry. They carefully tested potential new names with the audiences we seek to reach. On the first night of our national staff conference, they unveiled our new name and logo. We especially like the new logo.
It prominently features a cross, which represents our mission.
The cross, crafted of four corners, represents our scope: the four corners of the earth.
Imagine our concern when Fox News’ coverage of our new name featured this headline: Campus Ministry Drops “Christ” From Name.
For 32 years, Daryl and I have labored for the gospel through Campus Crusade for Christ. We can assure you: our mission under our new name of “Cru” has not changed.
There’s only one reason we’d change our name. We want to do a better job of connecting people to God’s love and forgiveness. We seek to help people experience the good news that Jesus offers.
Thank you for your partnership with us in this great calling.
Have questions about our new name? Please email us. We’d love to interact with you about it. There’s also more info online here: FAQs about CCC’s name change