For years, Christians have complained that academia has been an unwelcoming place for them. They're probably right. While the evidence about whether colleges and universities are encouraging Christians to lose their faith is mixed, the anti-Christian humanist bias within academia is relatively clear—both to the disproportionately low number of Christians within the academy and to researchers, like me, who've taken the time to study them.
Given the hostility towards Christians, we're left asking how Christians should approach higher education. Do they belong in academia at all?
As a Christian academic, I affirm our place in colleges and universities. The anti-Christian hostility we see comes partly from scholars' lack of contact with Christians. When more Christians enter into academia, they challenge the anti-Christian stereotypes and myths of some academics. A history of anti-intellectualism within Christianity has long fed into the mistrust of some scholars. At times Christians have been our own worst enemies and have held unwarranted mistrust toward academics and scientists. We should not be surprised when that resentment is shoved back at us.
Furthermore, the differing epistemological assumptions of academia's secular humanism and traditional Christian ideas form an ideological divide. That divide gets deepened when so few Christians participate in the social circles of academics. Some scholars' mistrust keeps them from respecting the perspectives Christians bring to issues within their specific field or to general social, political, and religious concerns.
Having more Christians in academia will also help introduce scholarly topics otherwise ignored. For example, my work on anti-Christian ...1