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Christianity remains constant

Nov. 18, 1997

In recent weeks there has been a real uproar over the place of religion in our culture at Baylor, in particular, and in society as a whole. The debate over the W.W.J.D. bracelets has seemed to come down to two basic sides. On the one hand are those who believe that it is morally right and proper to wear symbols that represent to the outside world that they have a particular belief in Jesus Christ, versus those who feel that it is nothing more than grandstanding to do so.

This past Friday, Fred Barnes spoke on the Media and Christianity here at Baylor. Barnes was a journalist for 10 years before becoming born again, and having been on both sides, so to speak, cited a number of examples of specifically anti-Christian attitudes in the mainstream media. A few weeks ago, Time magazine had a cover story entitled 'America's obsession with Buddhism.' Christians, on the other hand, are always treated as a threat. And those who profess their Christianity are worse yet.

This attitude exists in academia as well. It was more than one religion professor at Baylor that told me it is not unusual to find atheists teaching religion in non-Christian colleges and universities, or those that would claim to be so. One professor told me that instructors like those found at Baylor, who claim to be Christian, are at times berated by their own colleagues for 'actually believing this stuff.'

Will Willimon, one of Truett Seminary's chosen Effective Preachers last year, wholeheartedly stated that in academic circles it is the man of faith who is treated like a leper. He said it was totally acceptable for the Freudian or Marxian to fall back on Freud or Marx, but unacceptable for a Christian to fall back on the Bible. Even William F. Buckley wrote more than 40 years ago of a Christian ethics professor at Yale who proudly proclaimed to be 80 percent atheist and 20 percent agnostic.

On Mr. Buckley's show, Firing Line, this past Sunday, while interviewing six college students from Ole Miss (with not a single Republican on the panel), the following exchange took place.

'Does the culture of the school as a whole emphasize faith in Christianity?'

'No, it's more of an emphasis on religion. Well, not really religion, but spirituality. You see, spirituality transcends more than religion.'

'Well, I thought it was faith that transcended everything.' To which there was no response.

So my question is to those who decry the Christian apparrel wearers: why do you attack them? Of what harm does it bring upon you that someone chooses to wear a 'Jesus died for your sins' T-shirt, or a baseball cap with an embroidered cross? And don't say it's because we are no better than anyone else. We surely are.

There was a claim a few days ago that drinking and debauchery at this school is just as prevalent as it is at every other school (i.e. Harvard). I beg to differ. I transferred into Baylor after two years elsewhere, and believe me, Baylor doesn't even come close. You don't have sanctioned alcohol consumption going on in university dorms. You certainly don't have the stench of marijuana permeating the corridors of Brooks Hall. You don't have co-ed dorms, or worse yet, co-ed bathrooms, like you do at other schools. And thank the good Lord above, we don't have a 'naked guy' attending class like Berkeley did a few years ago.

During Friday's presentation, someone asked Mr. Barnes if he blamed the generation of the 1960s for its radical reshaping of American society that has led to the collapse of a number of institutions. A friend pointed out to me an old song from one of the patriarchs of the 60s generation. 'Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today.' Somehow, it seems pretty weak compared to his 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.'

John Lennon once thought himself to be more popular than God. Mr. Barnes did say something truly thought-provoking on Friday. The 20th century has seen the end of a number of schools of thought: the utter failure of Marxism, its by-product Communism, and Freudianism (virtually). Only Christianity remains. Think about that the next time you see a bracelet or a hat you don't like.

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