I'm thankful- and hopeful- that, maybe, now, we seem to know better. Or at least we're moving in the right direction. Politically, culture wars are still being fought-- but a lot of us are also ready to give up the culture wars, wars that, really, we often had no business fighting to begin with. Likewise, a recent article proclaims, "Millennials not OK with conventional science vs. religion debates." We're tired of fighting.
The good news is: we don't have to.
This post is for anyone who has ever thought twice about taking a class because it taught something you did not believe in. (Which, based on your answers to my poll, some of you have- which means there's probably many others out there like me.) This post is also for those who have, perhaps, discouraged someone from or worried about someone taking a class that taught something different than what they believed.
Here's the thing:
You can study and learn something without accepting or believing it as truth. Writing an answer on a test does not mean you’ve subscribed to this answer for your life. Can you disagree? Absolutely. Can you be vocal about your disagreement? If you can do so respectfully and non-disruptively and scientifically, yes. If your multiple choice test asks about the origin of the earth, or humankind, the right answer in that class is probably going to be the Big Bang or evolution. Choosing that answer means it is the correct choice in the context, not that you need to or do agree.
If there is an answer that talks about Creation from a Biblical perspective, and you're at a secular college or that just isn't what you've been taught in the class, regardless of what you believe, that answer, in this context, is wrong. You can choose it, but you cannot expect it to be graded as a correct answer.
On a short-answer or essay question, you can probably disagree more, provided you support your claims with scientific- not Biblical- evidence. It might not be popular, and how it is received may depend on who's grading it, but I believe that if you can back up your stance with science and you have fulfilled the requirements of the assignment, demonstrating your knowledge of what you have been taught, any fair professor will grade you accordingly. And if you choose to tow the line and just write what’s expected? That’s ok too.
You don't need to fight. He doesn't need to be defended.
There are no rules for this. Certainly, you should do as you feel Him leading. But if all you want to do is debate, don't enroll in a class that teaches something you find debate-worthy. But if you're there to learn and educate yourself, with humility and respect for your professors, instructors, TAs, and classmates, you cannot go wrong. It is ok to listen and spit out answers you don't believe and to never say a word about your skepticism. And it is ok to, respectfully and with humility to your "neighbors" and authority figures, disagree, while learning to understand a viewpoint different from your own.
STILL not too late to TAKE THE POLL! I'd love to hear about your own experiences (or lack thereof) and thoughts about faith and academic situations!