Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Preparing to defend your faith...

Two martial arts students at Pacific Lutheran University, acting as my much needed body guards.


Preparing for the Challenging of Your Faith

My article titled, The Orthodox College Student was well received in many quarters, but I did hear from two individuals who took exception to what they perceived as a desire on my part to disallow our young people to have their beliefs questioned. This is, in fact, far from my point of view. I do not believe the average young person is well prepared to face the world if their education is based upon an insulated college environment where their beliefs are never challenged. Nor do I believe we should censor everything that confronts them, for this would not prepare them for the world they are facing.

I am a frustrated academic, and come alive when socializing with professors who have a commitment to excellence, and who love and respect their students. I am encouraged about the future of our planet when I meet bright young minds who show enthusiasm for learning, and who are open to new ideas. Never am I happier than when having the occasion to share Orthodoxy with college students.

Orthodox young people need not to be insulated from challenges to their faith that will come with a university education. Questioning one's faith is an important building block to developing a faith that can sustain a person for their whole life. Censoring the educational process for our youth will not better prepare them for a world in crisis, nor will it help prepare them to stand against the spiritual and verbal attacks they will face as they venture forth. That said, I do believe, as I said in my previous article, that our youth should be prepared to be intimidated and discouraged in their faith journey, and should be prepared with the knowledge and the skill to successfully defend their Orthodox faith.

Although there are a great many professors who will challenge them in a respectful way, and honor their religious beliefs, there are others who will take pleasure in undermining their faith. The Orthodox student needs to enter the university setting with a clear knowledge that he need not be intimidated by someone who is simply a better debater. Truth is not based on who wins a debate, but rather on the inner journey of the heart, which is beyond the intellect. That said, we need not fear the process of learning, nor fear the beliefs and teachings of others.

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

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