Why Are There So Many Atheists on College Campuses?

by Eric Chabot

For the last several years I have done a lot of outreach on a major college campus. I have also been the director r of an apologetics ministry as well. On the college campus where I am there are a lot of atheists. One a weekly basis, I must talk to at least four to five atheists a week. Of course, I also talk to plenty of agnostics as well. But over the years I have seen several patterns emerge. In other words, when I probe deeper and ask students why they are atheists or how they define their atheism, I see the same things. So here is what I continue to see:

1. Students don’t know how to think about God

How do we know God exists?  Over the years, when I have been asked this question, I used to just jump to an argument for God. I would sit down and try to explain it in detail to the individual. I have now decided to take a different approach and back up: I am convinced more than ever that the first question in the discussion is “How should we approach the existence of God?” or, ” What method should we use?” I find 90% of the people I talk to have never taken the time to think about this question. Granted, it is not as if churches or the local university (unless it is a philosophy of religion class)  teaches on a topic such as this.

Now I know that when  you ask a Christian, Jewish person or Muslim, and Mormon as well how they know what they believe is true, they might just say, “I have faith.” This should cause us to stop and ask if that is an adequate answer. It probably won’t go very far in a skeptical and pluralistic culture. To see more on this, see our post called The First Question in Discussing the Existence of God.

2. Students have an overly pragmatic view of truth

In this case, students define truth as what is practical, or what ‘works.’ It is no secret that many apologists have written books on the truth question. In other words, the statement “we are living in postmodern times” has almost become cliche in today’s society. Hence, because of the impact of post-modernism, many seem to assume that college students are not interested in objective truth. So the fallout is that people are not asking whether Christianity is true…

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