My Conversion to Agnosticism and the Pursuit of Truth on Campus
Reported by Justin Chang (guest writer)
Three months ago, I stood on a public bus back in Hong Kong. I mulled over problems that I just cannot seem to answer: who is this Christian God? is he really that perfect? why should I be bowing to a religion that seems more like dictatorship than a friendship? heck... does he even exist?
I tried to keep my calm, holding on to what little I have left of a religion that I believed in for 18 years. I’ve come to one conclusion: Christianity is not as viable as I thought. When confronted with questions about the existence of God, most of my peers would respond with simple Sunday school answers. That wasn’t enough to help the little faith I had left. That day, I snapped. I could not hold on to my faith anymore and became an agnostic.
One of the many promises of George Fox University (GFU) is that students will “be known – personally, academically, and spiritually.” Another is that we will “gain deeper understandings of God in the context of a Christ-centred community focused on loving God and people and by learning how faith can develop whole persons who become outstanding professionals.”
Yet it doesn’t seem like every faith is recognized for its beliefs. I dare say that it is more like propaganda, what with all the mandatory chapels and the secondary treatment of other religions. This should not only discourage people of faith, but also embolden those of different faiths to turn their back to Christianity as I have.
So now the question becomes: what do I think the students of GFU should do about it? I suggest the following two action steps:
1) Students should ask what their faith really means to them and engage in as much theological discussions as possible, while being willing to embrace the truth when it arrives.
2) Students should be more understanding and willing to listen to people with different viewpoints. Outside of GFU, there will be people who hold drastically different beliefs than you. It is important to know how to actually have a civil debate instead of a shouting match.
GFU should also promote an environment of discussion in order to get people to be ready for the real world. For while Christianity has some reasonable claims to truth, as I learned from my Christian apologetics class, there are so many questions that need to be attempted outside of the classroom and require further deliberation. I also ask that if chapels are to be mandatory that they be more real in the songs or the messages they deliver; simply saying that “God is so good” may not resonate with everyone.
Now, I do not wish for GFU to be a secular campus, nor will I claim that I have all the answers. Rather, if we are to say that GFU is of a Christian faith, all I ask of my peers and professors is to avoid just accepting Christianity at face value. Rather, be of an inquisitive mind and see if your ideas are philosophically sound.