The Rise of Popular Christianity: What College Students Think
Christianity is becoming more influential in America and college students have differing opinions on whether or not this is a good thing. For many Liberals, non-Christians or even Conservative Christians who are simply not comfortable being evangelical, the idea that the Christian voice is growing stronger is frightening and constricting. For devout Christians, the growing influence of their religion is the fulfillment of a prophecy and a glorious progression for the often put-down religion.
Meet Kirk Cameron: actor, family man, evangelical Christian. A strong convert to Christianity, Cameron started a popular website called The Way of the Master, a tool used to turn others toward the way of Christ. On the site, he introduces visitors to Christianity in a high-tech way, capitalizing on his fame by influencing those who have not yet been “saved.” For those who have been “saved,” Cameron asks that surfers help him in his mission to rescue others from Hell. Kirk now writes a regular column on the site. The most recent entry was titled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Go to Hell.”
Cameron is not the only person pleased with the new influx of Christianity in American government, ideals and lives. Many college students consider the movement a giant leap in the right moral direction for the country.
“As a Christian myself, I certainly believe the increasingly strong Christian voice is important for a constantly improving culture,” says Amy Paschall, a freshman at Catholic University. “No matter what one may believe, one can’t deny that Christianity is conducive to a strong moral system, which can only benefit our society.”
According to Wikipedia.com, Christianity is defined as a religion “based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament writings of his early followers.” The teachings of Jesus include, but are not limited to, loving one another, monotheism and full faith and trust in the Lord. Christianity is considered the largest religion in the world.
For many college students, Christianity and evangelism are not as clear-cut as some may think. Though the Bible itself promotes spreading the word of Christianity (“And [Peter] pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:40-2:41), it can be interpreted in different ways. People can also consider themselves Christians without attempting to “save” others, which presents a problem for them when they are approached by more radical followers of Christ.
“Coming from a ‘Christian’ college, I see a lot of people who are hypocritical,” laments Berry College freshman Katie Jones. “They call themselves Christians but they don’t practice it in their actions. [For instance], a lot of people think being Catholic isn’t Christian. They don’t know a lot about Christianity.” Jones also made reference to the numerous events in her school solely devoted to Christian conversion. One of the more recent events was called “Christians Talking with Pagans.”
There are still more college students who disagree with evangelism and the growing voice of Christians entirely. Many of them take a political stance, citing the Bush administration for allowing an increasingly religiously-oriented government. Issues like gay marriage and abortion are arguably more morality-driven ideas than political, and as Christianity gains strength, gay rights and the pro-choice movement have slowly been declining. This mix of religion and politics angers many students.
“I don’t think there’s more Christians, I just think they have a louder voice,” says Georgia State student Matt Sweitzer. “[And that’s] because of the Bush administration. It makes it ‘okay,’ I guess. Not that I blame Bush- I just think Bush gave them a voice.”
It is hard to argue that Christianity is not having a strong influence on America today. With the president freely using biblical references in his speeches (“[Ã¢Â?Â¦]Every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth,” Bush’s second inaugural speech), there is an obvious growing acceptance and stronger voice for Christianity in America.
College students see this influence from different perspectives, varying from the ecstatic to the terrified, and responsibility for the phenomenon is placed on different parties. Ultimately, there is no general consensus among young people regarding Christianity in America. When it comes to the growing Christian movement – as with anything regarding religion – it is nearly impossible for everyone to agree.