How Much Religion Will I Need to Study if I Don’t Major in Religion at a Christian College?

Over the past several hundred years, a number of small Christian colleges have evolved into major educational institutions. And though their roots lie in theological study, Christian colleges are now major players in higher education, sports and public service.

Still, the questions often remain: what if I’m not of the faith of the school I wish to attend, or what if I’m of no faith at all? And if I do attend, how much religion can I expect in my college experience?

Many students who wish to pursue higher education often mistake Christian colleges as places where only religious studies are of any concern. However, the truth is a bit more complex.

Required Religious Study Varies By Institution

It is true, colleges that are founded under the banner of a certain faith will almost always include that faith in the ceremonies, curriculum and daily routine on campus. This could mean everything from theology classes to prayers before class and Sunday church service. However, only in the most extreme of cases, like at Liberty University, is it required for all students to be of a given faith in order to attend.

Ultimately, the amount of religious study required can vary wildly depending on the institution itself. If one is particularly dedicated to a certain Christian college but concerned about the theological aspect of attending, it would be best for that person to contact an admissions counselor and find out exactly what they will be required to do in order to fill the college’s theological quota.

Their Traditions Do Not Have to Be Yours

There’s no question that a student of any faith can benefit from broadening their horizons with religious study. Still, students who do not belong to the faith that their particular college of choice embraces often fear that they will feel left out or marginalized because of their differing, or lack of, faith. Still, the problem here is not really with the college, but with the student. A non-Christian student attending a Christian University can embrace one or more of several attitudes:

-Accept the fact that your college choice bears with it certain theological responsibilities, and you must fulfill the criteria regardless of how you feel about it. Some of the common responsibilities that will be expected of all students at a Christian college, are based more on general morality than they are faith.

– Take this opportunity to learn about a religion you have never studied, and see how it can benefit your dedication to your own faith.

– Merely go through the motions of participation in the more faith-oriented routines of the college, and don’t allow your differing religious opinion to be a conflict.

No matter which avenue a student chooses, it’s crucial that they understand that they have no right to force the college to change its policies towards religion just for them. This is not a question of freedom of religion or Constitutional rights, it’s a question of choice – namely, the choice of the student to attend a College rooted in a religion that he or she may not agree with.

Religion is Only a Small Part of What These Colleges Do

As mentioned before, it’s very important for a new student to remember that a college is still a college. Aside from a few Christian institutions that are heavily influenced by their faith and allow it to dominate their curriculum, education is still the main goal. And if the college you choose to attend does seem to be too dominated by its faith, it was still your choice to attend and your fault for not doing your research on what exactly was expected of you.

Ultimately, a Science or Engineering Major at a Christian University will see very little difference in class schedule or graduation criteria than a student at a secular university. True, there may be a few required theological classes, but many colleges will allow non-Christian students to opt out of such courses. And if they don’t, a good student will consider such courses a great opportunity to learn about one of the most important religious movements in world history.