If you’re heading off (or back) to college, I hope you have a wonderful learning experience. If you’re not going to Bryan College, here in Dayton, you will likely be taught a lot of myths. For example, in my own undergraduate days, the conventional Western dogma of history went like this: After “pre-history”, we had ancient antiquity when people gathered to live in communities, but warred a lot. Next were the classical Greek and Roman cultures that had wise philosophers, cool statutes, aqueducts, and decent roads. Then the Christians came, ushering in the “Dark Ages” when people stopped thinking, bathing, and domesticated rats. Humanity was liberated by “The Enlightenment”, when the Western world regained its senses, the sun shined again, and we could resume the glories of Classicism.
Or something like that.
I graduated not knowing that Plato and Aristotle owned slaves, and as many as half of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire were slaves. But some inventions during the supposed “Dark Ages” include chimneys; armor; oil-based paints; eyeglasses; new building designs and technologies; and riding saddles. Cities languished as people ate better in the country because of advances in agriculture, such as the invention of the heavy plow, rotating and idling fields, fertilization for crops and better usages of wind and water power. Slavery actually declined, but its rebound coincided with the beginnings of “The Enlightenment”, along with indentured servanthood. Early Christians were among the first to teach the common folk to read (including slaves) and were the first nurses. But Christians did many wrong things too, as sinners.
Much of the history I was taught followed a curricular mix of truths, half-truths, and myths concocted from selective sentimentalities of such self-congratulatory writers as Edward Gibbon and Voltaire. They wrote, by the way, not in Greek or Latin, but in English and French, respectively, and those languages were developed during…you guessed it, the “Dark Ages”, during which also the movable type was invented that led to printing Gibbon’s and Voltaire’s works. Using unoriginal assumptions, they attacked Christianity and pandered to the egos of unbelievers in the West, who actually saw themselves as capable of purely objective thinking, just as most unbelievers do today.
If your college/university is rigid in similar orthodoxy, ask questions—not to argue but to observe. Ask your history professor, for example, to explain the reason for the “swift migration” of Muslims into Europe in the 700s AD, a few hundred years before the Crusades. Or ask your physics professor to identify the origin of the gasses and/or matter needed for the “Big Bang”. Don’t be naïve as I was. You should not pay tuition to be a mere stenographer in an academic gulag.
Take your Bible with you and attend a local church that is of the Word, not of the world. The Gospel topples empires, illuminates the unenlightened, and saves the lost. Remember that unlike textbooks, nothing in the Holy Bible has ever been disproven. And be prepared, believer, to proclaim your faith, not worrying that others remain unconvinced. (1 Peter 3:15) You can’t save the world. As Jesus said, “It is finished.” Gloria Deo—Glory to God