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10 Lies College Students Hear
by Richard Ochs
Lie #1: In order to believe the Bible one must commit intellectual suicide.
One of the myths of our modern educational system is that a truly intelligent person will not believe the Bible. Actually, just the opposite is true. A truly intelligent person cannot help but believe the Bible. The belief that God has revealed truth to men in His Word and especially in His Son Jesus Christ is the only thing that can make sense out of life.
Most of the early colleges and universities in America were founded upon this principle. Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, Princeton, and many other institutions of higher learning had the Bible at the center of their curriculum. Jesus Christ was considered to be the foundation of all knowledge. As the first code of Harvard laws stated in 1642, "ÖLet every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning."
Some of the greatest intellects of history have found the Christian world view to be completely reasonable, rational, and intellectually satisfying. Men like the Apostle Paul, Augustine, John Wycliffe, Rembrandt, John Milton, Blaise Pascal, Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Boyle, Jonathan Edwards, Michael Faraday, James Clark Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, and C.S. Lewis, to name a few, saw no contradiction between thinking and believing.
The reason the Bible is ridiculed by many so-called "intellectuals" today is that their hearts are morally depraved. Their pride and arrogance have blinded them to the truth. "Professing themselves to be wise, they have become fools." (Romans 1:22)
Students, donít fall for the pseudo-intellectualism which surrounds you on campus. It is a façade which puffs up your pride, but in the end will leave you empty. Ultimately it will matter little if you are counted wise or foolish by the college crowd. What will matter is whether you have walked with God and made it your aim and desire to be pleasing to Him. This is true wisdom and manís reason for existence.
Lie #2: Christianity is basically the same as the other religions of the world.
Though there are some superficial similarities between Christianity and other religions, the essential message of Christianity stands in sharp contrast to all other beliefs. Christ claimed a relationship with God that excluded the possibility of salvation by any other way than Himself. He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." (John 14:6) The apostle Peter spoke of the exclusiveness of the work of Christ when he wrote, "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Christianity is Christ. His life, death, and physical resurrection from the dead on behalf of sinners is what makes Christianity distinctive. The other religions of the world are essentially humanistic: sinful men attempt to reach God through their own self-righteous efforts. In Christianity, on the other hand, God reaches down to sinful men and gives them a righteousness purchased by the death of His Son on the cross. To view Christianity as basically the same as other religions of the world is to miss the main point of Christianity Ė "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
Lie #3: Money, power, pleasure, and prestige are worth striving to attain.
Academic honour, the high paying job, the position of prominence and the "good life" are all dangled before the college student as enticements for pursuing a college education. But even if you should attain wealth, notoriety, and luxury (which most graduates donít), are they really worth the effort?
Long ago, one of the wisest men who ever lived had all these things in abundance, but found they did not satisfy. King Solomon had far more fame, fortune, and worldly pleasure than you can ever hope to attain, yet came to realize that they gave no true meaning to life and that death would soon take even these things away. You brought nothing into the world, and it is certain you can carry nothing out. In an instant, all is lost. Your labours, plans, projects are left behind at the grave. In light of this the pursuit of the fleeting pleasures and treasures of this world is "vanity and striving after the wind." (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
Jesus added an even more sobering aspect to the foolish quest for money, power and pleasure. He said that not only will you lose all these things at death, but far more importantly, you will also lose your soul. Hell awaits the person who lives for the things of this world. As Jesus put it, "For what will it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)
In contrast to the attitude of striving for self-advancement and self-gratification so common on the college campus, Christ taught that the way of true greatness is to become a servant of others, that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit, that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, and that true life and joy can be found only as you deny self and take up your cross daily to follow Him.
Why waste your life on things that wonít last and will, in the end, cost you your soul? Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. He feeds the birds of the air. He clothes the lilies of the field. As you put your trust in Him, He will take care of you.
Lie #4: The drunkenness and fornication so common on college campuses must be OK since "everybodyís doing it."
One way students try to convince themselves their sinful life style is really not bad is by rationalizing that everybody is living this way. Sexual immorality, drunkenness, drugs, foul language, cheating and lying are not only considered standard operating procedures, but students actually boast about them. This attitude is reinforced as they sit in psychology and ethics classes and hear these and related subjects discussed as academic, amoral issues.
Actually, such practices are far from being mere academic topics. They are matters of life and death. The wages of sin always was and always will be death. Godís holy character is the absolute, unchanging standard for all morality, and He will leave no sin unpunished. What is said in ethics class or how other students live does not change Godís abhorrence of sin in the least.
The Word of God says, "You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil." (Exodus 23:3) Jesus spoke of a wide gate and a broad way that leads to destruction and many who enter by it. He also said that "the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and few are those who find it." (Matthew 7:13, 14) The meaning is simple: if you go with the crowd, you will end up in hell with them!
Students, "do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)
Lie #5: Jesus never claimed to be God.
A few quotes from the New Testament are sufficient to dispel this myth.
In John 10:30, Christ expressly claimed equality with God by stating, "I and the Father are one." Later in the same book He put forth the same claim in a different way by saying, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." (John 14:9)
Besides these explicit statements of deity, Christ constantly attributed to Himself divine characteristics. He claimed the power to forgive sins and the right to receive worship from His fellow men. When Thomas called Him "My Lord and My God", He did not rebuke him. On the contrary, He demanded absolute devotion to Himself and promised men divine gifts such as peace and eternal life. He taught His own sinlessness and moral perfection. He put forward His teachings as absolutely authoritative, saying that heaven and earth would pass away but His words would never pass away. He claimed to be the Light and Saviour of the whole world and that He would come in power and great glory at the end of the world to judge all men.
His Jewish contemporaries certainly understood Him to be claiming Godhood. Over and over they charged Him with blasphemy for this very thing. On one occasion when they were going to stone Him to death, Jesus asked them for which of His good works He was being stoned. The Jews answered, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." (John 10:31-33)
These are only a few of the New Testament references concerning Christís divinity, but they should be sufficient to lay to rest this often repeated misrepresentation of Christ.
Jesus cannot be dismissed as a good moral teacher like Buddha or Confucius. His claims for Himself do not allow this option.
Lie #6: The New Testament accounts of the life of Christ are not reliable since they were written long after His death.
This is one way men have tried to avoid the supernatural character and staggering claims of Christ. These things, they say, were invented by His followers many years later. This attempt at escaping the Christ of Scripture, though, cannot stand in the light of historical investigation. The evidence that the biographies of Christ were written within the lifetime of His contemporaries is now so strong that even the late William F. Albright (the foremost American Biblical archaeologist until his death in 1971) was brought to the opinion that "every book of the New Testament was written by a baptized Jew between the forties and the eighties of the first century A.D. (very probably sometime between about 50 and 75 A.D.)".
Moreover, the portrait of Christ given in the New Testament is entirely beyond the scope of human intervention. He simply stands too high above anyone who could have possibly produced Him. It would have taken someone equal to the Christ presented in Scripture to have invented such a perfectly human and divine character. Certainly the early apostles were psychologically, morally, and religiously incapable of such a task. Furthermore, they would hardly have given their lives (which most of them did) for something they knew they had conjured up out of their own imaginations.
The only explanation that makes sense is the obvious one: that the New Testament contains just what it claims Ė firsthand, eyewitness accounts of the most amazing person that ever walked this earth. One who was, in fact, God incarnate. As the Apostle Peter put it, "We did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty." (2 Peter 1:16)
If you really want to use your mind, why not read the New Testament itself, being as honest as you can with what you read? In the gospel of John, which is a good place to start reading, the Lord said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak of Myself." (John 7:16, 17) If you are truly willing to obey God, you can know that the things you are reading are true.
Lie #7: Christianity can be written off as false because of the sham of some of the big-time evangelists and TV ministers.
The fact that there are charlatans who claim the name of Christ should not be surprising. There have always been people who have used "godliness as a means of gain." Jesus warned His followers to "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheepís clothing (looking like Christians) but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15)
Christís sharpest words are directed toward religious leaders who "outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." (Matthew 23:28) He called them "blind guides," "whitewashed tombs," and "sons of hell." He said they "clean the outside of the cup, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence." (Matthew 23:25)
Far from being something that disproves Christianity, the presence of false prophets and hypocrites is something Christ Himself said was to be expected.
Donít try to use the hypocrites in the church as your excuse for not following Christ. You will have to give an account of your own life to God, regardless of how many hypocrites you can point to who profess Christianity. "For we must all appear before the judgement-seat of Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Lie #8: Evolution is a reasonable explanation of the origin and present makeup of the universe.
It is important to define what we mean by evolution. We are not just talking about change. Everybody is agreed that there has been a great deal of change over the centuries and the world around us.
By evolution we mean the theory that molecules have become men through a process that is purely naturalistic. This is sometimes called macro-evolution, and as it is presented in most college classes, it is basically a materialistic worldview. Men like Julian Huxley, G.G. Simpson, Jacques Monad and Carl Sagan are some of the leading proponents of this view. The following brief statement by Sagan is a good summation of this outlook. "The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be." Such a view is contrary to both Biblical revelation and reason.
The idea that by pure chance life could somehow come from non-life (spontaneous generation) and that the ultimate source of all we see around us, including man, is impersonal matter or energy, is absurd.
The spontaneous generation of life was disproved long ago by Redi, Pasteur, and other scientists. The concept has been smuggled back into modern science by evolutionists who need it to give a naturalistic, materialistic origin for life. Despite popular misconception, the various biopoieses experiments like the Miller-Urey spark discharge apparatus have not even come close to producing anything that could be called life.
Even more destructive to the whole evolutionary scenario is the idea that impersonal, mindless matter aimlessly interacting with itself has somehow brought forth man with his personality, rationality and concepts of morality and purpose. Can amoral matter produce man with his moral concepts? Can impersonal matter produce man with his personality? Can mindless molecules account for the mind of man with its rationality?
It is in this area of rationality that the evolutionary worldview is seen to be most deficient. In fact, the theory is self-destructive. Any theory that holds the mind and thoughts of man to be ultimately a product of chance destroys itself; chance-produced thoughts are meaningless thoughts. Rationality is completely destroyed in a system that ascribes thought to irrational causes. Charles Darwin himself called this his "horrid doubt." In a letter written toward the end of his life he states, "But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of manís mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would anyone trust in the convictions of a monkeyís mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?"
By destroying the validity of manís mental activity, evolutionary theory cuts off its own head. The mind of man cannot be trusted for anything, not even for the theory of evolution itself.
By denying God, man ends up denying his own mannishness. Truth, beauty, love, morality, and rationality are robbed of all significance. Everything becomes a pointless and empty absurdity. Little wonder that the Bible states, "The fool has said in his heart, ĎThere is no God.í " (Psalm 53:1)
Dear students, donít embrace this foolish myth. You know you are more than the energy particle extended. Though it has been terribly marred by sin, the image of God is still the essential ingredient of your humanity and testifies unfailingly to you that you are not a product of chance. No matter how much you may try to suppress it there still comes welling from deep within you the cry that you are not an animal nor a machine, but a person. You didnít get this from the amoeba, you got it from God who created you and calls you to Himself.
Lie #9: Man is basically good.
It is amazing in the light of human history that men still see themselves as basically good. Think of just our century: two world wars, the Nazi concentration camps, Viet Nam, the sixty-six million Russians exterminated since the Bolshevik revolution, the millions murdered under Mao Tse-tung, and the present worldwide slaughter of one half of all babies while still in their mothersí wombs.
These are just a few recent examples of the fact that most of the history of mankind has been written in blood and tears. Still man tries to deceive himself with flattering thoughts of his goodness, greatness, and perfectibility. Man, in love with himself, will hear nothing of the Bibleís realistic assessment of the situation Ė "The hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives." (Ecclesiastes 9:3)
One of the reasons that Jesus Christ was despised and rejected by men was because He told them the truth about themselves. "The world hates Me," He said, "because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil." (John 7:7) Or, as He put it on another occasion, "No one is good except God alone." (Luke 18:19)
It is true that man as God originally made him was good, but since he has rebelled and turned away from his Creator, man is in his very nature corrupt and evil.
One reason men still view themselves as basically good is that they compare themselves with one another instead of measuring their lives by Godís righteous and holy standard. Of course we donít seem too bad if we lower the standard to fit our behaviour.
Another reason men view themselves as good is that they look on the outward appearance instead of at the heart. Sometimes we can do a pretty decent job of cleaning ourselves up on the outside, but what about the thoughts and intents of the heart? Jesus said that this is really what Godís commands are all about. For instance, the command against murder goes much deeper than just physically taking someoneís life. Jesus said that this command is broken when you get angry with your fellowman or call him a fool. (Matthew 5:21, 22) Every time you lose your temper, or seek revenge, or harbour resentment you are committing murder in your heart. You can kill by malicious gossip, or by spite and jealousy. As the Apostle John said, "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer." (1 John 3:15) So, while you are quick to condemn Hitler or Mao for their murderous acts, remember how God views your hateful attitudes.
Or consider another example that Jesus used to show the true meaning of Godís law. He said that the command against adultery is transgressed every time you look on a woman lustfully. Those who make a practice of committing adultery in their hearts will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven just as surely as those who practice the outward act. (Matthew 5:27-30) Think of this the next time you are at the movies, or at the beach, or looking at a pornographic magazine.
Students, you may be able to hide your sin from others. You may even be able to convince yourself that you are not so bad. But be assured of this, God sees the true picture, and one day you shall stand before Him to give an account of every thought, motive and action.
Lie #10: "Smile, God loves you."
This is perhaps the most destructive of all the lies college students hear. It is particularly deceptive because it is put forth by religious people. You shouldnít really expect unbelieving teachers or students to give you a true picture of Christianity. But what about the people in the various religious organizations on the campuses throughout America? Surely they will give a true and accurate presentation of Christianity. Sadly, this is often not the case. The main theme of a large segment of the campus ministries can be summed up in the little phrase so often seen or heard, "Smile, God loves you." In the context in which it is presented this is nothing but an unbiblical lie which gives sinful college students a hope of heaven when they are headed toward hell.
One mark of false prophets throughout the Bible is that they preach "Peace, peace, when there is no peace." (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11,12; 14:13-15) They say to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, "Calamity will not come upon you." (Jeremiah 23:16, 17) This is exactly what the false prophets on the campuses are presenting. Of course, they can attract many to their organizations this way, and be thought of as nice friendly people, but this distortion of the Christian message is keeping multitudes from seeing their desperate need of Jesus Christ. Students with sin and self still dominating their lives are assured that all should be smiles since God loves them.
Dear student, this is a lie that will cost you your soul. The truth is that unless you are sold out to Jesus Christ, you are right now under the wrath of Almighty God. Contrary to what you have heard, the God of the Bible hates sin, kills people, and puts sinners in hell. Thatís nothing to smile about, especially if you are living in sin.
God once drowned and sent to hell every person alive on the earth except eight people who found grace in His sight. And God has not changed. One day soon He is going to kill you and put you in hell because of your sin, unless you flee to Christ.
If you would indeed know the love of God, then come to Christ, confessing your utter sinfulness, asking God, for Christís sake, to receive you and save you from your sins. You may lose your friends and be ridiculed by your teachers but you will know the love of God and have something real to smile about.