Dear PHBF Students

God is not surprised to learn you have a brain. The opportunity to broaden your mind, enhance your skills, and increase your learning is a gift from God. Which is to say, school is a gift from God. I hope you’ll approach it that way this year.

Paul wrote, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” That little two-syllable word “whatever” sets the bar for you as a student. It encompasses listening to lectures, doing homework, writing papers, and all the rest of the mental activity inherent in American education. God owns everything, including your brain, your school, and your opportunity to learn. So use it all for His glory.

 It also means you should learn to think critically. Don’t assume it’s true just because it’s in print or it came from a learned person. Read with care. Keep your brain critically engaged all the time. For example, did you catch the error I slipped into the previous paragraph? “Whatever” has three syllables, not two. See how easy it is to miss this stuff?

Unproven assumptions are the trickiest—and often the most important. Like when your teacher says, “Religion is not a legitimate source of truth. Science is, because it deals with facts that are observable, measurable, testable and thus provable.” Did you notice that this very assertion is not observable, measurable, testable, or provable? It’s an unproven assumption, and it can’t pass the very truth test it tries to establish. So don’t be fooled. Christians aren’t the only ones who ultimately have to live by faith.

It also means you can bring your hardest questions to God. Don’t cut Him out of the picture when you come up against puzzling problems in your faith journey. Talk to Him about your questions—even if your question is as basic as “God, are you even real?” God will not be surprised to find out you have a brain and you’re starting to think for yourself.

One more thing. You’re probably going to hear that religion and education are categorically different. As the line goes: “Religion deals in feelings, beliefs, and personal preferences; education deals with facts. Religion and education cannot coexist.” Unfortunately, that’s both untrue and historically unaware. Simple point of history: most of the oldest universities in this country were begun by Christians. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Don’t be shy about being a Christian who loves both fervent faith and careful thought.