April 28, 2009

A Peek Into the Life of the Evangelical Christian College Student

Posted in Atheism, Atheism and Morality tagged , , , , , , at 10:23 am by Andrew

Here’s a sneak peek at the rules and regulations at Pensacola Christian College. Students and staff at PCC are prohibited from:

* the use of alcohol in cooking
* watching PG-rated movies
* listening to “popular contemporary Christian music artists” such as “Steve Green, Amy Grant, or Steven Curtis Chapman.” (Don’t even ask about Stryper!)
* possessing a cell phone
* utilizing any wireless computer connection (including wireless print servers?)

And so on. The strangest part is the bit where women are not allowed to drive east, and men are not allowed to drive west. I would make some Sun-god crack here, but seriously: I can’t figure this out.

Although there’s a certain amount of ridicule in this post, let me be clear: if you want to live your life this way, have at it. I do think this highlights the pernicious influence of the belief that morality requires a God to lay down the rules. Once you no longer trust human reason, you wind up with a set of guidelines prohibiting adults from carrying cell phones, listening to Amy Grant, and driving off into the sunset. That’s part of why I think the argument from morality is one of the worst apologetic arguments for the existence of God (even as it remains stunningly popular).

HT: Slacktivist, and if you haven’t been reading liberal evangelical Fred Clark’s hilarious and well-informed dissection of the Left Behind series, you owe it to yourself to head over there right away.



  1. jackd said,

    For those who haven’t clicked the link, the driving thing has to do with which beaches the students may go to. Women go to one, men to the other. I suspect the designation was arbitrary – although I could also believe the administrators who created the rule would provide an elaborate and unintentionally hilarious scriptural justification.

    And a hearty second for Slacktivist and Left Behind Fridays. There are some terrific commenters over there, so take some time to browse the comments, too.

  2. danielg said,

    >> I do think this highlights the pernicious influence of the belief that morality requires a God to lay down the rules. Once you no longer trust human reason, you wind up with a set of guidelines prohibiting adults

    Actually, from a Christian perspective, I totally agree about the pernicious influence of a belief that the Christian life is about rules. But they have not just abandoned reason, they have abandoned true Christianity.

    This same tendency towards ‘justification by the law’ is exactly what Paul the apostle condemned in the book of Galatians. It has ‘the appearance of Godliness, but is of no use in actually changing the heart.’ Xianity is about faith that produces works, not a bunch of rules.

    Sure, every university has rules, and a Christian one might reasonably also prohibit drunkenness or use of alcohol on the premises, but electronics? It’s the same confusion of modernity with worldliness that I condemned in Remnant Theology – How Narrow is Cultic? and 10 Principles of Biblical Discernment – Part II.

    Additionally, whenever a faith begins to degrade, it shifts emphasis from the inner qualities of the spiritual life and experience (and intellect) to obedience to outward rules. This is human nature, because, as with any relationship, one with God can decay to outward motions without the heart. It is easier to just obey rules of what spirituality or love might look like than maintain an active relationship.

    I think these better explain this legalism than a supposed ‘abandonment of reason.’

  3. danielg said,

    Oh, and BTW, I’m not so sure that Pensicola is evangelical – in fact, judging by their articles of faith, they are historic fundamentalists – KJV Only, anti-charismatic, plenary inspirationalists. This is definitely NOT evangelical. I outlined the difference in Three Definitions of “Neo-Fundamentalist” and What’s wrong with modern fundamentalists?.

    Evangelicalism actually grew out of Fundamentalism in the early 1900’s because they rejected the anti-intellectualism and cultural isolationism (which manifested in, among other things, rules like the ones mentioned here to keep people from sinning, like no dancing, card playing, attending movies).

    I would compare these rules to those at say, real leading Evangelical schools around the country.

  4. Phil said,

    A Peak into the Life of an Adult Atheist

    Here’s a sneak peek at the atheist activist organization Raelism:

    *atheists are asked to voluntarily pay regular dues
    *atheists are asked to follow a set of “Raëlian ideals”
    *atheists should refrain from drinking coffee
    *atheists should refrain from drinking alcohol
    *atheists should refrain from smoking
    *atheists are encouraged to have “pansexual” relations with other members
    *founding member and atheist male, Rael, 40 yrs old, married “Sophie”, 15 yr old girl
    *if atheists discover a sexual predator in their group, that member can come back to the group only after seven years of absence
    *atheists should commit to the belief that mankind was created by extraterrestrial scientists by atheistic “intelligent design”
    *atheist females join the Raelian “Pink Angels” sect, where they are encouraged to have sex with Rael in order to meet the extraterrestrial scientists

    And so on. The strangest parts are the bits where women are manipulated into offering their bodies to the atheist leader Rael, and where the atheist Rael married a 15 yr old girl when he was 40 (even though he pretended to be against sex with minors). I would make some alien god crack here, but seriously: I can’t figure this out.

    Although there’s a certain amount of ridicule in this post, let me be clear: if you want to live your life this way, have at it. I do think this highlights the pernicious influence of the belief shared by many atheists that morality is arbitrary and relative. Once you no longer trust human reason’s ability to discern objective morality, you wind up with a set of guidelines prohibiting adults from drinking coffee and having healthy sexual relationships. That’s part of why I think the atheist arguments against objective morality are some of the worst atheist apologetic arguments for the non-existence of God (even as they remain stunningly popular).

    It’s so much fun using Andrew’s form of overgeneralization and propaganda to ignore important distinctions and dismiss whole people groups. Yay!

    • Matt said,

      If your point is that Raelians are as crazy as Christians, I don’t think you’ll find much disagreement here.

      • danielg said,

        The point is that the Pensacola fundamentalists represent evangelicals and Christianity as much as the Realians represent mainstream atheism. See my comment above on why these guys are NOT evangelicals.

  5. Phil said,

    Thank you, Danielg. Hopefully Andrew exercises more discernment in his future “evaluations” of Christianity.

  6. Cameron said,

    The rules listed by that college are what Scripture refers to as “traditions of men”. Many Christians such as myself refer to it as “legalism”. Basically, just b/c you own a Bible doens’t mean you get to keep writing and inventing rules which aren’t there. These problems don’t necessarily rise up because of “belief in God”. Many don’t believe in God and do some really wierd things. Scripture actually accounts for this type of behavior. We are self-righteous due to sin.

  7. danielg said,

    BTW, despite my criticisms, I do like this site. This one, Common Sense Atheism, and Debunking Christianity are now regular reads for me (along with my standard xian fare 😉

  8. Bruce said,

    There is a difference between evangelical and Evangelicalism.

    Pensacola is every bit evangelical as far as doctrine is concerned. (apart from their view on the KJV) They espouse the same core doctrines as virtually every other orthodox, conservative group.

    However they are not a part of Evangelicalism, a particular subset of evangelicals that most often are associated with the National Association of Evangelcials, the Southern Baptist Convention, etc. In fact Pensacola HATES the term Evangelcialism. To them it speaks of compromise. Pensacola is militantly Fundamentalist.

    The majority of Evangelcials are also Fundamentalists. It is the nature of the Evangelicalism to trend towards Fundamentalism. (due to their view on the inerrancy of the Bible and the inspiration of the Bible) Iknow I am painting with a broad brush. I am just making a general observation based on long years of ministry and wide exposure to many facets of Evangelicalism.

    Politically the majority of Evangelicals are Republican or religious-right oriented. While men like Brian McLaren, Ron Sider, and Jim Wallis are attempting to move Evangelicalism to the left, it is more likely that they will leave Evangelicalism and embrace some form of progressive, more liberal Christianity.

    Danielg is right about comparing the rules at various schools, though I think you will find the rules are far more restrictive than a state school.
    Pensacola falls in line with schools like Bob Jones, Hyles Anderson, Midwestern Baptist College, Tennessee Temple, and a myriad of other like Christian schools. Many are unaccredited and offer inferior educations and degrees that are worthless outside of Fundamentalist Churches and schools.


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