Post # 1
I have no intention to spark a heated, religious debate chalk full of negative energy ’round these parts. I was just hoping to have some healthy conversation about a subject that some may have some experience in, and a book that others may have read in the past.
I’m currently reading/kindle’ing a book called, “The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at American’s Holiest University.” It is a biographical account of one liberal student’s journey through the largest Christian, fundamentalist university in the US – Liberty University. The author originally hails from Brown University, and takes academic time off to transfer to Liberty for one spring semester in order to undergo a tid-bit of a very unique college experience.
So far, the book is really interesting, but that’s a given considering its’ compelling topic. The rules the students must follow, the conservative focus of classes, and the social culture of the university is so vastly different from the one I experienced at a large, academically rigorous, public university.
Did any of you personally attend a university like Liberty? Know someone who has? What are your opinions?
Post # 3
I think that book would give me Post Traumatic Stress Disorder flashbacks from growing up in Texas. (no, seriously)
But kudos to the author for trying out new extreme experiences.
Post # 4
I didn’t attend a school like this, but the book sounds fascinating! I am going to have to pick this up!
Fiance went to Baylor and has some interesting stories of what he encountered there. He’s Christian and reasonably conservative, but even he had issue with a lot of what he saw there.
Post # 5
I didnt attend a school like this but if this interests you, then you might take a look at http://www.dooce.com The site is run by Heather Armstrong, she graduated from BYU and went on to leave the church. She is hands down one of the funniest women on the face of the earth. When I found her blog I spent the next few weeks reading every post on her site.
It’s a great website, she just seems like a normal person. I hope you enjoy!
Post # 6
I grew up in a church that strongly promoted going to universities such as Liberty or Moody Bible Institute. It wasn’t for me. They emphasized how university would help prepare you for a life of teaching or being a nurse and ultimately being a wife and mother (at least that was what I took out of the conversations). One of the individuals is now a professor at Liberty. I no longer attend church and am choosing to be heavily involved in my career instead of a stay-at-home-mom.
I appreciate that there are a variety of schools in the US. Students are able to make a decision about what path they would like to go. It is important to keep in mind that there are many middle points between a schools such as Brown and Liberty as well.
Post # 7
I am a Christian, and attended a more liberal Christian college, but I have very good (married) friends who met at Bob Jones University – they never went on a single date alone together, every date was chaperoned! They have a really neat marriage now, been married something like ten years.
Post # 8
Almost everyone in my FH’s family has gone to BYU since it opened. They’re very normal wonderful people. It’s not what I would choose for university studies, but I am jealous they got to go around the world on their missions.
Post # 9
I went to a Christian university although it doesn’t sound quite as strict as the one you are reading about. The rules we had there were no drinking, no premarital sex, etc. What you would probably expect from a Christian institution.
I enjoyed how it was smaller than other universities, they had a reputable education and French program which provided a lot of individual attention. The price tag was quite outrageous as it was not publicly funded. I got a scholarship otherwise I probably wouldn’t have shelled out.
Post # 10
@ddw: When I was in college my friends and I used to read the strict rules from Bob Jones University when we were miserable during finals week to make ourselves feel better.
Post # 11
@izziebear: I didn’t go to a university like that, and so don’t have anything to add on that topic. But I have read The Unlikely Disciple and absolutely loved it! When you finish it, you should try A.J. Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically. This is the book where Kevin from Unlikely Disciple got the idea to go down to Liberty, when he was interning with the author.
Post # 12
Growing up in the “bible belt” portion of PA, I have a good number of friends at Liberty, Messiah, and Eastern Mennonite and none are there to prepare to be a good mother. The first that comes to mind is a business major who is planning on becoming an accountant (and she’s going to be an awesome one at that.) I see more of the ring by spring-complex here at Baylor (personally, I think that’s obscene, up 160k in debt to meet a husband?!)
@mrs ranunculus: I’m at Baylor now and it’s not nearly as bad the stories seem to make it out. It could have been in the past, but for what I was told to expect of Baptists before I came here, it’s fairly liberal. I mean, I’m the president of a dance organization and I have openly gay friends who go/went here. Did he attend before Lilley was president?
Sure, there are the very-strict Baptists but I know for a fact that they have those at Penn State too. There’s a joke that Baylor wants to marry us off from day-one but it’s just that, a joke (ignore that fact that I’m getting married in college, that’s a coincidence). I’m not saying that everyone should go to a school like Baylor, or Liberty or Grove City, I know one of my BMs would HATE it here. I’m just saying it’s not as horrible as it is usually made out.
@izziebear: I would caution against comparing Liberty to as you said “a large, academically rigorous, public university.” It can be implied that you do not hold Christian universities to be academically rigorous. If that were the case I would welcome you to sit in on a science class here that is meant for majors (obviously the non-major classes are a joke but that’s universal). My poor roommate is a BioChem major/tutor and is up most nights, late, studying for a lab test or similar.
Post # 13
I have read the book and thought it was great. I give the author kudos for wanting to experience the polar opposite of the lifestyle he was used to. I don’t think I could do it — I am nonreligious and would have a lot of trouble participating in requried religious activities and just generally taking people seriously.
But the majority of the Christians I know or have met are wonderfully nice people, and schools like that seem like places where people form strong friendships/relationships and get a very strong education. It’s not for everyone, but it works for some people.
Post # 14
@melisandescott: Ive listened to AJ Jacobs’ Guinea Pig Diaries and Ive heard about his other book and Im so intersted in it!
I could never go to a University like this -I would not fit in at all!
Post # 15
@PitBulLover: You should try his first book, too: The Know-it-All. He reads the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and the book is about his experience doing it. He’s also writing a new book about becoming “the healthiest man alive” but I’m not sure when that one’s coming out.
Post # 16
I’m a graduate of another well-known conservative Christian school. Most Liberty students are going to Liberty because they want to go to a conservative school, so from my perspective anyone with a liberal agenda going into such a program isn’t going to enjoy their educational experience and may view the traditions of the school in an extremely negative light. That doesn’t mean that everyone will view it in the same way. Academically, I went to a very strongly academic college. The program was very serious and having a large number of students who graduated first in their high school class meant that the academic curve wasn’t the normal average. I also have taken graduate level courses from nationally known state universities. The idea that Christian colleges are not academically challenging is an offensive concept, and truly out of touch with the reality of Christian education!