[Dr. Osburn serves as executive director of the Wilberforce Academy, which trains students to be redemptive change agents in their home societies http://www.wilberforceacademy.org/. ]
Rick: Why should a Christian student consider attending a secular college?
Bob: Exposure to a wide range of views and voices. This is essential if students are going to recognize how distinctive is the Christian voice in public affairs.
Think of it this way: A Christian college (not a bad place at all; I had one son who graduated from a nearby Christian college!) can be like an echo chamber where all the voices sound the same. There is nothing distinctive about them.
By contrast, the secular university is a cacophony, and pretty soon you begin to recognize how different and unique the Christian perspective is because it sounds so different from the others. Speaking personally, my three most exciting years growing in Christ were my sophomore through senior years at the University of Michigan after I became a Christian during my freshman year.
Rick: Any reasons not to attend a secular college?
Bob: There are plenty of reasons not to. The multiplicity of voice and views can subtly relativize one’s worldview, and there are you: anchorless. It happens to many.
Perhaps a bigger risk is that a Christian student hangs out with friends who, rather than being intellectually engaging, are morally degrading. The effect can be tragic, unless one is solidly anchored in Christ. So the risks are both intellectual as well as social.