While the National Day of Prayer declared this academic year to be the "Year of Higher Education," Ratio Christi has dubbed it “The Year of the Professor.” When I came on board as President of Ratio Christi in April we began the process of more fully incorporating faculty into our campus apologetics ministry. While a faculty focus was formally in our mission statement, we weren’t pursuing it directly and our subtitle, “student apologetics alliance,” didn’t include it. We are now Ratio Christi: Campus Apologetics Alliance.
No campus ministry can hope to reclaim a voice in the universities if our mission involves an omission of the most influential element of the most influential institution in western civilization: professors. So, in September we launched the initiative Ratio Christi Prof.
In modern warfare the side with superior air-power wins. Professors and administrators provide that air-power and air cover for our ground troops on and around campus. The battle for minds in the university is real and our spiritual enemy knows it. Currently, non-Christian professors dominate the air. Indeed, some are openly hostile and have a strategic battle plan laid out. Conjoined with the new atheist movement and a swell of secular businesses led by those wanting to eradicate Christian influence from the university and culture, they are well funded and organized. Their ground game in universities and high schools—the Secular Student Alliance—has nearly twice as many chapters as Ratio Christi.
One atheist professor’s book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, says it all,
“Employing universities in the struggle against faith is a cornerstone in the larger strategy to combat faith, promote reason and rationality, and create skeptics. Many university graduates will become the next generation of leaders and policymakers.”
He goes on to call educators in their classrooms to use their positions “to nudge attitudes about faith on their downward spiral.”
Clearly, failure to invest in the battle is to forfeit. We must raise up a movement of missional professors! As someone who has been a professor for over ten years at Indiana University in the philosophy department, I cannot overstate the powerful influence professors have in the classroom. For instance, one student of mine this semester, Donald Hummel entered as a skeptic, but left at the end of the semester believing that God exists.
Another of my Intro to Philosophy students, Stephanie Gray, kindly shared this with me while she was going through a difficult time:
“You will probably never know how much this class has impacted me on an individual level. I believe that people are brought into our lives for a reason and I believe you are one of those people . . . I [had] chose[n] not to trust in God as I was angry with Him. Without realizing it, I am sure you helped me trust again, pray again, have faith again, and I can breathe. You have given me hope and faith that I have been struggling to see in myself.”
Atheists and secular businesses financially support atheist causes on campus. Would you help Ratio Christi develop a movement of "missional professors" by funding our air force to reach the 1.5 million professors in American universities and the record number of international students who go back to their countries as future leaders?
Fund a video series by professors for professors on what it looks like to be a missional professor in their academic field. These 10-minute "Prof Talks" are like TED Talks and we currently have five. The goal is to produce 50 (approximately $500 each)!
Fund a mega event on each campus like the The Symposium I’ve done successfully for years at Purdue University. Our events build a local movement with residual impact in the local communities as it is a partnership between the campus, professors, pastors, and para-church ministries. We need seed money to infuse our chapters to lead an alliance of local campus ministries and churches to do this together.
As you may know Ratio Christi has had some major fundraising challenges to overcome as 2015 comes to an end. We need to move forward and not retreat. Good news—one large matching campaign has been met. We still have 2 significant year end goals we want to accomplish. By December 31st, please help us raise another $28,100 in one time donations and $13,000/month in monthly commitments. Will you join our team for $100, $200, or another amount per month?
George Allen, the famous football coach of the Washington Redskins, coined the famous phrase “the future is now!” If we want to change the future of the American university for both professors and students we must invest now. Carpe Diem!
Ratio Christi, Latin for "the reason of Christ," is a global movement that equips university students and faculty to give historical, philosophical, and scientific reasons for following Jesus Christ. RC plants student-led apologetics clubs at universities around the world to defend God's existence, the reliability of the Bible, and the fact of Christ's resurrection.