Creationist Ken Ham says news of a pioneering department dedicated to the academic study of all things secular furthers his belief that Christians should not send their children to secular colleges.
Pitzer College, a small liberal arts college in Los Angles, Calif., will offer its students a new major come Fall 2011. In the fall, students will be able to pursue a bachelor's degree in secular studies.
The college’s newly formed Department of Secular Studies has evoked a sense of excitement in the atheist community. For Ham, a Christian and advocate for Christian education, the department is further proof of the anti-Christian doctrine that awaits young, unsuspecting Christians attending secular universities.
Ham contends that secular universities generally educate their students with a secular approach. This program will take the secular approach to new extremes. "What this is doing is it's actually teaching a religion based on man's word," Ham, a young earth creationist, commented to The Christian Post.
In his recent book, Already Compromised, Ham and co-author Gregory V. Hall warn parents and students through collected data of the impact secular four-year institutions can have on young believers.
Hall, also the president of the conservative Warner University, quotes researcher Gary Railsback who notes that 52 percent of incoming freshman who identify themselves as born-again Christians upon entering a secular public university will leave four years later either no longer identifying with that title or having not attended church in over a year.
Those results alone led Ham to urge parents to choose a Christian institution of higher learning for their children over secular colleges and universities.
Ham believes the creation of a department devoted to non-theist theory and study furthers his belief that attending a secular college or university can be detrimental to young adults' faith.
"It's really showing you more and more the kind of things that are taught at these colleges," he said.
Phil Zuckerman, the department visionary, has refuted the notion that the department's course work will be anti-religious on campus and to the media.
In The New York Times, the department was billed as a study in non-belief. Zuckerman told the paper that he was the one who convinced the board, telling them, "This is not an anti-religion degree, any more than a religion department exists to bash nonbelievers."
The board unanimously approved the new department, naming Zuckerman its department head.
Ham noted that Zuckerman's background as an "agnostic-atheist" is proof enough that the department's courses will be anything but neutral.
"People have this idea that 'Well, oh a professor's own personal beliefs don't affect the way that they teach,'" he said. "Well the Bible says, 'As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.’"
Zuckerman, a well published atheist, is not going to have neutral courses on secularism, asserted Ham. "It's not neutral, it's an anti-God religion.”
Zuckerman said courses such as "God, Darwin and Design in America," "Anxiety in the Age of Reason" and "Bible as Literature" are designed to help students better answer cultural questions such as who are secular people? Why are some people secular? What is secular life like? And why are some cultures more secular than others?
He told the Christian Post via email that the major will equip students to "think critically, develop a solid understanding of life without supernatural assumptions, and see the importance of secular thought and activism, past and present."
But courses like those to be offered at Pitzer College secular will greatly affect the minds of young Christians, Ham noted. In keeping with his books, Already Gone and the latest Already Compromised, Ham urges Christian parents and students to bypass secular institutions of higher learning and set their sights on strong Christian colleges.