Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 3. 1962.
The Christian in the University
The Christian in the University
"Self-orientation in the University"—a topical address for the first S.C.M. meeting this year—Speaker: Rev. John Murray, University Chaplain.
"The confusion on starting University, is necessary, to find ourselves. When we come to University it is the big break in our lives. Here we are faced with freedom," said Mr Murray. "There is a real connection between freedom and self-orientation—without the former we cannot become mature adults. This freedom, which is the nature of the University, leads to tremendous opportunities on the one hand, and tremendous dangers on the other."
"This is to be used to enquire as far as possible into one's own subject, and to interest oneself in what others are doing," stated Mr Murray. "We are here to love God with our minds." "Be curious!" he said. "Think about the theories and ideas we are presented with."
"However, don't have such an open mind that a conclusion is never reached. This is the second form of intellectual dishonesty."
"In the light of the Christian faith, the aim of this is self-control and not withdrawal," said Mr Murray. "It applies to our time, our money, our bodies and our relationships with other people.
"Sex is in many ways the most difficult aspect of self-control for a student. But from experimenting with sex and drink can come guilt, and instead of freedom, students become slaves to their consciences."
"Having broken away from our local Church we are here free to do something with our faith, to look at it honestly, to look at other Churches. Will your old beliefs be adequate to answer to your needs?" asked Mr Murray.
"Again, withdrawal is not the answer to difficulties. Doubts should be faced up to honestly. Go and see someone who has shared the same experience!"
"Freedom," reiterated Mr Murray, "is the right to grow. It does not mean we have no master, but may choose the best. For a Christian, in mind, body and soul the proper use of freedom is choosing God as the master, under whom we will grow up."
"Here we have the freedom to bring all our life into accord with the mind of Christ. This deeper freedom is not the freedom to choose our own way, but freedom from self," said Mr Murray.
"God...?" "Not for me thanks, I'm trying to give it up."
This seemed the attitude of a large number. I watched them. Bored 2nd Years, eyeing the cyclostyled barrage at Stud. Assn. enrolment table.
"What's all this stuff?"
"Religious clubs' questionnaire"
Some politely refused cards. Others accepted long-sufferingly.
Some laughed, "I'm not interested in that stuff."
I wonder why not?
Why laugh God off?—like a bad dream. Perhaps you didn't laugh. Lots didn't. But you just Ignored the idea all the same. "Religious clubs.' So what?
Maybe you are an atheist. A few said they were. At least you've got convictions (that is, if you're honest.) But if you wouldn't go so far as to call yourself an atheist, then what are you? Probably an honest quiet little student, busy acquiring a degree. This will help you to express yourself and absorb some knowledge, and (best of all, perhaps) get you a better job, which is handy if you plan to get married sooner or later. You will then be able to support your loving wife and kiddies. Also make some sort of a contribution towards decency and respectability in your community. And you'll retire in due course, on an independent income, and watch the world go on from a comfortable armchair.
This assumes, of course, that you will live to old age, and remain in good health. And that you'll enjoy your wife's company, and not divorce her. And that you will rear decent children, and not delinquents. And that your society's economy remains favourable, and so on.
But this has a "life is real, man. life is earnest" beat about it. Why not? Surely students more than anyone cannot be excused for day-dreaming. New Zealanders may be unique. Students in Berlin, Hong Kong, or Washington, are perhaps different. Not that they all turn to God, to seek a security for the future. But those who do turn to Him find what they're after. Even here in New Zealand.
"Escapism", you'll stigmatise it. Certainly, the great escape, if you're not too proud to try it.
So God still has a place, even this year, at Vuw. Not only for the "religious club" types, but for all students, if they'll look for Him.
"Anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who search for Him."
So says the Bible. (You may not like the Billy Graham touch; but let's face it. how many people honestly disbelieve the old Book?)
Take my advice—Don't "give up" any rudiments of religion you picked up in earlier years. Give them the treatment they deserve, from a mature student mind; an honest examination, and a humble readiness to become committed to what you find.
Don't put off the search. If you can bear the thought of joining a religious club you may be more likely to find help, for it is the tremendous privilege of Christian students to show their fellows the way to God.
—P. J. Donovan.