I’m Patricia Engler, a former homeschooler and B.Sc. grad with a three-fold passion for Christian apologetics, outdoor adventure, and Dutch licorice. When I’m not writing about worldview topics, traveling out of a backpack, or trying to build camping gear from dental floss, you can probably find me outside tuning a ukulele. And eating licorice.
As far as ministry is concerned, a huge focus of mine is equipping Christian students to navigate secular college without compromising their biblical perspective. While many great apologetics resources already exist to address specific worldview questions, for years I’ve wanted to help Christian students think critically about ANY material that challenges their faith.
But before I could do that, I had to become one of those students.
That’s why I enrolled in some of the most evolutionary-intensive courses available while completing my science degree. I didn’t used to care much about evolution, until learning about the consequences of worldviews claiming that humans have no Creator. True, evolution often just refers to genetic variation arising within kinds of living things over time, thanks to processes like mutation and selection that cause genetic information losses. But evolution can also mean a go-to framework for decoupling humanity from God. And while Christians have different interpretations of how God created humanity, it’s still a central tenet of Christianity that humans are made in His image. However, it’s a central tenet of secular humanism that humans arose naturalistically. This is the view taught exclusively to millions of students worldwide.
As one of these students myself, I learned firsthand the importance of maintaining a close walk with God, and of building personal spiritual, intellectual, and interpersonal foundations both before and during higher education. I also began to understand the need for accessible tools which allow students to walk through any faith-challenging material without panicking, to deal with each component, and to handle any remaining questions, without draining hours of valuable study time. Having tested these tools myself, I know how useful they are.
After graduation, I couldn’t wait to start sharing these tools. But first, because non-Biblical worldviews inundate college curricula worldwide, I wanted to learn how students in other cultures keep their faith in secular university as well. So, I embarked on a DIY solo mission trip I called 360 in 180, an endeavour to backpack 360° around the world in 180 days documenting Christian students’ experiences in different countries. Excitingly, I learned that while the problems students face in different countries are different, the solutions are largely the same. This means that focusing on a few key, strategic areas–intergenerational discipleship, Bible training and other foundation-builders–could make a difference for the future of the church across cultures.
Best of all, I believe those same practical steps and tools which can help Christian students think critically in secular education can also help any Christian think critically in broader secular society. As culture accelerates away from a Christian worldview, equipping disciples worldwide to respectfully navigate ‘post-Christian’ societies is growing more important than ever. This process will involve not only individual disciples themselves, but also their wider churches, families and communities.
It won’t be easy, but we’ve got to start somewhere.
Somewhere like here.
I hope you’ll join me!