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Christian Science on the college campus

From the September 1993 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Sometimes it can feel lonely having a commitment to a religion your friends don't understand. Maintaining high spiritual and moral standards can also be difficult when others around you live by different rules. It's natural to seek the company of people with common interests, to want the kind of reinforcement that comes from knowing that somewhere nearby someone else like you is striving to live by the same values.

Perhaps this is how Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, felt when living in exile in Babylon. These four Hebrews were chosen to enter a three-year course of study in the king's palace. There they were surrounded by Chaldeans who practiced idolatry, enchantment, sorcery, astrology, and divination.

Drawn together by their religious ideals, these four students asked for an exemption from certain requirements of "campus" life such as drinking strong wine and eating food that was not permitted according to their religious laws. The exemption was granted with some initial skepticism, but by the time of their "final exams" it was clear that the strict fidelity of these young men to their highest sense of God's requirements had significantly enhanced their educational performance. We're told that not only were they physically superior to the other students, but "in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm." Dan. 1:20.