David Barton Continues Attack On Christian Colleges

For the last two weeks David Barton has been on the Andrew Wommack Show talking about Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims. There have been so many things worthy of a post but I just don’t have time.
On the last broadcast dated 11/29 but online now, Barton continues his attacks on Christian colleges and their professors.  Watch:
[youtube]http://youtu.be/f2coy0yJx8c[/youtube]
I asked the Barna Group and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities about Barton’s claim that half of students at Christian colleges leave Christianity. Both organizations denied knowing about any such research.
I did find this study summary which found that only 7% of Christian college students renounce their faith but that is all I can find. Steven Henderson’s study involved nearly 16,000 students and found that CCCU students, in particular, showed gains in religious commitment during their time at Christian college.
I wonder if anyone will ever hold him accountable on these claims. Mr. Barton, if you have a source, could you please enlighten us? If we know the source, we can stop assuming you are making it up and then we can evaluate how credible or accurate it is.

David Barton: Half Of Students In Christian Colleges Leave Church Due To Pagan Professors

During what is listed as Thursday’s broadcast on Kenneth Copeland’s Believer’s Voice of Victory program, David Barton said at 10:48 into the clip:

Those in authority include those in our education system, for example, in our universities. Last Friday, when we pointed out about education, now between 71-88% of our Christian kids who go to college are renouncing their faith at college, and that over 50% of our Christian kids who go to Christian colleges are renouncing their faith at Christian colleges because the professors in the Christian colleges were trained by the pagans in the secular colleges, and Jesus tells us in Luke 6:40 that every student when he is fully trained will be just like his teacher. So those Christian professors, “Christian” professors, are trained by those pagans and they think like the pagans. They’re living in Egypt and they think they’re Egyptians instead of Hebrews.

Barton recently told Westside Church in Omaha, NE the same thing (at 7:00 into this clip):
[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/76484955[/vimeo]

Right now between 71-88% of Christian youth raised in Christian homes, 71 to 88% of those kids with deny their faith in four years at the university. That is the most hostile place in America right now for Christian faith…The good news is that while we lose 71-88%  of kids to secular campuses, we do at least have Christian campuses we can send our kids to, and at Christian campuses only 50% of Christian kids deny their faith at Christian campuses. Woah, what’s going on here? Jesus told us what’s going on here. If you go back to what Jesus said in Luke 6, chapter 6 verse 40, Jesus said, every student when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. What happens is that so many of the professors we have in Christian university were trained by the pagans at other universities, they just happen to be a new pagan trained at a Christian university. I mean it’s extremely hostile now, even at Christian universities.

I was unable to find the exact percentages Barton cited regarded students at state schools, and I could find nothing regarding his claim about Christian colleges. Some survey may exist with these results but I have been unable as yet to find it (and of course, I am glad to have a look at any surveys which support Barton’s claim).  I assume he is referring to the work of the Barna Group which surveyed students between 2007 and 2011 regarding their relationship to the church while in college.
However, Barna’s conclusions are not the same as Barton’s. The situation is much more complex than is portrayed by Barton.
According to Barna’s website, the reality is that many students who stop attending church don’t actually leave the faith.  Barna’s David Kinnaman said:

The reality of the dropout problem is not about a huge exodus of young people from the Christian faith. In fact, it is about the various ways that young people become disconnected in their spiritual journey. Church leaders and parents cannot effectively help the next generation in their spiritual development without understanding these three primary patterns. The conclusion from the research is that most young people with a Christian background are dropping out of conventional church involvement, not losing their faith.

In fact, young adults often feel disillusioned with the institutional church even as they maintain a belief in God. According to Kinnaman’s earlier book unChristian, many young people distance themselves from the church because of what they perceive to be hypocrisy in the church, and not due to the influence of their so-called “pagan professors. (an example here)”
In fact, Barna says it is a myth that “college experiences are the key factor that cause people to drop out.” If anything, college experience expose problems already in place rather than create them. According to Kinnaman’s survey, there are six reasons why this generation is leaving the church:

  1. Churches seem overprotective.
  2. Teens’ and 20-somethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
  3. Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
  4. Church attitudes toward sexuality are often simplistic and judgmental.
  5. Christianity seems exclusive, which they wrestle with.
  6. The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.

Since Christian academics have become more vocal about their concerns over his history, Barton has become more critical of Christian professors as a group. Rather than stick to the issues, Barton has gone on the offensive by slamming Christian scholars and devaluing their faith and their dedication to Christian vocation.  Now, contrary to evidence, he accuses us of contributing to the religious demise of half of our students.
I hope this effort becomes clear for what it is.
 
 

New Barna survey reveals spiritual attitudes of gays

George Barna has made a career of surveying people regarding Christian related issues and attitudes. In this new survey, he aims to provide a spiritual profile of gays with comparisons to a comparable group of straights. Here is his summary and then some highlights:

George Barna, whose company conducted the research, pointed out that some popular stereotypes about the spiritual life of gays and lesbians are simply wrong.

“People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts,” declared the best-selling author of numerous books about faith and culture. “A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today.

Specifically, the survey found:

Although most adults affirm the importance of faith in their life, regardless of their sexual orientation, straight adults (72%) were more likely than gay adults (60%) to describe their faith as “very important” in their life. And even though most Americans consider themselves to be Christian, there is a noticeable gap between heterosexuals who self-identify that way (85%) compared to homosexuals (70%). Another gap was then noted among those who say they are Christian: about six out of ten heterosexuals say they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith, compared to about four out of ten among homosexuals.

And even though a majority of adults have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today,” such a relationship was more common among non-gays (75%) than among gay adults (58%). The research also revealed that straight adults were nearly twice as likely as gays to qualify as born again Christians (47% compared to 27%, respectively).

There were substantial differences in some core religious beliefs, too. Heterosexuals were twice as likely as homosexuals to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; two-thirds of heterosexuals believe the single, most important purpose in life is to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul, significantly higher than the half of all homosexuals who embrace the idea; and about half of straight adults and one-third of gay adults contend that their life has been greatly transformed by their faith.

One of the most basic beliefs has to do with one’s understanding of God. This proved to be one of the biggest differences noted in the study. While seven out of every ten heterosexuals (71%) have an orthodox, biblical perception of God, just 43% of homosexuals do. In fact, an equal percentage possesses a pantheistic view about deity – i.e., that “God” refers to any of a variety of perspectives, such as personally achieving a state of higher consciousness or maximized personal potential, or that there are multiple gods that exist, or even that everyone is god.

For other findings, read the whole report. Barna added that gays and straights who value religious affiliation interpret the Bible differently on key passages but adds:

“It is interesting to see that most homosexuals, who have some history within the Christian Church, have rejected orthodox biblical teachings and principles – but, in many cases, to nearly the same degree that the heterosexual Christian population has rejected those same teachings and principles. Although there are clearly some substantial differences in the religious beliefs and practices of the straight and gay populations, there may be less of a spiritual gap between straights and gays than many Americans would assume.”