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.

David Barton – Sunday Evening from Westside Church on Vimeo.

Barton recently told Westside Church in Omaha, NE the same thing (at 7:00 into this clip):

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.