CHRISTIAN university students are more liberal and moderate in
their views than is often realised, new research suggests.
Christianity and the University Experience: Understanding
student faith is a study based on a survey of 4500 Christian
undergraduates, and 100 interviews, carried out by a team of
researchers from several universities, including Durham
More than half of the Christian undergraduates surveyed said
that they never attended church during term-time. The vast majority
(90 per cent) thought that women should be admitted to the same
church leadership positions as men; and fewer than ten per cent
believed that the Bible disproved evolution.
Sixty per cent of the students surveyed who were involved in
university Christian Unions, which are largely Evangelical, said
that they believed that same-sex relationships were "always wrong".
Only 20 per cent of other Christian students thought this.
The lead author of the study, Dr Mathew Guest, a senior lecturer
in Durham University's department of theology and religion, said:
"When many think of religion on university campuses, two things
come to mind: an intense and radical faith affirmed by Evangelical
Christians and some Muslims, and an equally intense atheism,
expressed by young sceptics as a protest against religion. Moderate
or liberal Christianity rarely enters the conversation, assumed to
be a long-spent force favoured by older generations.
"And yet our research found that this description reflects the
values of the majority of students who identify Christianity as
their religion of choice. In fact, liberal Christians outnumber