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‘Campus Christians mostly liberal’

13 September 2013

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 University.

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 Evangelicals tenfold."

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