The College Fix, a conservative web site devoted to higher education news, has published a report that will surely capture the faithful’s attention. According to the outlet’s recent survey of religious education classes across America, colleges and universities show “an outright disregard and disdain for Jesus Christ.”
In total, 316 courses at 12 universities were examined. Analysis shows what The College Fix claims is evidence that U.S. professors regularly snub Jesus and gloss over his messaging. Rather than focusing on Christ, the web site contends that educators focus on offering electives that tackle “more obscure matters.” Here’s how an article introducing the report frames these issues:
The survey looked at class titles and descriptions categorized either directly under religious studies, or courses heavy with religious topics but filed under departments such as history, the humanities, political science or philosophy. [...]
Some of the electives are too difficult to even classify, such as: emergence, from biology to religion; suffering and transformation; anthropology of body and pain; religious dimensions in human experience; sport and spirituality; and a history of apocalyptic thought and movements.
Below, see all of the classes, as included in the official report and analysis:
According to the survey, Jesus only headlines three of the 316 courses surveyed. And many of the course descriptions of classes that focus on Christianity allegedly don’t mention Jesus at all. In many instances, he is given only minute mentions in one or two lectures, the web site claims. Here are some examples, as provided by the outlet:
Take, for example, intro to church history at Alabama State University, which surveys the church “from its beginning to contemporary times.” Talk about a broad brush.
Similarly, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a Christianity class looks at “major developments in the history of Christian thought from its origins in the New Testament through the Protestant Reformation.”
An early Christian church class at the University of Connecticut hones in on “the evolution of Christian institutions, leadership and doctrines in the Roman Empire. … Topics may include gnosticism, prophecy, martyrdom, asceticism, pilgrimage, heresy (and) orthodoxy.”
But it’s not just an absence of Jesus that is a problem. The report claims that Christianity is treated with additional scrutiny, at least when it comes to the rhetoric present in course descriptions. While Islam, among other courses, is put through an “examination” for greater “understanding,” the report claims that Christian courses use more negative terms like “critical analysis” to explore the faith.
Additionally, classes about Jesus — though few and far between in this particular analysis — are apparently predicated upon what others have said about him and not his teachings.
Taking these elements into account, The College Fix accuses colleges and universities of holding an overarching “disdain” for Christ.
“The point of all this is not to say students should be forced to study Jesus. But if this survey highlights anything, it’s that they’re not even given the option,” the outlet writes in summarizing the report’s findings. “Meanwhile the classes that do focus on Jesus or Christianity sidestep his message and teachings in favor of historical context and critical analysis.”
Read more about the report here.