Bart Campolo

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Bart Campolo
Michael Wilson Session 017 copy.jpg
Bart Campolo 2010
Occupation Author, podcaster, public speaker, chaplain
Subjects Humanism, religion
SpouseMarty Thorpe Campolo

Bart Campolo is an American humanist speaker and writer. He is the son of Tony Campolo, and was a pastor before transitioning from Christianity to secular humanism. [1] Campolo is the co-founder of Mission Year and the author of several books including Kingdom Works: True Stories of God and His People in Inner City America and Things We Wish We Had Said, which he co-wrote with his father. His most recent book, Why I Left, Why I Stayed, also co-written with his father, is a reflection on both men's "spiritual odysseys and how they evolved when their paths diverged." [2] Campolo is known for giving impassioned speeches to young people, particularly recruiting them to be more involved in their local urban areas. He was the first Humanist Chaplain at the University of Southern California. [3] Campolo hosts a podcast called Humanize Me.



Campolo attended Haverford College before completing a B.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University. [3] [4]

Mission Year

In 1999, Campolo and his wife, Marty, founded Mission Year, an urban Christian ministry program. It was born out of the merger of their first organization, Kingdomworks, and Campolo's father's Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. [5] Mission Year currently serves Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia. [6] Members of the group "live, work, ... and build intentional relationships in marginalized neighborhoods" [7] in order to spread their message and work toward improving the lives of the poor. Mission Year offers short term (week-long) as well as year-long commitments. [8]

Controversy over alleged heresy

Bart Campolo sparked some controversy after publishing an article in The Journal of Student Ministries titled "The Limits of God's Grace". [9] This article, which argues that God is not currently in control of the universe and will eventually utterly triumph over evil, was perceived as heretical by many in the evangelical community, most notably by Christianity Today , who drew comparisons between Campolo and Ivan Karamazov. [10]

Transition to Humanism

Following a cycling accident during the summer of 2011, Campolo came to terms with his growing lack of belief. [11] He has since announced that he no longer believes in God and has transitioned to secular humanism. Campolo decided that "He’d help [people] accept that we’re all going to die, that this life is all there is and that therefore we have to make the most of our brief, glorious time on earth." [11] Applying the tools of the trade that he refined during his Christian ministry, Campolo swapped his former beliefs for secular humanism and continued to help those in need. [11] He became the first Humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California. [3] [12] In a 2014 motivational speech to students on campus, Campolo expounded on how to effectively persuade Christians and other religious people toward humanism as follows: "The question that we need to be asking is not, 'How do we prove that they're wrong?' but it's, 'How do we offer people the same values that all people want, but how do we offer those values, not supported by ancient myths or by supernatural fairytales, but how do we offer them love and goodness and purpose and mission, based on reason, based on common sense?'" [13]

Conversations with Tony Campolo

Bart has engaged in an ongoing conversation with his famous evangelical father since he announced to him that he no longer believes in God. They have co-authored a book exploring the issues at the heart of this conversation, [14] and a documentary film (Leaving My Father's Faith) was released in 2018 which features the conversations between them and tell the story of Bart's journey out of faith. [15]

Campolo lecture to the Atheist Community of San Jose Campolo Lecture.jpg
Campolo lecture to the Atheist Community of San Jose

Public speaking

Campolo gave a talk at the first 5 Talent Academy teaching event in Richmond, VA, on October 1, 2009. [1] During the talk, he related stories of people he has helped in Cincinnati, Ohio, and some personal revelations regarding his relationship with whom he was working. [16] [17]

Campolo has also spoken at several atheist and secular events including Atheists United, Houston Oasis, Atheist Community of San Jose, Secular Student Alliance, and Sunday Assembly Los Angeles. [18]

Humanize Me! podcast

Campolo is the host of the Humanize Me! podcast, first released on February 1, 2016. [19] The podcast centers around his continuing efforts to encourage people to help others selflessly. As of April 2018, Campolo has published 65 episodes of Humanize Me!.

Published works

Related Research Articles

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  1. 1 2 Caldwell, Neill. "Tony and Bart Campolo lead first 5 Talent Academy teaching session". Virginia United Methodist Conference. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  2. Campolo, Tony Campolo, Bart. "Why I Left, Why I Stayed - Tony Campolo, Bart Campolo - Hardcover". HarperCollins US. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  3. 1 2 3 "Bart Campolo". Office of Religious Life. University of Southern California. Archived from the original on 21 March 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  4. Hemant Mehta. "An Evangelical Icon's Son Left the Faith; Now They've Written a Book Discussing Their Differences". Patheos. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  5. "About Mission Year". Mission Year. Archived from the original on 5 August 2001. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  6. "Cities We Serve". Mission Year. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  7. "Who We Are". Mission Year. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  8. "What We Do". Mission Year. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  9. Campolo, Bart. "The Limits of God's Grace" (PDF). The Journal of Student Ministries. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  10. Collin Hansen (20 Nov 2006). "Bart Campolo's Karamazov God". Christianity Today. Christianity Today. Archived from the original on 21 November 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  11. 1 2 3 Oppenheimer, Mark (29 Dec 2016). "The Evangelical Scion Who Stopped Believing". The New York Times. The New York Times . Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  12. Ed Stetzer. "Deconversion: Some Thoughts on Bart Campolo's Departure from Christianity". Christianity Today. Christianity Today. Archived from the original on 3 October 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  13. "The Power of Community Building :: Bart Campolo". YouTube. Secular Student Alliance . Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  14. Merritt, Jonathon. "Tony Campolo's surprise reaction when his son came out as a humanist". Religion News Service. Religion News Service. Archived from the original on 2 August 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  15. "Far from the Tree" . Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  16. "5 Talent Academy Bart Campolo". Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  17. "5 Talent Academy-Bart Campolo part 2 of 2". Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  18. "Videos". Bart Campolo. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  19. "Humanize Me! 101". Bart Campolo. Retrieved 28 July 2017.