Monday, September 24, 2007

The Denver Post - Study: College campuses may nurture faith

The Denver Post - Study: College campuses may nurture faith:
"For any who think that the university is hostile territory to religion, there is new evidence that Jesus is still a big man on campus.

A University of Texas study released over the summer found that higher education is not the secularizing influence many Christians suspect it to be.

Texas researchers found that college students were less likely to lose their religion than others in their age group, 18 to 25 years old."
This study also suggested that the workplace is significantly more hostile to religion.

Lee Strobel is quoted in the Denver Post article as saying that the perception that college will challenge one's faith has lead to apologetics (the discipline of defending faith) being one of the fastest growing areas of religious study. Strobel's opinion is that faith grows when challenged.

So why the discrepancy between the perception that colleges and universities are destroyers of faith and the data that are being reported here? The article points out that the percentage of atheists and agnostics teaching in higher education is about three times tat of the population at large, so there are definite challenges to be met. Perhaps students expect to be challenged, and start asking themselves the questions first, and thus are prepared when they meet resistance.

Perhaps Strobel has a point here -- a faith that is challenged becomes stronger.

Ueker, JE; MD Regnerus; and ML Vaaler. 2007. Losing My Religion: The Social Forces of Religious Decline in Early Adulthood. Social Forces 85:4

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