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How Has Your Faith Changed?

Religion In College

How does a college education affect one's religious beliefs? Given that college is a period of intellectual engagement and exploration, many scholars have believed that a college education weakens one's religious beliefs. In 1977 researchers David Caplowitz and Fred Sherrow wrote that college is "a breeding ground for apostasy." In 1983 sociologist James Hunter claimed that it was a "well-established fact" that education, even Christian education, "secularizes."

However, the secularizing effect of higher education has come into question in the past decade with new research suggesting that young adults who never enrolled in college are currently the least religious Americans.

In a study published in 2007 by the Social Science Research Council, sociologists Mark D. Regnerus and Jeremy E. Uecker reported on religious service attendance and religious dis-affiliation among young adults. According to their analysis of data collected by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health:

  1. While 64 percent of those currently enrolled in a traditional four-year institution reported a decline in religious service attendance, 76 percent of those who never enrolled in college reported a decline.
  2. Twenty percent of those who did not attend college renounced all religious affiliation, whereas only 13 percent of four-year college students did the same.

But behind this hard data lie rich stories of religious and spiritual transformation in college. HuffPost Religion put out a call to our community to ask how their religious and spiritual outlook changed during their college years. Click through the slideshow below to see their responses.

See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.



Link to External Source Article

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