Sunday, August 26, 2007

Does College Cause Young People to Lose Their Faith?

There is a commonly held assumption in Christian circles that a Christian youth that goes away to college is going to lose their faith and stop going to church. A recent report seems to contradict this. Some researchers at The University of Texas found (you can read more about it here) that college is not the danger that many believe it to be when it comes to matters of faith. Among the findings were that:
"...those who never attended college had the highest rates of decline in church attendance (76.2 percent), diminished importance placed on religion (23.7 percent), and disaffiliation from religion (20.3 percent). Students who earned at least a bachelor's degree, on the other hand, had the lowest rates on those three factors with 59.2 percent indicating decreased church attendance and 15 percent placing less importance on religion and disaffiliating from religion."

"Overall, the overwhelming majority (82 percent) of college students maintain at least a static level of personal religiosity in early adulthood and 86 percent retain their religious affiliation."
I think their findings hold up what many of us that work with college students have found to be true. Most college students that have been exposed to Christianity at a young age but aren't currently interested are more disillusioned with the institutional church than they are with Jesus. Many of them have been introduced to a brand of Christianity that is a rules-based religion rather than a love-based relationship. I think my job (as well as others that minister to students) is to introduce them to the Jesus of the Bible, whether they have been familiar with Him previously or not.

Thanks to the World Magazine blog for cluing me into this story. By the way, if you know a student going away to college this fall for the first time, you might want to direct them to, a website which can help them in connecting with Christian groups on their campus like The Impact Movement and Cru.


Maurice Peugh said...

I agree on this article. I believe that there is more of a threat from church gossip and backstabbing by other church members. There are many temptations though when you first strike out on your own at college.

I have many questions too.

Check out my blog:



Maurice Peugh said...

I put the wrong blog for my questions.

My questions which are updated a few times a week are located on:

Michael Lantz said...

I attend a Baptist Church in Glen Burnie,Maryland.I never went to college.I dropped out of high school back in 1984.I went back and got my GED,back in the year 2000.My father committed suicide in 1993 and my brother-in-law witnessed to me when I moved in with him and my sister.I agree with the story because I attended two Baptist churches in the last 13 year and I had college kids attending in large numbers.A couple of them recently got married to other Christians in the church and at their colleges.

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