Jewish Journal

Religion aces college

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 7, 2007 | 10:02 am

Despite what many conservative religious parents believe – I know; I grew up with them – American universities are not brainwashing their children to be godless intellectuals. According to the International Herald Tribune, which interviewed dozens of university officials, “students are drawn to religion and spirituality with more fervor than at any time they can remember.”

University officials explained the surge of interest in religion as partly a result of the rise of the religious right in politics, which they said has made questions of faith more talked about generally. In addition, they said, the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by Islamic zealots underscored for many the influence of religion on world affairs.

And an influx of evangelical students at secular universities, along with an increasing number of international students, has meant that students arrive with a broader array of religious experiences.

Gomes said a more diverse student body at Harvard had meant that “the place is more representative of mainstream America.”

“That provides a group of people who don’t leave their religion at home,” he said.

However, UCLA’s Spirituality in Higher Education study reported in 2003 that college students have high levels of spirituality—but that schools typically do a poor job supporting it.

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