academic, religion, USA

Spiritual/religious trends among college students

Here is a list of publications based on a UCLA-based national study of religious perspectives among college students.

This article is particularly striking for a reader interested in a comparison of religious and spiritual perspectives among college students of various minority religious groups (Muslims, Jews, Unitarian Universalists, Hindus, etc.).

Muslim college students come across as having stronger religious commitments, as well as being uncomfortable with discussing religion in public (the authors note the post-9/11 climate). However, the “new” minorities of the recent past – Jewish students – come across as, to put it simplistically, “less religious.” — This data provides food for thought on the issue of American patterns of cultural assimilation.

Sadly, data collected since 1966 shows how students have moved towards materialism and away from spiritual-philosophical concerns (this article).

4 thoughts on “Spiritual/religious trends among college students”

  1. “Why is lack of spirituality a problem?”

    That’s a bit like asking why not using your legs is a problem. The broader concerns that encompass the concept of spiritual – like asking who we are and what are relationship is to the wider universe – are an important aspect of being human. Indeed, anthropologists such as Rappaport place religious ritual at the centre of defining the human as a thinking, language using animal.

    However, there is the suggestion that – in some parts of the world – there is a general move from mainstream religion, rather than the spiritual:

    “The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion Is Giving Way to Spirituality” by Paul Heelas, Linda Woodhead et al

  2. Or has materialism just become more visible? I suspect there have never been a tremendously high number of particularly ‘spiritual’ (what does that mean, exactly?) people. On the other hand, the devout, like the poor, are always with us. I’ve used that line before about trolls, haven’t I? Oh well.

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