Friday, May 04, 2007

Religion Increasing At Harvard, Berkeley, Wisconsin...

Wednesday's had an article on the rise of religious faith at Harvard University.

Prof. Peter Gomes says “There is probably more active religious life now than there has been in 100 years.”

"Across the country, on secular campuses as varied as Colgate University, the University of Wisconsin, adn the University of California, Berkeley. chaplains, professors and administrators say students are drawn to religion and spirituality with more fervor than at any time they can remember."

"A survey on the spiritual lives of college students, the first of its kind, showed in 2004 that more than two-thirds of 112,000 freshmen surveyed said they prayed, and that almost 80 percent believed in God. Nearly half of the freshmen said they were seeking opportunities to grow spiritually, according to the survey by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles."

"Some sociologists who study religion are skeptical that students’ attitudes have changed significantly, citing a lack of data to compare current students with those of previous generations. But even some of those concerned about the data say something has shifted.
“All I hear from everybody is yes, there is growing interest in religion and spirituality and an openness on college campuses,” said Christian Smith, a professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame. “Everybody who is talking about it says something seems to be going on.”"

"Lesleigh Cushing, an assistant professor of religion and Jewish studies at Colgate, said: “I can fill basically any class on the Bible. I wasn’t expecting that.”"

I can confirm this in my Philosophy of Religion courses at Monroe County Community College. I taught two sections this semester, and both were maxed out, with very few dropping throughout the semester.

Now I am feeling sorry for Sam Harris, who wrote the out-dated The End of Faith, which looks like it will soon be selling at Big Lots next to Y2K books.