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Does attending a university produce left-wing secularists?

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/04/why-college-students-are-losing-their-religion/236874/

Dennis Prager, as thoughtful a voice as you'll find on talk radio, has a new column up in National Review that presumes "God isn't doing well" and tries to explain why. His initial theory is that "increasingly large numbers of men and women attend university," and that "the agenda of Western universities is to produce (left-wing) secularists." Let's say for the sake of argument that most institutions of higher education really were trying at their core to produce left-wing secularists (a motive I very much doubt).

 
tasches

Asked by tasches at 2:31 PM on Apr. 6, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 48 (298,202 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (21)
  • I think this is the most telling sentence in the whole essay:

    "But if four years of college undo 18 years of parenting and religious affiliation, perhaps the faith community's tenuous hold is the problem, not the particular place outside its bubble where that hold evaporates."
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 2:51 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • eh...i think its more an example of how correlation does not imply causation

    This. The more likely answer is kids who toe the line and smile and nod for 18 years finally feel free to admit what they already believed, but wouldn't say out loud while living under their parents' roof. It doesn't matter if they go off to school or move into an apartment the next town over.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 6:17 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • No, I don't think so. Some of the most active groups in my public university were Campus Crusade groups. And of course, there are a lot of religious universities. In fact, higher education was once the province of religion.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 2:48 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • My husband attended a 4 year University and a staunch republican and Christian - he's also an engineer.

    I went to a 4 year College/University - didn't graduate because I couldn't decided on a major and wanted to be married and have a family more than a degree - I am a moderate democrat and Christian.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:53 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • eh...i think its more an example of how correlation does not imply causation. while university attendance is more & more common right out of high school, its still the same "type" of ppl going. maybe if they did a test at freshman orientation and then again at graduation id be more likely to believe it. you also have to take into account how many students never thought about politics or religion before college.

    but then i went to a Christian university and was one of the most liberal ppl (religiously & politically) there so my experience is a little biased.
    okmanders

    Answer by okmanders at 3:24 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • don't agree. I went to a university. I graduated with a four year SCIENCE degree (bio-chem) and I'm a republican.
    Molly4630

    Answer by Molly4630 at 2:32 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • Ok, actually, my friend and I fight about this all the time and he is a college student. He doesn't attend a university yet, he's in community college but is graduating soon then attending a university for his masters. My problem is he doesn't have his own opinion, his opinion is what the teachers have taught him. I told him "That's nice, I'm glad you're learning but can you learn to think for yourself now?" Literally, all of his statistics and teachings and what he believes are what he's learned in a classroom. Drives me crazy. Not everyone is like that, though. I just tend to think some people are easily influenced. He is one of these people.
    fricky29

    Answer by fricky29 at 2:38 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • I was liberal leaning before I attended University, because of their upbringing both my kids were on the liberal side of the argument before attending also. I had many professors whom were conservative and faithful Christians. I think the real story would be to follow these same "changed" thinkers for a few years after being in the real world and see how many of these left-wing ideas stick.

    emptynstr

    Answer by emptynstr at 3:52 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • eh...i think its more an example of how correlation does not imply causation

    --

    I agree with okmanders ^. I also don't think the goal is to produce liberal secularists. Most of the people I know with advanced degrees (Masters or Ph.D.) are liberal leaning with various religious and non-religious backgrounds, but they had these views even BEFORE they went to college. I think people who study different cultures and religions may have a tendency to be more liberal, progressive, forward thinking, creative, and open minded, and liberals (at least most of the ones I know so I'm not totally generalizing there) tend to think of community and what is good for all in our society, while most conservatives I know are most individualistic and worried about protecting what is theirs. I've seen some studies that suggest our genes may play a role in these tendencies as well.
    pam19

    Answer by pam19 at 4:29 PM on Apr. 6, 2011

  • *mostly
    pam19

    Answer by pam19 at 4:30 PM on Apr. 6, 2011