Are college students losing their religion?
Secular groups on college campuses are proliferating; in the past few years, the number of campus atheists and agnostics has increased more than threefold.
As the stigma of atheism weakens, secular groups on college campuses are on the rise reports Religious Dispatches.
In 2007, 80 campus groups were affiliated with the national Secular Student Alliance (SSA), an educational nonprofit that works to organize and empower nonreligious students around the country.
Today, there are 394 SSA student groups on campuses across the country.
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“We have been seeing rapid growth in the past couple of years, and it shows no sign of slowing down,” Jesse Galef, communications director at SSA was quoted.
According to a study "Religion in the Millennial Generation," which drew primarily on data from the 2008 Pew Religious Landscape Survey, a greater percentage of 18- to 29-year-olds today than young adults in earlier generations say they have no religious affiliation (percent unaffiliated, by generation).
But maybe secular groups like SSA aren’t so different than their faith-based counterparts. At least when it comes to categorizing on-campus student groups.
“There are a lot of parallels with religious groups on campus,” Ron Sanders, missional team leader for Campus Crusade For Christ (recently renamed Cru) at Stanford University, told Religious Dispatches.
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“They have weekly meetings similar to ours, and give one another support, and they do social justice projects on campus and in the communities... I don’t know that they aren’t a faith group,” Sanders was quoted.
Despite the growth of secular groups on campus, not all young adults are leaving God behind.
More than three-quarters of young adults taking part in the National Study of Youth and Religion recognize a belief in God. But almost 7 percent fewer believe in God as young adults (ages 18 to 23) than did as teenagers, according to the study, which is tracking the same group of young people as they mature.
What young adults are less likely to believe in is religion. The number of those who describe themselves as "not religious" nearly doubled, to 27 percent, in young adulthood.
Read the rest of the story here.
Why do you think college students are less religious than prior generations?
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Photo: More secular groups forming in colleges / Yellow Dog Productions/Getty Images
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