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Students at evangelical schools more likely to face a religious crisis, study says

A Christian Higher Education research shows that students of Christian secondary schools “tend to feel secure in their faith at the start of college, but three years later, they are in crisis”.

AUTHOR Evangelical Focus NEW YORK 10 SEPTEMBER 2019 09:45 h GMT+1
Photo: Vasily Koloda (Unsplash, CC0).

Christian Higher Education has released a longitudinal study that “examined the patterns and predictors of religious struggle among traditional undergraduate students attending evangelical institutions.



The journal in the United States compared that data with the religious struggle “of those at three other types of institutions (Catholic, other religious, and non-sectarian)”.



The study shows “how common it is for students at evangelical colleges and universities to struggle with their faith”.



 



“STUDENTS OF EVANGELICAL SCHOOLS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE UNSURE OF THEIR BELIEFS”



“They are more likely to feel unsettled about spiritual matters, unsure of their beliefs, disillusioned with their religious upbringing, distant from God, or angry with God than their peers at secular schools”, the study concludes.



Of the 900 religiously affiliated colleges and universities in the US, the 118 that are members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), “have a shared commitment to the academic and spiritual development of their students”.



 



“THE CHALLENGES HAVE NEVER BEEN GREATER”



Researchers found that “at most institutions, rates of religious struggle decrease between the first and third year of college. Freshman have a lot of questions. Juniors feel more settled in their beliefs”.



However, “for students at schools affiliated with the CCCU, it’s the other way around. They tend to feel secure in their faith at the start of college, but three years later, they are in crisis”.



The study has used the data of the 2004 and 2007 College Student Beliefs and Values Survey (CSBV), which was last administered in 2007. It has responses from 14,527 students attending evangelical, Catholic, other religious, and non-sectarian.



The challenges have never been greater, as educators in Christian higher education seek to meet today’s students, both undergraduate and returning adult students, where they are, offering both challenge and support to move them forward as thoughtful, Christ-honouring, global citizens”, said Karen A. Longman, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the study.


 

 


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