How do college students view religion? Do they change their religion or beliefs once they arrive on campus?
Do college Students change their religion or beliefs because they are out of their parents’ or guardian’s house, and are allowed to have a mind of their own?
“Studies have shown that somewhere between 60 percent and 80 percent of previously engaged Christian youth become disengaged with their faith as they transition into college,” Campus Renewal announced in a Campus Ministry Link report publish on its website.
Cedrick Cohen is a senior psychology major at FAMU from Jacksonville. He was brought up in a Christian home but now considers himself a Black Hebrew Israelite.
He said he always questioned his faith about Jesus Christ but was always scared to talk about it.
“I always wanted to look into other religions, but I never had the chance so my sophomore year I took a religion class and the Black Hebrew Israelites conversations became very interesting. I’ve been doing my research for the last three years and I’m proud to say that’s what’s I believe in,” Cohen said.
Cohen said he doesn’t think college affected his religion or beliefs, but he thinks going to an HBCU specifically affected his religion.
Black Hebrew Israelites are also called African Hebrew Israelites, or Black Jews. A lot of African Americans who are descendants of a lost tribe practice this religion.
Cohen believes he would have never learned about Black Hebrew Israelites if he attended a PWI or continued living with his mother.
Aviana Sims, a senior health science major, has had a decidedly different experience at FAMU. She says she was raised a Muslim and still has the same beliefs.
Sims never thought about changing her religion or looking into other religions because she was taught Islam, and that’s all she knows. Sims also says college has had no effect on her religion.
She was Muslim before going to college and is going to be Muslim leaving college, but she also says it does open eyes for others who haven’t chosen a religion yet.
The number of college students with no religious affiliation has tripled in the last 30 years, from 10 percent in 1986 to 31 percent in 2016, according to data from the CIRP Freshman Survey. Over the same period, the number who attended religious services dropped from 85 percent to 69 percent. These trends provide a snapshot of he the current generation of young adults; they also provide a preview of rapid secularization in the U.S. over the next 30 years, according to the survey.
College may or may not affect students’ religious views, but it sometimes plays a vital role.