In my prior post I did a flyover of the collegiate landscape, mainly in terms of atheism and agnosticism. What I meant to suggest is that, overall, campus culture is quite secular.
As for religion, it’s allowed to exist as an exception to the prevailing rule of secularism, and especially as a concession forced by higher education’s stated commitment to diversity. Thus, students from a variety of backgrounds, even religious backgrounds, are welcome on campus. Usually.
As for the Christians I interact with in my travels to over 70 different campuses and multiple visits to many schools, I observe that as a group they are less committed to church than ever before (studies bear this out).
For many students . . .
Church is an optional part of spirituality. There is no theological necessity to participate in the life of the church (they think), and little understanding of what it means to be an active member of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).
Church doesn’t seem all that different than the many volunteer and service opportunities available around campus.
You go to church “when you can,” but other commitments on the weekends get in the way, or you’re too tired after an overwhelming week at school to get up and go.
The church as a historically oppressive, patriarchal institution that justified imperialism and slavery, and continues to abuse the innocent and reject nonconforming gender and sexual identities, has been off-putting.
In protest, students speak of being “spiritual but not religious,” or “committed to God but not to the institutionalized church,” etc.
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How did students get this way?
You may be surprised at my answer, which I’ll share in my next post.