Secular Trends

Religion and spirituality are not everywhere in decline, although they may be so in the United States. As a college professor teaching a variety of religion-related courses, I see a decline first hand among my students. In courses like “World Religions” and “Problems in the Philosophy of Religion” I find that many students have a genuine interest in religious issues but when queried, only a small minority of them describe themselves as believers. The primary explanation for this appears to be that nonreligious students were not generally raised in families that were particularly religious. Most students who are theist are so because they were raised as such. Exceptions to such are people raised in a religious environment, but who lost their parental-instilled beliefs because of educational or other life experiences. I’ve also had students who were raised without religion, but who then became believers because of some life experience.

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