While attending a prayer and worship evening at my local church this week, a question came to mind. Does education affect a person’s religiosity? Religiosity is a term used to refer to the strong religious feeling, belief and dedication to a particular faith or religion. I began to wonder if students in higher education find themselves torn between studying and practicing their religion and faith.
You will be aware that I am a PhD graduate and thus have achieved a high level of education. But now I cannot help but ponder whether my educational accomplishment had/has affected my relationship with God? I do not think it has, thank goodness, but nevertheless it is something I am currently thinking about. While I continue to grow stronger in my faith.
While I was a student, I recognised that there were certain topics such as religion and faith that was not freely and openly discussed on campus, while other topics like sports was discussed and debated constantly. This is not to say that I had not noticed during my academic journey, that some students maintained their religious identity, because there were a few, but sadly they were a minority.
There may be a difference in attitude towards education and religiosity in Britain and America. Pew Research Centre (2017) found that the majority of American adults (71%) identify as Christians. And among Christians, those with higher levels of education appear to be just as religious as those with less schooling, on average. They further assert that highly educated Christians are more likely than less-educated Christians to say they are weekly churchgoers.
These findings are not replicated in other countries. Some studies have shown that the trend, especially for women is that education attainment negatively affects religiosity. According to the Economist.com women’s propensity to identify themselves as religious fell as their education attainment increased.
One explanation for the above findings could be a result of the fact that students form a social cohesiveness based on mutual interests and a shared environment in which religion may not have a prominence. There are probably other reasons for these different findings.
The purpose of this post was to start a conversation about education and religion and encourage others to share their views, while I continue to ponder my own thoughts on this topic.