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U.S. College Students’ Perception of Religion and Science: Conflict, Collaboration, or Independence? A Research Note

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Abstract:

This research examines how undergraduates perceive the relationship between religion and science and the factors that shape those perceptions. Longitudinal data generated from the Spirituality in Higher Education Project representing a national sample of undergraduates is analyzed. The analysis finds that, despite the seeming predominance of a conflict-oriented narrative, the majority of undergraduates do not view the relationship between these two institutions as one of conflict. Undergraduate students are also more likely to move away from a conflict perspective than to adopt one during their college years. However, there are significant differences across fields of study and levels of religiosity. Students in the education and business fields, for example, are most likely to adopt a pro-religion conflict stance during college. Future research might examine the mechanisms that lead students in some fields towards or away from a conflict perspective.

Keywords: college students; conflict; education; religion; science

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2010.01558.x

Affiliations: Department of SociologyPennsylvania State University

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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