Why are college students straying from their faith?
Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for Renewal at Brookhaven Hospital
I know from my son’s experience that he struggled with his faith when he entered his first year of college. He had previously been taught about the Christian faith, had given his life to Christ and read the Bible daily. At the age of 15, he took on a special project to cross reference other religious beliefs against the Bible. He became quite skilled at Apologetics, the reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.
We have found through his experiment that a lot young people are forced go to church by their parents. When the young man woman goes to a secular college, they find themselves being taught by professors who challenge them about why they believe the way they do. Sadly, some of these youngsters did not have a strong relationship with Christ to begin with, and end up agreeing with the professor’s philosophy about life.
The Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA found that 52% of college students reported frequent church attendance the year before they entered college. Only 29 % continued frequent church attendance by their junior year. Reasons given were loss of interest and time constraints.
The Fuller Youth Institute showed “40%-50% of students in youth groups struggle with their faith after graduation.” The Barna Study in 2006 said “most twenty somethings put their Christianity on the shelf.”
It is also interesting that the college student who previously stopped going to church, tend to return to church after they marry and start having kids of their own. Life Way Research Study in 2007 said 35% will eventual return back to their faith.
As our kids get settled into college life, we need to support them in ways to continue to practice their faith.