Thursday, September 26, 2013
Christianity and the University experience
Christianity and the University Experience: Understanding Student Faith, by Matthew Guest, Kristin Aune, Sonya Sharma and Rob Warner, is a just released, and totally fascinating, insight into the student experience of university. It looks at the context of the university as a site for religious expression.
It is based on a three year project. It attempts a snapshot of Christian students studying, and asks about their beliefs and practices. It also looks at how they interact with their environment. The research involved over 4,500 students, spread across 13 universities. It was then followed up by more indepth interviews, totalling 100, so that individuals tell stories in their own words. These include students, church leaders, chaplains and university managers.
“The lived reality of contemporary Christianity … is under-researched and commonly misunderstood.” (9)
The result is fascinating. The university is not a context that undermines faith. Rather it presents challenges, that are also opportunities. As often as not, these empower, rather than disillusion students. “The majority of students view university as having had a benign influence on their religious identity.” (8)
More to follow in coming days … In the meantime, what was your University experience like? Did it undermine your faith? Or did it empower it?
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