Santorum says college saps your faith. What do you say?

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Rick Santorum has made headlines recently by claiming that colleges more or less systematically rob young people of their faith. Talking Points Memo rebuts this claim with a raft of studies. The studies are not unanimous in assessing the impact of attending college on “religious participation,” so let’s give them a hand.


What happened to your “religious participation”–however you might define that term–during your college years? What do those of you in college or in campus ministry find happening either within yourselves, or in the lives of those around you?

Updated: Cathy Lee Grossman of USA Today is also on the story.

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Guest

If there's an active campus ministry, college can be a very positive, formative experience. For me, I found the opportunity to sit around with clergy, talk about politics, beer, parties, sex--all the usual stuff that college kids talk about. And while much of the conversation would probably seem lowbrow to the casual observer, that sort of informal spiritual direction, coming at that point in life, can be immensely valuable.

As an aside, I'd add that clergy in non-campus settings often overlook the formative value of just "hanging out." Developing a strong moral compass is something that comes over time, and is the result of weighing many smaller, transactional decisions and their implications for self and others. Yet, in this era of constrained resources and sometimes overzealous emphasis on boundaries, too often the focus is on pastoral care in times of crisis.

Eric Bonetti

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Kraut1701
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Kraut1701

As someone with a political science degree, it's fascinating to watch the Republicans snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Keep on with this silly, moronic drivel!

Morris Post

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Bill Moorhead
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On the other hand, "religion," be it neo-evangelicalism or purported Roman Catholicism, saps your intelligence.

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A Facebook User
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A Facebook User

As a college student currently in my third year at one of the Northeast's private colleges [in]famous for its progressive politics and its secularism/irreligiousity, I feel capable of commenting.

For me, as someone with a passion for thought, understanding something actually requires intellectualizing it. I can understand an idea or an experience best when I can put it in a context of learning and reason; this applies to everything from tying a bowtie (watching Youtube videos and maybe taking some notes) to more conventional class work.

For me, intellect has also been an important part of my faith journey. I had always been an active member of my (UCC) church and youth group, but I can't say I ever deeply believed. What was more moving for me was the service work we did and the community we had. When I got to college that community was missing and church had lost its shine.

But as I've learned more, even in the last few months, about religion and the current state of Biblical interpretation in scholarship, it's dawned on me that when I was a child, I had the understanding of a child; I couldn't believe that I believed because I thought that people believed in a God I couldn't imagine, rooted in some literal interpretation of Scripture. As I've been able to intellectually engage more with the deep tradition and many strands of Christianity—an experience that, for me, has only been possible through my college education—I've put away my childish understanding and come to realize that, after a few years wandering in the desert, it's time for me to come home.

Sparknotes: College and the deep intellectual engagement it enables actually brought me back to the church (this time in its Episcopal form) and I couldn't be happier.

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Gregory Orloff
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Gregory Orloff

Rick Santorum spent a lot of time in college: he got a bachelor's degree in political science, then a Master of Business Administration degree, and then a law degree -- all three from secular, public schools at that. How did all that time in college affect his religiosity?

And what is the point of his making such a claim publicly? A "faith-based" rationale for cutting student loans, financial aid and federal funds for higher education once in office? What is everybody supposed to do? Stop at a high school diploma to work for McJob wages for life and make a lot of babies in "the name of Jeezus" while serving "the people upstairs" like Santorum and company?

The delusions of this man are astounding.

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