The Viewpoints question for this week is: Did your faith change during your college years? How and why?
This question stemmed from an issue brought up by Rick Santorum on the campaign trail in late February when he called President Barack Obama “a snob” and referred to colleges as “indoctrination mills.”
But survey trends show loss of faith is actually higher among people who do not attend college.
Here are our thoughts on the issue. Please add your own opinions and experiences as well.
For me, college years provided an opportunity to move from a simple but clear atheist position to a much wider understanding of Humanist principles, ethics and the vast history of Humanism across the globe, especially in the United Kingdom and the USA.
Many Humanist aspirations are shared naturally by most cultures and many theist religions. Ideas such as compassion, working for the betterment of society and our fellow men and women are human drives. Humanism understands these are derived from a purely natural basis, rather than the supernatural or ancient absolutist texts.
My college years also allowed me to discover the large and growing community of Freethinkers, and the knowledge so many shared these positions served to affirm my own thinking more.
My main areas of study were Sociology and Anthropology, subjects that repeatedly and irrefutably demonstrate the basis of faith and religion in natural human thinking rather than derived from any supernatural entity or influence.
The vast divergence in religious thinking across differing cultures, usually in line with political, geographical and economic trends, clearly demonstrates faith is relative and subjective. For me, there could be no other conclusion than all religion is derived solely from mankind.
The studies of my college years served to mature my Humanist position. Those years inspired me to work within that community for the betterment of all mankind and more fully understand the cultural basis of the theistic and supernatural beliefs held by others as the result of naturally explainable processes.