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Education And Humanities Popular Choices For College Majors In Religious People

by Tanya Thomas on September 8, 2009 at 11:01 AM
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 Education And Humanities Popular Choices For College Majors In Religious People

The most religious people are more likely to do their college majors in education and the humanities, a new study has revealed.

However, while the teachers-in-training tend to become more religious over their college careers, religiosity fades for those majoring in the humanities.

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"Education majors are clearly safe havens for the religious. Highly religious people seem to prefer education majors, tend to stay in that major, and tend to become more religious by the time they graduate," Live Science quoted study researcher Miles Kimball, an economist at the University of Michigan, as saying.

For the results, the researchers conducted a survey of more than 26,000 individuals who graduated from high school between 1976 and 1996 and took part in the Monitoring the Future Study.
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Participants were interviewed in their senior year in high school and every two years or so following the initial survey until respondents turn 35.

They indicated on a four-point scale, how often they attend religious services and how important religion is in their lives.

It was found that while importance of religion changed for those in the humanities and social sciences, students majoring in biology and physical sciences remained just about as religious as they were when they started college.

The researchers suggested that college majors can influence religiosity in at least two ways-firstly, professors and literature in certain fields might stress one philosophy or another that either boosts or deflates religion.

In addition, these same values could be reinforced as students interact with others in their discipline.

The humanities and some social sciences tend to have a strong postmodernist focus, said Kimball.

Such questioning of authority can be at odds with religious faith and could explain the flagging importance of religion that occurred over time for these majors.

"By far, the majority of religions do have a notion of absolute truth. And so questioning authority is going to matter, including the authority of the bible and religious texts," said Kimball.

As for education, Kimball said, "A lot of people in education majors are headed toward being K-12 teachers. They're going to be thinking about how do we educate children, and the idea of trying to teach morals and ethics and character is an obvious thing to think about as you're trying to educate children."

Such a focus on morals could lend itself to focusing on religion as well.

The National Bureau of Economic Research released the study.

Source: ANI
TAN
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