The students in my Political Science Senior Seminar conducted a survey to investigate the beliefs and attitudes of Luther College students. Below are the results they wanted to share about religiosity on campus.
Analysis of Data
In order to see how Luther has affected its students’ religiosity, NORP asked the students at Luther to take a survey that would classify their previous and current religious identity. In total, 222 Luther students responded to our survey. Each student was asked how religious they believe they were before they started at Luther and how religious they believe they are now, as well as what religious group they belong to before Luther and what religious group do they currently belong. Whether it was before their time at Luther or currently, most students responded that they practiced either Protestantism, Catholicism, or no religion at all.
Number of Participants
The biggest changes were in the “Moderately Religious Category”, which formerly comprised over a third of incoming Luther students but now is less than a quarter of Luther students. Additionally, there has been an overall 5% increase in students who are unsure of their religious intensity before coming to Luther, and an overall 10% increase in students who identify as “Somewhat Religious”. Technically, less students identify with having no religious intensity.
This chart demonstrates the percentages of ‘trends’, or the number of students whose religiosity increased, decreased, stayed the same, or has become unsure. According to these results, about one fourth of student’s religious intensity has decreased since coming to Luther, while only around one tenth of students’ religious intensity has increased. However, over half of students have experienced no change in their religious intensity, meaning that Luther is (technically) more likely to NOT affect your religious intensity.
While Luther has an ambiguous impact on religious affiliation (while there is a correlation that half of Luther Students will alter their religious intensity), there is an undeniable trend of Luther moving students away from affiliating themselves with a religion. There has been a definitive jump of affiliating oneself with NO religious tradition, and a decrease in students who align themselves with Protestantism and Catholicism. There is very little representation of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish students. In fact, of the two Jewish students coming into Luther, only one has maintained that part of their identity. However, zero students were Buddhist before coming into Luther, with two currently affiliating themselves with the religion (one a Pureland Buddhist, and the other a Christian Buddhist). The sole Hindu respondent has maintained their affiliation.
Among other things, we were able to conclude that only 9% of students at Luther are very religious while 25% of students reported that they have experienced a loss in religious beliefs and practices since coming to Luther. According to Luther’s Mission Statement, Luther College is a college of the church. However, according to our findings, it appears as though it is more likely for a student to be less religious or not religious at all after attending Luther College. As an ELCA affiliated school, do you feel that Luther should be taking more steps to provide more religious structure in Luther’s academics? Feel free to tell us what you think about the survey or this question in the comments below. As always, thank you to those that participated in this survey! If you would like to know more about this survey or other surveys we have constructed throughout the semester please attend our seminar presentation this Thursday (November 16th) in Valders 262 at 5:30pm.
Sharing student assignments that should reach more people than just me.