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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Students often change religions

A persistent stereotype that seems to exist for college students is that religion appears to have less of a hold and influence on younger people.

Dr. Madeline Duntley, associate professor of sociology, said Americans are switching to religious groups that they weren’t raised in more than ever before.

“Groups that grow are simply either attracting or retaining more members than they lose,” she said. “The challenge is to keep their youth by fostering interest in and loyal to their traditions, and to attract new members to offset loss through attrition or

religious switching.”

Also, religious groups have been starting to adapt to more progressive ideas recently to attract new members and to keep younger people interested in religion.

Junior Katie Howard has been a member of h2o church on campus since June of this year. She said prior to attending church at the University she had never even picked up a Bible.

“I was looking for something I could be part of and everyone was really welcoming here,” she said. “When you are new in a traditional church within a community you are oftentimes like the ugly ducking in the background, not really fitting in.”

Duntley said a recent trend found in surveys of young adults is that the survey takers mark the

“unaffiliated” box.

“25 percent of young adults aged 18-29, the ‘millennial’ generation, claim no connection to a particular religious group or denomination,” she said. “But this does not mean they are not religious. Only 3 percent of these young adults are atheist.”

Student Ryan Carter said his lack of belief in God started in 2012 and not until recently he was able to speak openly about his atheism.

“I discontinued my belief in Christianity because I began to question and critically analyze my belief system,” he said. ”I found many contradictory and conflicting facts against what I believed in. This led me to realize I could no longer justify my beliefs without any good reason.”

Carter said even without believing in God he found other ways to get the warm and fuzzy feeling that his faith used to give him.

“Since letting go of religion I have been overwhelmed by the beauty and poetry that is science,” he said. “I get lost in the amazing feats our species has accomplished through scientific endeavor to better understand ourselves and our place in this universe.”

Howard said that in Bowling Green it seems like there is a strong push for religion and a lot more students attend church here compared to her hometown of Dayton. She added that the claim about religion having less of a hold on people does not seem to be true for

the city.

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