A new study from the University of Michigan tells us some somewhat surprising news about college majors and their effect on religiosity.
Majoring in which subjects would decrease your religiosity? (That is, make you less likely to go to church and less likely to view religion as a good thing)
According to the study: the humanities (e.g. Music, Religion, Philosophy) and the social sciences (e.g. Economics, Sociology, Psychology).
If the findings are accurate, I’m not too shocked to see those subjects on the list (though I’m slightly surprised Biology isn’t on it). In my experience, when people get exposed to other religions, they find many more similarities between them than they ever knew existed. Not just similarities, but sometimes exact stories, recycled between religions.
Philosophy might get you thinking about life beyond religion. Some of the social sciences may open a window to experiments that show the nature of human behavior — and that it has nothing to do with a god.
I don’t know if others feel this way, too, but those are some hypotheses.
Majoring in which subjects would increase your religiosity?
Education and business.
No idea about those…
Majoring in which subjects would have little or no effect on your religious attendance?
The biological sciences and the physical sciences (e.g. Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy).
(Though the researchers add that majoring in the physical sciences does make you less likely to view religion as important in your life.)
Why does majoring in Biology or Astronomy (for example) not have a significant effect on your church-going habits?
Thoreau suggests one explanation:
I think the problem with the theory is that religion as actually experienced by many people is not about miracles and strict codes written on pages. It is a combination of a personal thing and a social/cultural thing… all of these arguments miss what actually matters to many religious believers.
The actual paper is here, but I don’t have access to it.
What do you think about the results?
(via The Daily Dish)