I know the controversy is so last week. But I finally got around to reading Garry Wills‘ eminently reasonable response to Santorum’s complaint that colleges destroy religious faith:
Minds grow by questioning things, and adolescence is a great period of questions. Mark Twain and H. L. Mencken learned to cross-examine the Bible all on their own, without any help at all from college. An unquestioned faith is not faith but rote recitation. The opposite of such questioning is not deep belief but arrested development.
A report on research by Richard Putnam (Bowling Alone) and David Campbell on young adults, Christianity, and the culture wars: . A free summary of the Putnam and Campbell Foreign Affairs article is here. To quote Putnam, young Americans are saying, “If religion is just about conservative politics, I’m outtahere.”
But it’s not just conservative Christianity that turns college students and young adults away. There are significant cultural factors as well. Christian Piatt cites seven, not one of them connected with conservative politics or the culture wars. Instead, he mentions:
- that there’s no natural bridge to church when teens leave home
- the need to filter out the vast quantities of information (and advertising) that assault young people.