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What impact does the experience of university have on Christian students? Are universities a force for secularisation? Is student faith enduring, or a passing phase? Universities are often associated with a sceptical attitude towards religion. Many assume that academic study leads students away from any existing religious convictions, heightening the appeal of a rationalist secularism increasingly dominant in wider society. And yet Christianity remains highly visible on university campuses and continues to be a prominent identity marker in the lives of many students.
Analysing over 4,000 responses to a national survey of students and nearly 100 interviews with students and those working with them, this book examines Christianity in universities across England. It explores the beliefs, values and practices of Christian students. It reveals how the university experience influences their Christian identities, and the influence Christian students have upon university life.
Christianity and the University Experience makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in the survival and evolution of religion in the contemporary world. It offers fresh insights relevant to those working with Christian students, including churches, chaplaincies and student organisations, as well as policy-makers and university managers interested in the significance of religion for education, social responsibility and social cohesion.
Kristin Aune is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Derby, UK.
Sonya Sharma is Research Associate in Theology and Religion at Durham University, UK.
Rob Warner is Professor of Religion, Culture and Society, and Dean of Humanities at the University of Chester, UK.
Table of Contents
Foreword - Christian Smith \ List of Illustrations \ Introduction \ 1. Historical, Cultural and Scholarly Contexts \ 2. What makes a Christian student? \ 3. Institutional Variations in the University Experience \ 4. Is the University a Force for Secularisation? \ 5. The Challenges of being a Christian Student \ 6. Organised Christianity on the University Campus \ 7. Social Differences Amongst Christian Students: Age, Class, Ethnicity and Gender \ 8. Broader Implications \ Appendix: How many Christian students are there in England’s universities? \ Bibliography \ Index