Wednesday, March 24, 2004

U of R survey on Religious Belief

The Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at U of R took a survey of religious belief on the U of R campuses. I wrote up the results for an article in Campus Times, the college newspaper. Here's what I wrote:
This January the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship groups at University of Rochester River Campus and Eastman School of Music did surveys to begin to better understand the spiritual beliefs on the UR campuses. The survey was more informal than scientific, but given that over 194 students filled out surveys, the results lots of insight into the spiritual beliefs of UR and ESM students. The intervarsity groups will use the data to make their outreach and other programs more relevant. Probably most interesting were the responses to the four yes and no questions: "Do you believe God exists?", "Do you believe in a heaven?", "Do you believe in a hell?", and "If you believe in a heaven, do you believe that you will go there?" In all, 70% of the respondents believe that God exists, versus 8% who say He does not. The remaining 22% said they were not sure. 62% of the respondents say that Heaven exists, while 14% say it does not, as opposed to only 51% who say that Hell exists, while 26% say that it does not. 68% of those who believe in Heaven believe they are going, while 30% say they are not sure whether they are going or not, and only 2% said that they believe in Heaven but that they are not going. 80% of those who believed in Heaven also believed in Hell, while 7% said there was a Heaven but no Hell. The remainder were either not certain or did not answer the question. No one said they believed in Hell but not Heaven.

Of those who responded to thea question about religious background, 67% were from a traditional Christian background, either Catholic or Protestant, although only 84% of them said they believed in God, and only 63% had an orthodox Christian view of Jesus. Other common religious backgrounds included Jewish (6%), Atheism/Agnosticism (6%), Hinduism (3%), and Buddhism (3%). A striking 10% said they had no religious background.

Answers to the "Do you believe God exists?" question by campus and major.




Not sure

River campus




Eastman campus




Hard sciences




Humanities and social sciences




I pretty much stuck with the facts and didn't do a lot of analysis. I'd do that here, but I don't have much time at the moment. I'll see if I can come up with more later.

New Post: I talk a bit about what I found most striking about this poll here.

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