Survey investigates effect of higher education on religious and moral beliefs


A new survey reports that college professors were more likely than the general population to think that the Ten Commandments are totally irrelevant and to disagree that the Bible is the Word of God, but they were also more likely to disagree that religion and science typically conflict.

Professors were more likely to think abortion should be available for any reason, more likely to support co-ed dormitories, and more likely to oppose prayer in public school. They also were more likely to agree that educators should “instill more doubt in students and reject certainty.”

The survey of 2,508 Americans was conducted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) based in Wilmington, Delaware. It asked 39 questions intended to evaluate the impact of a college education on people’s beliefs.

However, the report did not address the issue of selection bias, because of which people with certain beliefs may be more likely to seek higher education.

Dr. Richard Brake, director of ISI’s Culture of Enterprise Initiative, told that the survey results do not say that all or even most teachers think that the Ten Commandments are irrelevant.

“But they are more likely to think that having taught college, and they are more likely to think that compared to the rest of the population,” Brake said.

The study also found that those who obtain college degrees were more likely to disagree that the Bible is the Word of God. They were more likely to favor same-sex “marriage” and abortion on demand than those who do not.

The study’s results are available in the ISI report “The Shaping of the American Mind: The Diverging Influences of the College Degree & Civic Learning on American Beliefs.”

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