It seems like every time there’s a new survey about religious demographics in this country, we learn that the percentage of religious people has gone down, while the “Nones” continue to grow.
How does that actually play out in real life? Well, at the University of Central Florida, those changes appear to be reflected in the memberships of various campus Christian groups:
The [United Methodist] Wesley Foundation has lost 36 percent of its members since 2007, when it counted 125 students. These numbers, provided by the University of Central Florida’s Office of Student Involvement, are self-reported estimates from the registered student organization.
“I don’t know if it’s just a lack of interest or commitment,” said Charity Lopez, associate director of the Wesley Foundation. “It’s easier to stay at home on your couch.”
And the Wesley Foundation isn’t the only one. UCF’s Campus Crusade for Christ is down 186 members since 2007, and Catholic Campus Ministry has lost 95. The Latter-day Saints Student Association and Orthodox Christian Fellowship have also seen minor dips.
What about the atheists?
[The Secular Student Alliance at UCF] has managed to maintain a consistent membership, although club President Benjamin Karpf, a junior mechanical engineering major, said it’s grown leaps and bounds since its 2012 founding when members met in a virtual broom closet.
It should be noted that a couple of other religious groups on campus (specifically, Jewish and Muslim ones) have seen growth, and this is all just what’s happening on one campus.
Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if other large schools were seeing similar trends. Colleges would be among the first institutions that are directly affected by the shift away from religion going on with young people.
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