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Princeton Review ranks most and least religious schools
A survey listing the nation's most religious colleges revealed some surprises.
August 19th, 2011
11:53 AM ET

Princeton Review ranks most and least religious schools

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - Bennington College students recently learned that their Vermont school had received an honor that some might consider dubious: They attend the least religious college in America, according to an annual educational survey.

Bennington’s selection was part of an intriguing national survey listing the Top 5 colleges in the U.S. for most and least religious students.

The survey is part of a larger study conducted by the Princeton Review, a Massachusetts-based educational services company, for its new book, “The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 edition.”

Princeton Review interviewed 122,000 students at 376 top colleges to rate their schools and describe their campus experiences. Some of the categories included: Top colleges for “Most Conservative/Most Liberal Students,” “Best Professors,” and “Great Financial Aid.”

The survey’s questions about religion, though, caught our attention.

The 5 colleges with "most religious students” were: Brigham Young University, which is Mormon, in Utah; Hillsdale College in Michigan; Thomas Aquinas College, a Catholic school in California; Wheaton College, an evangelical school in Illinois; and Grove City College, an evangelical school in Pennsylvania.

The 5 colleges with “least religious students” were: Bennington College; Reed College in Oregon; Bard College in New York; Vassar College and Sarah Lawrence College, both in New York.

Robert Franek, author of "Best 376 Colleges," says the survey’s method for determining a college’s religiosity was simple: The Princeton Review just talked to students.

“We wanted to hear from whom we consider the college experts - current college students,” he says. “Those are the folks who are the real experts.”

Franek says students were asked if they strongly agreed or strongly disagreed that other students on campus were religious. Students were asked to give their answers on a five-point scale. The results were used to tally the book’s ranking lists of the top 5 finishers in each religious category.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Christianity • Culture wars • Education

soundoff (1,058 Responses)
  1. Bo

    ===========I took some time out to research Princeton U. It had, as a lot of private schools do, a religious begining, it still has a school of theoloy in Christianity as well as other religions studies. It is well known for studies in biophysics and sciences (no wonder it is not very religious any longer) as well as a liberal arts college It was the college where Eienstin taught. It does not have a school of law, medicine or political sciences.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Not sure why this is relevant. The Princeton Review (which compiled this list) is its own corporation and is independent of Princeton University.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • BR

      I think you are confused. It was Princeton REVIEW who did the research here, not Princeton UNIVERSITY.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  2. Rick

    I just don't understand American Media's hyper-fascination with religion. In Canada we have a comparable percentage of our population believing in a religion, but we don't have major sections of our news websites devoted entirely to it (e.g. CNN's "Belief Blog" etc). All you end up with are these utterly useless articles (which, bye the way, on this website, look pretty much set-up to bash religion....at least Christianity, anyway) where atheists bash the religious and the religious bash the atheists. It's just weird.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • JohnR

      Polls don't back up your assertions. A much higher percentage of Americans consider religion very important compared to Canadians. Be glad that you're Canadian in this regard.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      People like tooting their own horn and reminding themselves that they are right... Oh, vanity! (Hehehe I guess there's no way to say that without looking vain yourself 😛 ).

      August 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      Totally agree all these articles are silly.

      What is interesting though is reading all the commenters (mainly "atheists") who have clearly not put much time or thought into their beliefs. Amazing how superficial people can be about such a deep and all encompassing topic.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Dan of The Prophecy Society

      In America, if you can make it controversial, then it will get the public's attention. That explains media facination with anything controversial, or bordering on controversial, as are most of the articles you will see about religion in the American press. Very rarely will you see anything of substance concerning religion unless it is about controversy. The dollar is the god of most Americans, and most American companies, including media companies. Religion sells. It's not really fascination, but avarice, that drives religious news coverage, the hunger for ratings and profits.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Ryan

      Interesting article though. What it tells me, is that areas of the country with good education systems in place tend to not believe in a diety. (as Einstein did not believe either). I'm not bashing, but...well...there is something to that.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      Problem is though those states don't rank high in terms of education of their college bound students (not to mention their non-college bound students):
      http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/states/uschartsat.html

      And those colleges don't have any great reputations. In fact, it is interesting that they are liberal arts places rather than research universities or places with strong engineering or science programs.

      So there is no conclusion to draw on that front.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Jon O

      Does that mean you're lucky enough not to have "small government" folks forcing religiously backed social policy down your throats as well?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Ryan

      Typically speaking New York DOES have wonderful education systems. Also a very outdated chart was provided above and I believe there is a better chart that should be used and well was used (but cant recall where I would find it). also, those are SAT scores. So high school. We were speaking about colloeges. But yes, those areas of the country do have a very bright population.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • hueygunner

      Ryan - I read an Einstein quote that left me with the totally opposite impression about his personal belief in God. Basically, Einstein said what amazed him most about the Universe is that it could be comprehended. That doesn't sound like a belief system that embraces a universe that evolved through sheer random chance. In other words, the Universe was the result of intelligent design and therefore it could be comprehended by intelligent human beings.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Ryan

      Hueygunner:

      I have never heard that but reading what you just wrote that he said...I AGREE with him. It all can be! as a matter of fact....I have been saying that same thing for years. Given enough time....we COMPREHEND everything! We figure things out through science! So to me...it sounds like he is able to understand things through his discoveries as we do EVERY DAY now with the help of science. I'm not sure why you took it the way you did really. Suggesting randomness is an act of UNDERSTANDING what took place.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Ryan

      But to not confuse a bright mind with the belief in dieties....yes...he was a non believer in a god. But not an Atheists since he did not like the sheer angst against religion that some atheists have. You can look at many quotes and thoughts up about him. Actually......many of the founding fathers of this country, brialliant writers and great leaders were none-believers. All my point was is that usually goes hand in hand that....there are areas of the country that contain very educated people. Overall....they believe less in a god and tend to vote democratic. It's interesting is all I was stating.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Colin in Florida

      Rick, it all goes back to the Pilgrims who emigrated to what became the USA. One of their, if not main principle was freedom to worship as they saw fit, i.e. religious freedom. Canada, as part of the UK (back then) had a state-sponsored religion, Church of England..

      August 22, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  3. come on man

    Religion is a defined as a set of beliefs that answers the ultimate questions of life. What is ultimate reality, where did we come from, what happens after we die......etc. So by that definition there need not be a belief in God or a group of priest to be defined as being religous! Everyone has certain beliefs about these matters even the Athiests, but I do find it interesting that the Atheist believe they know the truth and that all other religions are wrong.

    Point: There is no such thing as being nonreligious!

    August 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Do you have a belief about Zeus? About mermaids? Are you some how religious about the toothfairy?

      Or do you simply lack a belief in these things?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      @Juggling Squirrel Yes, he believes they don't exist. An "absence of belief" is just a semantic cop-out. You still "believe" that there is no God, just as you believe that you exist or that I exist. A belief is just an accepted notion about reality.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Well, that means that I have a belief about any possible thing that I could think up. I have a belief about pink spotted, snubbed-nosed one-eyed unicorns. Which makes the whole argument silly. Do you really think that you have an infinite number of beliefs?

      Or we could just work of a dictionary:
      noun
      a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

      If a theist is someone who believes in a god, then an a-theist is someone who, by definition, is without a belief in a god.

      This isn't hard.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Matt

      You're confusing "religion" with "faith" or "belief". You can be non religious, but still have a belief.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • BR

      I think that is the way YOU define religion–and how arrogant of you to assume that is the same for others. I (and most others, I would suspect) define "religious" to indicate a belief or faith in some higher power and/or divine being with some level of intelligence. I am an atheist because I do not believe in that whatsoever. Deal with it.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Ryan

      @Come on man: Being an atheist is not a religion. It's not usually an organized event. Simply, we atheists go by data....which there is non suggesting the belief in a magically being....but there is TONS supporting evolution. It's VERY VERY simple. Game over

      August 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Ryan

      Juggling squirrels: Spot on!

      August 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I like to watch non football on Sundays, and I happen to be a very avid non stamp collector. Clearly, Juggling, you don't know what you're talking about

      August 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      @Juggling I'm going to say, yes, you do have an infinite–or seemingly infinite–number of beliefs. For whatever you can imagine or are exposed to, you have a belief or judgment on that thought.

      Put it this way, can you define "absence of belief" without using the concept of belief in your definition? An absence of belief, as you so tightly cling to, is inherently tied to the idea of belief. Absense of belief is dependent on the concept of belief even existing. And you can see how this all breaks down into Deconstructionism quite quickly. All the same, whether you define it as "absence of beliefs" or some other terminology, the "fact"–philosophically loosely used–remains that everyone here must draw some sort of conclusions or inferences about their subjective universe. That is what we mean by "beliefs" and what come on man means by "religion."

      August 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Can you define dry without invoking moisture? Does that mean that something that is dry is wet? No – something that is dry is something that lacks liquid. No liquid needs to be involved. Liquid, however, is necessary to define it. That's bad logic you're using.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      "which there is non suggesting the belief in a magically being"

      Dude, you need to get a clue. There is the Big Bang, the Anthropic Coincidences, the extreme improbability of DNA (life) just coming about on its own, and, last but not least, Godel's Incompleteness Theorem which almost certainly shows our minds cannot be simply material. In fact, to get around Godel's theorem materialists (what you are probably meaning by atheists) have to throw all of science under the bus and say we probably live in a mathematically inconsistent universe. Hence, you can't even trust the multiplication tables you were taught in the 1st grade.
      There is plenty of evidence showing there is NOT a God and there is plenty of evidence showing there IS a God. That is what makes it such a deep and difficult topic.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Ryan

      Dan-

      There is no evidence suggesting there is a god. Evidence....and I mean solid supporting data. The kind of data I'm talking about is the data that we have amassed to support evolution. The kind of data that has taken a hypothesis and later....that hypothesis has become a theory. I have plenty of clues.....do you?

      August 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Ryan

      Godel's Incompleteness Theorem: using that is a stretch with what we are talking about. But ok.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • hahaha

      When you die, you are dead... Your brain stops working, your consciousness ceases to exist and you rot in the ground. Where the universe came from scientists are still working on that. That is the reality, deal with it.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Atheist

      @ Ryan
      At least it's somewhat relavent, I had someone pull out special relativity once trying to say it proves there is a God. And I've seen many people use E=mc2. Needless to say, these people didn't understand either of these two things.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Ryan

      Too funny Atheist! I suppose it makes them feel bright?? Data does not lie is all I say. Everytime

      August 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Atheist

      I guess it does Ryan... The person that was trying to use special relativity, I started pulling out Quantum mechanics to make my point. He wasn't buying it and thought he was super smart for relating relativity to our conversation. I eventually just had to tell him that just because he knew big words, it didn't mean he was smart. Which actually brings us to other conversations going on in this blog, Just because you're educated doesn't mean you're inteligent.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      I would imagine the point the person who brought up relativity was making, which you probably didn't understand, is that given different inertial frames of reference for a god and for us in this universe the 6 days of creation mentioned in Genesis and the approximate 14 billion year age of this universe are scientifically compatible. Before relativity a lot of people used to say, incorrectly, that they were incompatible.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Ryan

      Atheist: I agree that just because your educate does not mean your intelligent. But I'm pretty sure it helps a ton! (my prior comments are stating that too). Good education systems and smart areas of the country tend to be less religious.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      "Godel's Incompleteness Theorem: using that is a stretch with what we are talking about. But ok"

      Not at all. Lucas and Penrose showed pointed out how it demonstrates our minds are not computers. Obviously this creates big problems for materialists. Some just say that we live in an inconsistent universe – but then of course we don't know anything (even that 1 equals 1) and no one does science that way. So that is not a serious objection.
      Penrose, who is a materialist himself, thinks it means there are whole branches of math and physics yet to be discovered and that these will acccount for conciousness. Certainly possible but not likely.
      People who want to believe that our minds are entirely material have a big problem here.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      "There is no evidence suggesting there is a god. Evidence....and I mean solid supporting data"

      Hah, go tell Steven Wienberg that the Anthropic Coincidences aren't evidence for a God!! And he is not religious.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Ryan

      Dan-

      I guess what I mean, is how are you relating that theory to the theory that god exits/does not exist? I feel like this is a debate for another topic. I'm sure we can weave it in somehow. Just asking for clarification. Are you suggesting that because this thought is saying are minds are not what we think they are that...that leaves chance of a god to create it all? If that is the case, I do mean this is a stretch and boardering on a different topic.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Atheist

      @ Dan,
      That view of special relativity makes sense, his did not. He just didn't understand it.
      About the human conciousness though, some people that consiousness can be proven using Quantum theory. There are a few books about it, I haven't read any of them yet, but they're on my list. "The Quantum Enigma" is the first one on it. I can't remember who it's by though.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Ryan

      "Hah, go tell Steven Wienberg that the Anthropic Coincidences aren't evidence for a God!! And he is not religious'

      Interesting thought, but that is still more of a philospohical idea and debate. Not enough data to support therfore, still a hypothesis. Data baby! All in the data.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      It is pretty relevant. The question of a god brings up an entire world view and both the non religious and religious have to make sure their world views are consistent.
      When someone says they don't believe in any god I take that to mean they are a materialist – ie there is nothing but the natural universe that we see around us and definitely nothing like souls that religious people believe in. But it has been pointed out that it is extremely unlikely that a purely material brain can account for consciousness and can prove mathematical theorems – yet we know we can prove mathematical theorems. So this is quite a big problem for someone who wants to assert there is nothing around us but a material universe.
      In this way it is like bringing up the question of the existence of natural evil which creates a huge problem for the theistic world view. Sorting through questions like these are the principal means we have of trying to figure out if there is a diety or not.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Ryan

      The topic as a whole is interesting......But I'm confused why anyone would really believe....I mean deep down believe.....that a being that is above it all...."designed" who we are and where we are. That idea is a much bigger reach than anything science has come up with to date! That's straight science fiction to me but yet.....we still make it relevant by blogging about it and reading about it daily. We trully are dwelling animals.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Godel's Incompleteness Theorem – the argument regarding consciousness largely centers around whether the brain is a classical computer – a Turing machine. Recent research has shown that this is not the case – that the brain utilitizes principles of quantum mechanics. The research is in its infancy, but it just goes to show that 'I don't know how it happens, so god must have done it' never holds weight for very long. The Anthropic Coincidences fall into this category as well.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      "Interesting thought, but that is still more of a philospohical idea and debate. Not enough data to support therfore, still a hypothesis. Data baby! All in the data."

      That is not a philosophical argument – it is one based on probability which is what most of science is based on. The only answer to the Anthropic Coincidences is that there are an infinite number of universes or an infinite number of domains in this one. But so far we don't know of their existence or even of any way to find out whether or not they exist (sort of like the idea of God!!!). And if this is the only universe that exists then as a famous physicist wrote – "it sure looks like it was designed knowing we were coming".

      August 19, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • DanB the agnostic

      "Godel's Incompleteness Theorem – the argument regarding consciousness largely centers around whether the brain is a classical computer – a Turing machine. Recent research has shown that this is not the case – that the brain utilitizes principles of quantum mechanics."

      Two problems with this. 1) Godel's Incompleteness Theorem goes further and shows that no consistent system with at least basic logic and arithmatic can be complete and proof its own validity with only its own logic. Yet we humans CAN do that. So either our minds must have a non material component OR our universe in not consistent. Take your pick.

      2) Quantum effects are unlikely to play a role in our consciousness. The principal active units of our brains our nuerons. They are WAY, WAY above being at the quantum level. Not even close to being effected by quantum level effects.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Ryan

      "But it has been pointed out that it is extremely unlikely that a purely material brain can account for consciousness and can prove mathematical theorems – yet we know we can prove mathematical theorems. So this is quite a big problem for someone who wants to assert there is nothing around us but a material universe."

      Again...interesting conversations but I still don't feel it's of enough significance on the data that we do have. Not philisophical but data that we have is what I'm working from. Now, if something comes to light that is not speculation....then I'm all ears

      August 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Ryan

      Yes it is philisophical. And this is sort of like saying "well we have not proved it yet...so must be god". We may never prove it...but that still does not suggest a magical being. In the end...it's really the same argument.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Ryan

      I'm not interested in philosopy. I'm sorry. I will say this again.....DATA. Only data will surfice for a conversation about religion.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Ryan

      "That is not a philosophical argument – it is one based on probability which is what most of science is based on"

      You are correct. Science is based on this. But the argument of "anthropic principle" is lacking crucial data that would suggest the actually numbers of probability. This trully is a discussion for a philosophy of religion blog.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  4. tsmith

    Hmmm....I'm thinking Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC should be ranked as the no. 1 most religious (ridiculous) school in the universe. Examples include a local church black list, no contemporary music allowed, lights-out policy, dress length and hair cut length rules, a "dating parlor" where you go when you want to "court" someone (but only sit at a Bible-width distance apart), no leaving campus unless you're with an upperclassman chaperone, no closed doors in your dorm rooms and kids getting kicked out for coming out of the closet. Not sure if these are all the same now, but they were standard when I lived in G'ville 10 years ago.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Terre08

      Do the wacko schools like Bob Jones and Oral Roberts etc really count as schools in a report like this? I mean who would hire someone with a degree from there?

      August 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  5. Bizarre

    After 12 years of strict Catholic education I attended U.C.L.A., with severe warnings from many that I would 'lose my faith' there. Today, I alternately cringe and chuckle that I wrote my first term paper (can't remember which class it was, but we were to write about something we knew well) on Vatican II !!!

    No, I did not 'lose my faith' there. Unfortunately, it took decades after that for me to really think, study, listen and discuss at great length to finally drop it.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  6. charles

    There is more to a college than the lack of or access to religion. My son attends Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, Utah. It was designed to be more of a private religious school. It has one of the lowest tuition rates I have seen, along with being a very prestigious school. It is also a little harder to get into. One of its sectrets is a dress code and the fact that any Mormon (LDS) with a Bishop's recommendation, can go there at in-district rates. My son tried University of Illinois, at Champaign/Urbana, Illinois, but he still preferred BYU.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • John

      It is not true that any Mormon with a recommend can attend BYU. I was rejected twice before being accepted to BYU. I am a Mormon with a bishops recommend. Your grades still have to be good enough. I was accepted when I had a 3.86 gpa and 30 credit hours from another school.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  7. Herbert N. Eiseman

    You just made these 5 schools the most attractive. I received my college degree many years ago, but if I was of the age to choose where i would get my college education these would be on my list to consider.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      Which 5 and why?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  8. Evolve

    Having spent 8 awful years in a christian school, I would never subject my children to that non-sense. When someone asks when are my kids first holy communion I laugh in their faces. I crap on you ancient backwards belief system. Evolve.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Stan

      Have fun in hell

      August 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Jon O

      Prove hell exists.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      What is most amusing about people like you is that you don't even actually understand evolution.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      Bitterness is not becoming of someone who aims to appear wise....

      August 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • hilreal

      Ever been to a funeral or seen an obituary that said someone was going to hell? No one really believes anyone is going to hell. Just a big stick to make immoral christians behave themselves.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • rene

      Agreed, I spent 12 awful years in religious schools and also have not subjected my kids to the fear, deception, abuse, & manipulation of Christian Schools. It was such a shock to get out into the real world after 12 years of constant brainwashing. The worst part about religious school is that they teach children that they have a responsibility to convert others without care or respect for traditions and beliefs that are not Christian. I would have a lot more respect for religion if they didn't cause people to believe that their opinion is the only right one and that everybody else is a target for conversion or suffer the consequences.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Qwerty Elemeno

      The big stick doesn't work, hilreal. Crime rates are higher in the Bible Belt than in the more secular parts of the country. Atheists are a disproportionately low segment of the prison population. Secular democracies in Europe have the lowest crime rate in the world.

      Let's face it – religious morality does not works very well. Part of the problem is that religious people assume they are forgiven, and thus transgress more often.

      the big stick of religion is a big fail.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • think for yourself

      Stan, supposedly we will have 4.8 billion other people there to keep us company. We should be ok. Have fun worshipping the tyrant that you call "god".

      August 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Jon O

      Down here in NC we call them "Weekend Baptists."

      Sin all week, act like you're forgiven every Sunday and the Sin-O-Meter resets, rinse, repeat.

      Rural NC is full of some of the most unethical, immoral, lying, cheating people I have ever run into.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Atheist

      @ Jon O
      Hey! I live in NC. I grew up in the rural area too, now working in Durham. I know exactly what you're talking about and agree completely.
      They don't care what they do during the week because they can just repent on Sunday.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  9. CW

    I luckly attended a college that believes in God and there were students that although had their own views on things they also knew that God existed. With that said with the crap that professors are allowed to teach these days its no wonder that the students that they teach are being led astray.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Stephanie

      That's right. I mean who in their sane mind would believe that humans and great apes share a common ancestor? This is ridiculous when it is written black and white in the bible that God created man in his own image and the universe in 6 days. It is obvious that God fabricated the genetic, fossil, geological, radioactive dating so called evidence. It is painfully obvious that 10,000 of scientists around the world are just plain wrong.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Mark

      On the contrary, I don't see how any intelligent student can avoid realizing that Christianity makes no sense whatsoever. Hateful Christians are always bashing people who don't believe what they do.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jon O

      I know, all that factually supported science that you can see, feel, taste, hear and smell for yourself... who'd pick that over a book written over the course of a couple hundred years that exists in multiple versions that have been mistranslated repeatedly.

      Silly science people.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • J.W

      Does anyone really still believe that the world was created in 6 24 hour periods anymore? I dont know anyone that believes that.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Reality Check

      "Colleges" don't believe in God & no one "knows" God exists. Just keepin' it real.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • rene

      Agreed Mark, Christians are the most conceited, self serving people. They believe they are better than everybody else because they are the only people going to heaven, therefore, everything they do is sanctioned by a god.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Beatles

      I am a Catholic and i go to church every Sunday yet i still believe in evolution and that God created the universe in 6 days you people need to balance out your beliefs because there is truth behind it all stop being so narrow minded and so disbelieving find the middle

      August 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Jon O

      Beatles...

      No, there is proof behind science. There is no proof that God exists. There is faith that God exists.

      Get it straight.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Adam

      Hey Beatles, do you also believe that Noah himself built an arc to hold two of every species of animals on the Earth after speaking with God himself but also believe in evolution at the same time? What you call a "middle ground" I call a conflict of interests. You have no credibility on either side.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Beatles,

      Your views are inconsistent with the teachings of the RCC. The RCC states that evolution is a legitimate theory ... except where it concerns humans. It's a completely illogical position, but I can't say that surprises me.

      Also, the RCC states that the genesis creation story is at least quite possibly not literal (that must have been a hard pill to swallow) and cautions that one should use science to determine the appropriate context in which to read the creation myth.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Ryan

      CW "Led astray"?

      That is called EDUCATION....not BRAINWASHING! They are not being brainwashed so they are led astray???? And this is the crazy uneducated BRAINwashed people in this country that we have running around and popping out kids to brainwash them and teach them to go out and brainwash. Please.....disappear or just....break your brainwash and go back to school! You too can be free......moron

      August 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Ryan

      @Stephanie: GREAT! You on the other hand should have plenty of wise kids!! Well said! you win!

      August 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Beatles
      A middle?
      So I shouldn't believe in the Bible's talking donkeys or snakes, but I should believe in the talking, flaming foliage?
      Or how the Bible says that people used to live for 900 + years, but today teh average life span is aroun 80 years.... so people in the past must have actually lived for 400 years?

      August 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  10. Conservative

    LOL at the Picture. How come everytime I see a picture of New England teenagers/college students, they look like absolute losers? It was kind of like the pictures of the college kids celebrating in New York after the recent gay marriage pass... they all look like dorks. Maybe New England = Dork/Tool land.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Tony

      New York is not part of New England, tool.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • AdamK

      They're playing Quidditch, a Harry Potter game you probably don't know about, since you probably think the books promote witchcraft or something close-minded like that. As for New England schools, check out the rankings for the Ivy League and smaller NESCAC schools; they rank extremely high, especially compared to most southern and mid-western schools.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Droop

      Conservative, how do you know that the photo came from one of the "non-religious" schools, or a school in New England or New York? The caption says nothing about the school's location. For all you know, it could have been taken at the school from which YOU graduated.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • AdamK

      Droop: It can't be from Conservative's school. He bought his degree by mail.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • lloyd roberts

      Looks can be deceiving. Michelle Bachmann looks good, but she's got the IQ of a fencepost. I bet you dig her, Conservative even though you like religious schools

      August 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Droop

      AdamK, thanks for a good laugh!

      August 19, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  11. Neil

    A far cry from the earliest days of our universities.

    Harvards original motto adopted in 1692 was "Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae" which translated from Latin means "Truth for Christ and the Church."

    Now it seems like most our colleges are just liberal training grounds. I obtained my psychology degree later in life and I was shocked at what they taught as "fact". I often had to butt heads with the professors because I would often provide facts contrary to what they taught in their curriculum. By contrast, all the young students just blindly accepted whatever was thrust at them. There whole concern seemed to be just passing the class, not seeking the truth in what they were actually learning.

    August 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      I would question the validity of your "facts."

      August 19, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Tom

      First of all, outside a university, is there any alternative channel through which an academic discipline can be taught? Second, what's taught at the unviersity level reflects the reconciled and peer-reviewed opinion of academic experts. Third, wherever there is controversy AMONG EXPERTS on a particular topic, that controversy is taught. All this tells me one thing: I'm going to guess that you're religious. So you willl conveniently dismiss anything that contradicts your predefined and presumably narrow religious worldview and simply label it as "liberal bias." Sorry brother. Seeing the world for what it is vs. what you want it to be reflects good and honest academic pursuits. On the contrary, wanting something to be true that isn't is the real bias here.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Neil

      SeanNJ,

      I respect that thought, Sean. However, I did provide my references in the same manner as was required by the class and they were just as official. I just tried to look at each topic from different directions.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • sosofresh

      you said that individuals in higher-ed "just blindly accepted whatever was thrust at them." I think you inadvertently just gave us the definition of the word "faith."

      August 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Neil

      Tom,

      I will never deny that I am a man of faith. However, why is it that such a high level of teachers are liberal? The Wash Post identified that 72% of college teachers were liberal. Nearly every reference I found stated that the rate was about 75%. So whether or not the curriculum was "peer-reviewed opinion of academic experts" as you mentioned, the fact remains that it is being reviewed by a majority of liberals. How do you think they are going to see it?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • THunter99

      I don't see why spirituality (which can be mutually exclusive from religion) and education (which should never be confused with intelligence or commom sense) can automaticlly be viewed as an "either/or" choice.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Neil

      sosofresh,

      If you want to see it that way but let me ask you this, how do you know I exist? You have never met me nor spoke with me nor seen a pictur of me yet you appear to be conversing with me anyway. Maybe I am just a computer program spitting out random comments on this topic. The point is that you don't know. You are going on faith that I am a person. If you were to take some time and seek me out, more than likely you would eventually find me. However, if you choose not to seek me out, it does not make me any less real. Faith is just where it all starts.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Neil

      All,

      Sorry guys, but I have to get going. Thanks to you all for the great discussion. Have a great weekend!

      August 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Lex

      First, I think we should separate the term "liberal" from "religious". There are a lot of "liberals" who believe in the word of god, and many other faiths. Secondly, academic professors usually are liberal. Typically, education and left thinking go hand in hand. Thats the way it's always been. Thirdly, being an atheist myself, I have to put up with hearing religious rhetoric all the time. Why can't religious people put up with haring some scientific ideas and take what they want from it?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Being liberal does not equate with being non-religious and being religious does not equate with being liberal. Although it is definitely true that most Christians denominations in the US have a politically conservative agenda (very anti-Christ like if you ask me) you fall for.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • lloyd roberts

      Quoting from 1692, how appropriate. Some other quotes from1692 show that sickness was a result of being possessed, the earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around it, etc. Looks like you haven't learned a lot since then

      August 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Brandon

      Neil – My guess as to why most teachers/professors are liberal is that by trade they are more likely to embrace science and liberal social issues (public education comes to mind). You will see the opposite if you look at corporate CEOs; they will typically be conservatives.

      As far as whether or not you exist, I'll give you that there is faith involved. However, that faith is based on the overwhelming probability that nothing except either a human being or a computer program wrote your comment. The chances of a computer program having done so are so minute that to conclude that you are anything other than a human borders on insanity.

      I also have faith that I am going to enjoy this slice of pizza.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      As a Christian I have to say, if you can't wrestle with you own beliefs in a challenging environment, then they probably aren't your beliefs in the first place. I came to conclude that God exists by my own deduction and reasoning, and I have absolutely no problem sitting through an educator or authority who has different views than my own. Whether it's Creationism or Evolution taught in schools, are you really so insecure in your own ideas that you can't logically defend them on your own?

      As Mark Twain is credited saying, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." Don't be Sheeple!–on either side of the argument.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Tom

      Niel, you're missing the big picture. Let me explain. Don't confuse the word "liberal" with the phrase "lazy, pot-smoking hippy." I'm a "liberal" only because my mind is flexible and open-minded. It reconciles itself to the revelation of new evidence. This is how a discipline gets perfected over time. By those criteria, it would make sense for a professor to identify themselves as "liberal." Their pursuit of truth forces them to do so. The alternative would be dogmatism which is inherently contradictory to free inquiry and honest learning. To echo sosofresh in this post, "blindly following" something is inherently not liberal. If you want something to be true that isn't true, you are, by definition, blindly following which is inherently dogmatic and thus anti-intellectual.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Yael

      If you's "facts" had came from a source more reliable than the professors', why did you need to go to college at all? WHy weren't you TEACHING?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • THunter99

      I don't see why spirituality (which can be mutually exclusive from religion) and education (which should never be confused with intelligence or commom sense) are viewed as an "either/or" choice.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  12. Chris

    Least religious.....meaning, those with the most common sense. All I know is if I believed in some "phantom" guy that "magically" came back from the dead and wasn't a zombie....I'd most likely have been put in a mental hospital.

    August 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Atheist

      You said "and wasn't a zombie"
      are you implying that people would think you less insane if you said he was a zombie? Because if someone tells me that someone came back to life and wasn't a zombie, I'd just assume that person was never dead to begin with. If they said he was a zombie, then I'd assume the person making the statement was insane...
      But that wouldn't stop me from stocking up on my zombie-killing supplies.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  13. Atheist

    I just realized that the kids in the picture are running around with brooms and capes... They had to pick the geekiest picture possible? Couldn't have gone with the group of kids praying in a circle with one holding a guitar (how I envision every college prayer circle)?
    I'd be really embara.ssed if my picture got on CNN and it was of me pretending to be harry potter.

    August 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      Ahh, THIS must have been the group they surveyed about religious life :P. ... Kinda looks like they're trying to play Quidditch...

      August 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      It's Hogwarts. Those are Hufflepuff Qudditich players. 🙂

      August 19, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Atheist

      I wonder if Hogwarts would consider themselves a religious school....
      They do believe in magic and miracles.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      I don't think Hogwarts has a religion, though the students do say things like "Merlin's Beard!" which seems to be an exclamation close to "Oh my God!" in the Wizarding World.

      Sorry, I'm a HP dork. And I'm not ashamed.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • Ray in Vegas

      This is the best nerd picture ever. I love the guy holding the ball with the goggles and the pink apron! King Dork.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Notapotafan

      Lots of colleges have quidditch leagues. It's the new frisbee golf or lawn darts or whatever.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  14. Bo

    ======You'er right Anti Christian, I recently heard of a college, can't remember which, but it was started as a religious school and, not that I know that it is atheist, but it teaches evolution excusively. I doubt that it is very religious. I know of a minister who was an evolutionist and he taught evolution at the college, but he converted and was terminated.

    August 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  15. Bo

    ======I suppose, Damian, that your thoughts were the same as mine, if you ask students at a religious school about being religious, what other answer would you expect. They should have just gone to secular schools. The odd thing is, however most privet schools (if there is such a thing any more) were started as religious schools.

    August 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  16. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    Funny one of the top religo nut schools believes in magic underoos.

    August 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  17. WhySoSerious

    I found it especially interesting that the top Ivy Leagues and schools of similar calibur weren't listed on either end of the spectrum.

    August 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • jftrumm

      I'm perplexed by this comment. In fact, what struck me is that all five of the supposedly least religious schools are generally considered to be among the best schools in the country.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      I'm not saying the schools listed aren't great schools, but that wasn't what I pointing out. That's why I said "top Ivy League and schools of similar calibur". Follow this link and see if you can find ONE of those schools within the first 5 pages. I stopped after page 7.

      http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-universities

      My point was more about schools found on pages 1 through 4, which are often considered the leaders of academics in this country. I bring it up because one would assume, at least as some people do on this blog, that the better the school, the lower the religiosity–as in, smarter/more successful people reject God more often–but as you can see, the pattern clearly doesn't hold up perfectly. I just thought it an interesting observation.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      On the other hand, some (few I would imagine, since there is already little evidence) would assert that religious schools produce more successful people, but again, no school on the Top Ranked Schools.

      We must accept that religious beliefs and intellect are entirely independent of each other.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      *accept to a large degree, that is.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • jftrumm

      The reason you can't find any of those five colleges in the list you cited, WhySo, is because you're looking at the wrong list. None of the school named as least religious are national universities. The correct list is here:

      http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-liberal-arts-colleges/page+2

      Note that Vassar is ranked #12 on the second page, Bard is #38 on page 4, Reed is #54 on page 6. I'm skeptical of these rankings anyway, particularly since at least one school listed (Reed) refuses to participate in US News's data collection efforts.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  18. Atheist

    They only interviewed about 300-400 kids at each school. There was about that in my graduating class of mechanical/aerospace engineers. Plus the other engineering degrees and all the other colleges within the college that I went to that probably makes up less than 5% of the people at the college.
    If you're going to do a survey, don't half-as.s it.

    Although that being said, I'm not too surpirsed by the results with the most religious school actually being religious-based schools

    August 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      .............the most religious school actually being religious-based schools
      -------
      Who would have thought!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      ... you don't think they could get a good picture of diverse opinions from 300-400 kids per school? I think that's a rather healthy sample size.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Atheist

      @ Whysoserious
      It doesn't sound like a bad sample size, but in general 5% isn't going to give you a good idea of the overall feeling of the school. It might if you get a good group of kids, but you could easily get that number from 2 entry level chem classes that has well over 100 students.
      My point is, 5% is a bad sample size. If you want a good survey, you're going to want to at least get closer to 20% or something.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • WhySoSerious

      Ah I see what you're saying. Though to be fair 300-400 is roughly 25% of my entire graduating class, it sort of depends on the size of the school. It's a bummer they didn't include survey methodology–how they guaranteed that they got a well-rounded perspective and gathered a sufficient sample size from each school.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Curtis Jay

      You obviously were not forced to take any statistics for your engineering degree (or you didn't learn it). If you sampling properly, what matters for the precision of estimates is the sample size, not the percentage. Shoot, medical researchers make conclusions in clinical trrials based on samples of less than 100 all the time.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Atheist

      It does have to do with sample size, and the larger the size then the better. If you can get 20-50% of the entire school to answer the survey then you had a good sample size, although 5% is not so good. They go hand in hand.
      And I only had one statistics class, I did well but really didn't study much so I can't argue too much on this. Haha.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Curtis Jay

      The point is that is the number of observations determines the accuracy of statistical estimates, not the percentage of the population, except for a finite population adjustment, which is (N-n)/(N-1) which rapidly goes to one and can be ignored for samples like this (here N is the number in the whole population, n is the number in the sample). So if you have a sample of n=300 it gives roughly the same precision whether the population is N=10,000 or N=2,000,000.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Atheist

      I agree, but that precision is still low. If you have N =10,000 and bring n from 300 to 2500 then that precision changes a good bit for the better. Going from 3% to 25% is going to help the precision a lot whereas dropping from 3% to 2% (N>10,000) isn't going to hurt it much. I'm just saying that their sample size should have been larger to get a better idea about the religious "feeling" of the school

      August 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Curtis Jay

      2,500??? Do you have any idea how expensive these type of surveys can get? With 376 schools the total number of students interviewed would be 376X2500=940,000, nearly a million. That would be prohibatively expensive (I work with some surveys, and doing complete interviews of 500 a month can be expensive). Yes, it would be nice to have more than 300 (I calculated that averages of the index should be within plus or minus 1.6 accurate 95% of the time) but they likely don't have the resources to do much more.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  19. Bo

    Yes, I noticed that Hillsdale wasn't mentioned as a religious college, but it is. And I suppose if they had included a lot of other colleges and universities they would find a lot more than just these 5 that are very religious. I wonder how they chose the colleges.

    August 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Aaron

      Religious people misread everything including their good book. They are NOT saying there is ONLY 5 religious schools in the country they are just saying these are the TOP 5. No one doubts that there are more of both religious and non-religious schools in the nation. So chill out.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  20. DamianKnight

    ...wow, Princeton what an epic review. Four of the five most religious schools...are in fact, religious schools (the article doesn't mention if Hillsdale is specifically a religious school).

    August 19, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.