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Graduation Date

5-2018

Abstract

The debate between creationism and evolution has been hotly argued throughout contemporary history. The Millennial generation’s widespread acceptance of science and declining interest in religion is well-documented. However, Millennials in Christian settings are often left out of the literature. Taking into account Millennials’ opinions on religion and science, it is important for us to discover the extent of secularization among Millennials in Christian universities to fill this deficiency. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to test the theory of secularization (the idea that religious influence over society is weakening due to increasing modernity, namely science) among Millennials attending a Christian university by measuring their support of evolutionary theory as opposed to creationist theory. To do this, we measured students’ acceptance of evolution at an Evangelical Christian university and the variables that may predict their opinions. “Evolution” in this study is defined as humanity’s development over the course of millions of years from less advanced forms of life. Our data was generated from an online non-probable sampling survey of 169 students in a Christian university setting. The independent variables we tested include students’ academic discipline, academic level, religiosity, political affiliation, and other socialization variables. Using a binary logistic regression, significant predictor value for acceptance of evolution was found in students’ identification with the Democratic Party (p < .05), students’ infrequency in reading sacred texts such as the Bible (p < .01), and students’ pursuing academic disciplines which are part of the Department of Natural Sciences & Mathematics (p < .001).

Student Author Biography

Jed Foster is an undergraduate anthropology major at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. His research interests include the anthropology and sociology of religion, sociolinguistics, and Chinese language and culture. An honor student, Jed holds memberships in the Alpha Chi Honor Society, Lambda Alpha National Honor Society, Southern Sociological Society (SSS), and Lee University Kairos Scholars, the university’s honors program. He was also awarded the Colonel Lee B. Ledford Scholarship by the Appalachian College Association (ACA) to research the effect of the One-Child Policy on notions of Chinese kinship. In addition to studying at Lee University, Jed spent one semester at SIAS International University in Xinzheng, Henan, China to study Chinese language and culture. His experience there has helped him cultivate a love for the Chinese people, and he aspires to conduct graduate-level fieldwork in China in the near future. Jed’s most recent work, The Young and the Religious, explores the extent in which college students attending an Evangelical Christian university accept evolutionary theory, a concept which many Evangelicals traditionally consider to be secular. Jed has presented The Young at the Religious at various conferences, including the Southern Sociological Society (SSS) regional conference, the Ollie J. Lee Research Symposium at Lee University. In his spare time, Jed enjoys reading works related to his field in anthropology as well as theological and religious texts, particularly, works of Christian writers from various denominational backgrounds. He is also an avid Star Wars enthusiast, as well as a fan of Pink Floyd, Coldplay, U2, and jazz fusion. As a Sinophile, Jed enjoys practicing Mandarin with his Chinese friends and will take every possible opportunity to visit China. He can also often be found at home, playing Skyrim.