Thursday, March 01, 2007

So Labels Don't Match the Actual Belief

Here is a study on reporting that "For College Students, Political Labels Don’t Always Reflect Attitudes on Social Issues or Religious Beliefs." The study is produced by the Spirituality in Higher Education Project at UCLA.

Based on the study, it seems that what students label themselves as politically does not always match their actual beliefs or religious persuasion. For instance, though many would label themselves as "liberal," they would actually be "conservative" based on their actual beliefs. From the news release:

  • "Based on their attitudes toward 'hot button' social issues, the four most 'conservative' religious groups are Baptists, Mormons, 7th Day Adventists, and 'Other Christians' (mainly Evangelicals). Large majorities of students in each of these groups (58%-80%) oppose 'liberal' views such as legalizing marital status for homosexuals, keeping abortion legal, and legalizing marijuana."
  • "However, in none of these denominations, nor in any other religious group do as many as half of the students describe themselves as either conservative or far right in their politics. Moreover, among 7th Day Adventists, students identifying themselves as 'liberal' actually outnumber those identifying themselves as 'conservative' (29% vs. 21%), despite their clearly conservative views on key social issues."
  • "And substantial minorities of students in groups that are popularly regarded as holding strongly conservative views on selected social issues do not follow the expected pattern: more than one-third of Baptist, Mormon, 7th Day Adventist, and Other Christian students, for example, support legal marital status for same-sex couples, and nearly half of all Catholics (49%) support keeping abortion legal."

My father used to say that you never know who is working for who ("uno nunca sabe para quien trabaja") when faced with something like this where someone seemed to be one thing only to be revealed as something else. So much for labels. Though I wonder why some people who clearly disagree with their belief system choose to remain within it. I am not looking to be simplistic. And in the interest of full disclosure, I would fall under the people with no religious affiliation. Does not mean I am not spiritual; it just means I have no use for organized religion, but if it works for you and moves you to do good things, more power to you. I am pretty much "live and let live." I guess I find this interesting given my work where I meet so many different students. I am in an academic setting that is very diverse. Anyways, food for thought. It may go to prove that when it comes to young people and college students, you can't just put them in a box.

Crossposted from Alchemical Thoughts.

A hat tip to Docuticker.

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