Religion on Campus

By Conrad Cherry, Betty A. DeBerg, Amanda Porterfield

328 pp., 5.75 x 9.25, appends., notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5500-3
    Published: August 2003
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7525-4
    Published: January 2003
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7394-1
    Published: January 2003

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The first intensive, close-up investigation of the practice and teaching of religion at American colleges and universities, Religion on Campus is an indispensable resource for all who want to understand what religion really means to today's undergraduates.

To explore firsthand how college students understand, practice, and learn about religion, the authors visited four very different U.S. campuses: a Roman Catholic university in the East, a state university in the West, a historically black university in the South, and a Lutheran liberal arts college in the North. They interviewed students, faculty members, and administrators; attended classes; participated in worship services; observed prayer and Bible study groups; and surveyed the general ethos of each campus. The resulting study makes fascinating and important reading for anyone--including students, parents, teachers, administrators, clergy, and scholars--concerned with the future of young Americans.

Challenging theories of the secularization of higher education and the decline of religion on campus, this book reveals that both the practice and the study of religion are thriving, nourished by a campus culture of diversity, tolerance, and choice.

About the Authors

Conrad Cherry is Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and founder of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.
For more information about Conrad Cherry, visit the Author Page.

Betty A. DeBerg is professor of religion and head of the department of philosophy and religion at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
For more information about Betty A. DeBerg, visit the Author Page.

Amanda Porterfield is Robert A. Spivey Professor of Religion at Florida State University in Tallahassee and past president of the American Society of Church History.
For more information about Amanda Porterfield, visit the Author Page.


"[The authors] are observant ethnographers, looking beyond the obvious places such as classroom and chapel to find religion at work in the locker room before the big game, in acts of community volunteerism or in the highly ritualized coronation of a homecoming queen. This important study confirms the vitality of religion on campus while ably challenging widely held theories of secularization."--Publishers Weekly

“Professors Cherry, DeBerg, and Porterfield went to the trenches to measure the vitality of religion on America's college campuses. . . . One theme emerges clearly: religion is alive and well on campus.”--Publishers Weekly-->

"A good introduction to American understanding of faith. . . . I share [the authors'] appreciation of how religion on campus has changed."--Alan Wolfe, Chronicle of Higher Education

"The book . . . does a great service in giving a finely grained snapshot of religion on campus. . . . The authors do a masterful job of capturing the feel of religious life on the disparate campuses that they studied."--Perspectives in Religious Studies

"A study of religious practice on American campuses that should give pause to anyone proposing that the secularization theory is airtight."--Common Review

"Any church leader who questions the validity of a religious presence on college campuses should read this book."--Christian Century