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Exposure to science, perspectives on science and religion, and religious commitment in young adulthood

Exposure to science, perspectives on science and religion, and religious commitment in young adulthood

Social Science Research 65: 145-162

ISSN/ISBN: 0049-089X

PMID: 28599768

DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2017.01.002

Social scientists know very little about the consequences of exposure to scientific knowledge and holding different perspectives on science and religion for individuals' religious lives. Drawing on secularization and post-secular theories, we develop and test several hypotheses about the relationships among exposure to scientific knowledge, perspectives on religion and science, and religious commitment using panel data from the National Study of Youth and Religion. Our findings indicate that religious faith is strongest among young adults who: (1) accommodate scientific knowledge into their religious perspective, or (2) reject scientific knowledge that directly contradicts their religious beliefs about the origins of the world. Young adults are also more likely to have lower religious commitment when they view science and religion as independent institutions, lending support to secularization ideas about how social differentiation secularizes individuals. We further find that mere exposure to scientific knowledge, in terms of majoring in biology or acknowledging conflict between the teachings of religion and science, is usually not sufficient to undermine religious commitment.

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Accession: 059721310

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