Clay Routledge, NDSU professor of psychology, recently wrote “Are Americans Really Becoming Less Religious?” for Psychology Today and “We Champion Racial, Gender and Cultural Diversity – Why not Viewpoint Diversity” for Scientific American.
Routledge, a social psychologist, notes in the Psychology Today article posted Oct. 23 that opinion polls show Americans are turning away from traditional religious practices, but the “religious minds” of nonbelievers are active.
“Fewer people are going to church, but New Age spirituality books, seminars and healing practices proliferate,” he wrote. “Belief in God is on the decline, but belief in UFOs, ghosts and other paranormal phenomena appears to be on the rise.”
Routledge based his article on his paper, “Beyond religion: Finding meaning in nontraditional magical beliefs,” that was presented at the annual American Psychological Society conference in Chicago earlier this year.
He concludes his Psychology Today article saying it is an exciting time to explore the issues of religion and spirituality. “As long as humans are existential animals, organisms focused not only on living but also on living a life full of meaning, they will remain spiritually curious, seeking experiences that involve ideas and beliefs outside of a scientific understanding of the world,” Routledge wrote.
The research was funded through grant no. 47996 from the John Templeton Foundation.
In the Scientific American piece published Oct. 24, Routledge suggested universities in the U.S. are increasingly homogeneous ideologically, noting studies suggest fewer than 10 percent of social science faculty members consider themselves conservative.
“Higher education is supposed to facilitate intellectual, social and personal growth. Do we want colleges to become increasingly self-segregated so that conservative parents send their kids to more conservative schools and liberal parents send their kids to more liberal schools?” Routledge wrote. “Do we want young liberals to think it is okay to hide from ideas or censor speech they don’t like, or young conservatives to think college is not for them? This will only further divide and ultimately weaken us as a nation.”
Routledge is a respected researcher in his field of study. Reporters from the BBC, ABC news, CBS news and Men’s Health and Cosmopolitan magazines have cited him in their stories. He also has written the book, "Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource (Essays in Social Psychology)." He earned his doctorate at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
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