Religion and Spirituality Among Scientists

Scientists are assumed to attack the religious aspects of today’s biggest social issues because they are atheists and anti-religion. But we really know very little about what elite university scientists as a whole—what some would call the most influential sphere of science—think about matters of faith.

The study of Religion among Academic Scientists (RAAS) closes this gap in understanding. During 2005 and 2006 it examined the religious and spiritual beliefs and practices of natural and social scientists at 21 of the most influential research universities in the United States. Some 1,646 people responded, and revealed they are not as anti-religion as we’re being led to believe.

In fact, a surprising number of believers teach the sciences at the nation’s top academic institutions. While scientists are indeed less religious in a traditional sense than the general public, the majority of scientists are interested in matters of spirituality and a significant minority is religious. Propelled by recent public events, even those who previously had no interest in religion or spirituality are finding it necessary to involve students in discussions about these topics.

media coverage

Ecklund’s research has recieved a lot of media attention. Here are just a few examples of how her research is making waves: