The students piling into a house near the University of Cincinnati are laughing, sending text messages, and lining up for plates of pizza — then they all bow their heads in prayer. This weekly pizza lunch at Wesley House, a ministry of the United Methodist Church, is just one of a half-dozen Christian events Nick George, 19, will attend this week with friends from the Navigators, a thriving campus evangelical group. For while public colleges in America were once considered hostile territory for religious students, a revival among both evangelical and traditional churches on campus has made it safe — and even cool — to be a college Christian. “I’m absolutely more involved (in Christianity) than before I came to college,” said George, an engineering student. Most of his friends are fellow believers who, like thousands of young Christians, have eschewed private religious colleges in favor of large secular U.S. universities in a sign of a wider shift in the United States towards acceptance of religion in all areas of life. Eight of 10 college students attend religious services, 80 percent discuss religion or spirituality with friends and 69 percent pray, according to a 2004 University of California, Los Angeles, survey of 112,232 freshmen at 236 universities. “The American university system is not so aggressively asking kids to question their religion as it might have been in past years, in the 60s,” said Mark Regnerus, a sociology professor at the University of Texas.
Students Find It’s Cool To Be Christian On Campus