USATODAY.com - Youthful seekers try to find: "Two studies released this week document the extent to which teens and young adults are teeming with spiritual curiosity, tolerance for religious differences and willingness to tap multiple sources for wisdom and guidance.
One study, released Wednesday, is the most comprehensive ever done on the subject. Researchers from the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA base their conclusions on survey responses from 112,232 freshmen at 236 diverse colleges and universities.
A complex picture emerges. On the one hand, students show a hearty interest in spiritual matters: 79% say they believe in God, 69% say they pray, and 76% say they are searching for purpose or meaning.
On the other hand, respondents confided some uncertainty and discomfort. Fewer than half reported feeling 'secure' in their current views on spiritual and religious matters. And students strongly committed to doing acts of charity and living by an ethic of caring showed higher levels of psychological distress than their less socially concerned peers."
"They are searching for answers to big questions: What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose in life? What will happen to me? Will I leave my mark in this world?" says Helen Astin, co-principal investigator of the study with her husband, Alexander Astin. "No one, including ourselves, ever thought of that as being an important aspect of student life. I hope we'll get to know the students better and look at them in a more holistic way."