Monday, September 15, 2008

Church Attendance & GPA

A UI sociology professor has shown that students who attend church have higher GPA's than those who never attend church. So, will just attending church make you smarter? The author's of the study do not go that far and list the following as reasons that church attendance may increase student's academic performance that are not due to strictly religion:
  • They have regular contact with adults from various generations who serve as role models.
  • Their parents are more likely to communicate with their friends' parents.
  • They develop friendships with peers who have similar norms and values.
  • They're more likely to participate in extracurricular activities.
Yet, those factors only explain about half of the increased GPA, so something else has got to be there.

One of the benefits of this study is that it raises serious doubts about one of the main tenants of the secularization hypothesis, that religion is mainly for those with lower intelligence.

The economics of religion states that people choose to go to church because the marginal benefits of attending are greater than the marginal costs of attending. I would argue the same is true of a fraternity or sorority.

Let me know what you think.

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