Understanding the state of religion among today’s youth is key to understanding the future of American society. Philip Schwadel, Carl Happold Professor of Sociology, will deliver the Nebraska Lecture at 2 p.m. March 30, 2023, to discuss the causes and consequences of religious disaffiliation among young Americans. The percentage of Americans with no religion increased from 7% in 1990 to 30% today, with an even higher percentage of young Americans having no religious affiliation. What leads young people to leave religion and what leads them to maintain religious beliefs. Schwadel will emphasize how family, friends and life transitions promote and inhibit religion and he will discuss the impact of religious decline on social cohesion.
Stephen Lahey specializes in medieval theology. He is an expert on the Oxford theologian John Wycliff and the Hussite movement in 15th Century Bohemia. Lahey teaches courses on Augustine, Dante, medieval theology, the relation of rational and religious thought, European culture before 1000 C.E. and an introductory course on religious studies.
Philip Schwadel’s research explores the changing nature of Americans’ religious and political perspectives, addressing changes over time and between generations. He has examined how higher education and social status influence religious belief. He searches for social influences, emphasizing how religious congregations, social networks, age, time and other social contexts influence religion and politics. He holds a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University, where he was a postdoctoral researcher with the National study of Youth and Religion for two years. He has been a faculty member in UNL’s Department of Sociology since 2005.
Max Perry Mueller is a historian of American religion. He focuses on the intersection of religion, race and politics in the 19th Century, with related areas of research and teaching in the history of the American West, religion and modernity, religion and politics and religion and journalism. He has written on religion, race and politics for Slate, The New Republic and The Atlantic, including several articles on Mormonism’s role in the 2016 presidential election.