Wandering path of spiritual exploration

Patricia Vanderbilt

Over 25 percent of American adults have left the faith that they were brought up in, and college can often be  a time and place for spiritual exploration or transition. A survey of Whitman students conducted by the Office of Spiritual Life found that 42 percent of those surveyed identify as “religious” and 67 percent as “spiritual.” When the The Pioneer asked how their beliefs have changed since coming to college, 30 percent of 131 students polled responded that they have become “more spiritual.”

These findings are by necessity problematic because the terms “religious” and “spiritual” are difficult to define. And perhaps what is even more difficult than answering “yes” or “no” to the questions”Are you religious?” or “Are you spiritual?” is negotiating these terms to fit into your own identity and personal beliefs.  This week Feature examines how Whitman students do just that.