You believe your thing Ill believe my thing

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“You believe your thing, I’ll believe my thing”: How Christian College Students Communicate with

“You believe your thing, I’ll believe my thing”: How Christian College Students Communicate with Peers about Religion Samantha Phelan Faculty sponsor: Brandi Lawless University of San Francisco

Literature Review ● Communication Satisfaction ● Relational Maintenance ● Religious Communication

Literature Review ● Communication Satisfaction ● Relational Maintenance ● Religious Communication

Participants ● Six undergraduate students at a private university in San Francisco ○ 3

Participants ● Six undergraduate students at a private university in San Francisco ○ 3 male, 3 female ● All self-identified as Christian

Methods ● 30 -minute interviews (audio recorded) ● Informed consent was obtained prior to

Methods ● 30 -minute interviews (audio recorded) ● Informed consent was obtained prior to the interview ● Recordings transcribed into 40 pages of single-spaced transcription

Analysis ● Thematic analysis ● Three overarching themes: (1) Avoiding Religious Conversations (2) Communication

Analysis ● Thematic analysis ● Three overarching themes: (1) Avoiding Religious Conversations (2) Communication of Shared Experiences (3) Shared Religious Beliefs are Nonessential

Avoiding Religious Conversations ● Hesitation towards initiating a conversation about religion ● Religious Conversations:

Avoiding Religious Conversations ● Hesitation towards initiating a conversation about religion ● Religious Conversations: Discussing or inquiring about, faith-based opinions or personal preferences ● Reasons why one would not initiate a conversation about religion with a peer: ○ Too “preachy” ○ Inappropriate ● Disclosing religion is a risk “it’s a very intimate conversation to have with another person. It’s a very personal question. And I feel sometimes like if I bring this topic up, I might offend someone. ” (p. 7 -8)

Communication of Shared Experiences ● Religious communication thrives around shared experiences ● Shared values,

Communication of Shared Experiences ● Religious communication thrives around shared experiences ● Shared values, traditions, childhood memories ● Facilitates bonding ● Optimal friendships involve shared morals & values “You don’t forget growing up Catholic. ” (p. 10) “We share our experiences growing up, being raised in a Catholic family, going to church on Sundays” (p. 11)

Shared Religious Beliefs are Nonessential ● No more likely to befriend a Christian-identifying individual

Shared Religious Beliefs are Nonessential ● No more likely to befriend a Christian-identifying individual than someone of a different faith ● Interfaith communication as a learning opportunity ● Praised their university for its openness and religious tolerance “A lot of my friends aren’t Catholic and they want to hear what my perspective is on. Like spirituality or things like that. Like I’ll ask them about theirs, if they have any, or if they’re atheist, what that’s like. It’s just kind of a conversation. ” (p. 11) “You believe your thing, I’ll believe my thing. ” (p. 11)

Implications ● Provide scholars, universities, and parishes with a better understanding of the way

Implications ● Provide scholars, universities, and parishes with a better understanding of the way Christian students communicate with others about faith ● Comfort Christian students in knowing that other individuals share their experiences ● Modifications of current mentoring, counseling and psychological services offered to students ● Increase awareness surrounding the underrepresented topic of Christian students’ faith communication

Limitations & Future Research ● ● Time Small sample size Catholic majority Future research:

Limitations & Future Research ● ● Time Small sample size Catholic majority Future research: ○ Single branch of Christianity ○ Geographic location ○ Private versus public

Thank you!

Thank you!