At an Institute so grounded in science and technology, where
do faith and spirituality fit in?
MIT isn’t famous for being a god-fearing place. Few people know that there are 16 chaplains and nearly 30 student groups dedicated to religion at the Institute. So why are they here?
Last week, The Tech surveyed 2,943 undergraduate and graduate students at MIT — about 27 percent of the student population — on their religious life. 1,295 (44 percent) were undergraduates.
We looked at more than just religious affiliation and belief in a higher power. We asked about attendance at religious services, membership in religious student groups, and changes in faith. We studied how religion influences your opinions on sex, science, and politics. We interviewed Robert M. Randolph, chaplain to the Institute, who doubles as the Bexley housemaster; philosophy professor Alex Byrne, who had a lot to say about atheism at MIT; as well as religious group leaders and a number of students. We even spoke with one of the organizers behind all of those TGBSM posters.
In addition, our special section on religion includes a discussion between our opinion writers on the roles of science and religion. Our arts department explores religious a capella groups at the Institute, and examines The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions, a recent book by Alex Rosenberg.
Our feature also highlights stories and thoughts from the community about religion at MIT. These comments were drawn from the free response section at the end of our survey.
MIT is full of great diversity, and religion is no exception. We hope you enjoy reading about the religious life at the Institute!
Maggie Lloyd ’12 and Jessica J. Pourian ’13
Contributing Editor and Editor in Chief