Analysis of Religious Bias among Christian Students in Science

Paula A.G. Soneral, Sara E. Brownell, M. Elizabeth Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Christians are notably underrepresented in science in part due to long-standing public perceptions of science-religion incompatibility and antireligious bias in science. This research explores whether undergraduates at a Christian university perceive and impose anti-Christian cultural stigma in science. Survey results from 126 biology students revealed that though students generally perceived the culture of science to be anti-Christian, they perceived Christians to have equal opportunities for scientific achievement. Results from a quasi-experimental audit study, in which students evaluated one of two profiles for mock prospective Ph.D. applicants (Christian or undisclosed faith) showed that students did not project anti-Christian stereotypes in terms of competence, hireability, or likeability, but showed some evidence of pro-Christian favorability. Together, this study suggests that the affirmational community of a Christian University may alleviate some negative impacts of anti-Christian stereotypes in academic biology, even as students perceive discrimination against Christians in science and atheists as more scientifically competent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-202
Number of pages19
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Christianity
  • bias
  • biology
  • religiosity
  • science
  • stereotype threat
  • undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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