Date of Graduation

Spring 4-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

Susan Katz

Second Advisor

Monisha Bajaj

Third Advisor

Nicola McClung


The role that religion plays in the lives of humans is complex, contradictory, and deeply impactful. According to Allport (1979), religion has a paradoxical function in that it can either combat or contribute to prejudice. A meta-analysis by Hall, Matz, and Wood (2010) found a significant correlation between being deeply religious and having racial prejudice. Similarly, many social scientific studies since 1940 have concluded that religious individuals are more prejudiced than less religious individuals (Hunsberger & Jackson, 2005).

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine whether gaining knowledge about human evolution, creation myths, and their relationship to religious creation stories could improve religious tolerance. To achieve the research goal, the researcher conducted a pre- and post-test study with 20 college students. This study required two class sessions of 1-3/4 hours each to complete. In the first session, the students responded to an online survey (pre-test). Afterwards, the researcher taught a 90- minute module consisting of two parts: human evolution and the relation of creation myths to religious creation stories. In the second session, students responded to a post-test online survey and completed four online written reflection questions. In addition, the author conducted a focus group with six volunteers from the student participants.

The quantitative results of this study did not show a significant change in the tolerance level of the students after the module due to a small and non-diverse sample. However, significant correlations between the level of knowledge about human evolution, creation myths, and tolerance could provide clues for future research. The qualitative results of the focus group and written reflection questions were more promising. According to the majority of participants, learning about creation myths related to religious creation stories and human evolution could improve the religious tolerance level and inclusive views about all human beings as one big family.