How likely is it that preachers’ kids will lose their faith? Is it any different from the general population?
The Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, just published the results of its study of pastors’ children to see whether it was true that “those who’ve grown up closest to the church are the quickest to leave it.”
Here’s the big takeaway:
Two out of every five pastors (40%) say their child, age 15 or older, went through a period where they significantly doubted their faith…
Overall, one–third of pastors (33%) say their child is no longer actively involved in church. Yet when it comes to the rejection of Christian identity altogether, the occurrences are even less.
When pastors were asked if their children no longer consider themselves to be Christians, only 7% said this was “accurate” of their kids — that’s less than one in 10. This compares to the nationwide prodigal rate of about 9% among Millennials.
I think it’s important to point out here that all of these results came from telephone conversations with pastors, not their children. It’s not that the pastors were lying, but I suspect you would’ve gotten some very different responses if you talked to their children. If 40% of children seriously doubted their faith, according to their fathers, how many more went through a period of doubt without their parents even knowing about it? How many still go to church now despite being an atheist?
The free, massive, amazing Skepticon conference in Springfield, Missouri takes place this weekend and there are already upwards of 1,000 registrants!
They’re about to hit their fundraising goal, but if you have the means of donating anything, it’ll just go toward next year’s event. This is one of the few major conferences aimed at those who don’t have the money required to attend the other ones and it’s entirely run by students. Support them any way you can! (***Update***: Skepticon is fully funded for this year, but there’s still next year!)
(On a personal note, while I was scheduled to speak Sunday morning, a personal emergency has come up and I won’t be able to attend. If they invite me back, though, I’ll be there next year!)