Christians often worry about their children falling away from the church. Atheists have the same problem. According to the Pew research, half of the children raised by atheists end up as believers.
A column on this phenomenon, excerpted and linked after the jump, includes another interesting observation: “It’s mostly interpersonal relationships that sway beliefs.”
From Katie Zavodski, Half of Atheist Kids Wind Up Believing – The Daily Beast:
A tucked-away gem of Tuesday’s Pew Forum survey on religion is not about the falling numbers of Christians.
Yes, 1 in 5 people raised in a community of faith now identify as non-religious—the primary talking point from yesterday’s well-publicized report. But what most of this week’s flurry of media coverage missed is an even more pronounced trend in the opposite direction: nearly half of everyone raised with no religion is now part of a faith tradition.
A total of 9.2 percent of American adults say they were raised in a non-believing home; 4.3 percent of them now identify with some religion.
Narratives of people who have found God vary. Some claim a spiritual experience, while others say that they reasoned their way to God. . . .
“The truth is that there’s nothing quite like being part of a religious community,” admits [Professor Phil] Zuckerman, adding that secular groups are “often a lot of sizzle without the steak.”
But the most usual reason, he says, is pretty simple: “The vast majority of people who switch religions—it’s because of a girlfriend or boyfriend or husband or wife.”
Most often, someone will go through the motions of practicing a religion to appease a spouse’s family. For some, it stops at that, but others discover a deeper meaning through faking it.
After enough Hail Marys, they find, Zuckerman says, that “Jesus is really cool.”
It’s mostly interpersonal relationships that sway beliefs.