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Only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults. This "retention rate" was the lowest among the 20 separate categories in the study.
There were 1,387 atheists (weighted) in the survey. Four-hundred thirty-two weighted respondents said they were raised atheist. Of those, 131 self-identified as atheist.
"What these findings reflect is that in the U.S. atheists are for the most part 'made' as adults after being raised in another faith. It appears to be much more challenging to raise one's child as an atheist and have them maintain this identity in their life," Dr. Mark Gray wrote at CARA's blog.
Gray also noted that, "of those raised as atheists, 30% are now affiliated with a Protestant denomination, 10% are Catholic, 2% are Jewish, 1% are Mormon, and 1% are Pagan."
Jehovah's Witness, congregationalist and holiness churches had the next lowest retention rates at 37 percent, 37 percent and 32 percent, respectively. Thirty-eight percent of those who grew up with no particular religious faith or belief system remained that way.
Hindus had the highest retention rate at 84 percent, followed by Jews (76 percent), Muslims (76 percent), Greek Orthodox (73 percent), Mormons (70 percent) and Catholics (68 percent).
Baptists had the highest retention rate of the Protestant Christian categories at 60 percent, followed by Lutheran (59 percent) and Pentecostal (50 percent).
The study used the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life's 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Gray noted that Pew's original report did not include some of the retention rates. Pew provided CARA with the original data sets for the study.
Answer by RyansMom001 at 8:19 PM on Jul. 13, 2012
Answer by figaro8895 at 1:11 PM on Jul. 13, 2012
Answer by okmanders at 12:44 PM on Jul. 13, 2012
They didn't poll me! Dh and I are second generation atheists and my dd's are 3rd generation atheists.
Answer by beeky at 12:51 PM on Jul. 13, 2012
Answer by SWasson at 11:34 AM on Jul. 13, 2012
Answer by Sebbiemama at 12:56 PM on Jul. 13, 2012
It seems counter-intuitive to me. I'd like to see the results of a wider study, one that includes results from nations that are more secular than the U.S. In our culture, we are bombarded all the time with religious messages, from politicians to programs in schools. Just as kids are convinced to drink more Coke, religion is a part of our culture that's hard to avoid.
I am teaching my kids about religion, though, the good and the bad of it, so they won't feel conflicted should curiosity about it arise. Hopefully, they will not be drawn to it because of magical promises or from lack of community. I hope they'll find enough beauty in life and enough "magic" in science that they won't have any voids to fill.
Answer by jsbenkert at 9:54 PM on Jul. 13, 2012
Answer by sahmamax2 at 9:26 AM on Jul. 14, 2012
Answer by mommys2cupcakes at 11:29 AM on Jul. 13, 2012
I wonder if some those who leave Atheism for a religious belief were stifled from learning about religions as children. I know some Atheists are so paranoid about that topic that they forbid their kids to even read books about it.-IhartU
Actually, i think it's quite the opposite. Those who are religious are paranoid of atheists. Atheists (everyone i know) are more open-minded, willing to accept others beliefs, and open to teaching their kids about every religious view. My Dh and I grew up in christian homes, and now are atheist. Our son beleives in God, and we support him. We take him to church (and we'll attend the sermon-we don't catch on fire!), he went to a christian preschool, bible camp. We encourage him to accept other views to and be respectful of all. Though he's being raised in an atheist home, we have bibles and other literature from many religions and beleifs, and encourage reading of all.
Answer by boobarandbell at 12:03 PM on Jul. 13, 2012