Religion Runs in the Family (article – kid obsession more evidence of Christian Family Idolatry)

Religion Runs in the Family (article)

I’m more than troubled by all these articles on Christian sites that worry endlessly about why 20 somethings are leaving church, how and why some kids stay in the faith, why do some leave.

Then we get articles like this, that discuss how some families maintain faith over the generations, or what to do if your kid doesn’t want to go to church or whatever:

(Link): Religion Runs in the Family

I am not saying it is wrong for Christian parents to teach their children about Jesus and to take them to church.

What I am saying, though, is that I see this never ending worry wart-ism, concern, and attention being paid on children and college students and why they do or don’t go to church or reject the faith as an outcome of the Idolization of Marriage / Nuclear Family / Children. It’s another facet of traditional family idolization, as far as I am concerned.

I do not see any articles discussing the large number of middle aged Christians who left the church the last ten years.

Christians and their Christian magazine writers don’t seem to give a rat’s ass about older people needing the Gospel, or about Christians over the age of 30 walking away from church.

On and on they go with how to make children’s ministries more attractive, how to make church more appealing to hold on to Joe Cool College Student, they ponder and ponder about why youth does not find Christianity appealing. When does it end?

When does concern for older adults come into play?

When do churches start addressing the needs, problems, and particular issues of never married adults over 30 years old?

(Link): Religion Runs in the Family


    Your research on faith and families began in 1970. Are parents today more or less influential in passing on their faith?

    Surprisingly, about the same. Our study tracked the degree of religious similarity between parents and young adult children in 1970 with that of young adults and parents in 2005.

    We measured this degree of similarity in four dimensions of religiosity: intensity of faith, frequency of religious service attendance, agreement with a literal interpretation of the Bible, and agreement with the importance of religion in civic life.

    Despite the many societal changes that have lurched us towards greater individualism and away from a more collective family focus, over half of young adult children are following in their parents’ footsteps, in that they are affiliated with the parents’ religious tradition.

    (To a lesser extent, their religious practices and beliefs also align with those of their parents).

    This number is the same now as it was in the 1970s.

    In today’s culture, one that often disparages family continuity and assumes that families are not doing a good job, our research reflects a basic resiliency in American families over generations. Good news for the church.

    However, quite unexpectedly and unique to our modern times, we found that many religious “nones” (the almost 30% of Americans between the ages of 18-40 who say they have no religious affiliation) have also been successful in passing on their faith. These kids are not rebelling from their parents, but instead following their parents’ influence in having no religious affiliation.

    Looking back on your research on faith and families, how has it impacted your own religious journey?

    I was born into a highly religious family with a tradition of devotion that goes back to at least the 16th century. My father was a pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church, and I have fond memories of reading his subscription to Christianity Today as a teenager.

    I’ve spent my entire life wondering why some families are successful in passing on their faith while others are not. Despite my strong religious heritage, I consider myself a religious prodigal. For many years, my own mother worried that she would not see me in heaven.

Related posts this blog:

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): Focus on Family spokesperson, Stanton, actually says reason people should marry is for ‘church growth’

(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t

(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists

2 thoughts on “Religion Runs in the Family (article – kid obsession more evidence of Christian Family Idolatry)”

  1. Interesting! I stumbled upon your blog somehow and I resonate with much of what you talk about.. not being kid crazy.. and on this post.. wondering why all the focus is either on attracting youth/young adults and what happens to anyone else above age 30.
    I was involved in youth conventions for many years.. over and over again I got frustrated when I saw the youth being pumped up for Jesus.. telling how awesome and amazing not only Jesus/being a Christian/and themselves are.. but they could do anything, be anyone, and have the best life EVER! Then the weekend ended and.. then what? The youth waited another year to be pumped up with sugar, crazy rock star bands, and sleepless nights with their friends.. heard the gospel and once again HOW AWESOME THEY WERE.
    Hopefully these youth/young adults all stayed with the church and dated within the church and then married within the church or who knows what might have happened to these super heroes 😉
    Or most likely.. they left after high school, left their bubble, couldn’t figure out how to talk to adults or others since their youth group only had them interacting with other youth and ‘youth workers/staff’, or maybe the married young… and then quietly left the church to divorce young.
    (So ends my youth group rant)

    1. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

      I’m not even sure if I’m a Christian anymore or not (I write about this on the blog’s “About” page). I accepted Christ as my Savior as a child, but lately have been having doubts about the faith.

      I’ve gotten so fed up with American Christian culture catering to and obsessing over youth that I no longer care if the kids drop out of church. I wrote about it here, among other posts:
      ((Link): I Don’t Care That The Millennials Are Leaving Church – Churches Ignore Age 40 Forties 40+ Generation X Mid Life)

      I just can’t be bothered to care anymore, and especially not when churches usually ignore single adults who are past the age of 30.

      I have a post on this blog where I have a running list of links to web pages I find by Christian writers who are worried about “the millennials” (20 somethings) quitting church – it’s getting longer and longer with each passing month:

      (Link): Links about the never ending obsession with why the kids are bailing on church (one stop thread)

      Thank you again for leaving your comments. I think a lot of Baptist/ evangelical / mega churches are handling youth the wrong way.

      I’m not claiming to have all the answers, but I don’t think rock bands, cookies, and skinny jeans wearing pastors is enough to keep a kid in the faith (or adults, either, and I like cookies. A lot of adults are turned off to the shallowness and the entertainment spectacle and stop attending too).

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