'Transmission of Faith In Families' More Prominent Among Conservatives, Research Says

Family praying before eating dinner during Christmas

A new study published recently in the academic journal Sociology of Religion revealed that religious transmission was "stronger" among religious conservatives than their liberal counterparts.

Faithwire said the 32-page study, entitled "Transmission of Faith in Families: The Influence of Religious Ideology," was written by Pennsylvania State University PhD Candidate Jesse Smith, who specializes in the study of religion, family, culture and demography. Another study he co-authored is entitled "Familial Relationship Outcomes of Coming Out Atheist."

"The primary finding is that religious transmission is stronger among children of religious conservatives than for any other group, while the other groups do not differ significantly from one another," Smith said.

Smith cited several reasons that conservatives transmit the faith better to their children as against the liberals, such as "parenting approaches, congregational involvement, and most importantly, more intensive religious socialization."

In the Abstract, Smith explained the reason he conducted the study was to explore the role of religious ideology and its transmission within the family. He particularly tested "children's worship attendance" and whether the "centrality of faith in young adulthood differ based on whether their parents identify as religiously liberal, moderate, conservative, or none of these." He also tested "whether the strength of the relationship between parent and child religiosity differs between ideological groups."

Smith's findings show that 19% of kids of religious conservatives have the chance to go to church weekly as against the 15% of those from liberal or moderate families. While 43% of children of religious conservatives showed no worship attendance while they were young adults as "compared to 52% for everyone else." This data show that children of religious conservatives most likely mirror that of their parents' faith, practices, and beliefs.

"Children of religious conservatives are more likely to match the religiosity of their parents, and when they stray, they tend not to stray as far," Smith stressed.

Smith, however, underscored that the parents' religious conservatism when met with "a variety of conservative moral attitudes in their children" do lead to the effective transmission of the faith. These attitudes involve "favorability toward religion, moral absolutism, and belief in transcendent authority."

"Finally, I have found evidence that this religious transmission occurs in part through the mediating effects of family religious practice when respondents were in adolescence. I conclude that religiously conservative family background serves as a buffer for millennials against the larger cohort trend of declining religious attendance and affiliation. This indicates a dynamic of millennial religious divergence, as opposed to uniform decline," Smith ended.

Smith's study comes in the face of Americans becoming more secular based on a study released last December by Pew Research. The increase in secularism is seen in the 75% drop of Americans identifying themselves as Christians at 63% in 2021. While people who regard themselves has having no particular faith or being agnostic or atheistic have increased by 19% in 2021 at 29%.

Almost half of Americans in the United States or 45% state they are non-practicing, which almost coincided with the number of those who regard religion as "very important" at 41%, a 56% decline to that of 2007's.