Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down across Generations

Hardcover | November 15, 2013

byVern L. Bengtson, Norella M. Putney, Susan Harris

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Few things are more likely to cause heartache to devout parents than seeing their child leave the faith. And it seems, from media portrayals, that this is happening more and more frequently. But is religious change between generations common? How does religion get passed down from onegeneration to the next? Why do some families maintain one faith while others do not? What factors are likely to push people away from their childhood faith? What role does the particular faith play? The family? The wider society? Does atheism get passed down as well? In Families and Faith, Vern Bengtson seeks to answer these questions and more by drawing on an extraordinary study, conducted over more than four decades, of more than 350 families composed of more than 2400 people whose lives span more than a century: the oldest was born in 1881, the youngest in1988. Bengtson argues that a child is actually more likely to remain within the fold than to leave it, and, more surprisingly, that parents' influence has remained relatively stable since the early 1970s. Even the nonreligious, in fact, are much more likely to be following their parents thanrebelling against them. And while outside social forces play a role, the most important factor in whether a child keeps the faith is the presence of a strong fatherly bond. Armed with this unprecedented data, Bengtson offers remarkable insight into American religion over the course of severaldecades.

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Few things are more likely to cause heartache to devout parents than seeing their child leave the faith. And it seems, from media portrayals, that this is happening more and more frequently. But is religious change between generations common? How does religion get passed down from onegeneration to the next? Why do some families maintai...

Vern L. Bengston is AARP University Chair in Gerontology and Professor of Sociology at the University of Southern California. Norella M. Putney is Project Director of the Transmission of Religion Across Generations project at the University of Southern California. Susan Harris is Research Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sociology at the...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:November 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199948658

ISBN - 13:9780199948659

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart 1: The Emerging Religious Landscape1. Families and the Transmission of Religion2. Trends in Spirituality and Religion Across Seven Generations3. Intergenerational Transmission of Religion, 1970 and 2005Part 2: Family Ties and Religious Transmission4. The Quality of Parent-Child Relationships5. Grandparents and Great-Grandparents6. Marriage and DivorcePart 3: Factors in Leaving and Staying7. Religious Rebels, Zealots, and Prodigals8. The ''Nones'': Intergenerational Transmission of Nonreligion9. Tight-Knit Religious Communities: Mormons, Jews, and Evangelicals10. Summing it Up: Families and Faith across GenerationsAppendixReferencesNotesIndex