Atheism and poor relationships with parents

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The Cambridge Companion to Atheism which was edited by the atheist philosopher Michael Martin declared:

Continuity and discontinuity in any identity may be a function of interpersonal networks, especially involving intimate relations. Apostasy and conversion can both be seen as a rejection of parental identity and parental beliefs. It “might well be symptomatic of familial strain and dissociation... apostasy is to be viewed as a form of rebellion against parents” (Caplovitz and Sherrow, 1977:50).[1]

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[2] See also: Atheism and its retention rate in individuals and Atheism and marriage

A troubled/non-existent relationship with a father is theorized to influence a person to become an atheist.[3]

The Daily Mail reported that a study conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service found that "children raised by divorced parents are more likely than children whose parents are married to be non-religious as adults."[4]

Dr. Paul Vitz wrote a book entitled Faith of the Fatherless in which he points out that after studying the lives of more than a dozen leading atheists he found that a large majority of them had a father who was present but weak, present but abusive, or absent.[5][6] Dr. Vitz also examined the lives of prominent theists who were contemporaneous to their atheist counterparts and from the same culture and in every instance these prominent theists had a good relationship with his father.[7] Dr. Vitz has also stated other common factors he observed in the leading atheists he profiled: they were all intelligent and arrogant.[8]

The book Atheist Persona: Causes and Consequences by John J. Pasquini, Th.D. indicates that many of the prominent atheists (and prominent practical atheists) who had dysfunctional/absent fathers that he lists in his book also had dysfunctional/absent mothers.[9]

The General Social Survey (GSS) data on atheism uses a broad definition of atheism which can include agnostics.[10]

The abstract for journal article An Assessment of the Role of Early Parental Loss in the Adoption of Atheism or Irreligion by Frank L. Pasquale indicates:

Early parental loss or trauma has been proposed by some as a significant factor in the adoption of atheist, non-theist, or irreligious worldviews. Relevant empirical data, however, have been limited, impressionistic, methodologically questionable, or limited to historically prominent figures. Survey data from the GSS and a study of affirmatively non-theistic and irreligious secular group affiliates in the U.S. do not provide evidence of disproportionately high rates of early parental loss among individuals who describe themselves as “atheist(ic)” or “anti-religious,” reject belief in God, or express strong anger about religion. Loss of a parent or other loved may play a role in turns toward, as well as away from, God and religion for some. There is also evidence of comparatively high rates of parental loss in the lives of historically prominent figures, both religious and non-religious. Present results, however, do not support the hypothesis that early loss is a disproportionately frequent experience in the lives of (“ordinary”) atheistic or irreligious people.[11]

In the United States, the ages 14–17 are very influential in terms of an individual adopting atheism.[12] Of those who do embrace unbelief in the United States, many do so in their high school years.[13] See also: Atheism and immaturity

Atheism and its retention rate in individuals

See also: Atheism and its retention rate in individuals

In 2012, a Georgetown University study was published indicating that only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults.[14]

See also

External links

Notes

  1. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, edited by Michael Martin, page 302, published in 2006
  2. http://www.christianpost.com/news/study-atheists-have-lowest-retention-rate-compared-to-religious-groups-78029/ Study: Atheists Have Lowest 'Retention Rate' Compared to Religious Groups
  3. http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth12.html
  4. Children who grow up with divorced parents 'are less likely to be religious', Daily Mail
  5. Vitz, Paul, The Psychology of Atheism, September 24, 1997 (lecture notes taken by an audience member).
  6. Anders, Kerby, Atheists and Their Fathers (Probe Ministries)
  7. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/vitz.txt
  8. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/vitz.txt
  9. Atheist Persona: Causes and Consequences by John J. Pasquini, 2014, University Press of America, page 3
  10. How Many Americans are Atheists? Fewer than You Might Think by Bradley Wright, January 26, 2012
  11. An Assessment of the Role of Early Parental Loss in the Adoption of Atheism or Irreligion by Frank L. Pasquale1
  12. http://www.christianpost.com/news/study-atheists-have-lowest-retention-rate-compared-to-religious-groups-78029/ Study: Atheists Have Lowest 'Retention Rate' Compared to Religious Groups