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retention rates

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Vinayaka, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee

    Inspired from another thread ... if born into a particular faith, will it continue into adulthood? Take a guess before looking.

    Religious retention rates
  2. Tarheeler

    Tarheeler Argumentative Curmudgeon Staff Member Premium Member

    My guess was in line with the report.

    I think it has to do with the fact that some religions include much more than just theology. Those that also have a strong ethnic or cultural identity can still provide a connection to those who might otherwise leave.
  3. dawny0826

    dawny0826 Well-Known Member

    I would be curious to see how these statistics look over the course of another 10-30 years. Interesting.
  4. drakek

    drakek New Member

    10 to 30 years is a long time.
  5. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

    The only one that really surprises me is the atheist category.
  6. Quintessence

    Quintessence The Elementalist Staff Member Premium Member

    Druidic Witch
    I'm familiar with the original studies from PEW, so I am not surprised by any of it. Old news. Conversion is extremely common in the United States. I think the report this article pulled it from had the overall figure at around... 55% or thereabouts.
  7. Dena

    Dena Tree Hugger

    I actually thought the retention rates for Christians would be higher. Maybe that's my own experience shining through, also the fact that they break it down by denomination. If you were raised Baptist and then join a Pentecostal church, I'd say you haven't switched faiths. You just attend at a different place.
  8. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

    Erotic Dance
    I wonder if the low rate of retention for atheists might have to do with a reluctance among atheists to tell their children what they should or should not believe. I've known a few atheists who do tell their children in no uncertain terms what they expect their children to believe, but I know far more atheists who tell their children that they must decide for themselves what to believe. In short, does the low retention rate reflect a tendency on the part of atheists to refuse to indoctrinate their kids? I might guess based on my own experience that it does, but I have no real idea whether it does or doesn't since personal experience is notoriously unreliable in such matters.
  9. Penumbra

    Penumbra Well-Known Member Staff Member Premium Member

    I guessed before clicking that Jews would have the highest retention rates, but they were only second.

    This poll is based on people in the U.S., so I think the #1 spot for Hindus on the list and the #3 spot for Muslims are due to demographics in this country rather than something inherent in the beliefs compared to the others. Elements of Christianity are common throughout the U.S., whereas a significant chunk (not all; a subset) of Hindus and Muslims answering this poll are people that have immigrated to the country within the last generation or two.

    I would certainly expect that an Indian Hindu family that comes to the U.S. will most likely remain Hindu and that their children would still likely identify as Hindu. In my high school, it is not an exaggeration to say that every Indian student was acquainted with every other Indian student. Minority groups in most environments would tend to be more close-knit, and the adherence to a religion is coupled with cultural identity.

    Similarly, a Pakistani Muslim family that comes to the U.S. will most likely remain Muslim and their children would still likely identify as Muslim.

    As far as this poll is concerned, that puts these two beliefs in particular at an advantage compared to Christian denominations or other religions or lack of religions. If a Christian American person discards her religion and tries out Buddhism or just goes with atheism/agnosticism/none, then that's usually less of a cultural shift than if an Indian daughter of a Hindu immigrant discards Hinduism and converts to Christianity or becomes an atheist or something. There's an implication there of not just leaving the religion, but leaving the culture.

    It would be interesting to see statistics in other countries, like how do Christian/Muslim retention rates compare in Egypt or Christian/Hindu retention rates compare in India, to how they compare in the U.S.

    It's interesting what the word choice in the article was:

    "The group with the worst performance in transmitting their beliefs to their young people is atheists (30%)."

    It presupposes that atheists as a group are attempting to transmit their lack of beliefs to their children and then not performing well at that supposed goal.

    If I had a kid, the last thing I'd ever want to do is transmit a belief to her. If I was insistent on transmitting something, it would be critical thinking skills and thoughtful ethics.
  10. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

    One problem with the statistics. They separate Christianity into a variety of "religions." The problem with this is that the retention rate as a whole is quite a bit higher. Often, Christians will move from one denomination to another though for a variety of reasons, but they don't leave the faith.
  11. Gaura Priya

    Gaura Priya IRL

    I absolutely agree. I believe all religions are essentially subcultures, but if the cultural element is more prevalent than just theology, I feel that the retention is greater. In the religions of Islam, Judaism, and Orthodox/Catholic expressions of Christianity, there are greater retention rates because they have been culturally expressed.
  12. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat Staff Member Premium Member

    From my own personal (atheist) perspective, one of the reasons for low retention in the atheist 'religion' is that it's not a religion at all. There are no ceremonies, support groups (okay...well...there probably are, but...) or any other cultural collateral to build on.

    Further (as someone already mentioned) it is in no way a goal of mine to pass 'atheism' on to my children. I am trying to encourage them to be well-balanced, and skeptical. If they inherit those traits and become Buddhists, Christians, or whatever else, then so be it. I can disagree with them, but still respect their right to make their own choice. I suspect that is NOT the case with a lot of religions.
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