There are two trends that are increasingly common in the American cultural landscape: divorce and a decline in religion. In the 1980s, divorce rates climbed to the highest levels ever. A new study from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) has attempted to determine whether there is any causative relationship between the increased divorce rate and children’s religious beliefs.
The study has raised many interesting questions about faith, and claims to have demonstrated that children of divorced parents are more likely not to embrace any specific religion. The study also shows, as other research has demonstrated, that children raised by parents of two different religions are more likely to grow up with no religion at all.
The study found that 35 percent of children of divorced parents are now “non-religious,” compared with 23 percent of those whose parents were married during their childhood. Other studies have found that the failure to embrace religion is merely a phenomenon of millennials’ changing preferences. For example, one study that conflicts with the PRRI study found that 29 percent of adults who were raised religious left their faith because of their religion’s negative teaching about homosexuality. Nineteen percent of these individuals left their church due to clergy sexual abuse scandals. And over half claim that they do not believe what their religion teaches.
The researchers behind the PRRI study note that there is a structural reason why millennials are moving away from religion. The researchers chose to focus on the way millennials were raised, which is vastly different than the previous generation. One of the most obvious differences is that many these “non-affiliated” millennials grew up with parents who are divorced.
Decline in Religion May Be the Church’s Fault, Too
Interestingly, the study also found that of the children of divorced parents who remain affiliated with a single religion are still less “religious” than their peers with married parents. Thirty-one percent of children of divorce attend services on a weekly basis, compared with forty-three percent of religious adults whose parents were married during their childhood.
According to a professor at Luther Seminary, churches are not doing enough to speak directly to the concerns of children of divorce. Many members of the clergy stopped talking about divorce in the 1980s so as to not alienate their congregation. However, by going silent, they may have alienated the children of divorce.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Families Navigate Divorce in Maryland
Divorce is never an easy choice, but sometimes it is what is best for everyone involved. The compassionate Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles have decades of combined experience helping parents take a bad situation and make it better for the whole family. We understand the concerns you may have, because we have helped families just like yours get through this process. To learn how we can help you, call us today at 443-589-0150 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation.