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Study shows link between children of divorced parents and the loss of their religion.

The number of Americans who are moving away from religion is on a steady rise, and divorce is a catalyst in speeding this up. Research shows children of divorced parents are more likely to be less religious than children of parents who stay together, even if the parents are religious themselves. 35 percent of the children of divorced parents now claim to be religious “nones” while only 23 percent of people who come from parents who are still married claim to be non-religious.

Identifying oneself as a religious ‘none,’ began in the 70s and divorce rates increased in 80s. This indicates there could be a link between the two. As of now, the number of religious “nones” stands at 25 percent. 40 years ago, it was a mere 5 percent.

The same research also shows children who come from parents of different religions are more likely to become religious “nones.” Children of divorced parents of different religions are the highest likely to abandon religious practices.

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It also indicates that children of religious parents who get divorced are less likely to be religious. Only 31 percent of the children of religious divorcees are still regular church-goers, while 43 percent of the children of parents who stay together attend service regularly.

Luther Seminary professor, Andrew Root said, “Everything in a divorce gets divided. Literally everything. Parents’ friends get divided. Relatives get divided. Everyone takes sides,” Root said. “Even religion takes sides. The church gets divided. Dad leaves Mom’s faith, or vice versa. Negotiating those worlds becomes difficult.”

Root also accuses pastors, especially Protestant ministers, for this growing lack of faith among young adults. He says in the 80s when divorce rates suddenly increased, Protestant ministers chose to keep silent by not addressing the issue and speaking against divorce. Children of parents of these churches naturally grew up thinking that church and religion have done nothing to help them in those difficult times.

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Other reasons for estrangement from religion include clergy scandals, their religion’s views on gay rights as well simply being unable to believe what their faith teaches.

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