Parents Fear Religion Will Ruin Their Children's Social Lives

Research shows UK parents fear passing on their religion to their children will “alienate” them in school.

The number of “religious nones’ is on the rise for various reasons, belief in science, personal issues, church scandals and so on. However, a new research study has found depletion in religious affiliations in the UK has a new reason altogether. Parents simply do not want their children to be religiously affiliated as it may alienate them in schools and in their social circles.

Almost 23 percent of the parents who took the survey said they have not made any efforts in passing down their religion to their children as they feel it could harm their social life. This could come as terrible news to the Church of England, which is already reeling under the effects of a dramatic plummet in church attendance. Currently, only a little more than 1 percent of England’s Anglican Christian population regularly attend Sunday service. Even this number will fall dramatically as the current generation grows into adulthood. This will pose a huge problem for the church because as of now, church membership is mostly composed of only older Anglicans, which means that church membership will keep falling with the passing away of this generation.

Nick Spencer, who conducted the research for ComRes on behalf of Theos, a social affairs organization, claimed that parents are the biggest influence on the religious beliefs of children. However, 34 percent of the respondents of the survey say it is social media which has a greater influence on the religious beliefs of children. 18 percent of the parents even said they simply did not believe it was their responsibility to religiously educate their children. 40 percent of the respondents said they have spoken about religion to their children. The rest may not even have had the topic of religion come in family discussions.

The survey was conducted on a sample of 1,013 parents, of whom 458 identified themselves as Christians, 423 as not religious, and 113 as non-Christian religious.

Spencer believes it is not enough for parents to identify themselves as Christians. He insists the underlying factor behind the next generation growing up without religion is parents are themselves indifferent to religion. This observation is in sync with what Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, himself has observed when he said the Church of England is under the threat of an “anti-Christian” culture.

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