Saturday, January 17, 2015

On Secular Parenting

I've seen this article going around, and I am so tempted to re-share it on Facebook.  But since I am still semi- in the closet regarding my heathen status there, and this is my space to say and share whatever I want... it's going here.  It's a great article about a study on how secular family values compare to those in religious families.  Maybe I will yet get up the nerve to share it elsewhere...

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0115-zuckerman-secular-parenting-20150115-story.html

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! When I hear Christians question how nonreligious parents can teach ethics, I always think they are in some way demeaning themselves. What I mean is that it sounds like they think their kids only do the right thing because otherwise God is watching and will punish them, and not because their kids have have empathy and kindness.

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  2. Read this last week, great article. I despise the notion that morality comes from the Christian God. Such a bogus mindset.

    - Michael

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  3. It's an interesting article, but it is short on details like variable controls for income, family structure, etc.

    Also, it is hard for me to believe that "Recent research also has shown that children raised without religion tend to remain irreligious as they grow older" when the Pew Research showed that the unaffiliated have a horrible record keeping their kids secular. From their 2011 report on adult religious conversion, "Paradoxically, the unaffiliated have gained the most members in the process of religious change despite having one of the lowest retention rates of all religious groups."
    http://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/27/faith-in-flux/
    http://www.pewforum.org/files/2009/04/fullreport.pdf

    This is an interesting area of research, but I'm skeptical that the data will turn out so rosy for secularists, especially secularists in the lower rungs of society where the social isolation of secularism often has very detrimental affects on children.

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022427801038001001
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1995.tb01176.x/abstract?s

    Specifically, the author cites Sweden, but studies of criminality and religion in Sweden have shown that religious affiliation reduces criminality.
    https://www.jstor.org/stable/1386973?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

    Of course, the above Swedish study was conducted in the 1990s, prior to their massive influx of Muslims, subsequent skyrocketing rape rate and cessation of gathering information on the ethnic and religious background of criminals (if you stop gathering data, then problems go away, you know). I'm not sure the report's conclusions would hold anymore.

    In the US, the effect of religion on criminality is muted, but there. Other variables like family structure matter far more.

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022427801038001001

    Personally, I'm very curious to see how this turns out. Historically, secularism has often been more of an elite phonomenon. However, nowadays educated people are more likely to attend church than the less educated. It will be interesting to see what effects that has on things like criminality in another couple decades.

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