Saturday, January 9, 2010

Soul Searching, Part 4- Social Factors and Stereotypes

One thing that is remarkable to notice is the correlation of certain familial and social factors with different religious attitudes among American teenagers. Consistently, the survey results discussed in the book Soul Searching indicate a correlation between teens who are considered religiously "disengaged" or "seeking" with what we generally consider negative social and familial factors- single-parent families, low social standing/confidence, bad relationships with their parents, etc. And consistently teens who are identified as religiously active or involved are correlated with positive social and familial factors- very understanding/sympathetic parental relationships, high social standing/confidence, etc. Correlation does not equal causation, so we have to be careful what conclusions we draw here. And certainly these correlations are not exact- one set of factors does not guarantee a certain religious attitude. However, these numbers do seem to counter a good many media stereotypes about the "backwards" nature of religious families.

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