Atheists abandon their beliefs more often than people in other religious groups, study finds

Recommended by Alicia Purdy

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, July 13 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Our take: A new study has found that people raised in an atheist home abandon those beliefs as adults more often than people raised with other religious belief systems, putting atheism at a 30 percent retention rate. Conclusions and interpretations of the study are that atheists are more often "made" as adults rather than "raised." The highest retention rates are in the Hindu faith, which holds onto about 84 percent of adherents.

Those who grow up in an atheist household are least likely to maintain their beliefs about religion as adults, according to a study by Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).

Only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults. This "retention rate" was the lowest among the 20 separate categories in the study.

There were 1,387 atheists (weighted) in the survey. Four-hundred thirty-two weighted respondents said they were raised atheist. Of those, 131 self-identified as atheist.

"What these findings reflect is that in the U.S. atheists are for the most part 'made' as adults after being raised in another faith. It appears to be much more challenging to raise one's child as an atheist and have them maintain this identity in their life," Dr. Mark Gray wrote at CARA's blog.

Read more about atheism's low retention rate on The Christian Post.

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