"My parents were very religious when I was young. We went to church (or temple or whatever) every week. My parents never, or seldom, prayed or talked about faith at home. As I got older and things got busier, we started attending only at holidays. I do not consider myself religious today."
This is a good summary of about 80 percent of the personal reflection essays my Intro to World Religions students handed in last week. I asked them to describe their experience with religion to date. I was surprised (and pleased) by their candor. I was surprised that their accounts were so similar. I was surprised, too, by how clear the correlation was between the importance of religion in the parents' lives over time and the importance of religion in my students' lives as they enter adulthood.
I know I shouldn't be surprised. Like everyone else, I've heard all about the dismal attrition rates among Christian young people, who are active through their teen years only to leave the church–and very often ...1
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