Gnutopia takes another hit

From here:

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.


Gray also noted that, “of those raised as atheists, 30% are now affiliated with a Protestant denomination, 10% are Catholic, 2% are Jewish, 1% are Mormon, and 1% are Pagan.”

Okay that’s gotta hurt.

You’re a young Gnu buck making the rounds at atheist conventions, looking for a mate.  After having to successfully overcome three accusations of sexual harassment, you finally find one that’s into late night coffee.  You have a baby (whether you marry or not depends on how much she is into gaming).  You teach your little gnu there is no God, there was no historical Jesus, and have him read all of Dawkins’ books.  You’ll teach him how to be spiritual as an atheist and even buy him a t-shirt with a red A on it.  Then, after all that, there’s only a 30% chance he’ll stay a Gnu.  There’s a 45% chance he’ll thump the Bible, worship the Cracker, or go from gnu to woo.  Worse yet, there’s a 25% chance he’ll become an eevil accomodationist and begin to read books by Michael Ruse!


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4 Responses to Gnutopia takes another hit

  1. d says:

    A little surprising, but not so much when I think about the possible reasons how this could be so.

    The biggest problem here for me is, as I’m sure we’ve all heard too many times to count, that atheism is a singular position, not a comprehensive philosophy, metaphysics or set of doctrines. Among Catholics, or Mormons, and others there’s going to be some uniformity in each sect, as to how kids are instructed in their respective faiths.

    Merely identifying someone as atheist tells us little else about how the kids are raised. Some atheist parents just don’t address spirituality at all. Other’s may take the “I’ll let them investigate and decide” approach, or might not see spiritual beliefs as a point of interest. And who knows what else we would find?

    Maybe the 30% that retained their beliefs had parents who actually raised and instructed them with some sort of comprehensive non-theist worldview, who knows? And that’s the interesting question for me after reading this – what do the 30% do differently, if anything?

  2. eveysolara says:

    Maybe there’s some element of rebellion or boredom with holdin g a single worldview for so long, not that this validates or invalidates sincerity of conversion one way or another.

  3. stcordova says:


    Great post, Michael.

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