Researchers gathered over 5,000 atheists and asked them two questions: How old were they when they gave up on their religion, and how committed were their parents in their own faith? The study found that when parents choose to be sincere and dedicated in their beliefs in front of their children, the children later delay their decision to resort to atheism at a later age. But when parents are insincere and unfaithful, their offspring have a more difficult time believing their religion to hold truth.
Langston shares three main takeaways from this particular study: “First, the extent to which parents faithfully model their own religious beliefs to their children, works in tandem with other processes to produce unique trajectories of the timing at which one becomes an atheist: being allowed greater religious choice seems to drive the age of atheism down, but so do elevated levels of religious conflict.”
Second, people should remember that parents’ religious behavior is not always directly linked to their offspring’s decision to choose atheism.
And third, religious behavior and practices have a significant amount of influence on a child."