A large majority of Americans say their mother’s faith impacted their own faith, with more than six in 10 saying their own religion is the same as their mom’s religion was when they were a child, according to a new survey.
The American Bible Society poll, released Thursday, found that 63 percent of Americans say their current religious faith is the same as their mother’s faith was when they were 10 years old. This is true of current evangelicals (69 percent), Catholics (86 percent), mainline Protestants (76 percent) and members of historically black churches (80 percent).
The new data is part of the American Bible Society’s State of the Bible report.
“The major finding is that a clear majority of Americans still follow ‘the faith of their mothers,” the report said. “The data verify the importance of parental guidance in spiritual development. ‘Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life’ (Proverbs 22:6 GNT).”
Only 26 percent of Americans who identify as atheist, agnostic or “nones” say their non-religious beliefs are the same as their moms’.
Meanwhile, the faith of today’s moms has been dramatically impacted by the pandemic, according to the report. In 2020, prior to the pandemic, 33 percent of American women with children in the home were categorized as “Scripture engaged” by the American Bible Society. But that number fell to 27 percent in 2021 and then to 15 percent in the 2022 report. (ABS defines “Scripture engaged” as a “consistent interaction with the Bible” that shapes a person’s choices and transforms their “relationships with God, self, and others.”)
The report surmises that today’s families have seen a major disruption due to the pandemic.
“Perhaps those with children in the home got hit the hardest. Schedules shifted. Expectations changed,” the report says. “Play dates were canceled. Many parents were suddenly working from home. Many children were ‘going to school’ online. Churches closed. Through it all, parents have had to become teachers, playmates, nurses, and pastors. Massive adjustments had to be made in many areas of life, including Bible reading and spiritual discussion. But it takes time and energy to rebuild family traditions.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.