Some Atheists Go to Church for Kids | The Institute for Creation Research

Some Atheists Go to Church for Kids

A recent study found that about one in five scientists who say they are atheists or agnostics actually attend church or some other religious institution, and the main reason may be because of their children.

About 1,700 "natural and social scientists at elite American universities" participated in the survey, about half of which identified themselves as religiously affiliated.1 Of the half that did not express a religious identity, 275 were "scientifically selected" to answer interview questions. One of the researchers conducting the survey, Rice University sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund, wrote about the study for the Huffington Post:

Our research challenges the assumption that parents who engage in religious socialization always hold religious beliefs themselves. The atheist scientists interviewed cited personal and social reasons for introducing and integrating religious traditions and institutions into their children's lives.1

Those reasons included the desire "to expose their children to all sources of knowledge (including religion) and allow them to make their own, informed choices about a religious identity," influence from a spouse or partner, and the desire for a sense of community.1

"We expected these individuals to be less inclined to introduce their children to religious traditions than they are. But it turns out they want their children to know about different religious traditions because it is more consistent with their identity as a scientist to expose their children to all sources of knowledge," Dr. Ecklund wrote.

She provided an example of one scientist's reasoning:

One study participant, a chemist raised in a strongly Catholic home, said he came to believe later in life that science and religion are not compatible, but what he wants to pass on to his daughter—more than this belief—is the ability to make her own decisions in a thoughtful, intellectual way.1

But this practice seems counterintuitive to the aim and philosophies of many atheist and agnostic organizations, which seek to bar all forms of religious dialogue from the public arena under the guise of protecting civil liberties. The Huffington Post report—whether intentional or otherwise—coincides with the Christmas season, when new anti-God advertisements launch and atheist groups attempt to have nativity scenes removed from public areas.2, 3

However, the aspect of exploring all sources of knowledge is consistent with scientific inquiry. Why can't that same courtesy be extended to actual scientific inquiry, such as for those scientists who question Darwinian evolution?

References

  1. Ecklund, E. H. Some Atheist Scientists With Children Embrace Religious Traditions. The Huffington Post. Posted on huffingtonpost.com December 7, 2011, accessed December 19, 2011.
  2. Santarelli, C. Atheist Group to Sponsor Anti-Christmas Billboards Featuring Jesus, Santa & Satan. The Blaze. Posted on theblaze.com November 15, 2011, accessed December 20, 2011. 
  3. Murashko, A. War on Christmas: Atheists Neutralizing Christianity? The Christian Post. Posted on christianpost.com December 20, 2011, accessed December 20, 2011. 

* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on December 22, 2011.

The Latest
NEWS
Saturn’s Moons Continue to Challenge Secular Theorists
A recent article in Sky & Telescope magazine explains why secular theorists have difficulty agreeing on the ages of Saturn’s moons.1...

NEWS
Support Creation Ministry in Texas and Beyond
ICR scientists and support staff recently completed a two-week science expedition through the Great Plains and western mountain states to conduct scientific...

NEWS
Great Unconformity Best Solved by Global Flood
The Great Unconformity is one of the most baffling mysteries in the geological sciences.1 It is marked by a massive surface of erosion that...

NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Update–Dinosaur Fossils
A team of 11 people from the Institute for Creation Research is currently traveling on a multistate science expedition to dig up fossils, conduct field...

NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Update
A team of 11 people from the Institute for Creation Research is currently traveling on a multistate science expedition to dig up fossils, conduct field...

NEWS
ICR’s 2021 Science Expedition Begins!
The Institute for Creation Research launched its 2021 multistate science expedition last week as a nine-member team left the ICR headquarters in Dallas,...

NEWS
Inside September 2021 Acts & Facts
Why does ICR focus on scientific research? How could paleontologists mistake a lizard fossil for a dinosaur? Is animal death before the Fall theologically...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Beauty by Design
Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with...

ACTS & FACTS
Defend Your Faith with ICR
Have you ever heard a pastor question the historical nature of Genesis? “The days of creation weren’t really 24 hours long. The Bible is...

ACTS & FACTS
Animal Death Before the Fall?
Both the Old and New Testaments teach that death entered the world when Adam ate the forbidden fruit (e.g., Genesis 2:17 and Romans 5:12). Since fossils...