Apostates come from homes where religion is emphasized less overall than non-apostates.


That’s where we are first able to come into contact with God and where the religious seed is often first planted.

Certainly many, many people come to the Lord who weren’t raised in a religious household. However, when compared with those “raised religious,” the latter are less likely to fall away.

One study concluded “The reported emphasis placed on religion in one’s childhood home is one of the best predictors of later religiosity. Apostates come from homes where religion is emphasized less overall than non-apostates. This is especially true of teenagers who fall away immediately after leaving home.” So powerful is the family’s influence on apostasy that one study found that children from “religiously inactive” homes were nearly four times as likely to fall away later in life as children from “religiously active” homes. In that study, a “religiously active” home was one where the entire family attended church services weekly; there was also a high amount of prayer, Bible study, and religious discussion in the home. A “religiously inactive home” was one where the parents did not attend services and there was no other religious activity at all.

Of course the reasons why this is so are self-evident: Family has a crucial influence on coming to faith in the first place; it then logically follows that it would have an effect on apostasy. In fact, there is substantial research pointing to the all-important role of the family in developing faith.

In one study, over 40% of those surveyed said the family was the primary influence on their religion.

What’s startling is to note that we are talking about processes that unfold over time. The research is saying that the quality of religious experience one is exposed to at, say, age nine greatly influences the likelihood that he will fall away at, say, age 23. Brian Simmons, “The Causes of Falling Away, Part 2,” Falling Away–Why Christians Lose Their Faith & What Can Be Done About It, 85-85

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22.6

Mike Benson


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