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Does a strong institution of religion require a strong family institution?

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Chapter Summary

Although family and religion operate within the larger social context that includes other institutions, family and religion have a special affinity. The linkage between these two institutions tends to be strong and qualitatively different from other institutional relationships. While it is clear that family and religion influence each other, what has not been addressed is whether, as institutions, one has primacy over the other. This chapter sheds some light on this matter. Because many of religion's traditional functions have diminished over time or have been co-opted by other institutions and because religion relies heavily on the family for the transmission of religious beliefs, it is expected that it takes a strong family institution to produce a strong institution of religion and not the reverse. Finally the results suggest that a strong family institution is necessary in order to have a strong institution of religion.

Keywords: institutional relationships; religion's traditional functions; religious beliefs; strong family institution; strong institution of religion



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