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Impact of Religious Socialization in the Family

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

In 1983 a survey was held among Dutch high school pupils (N = 3532), aged 14 to 18 years, which provides a number of indications concerning the secularization thesis, a theory widely discussed in present day sociology and theology. Results which are related to one distinct aspect of this thesis are reported, namely results concerning the presumed incompetence of the parental family in modern western society, such as the Netherlands, to influence a child's religious behaviour, especially when compared to the impact of other areas of socialization. We compared the impact of religious education in the parental family with the impact of four other socialization contexts, i.e. the peergroup, the school, the church and mass media. The results show that there can be no doubt about the home context being the religious socialization milieu par excellence. By concentrating on the home context, various elements of religious education are distinguished and their effects on the pupils' attitudes are analyzed. Finally, the analysis concentrates on the level of drop-out among pupils from committed religious families. Several factors are induced which are connected with the willingness of pupils to follow their parents in a strong religious commitment.


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