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Papa don’t preach? What experts say about passing on religion

Papa don’t preach? What experts say about passing on religion

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One of the biggest challenges for religious parents hoping to pass down their faith might be figuring how to do so while also respecting their children’s agency.

That transmission of faith is the subject of a new paper by researchers in BYU’s School of Family Life, published this month in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, building on the ongoing American Families of Faith Project. Over 20 years, the project has explored different topics related to religion and family life, using interviews with roughly 200 Christian, Jewish and Muslim families pointed out by their faith leaders as “examplars” of faith.

“The parents we interviewed saw it as their sacred responsibility to teach the beliefs, practices and sacred connections of their respective Abrahamic faith,” said one of the paper’s co-authors, Loren Marks, professor and project co-director with colleague David C. Dollahite. “These are wisdom traditions that draw on millennia of recorded human experience."

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