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Unaffiliated Parents and the Religious Training of Their Children
Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies Faculty Publications
  • Christel Manning, Sacred Heart University
Document Type
Peer-Reviewed Article
Publication Date

This article examines how parents who are religiously unaffiliated make decisions about the religious upbringing of their children. Drawing on qualitative data, this study explores the diverse worldviews that are included within the term "None” and how those beliefs are reflected or not reflected in the way parents raise their children. The article identifies four distinct worldviews among unaffiliated parents and identifies five different strategies that parents use to incorporate religion in the lives of their children. The article then analyzes the relationship between parent worldviews and actions, with particular attention to secular unaffiliated parents who incorporate religion in the upbringing of their children and to religious unaffiliated parents who do not. In addition to providing empirical data about unaffiliated parents, the article engages the wider debate about what it means to be religious or secular. It calls for more attention to salience, not just of religion but of secular worldviews, and offers parent actions vis-a-vis the religious upbringing of their children as a concrete measure of how much religion matters.


Version posted is the publisher's advanced access copy.

Citation Information

Manning, C. (2013). Unaffiliated parents and the religious training of their children. Sociology of Religion, 74(2), 149-175. doi: 10.1093/socrel/srs072