In This Issue
- Findings & Footnotes: December 2013
- A new era of political coordination develops between church and state in Russia
- Pentecostal growth fueling Christian persecution in India?
- Pentecostalism espouses patriotism in China and Russia
- Vietnam a model for dealing with religious freedom in Southeast Asia
- Turkey: the ruling party’s political identity between conservatism and Islam
- `Chrislam’ growing in Muslim-Christian borderlands of Nigeria, Ghana
- Current Research: December 2013
- A future in the diaspora for Mandaeans?
- Filipinos following their own Catholic path after immigration
- Family transmission of religion still holds strong in US
01: The growing phenomenon of congregations from the U.S. linking up with churches in the global South for purposes of missions, social activism, and cross-cultural understanding is given in-depth treatment in the new book Sister Churches (Oxford University Press, $29.95) by Janel Kragt Bakker.
These partnerships or “twinnings” between congregations are substantial; Bakker estimates that 18 percent of U.S. Catholic parishes are partnered with Third World churches, while that percentage may be higher among Protestants; of the 173 presbyteries in the Presbyterian Church (USA), up to 115 of them have partnered with a presbytery outside of the United States. The idea of mission partnership flourished particularly in the mainline and post-Vatican II Catholic orbits as it helped underline the Western churches move away from a one-sided and paternalistic missionary outreach to non-Westerners.
In evangelical churches, the growth of short-term missions in the U.S. was another avenue to building relationships with congregations that visitors first encountered in their mission trips. Among conservatives in the Episcopal Church, these partnerships were also a way to override their liberal denominational leadership and gain support from like-minded Anglicans in the global South.
Bakker, who conducted ethnographic studies of 12 church partnerships in the Washington, D.C area, found that it is congregations themselves and informal networks more than parachurch organizations or denominations that initiate and build sister church relationships. The book examines diverse kinds of partnerships but most of the congregations studied share a “missional” outlook, meaning that they are outward-focused and are concerned with meeting the needs of others; they also tend to be more centrist, linking ministry to spiritual and physical needs rather than on the ideological left or right.
Bakker finds that sister church relationships tended to mitigate the more temporary effects of short-term missions as it created more durable bonds that were seen as beneficial to the congregation (although the author only studied the American partner congregations in these relationships). She allows that these partnerships can tend to patronize the more disadvantaged partner church, as well as create divisions within congregations, particularly if they engage in controversial projects that involved political advocacy.
02: As the fastest-growing global Christian movement, Pentecostalism is the subject of a mounting number of books, but Global Pentecostalism in the 21st Century (Indiana University Press, $28) stands out for its far-reaching analyses of its present and future prospects. The anthology, edited by Robert W. Hefner, covers various Pentecostal expressions in Brazil, Africa, China, the former Soviet Union, India, as well as including theme-based chapters on gender, politics, and education.
David Martin, a pioneering sociologist of global Pentecostalism, maintains his view that the movement is an alternate route to modernity and middle-class achievement for people (especially women) on the margins of society. He suggests that there is considerable mobility within the movement itself, with many going from strict groups to less restrictive ones (house churches or charismatic mainline churches) and others cycling out of Pentecostalism altogether (roughly half of Pentecostal converts fall away).
Paul Freston provides another incisive chapter on the future and limits of Pentecostal growth in Brazil. The movement is approaching a ceiling on its explosive growth during the past two decades due to natural institutionalization (less fervor among cradle members) but also to broader patterns of non-affiliation (a growing population displaying similar urban and youth demographics), Catholic resistance, even a new attraction to Calvinism (while retaining some Pentecostal practices), and ineffectiveness in the socio-political arena.
Other contributors argue that there has been an overestimation of the prospects of Pentecostalism, even in Africa where most sectors of Christianity are growing and not just the Pentecostals. But the movement is still surging, particularly in China (increasingly indigenized and just reaching the cities) and India (especially among Dalits), with new social and economic implications, such as the formation of an entrepreneurial class.
03: Consumerism in religion has featured prominently in works on the U.S., but Religion in Consumer Society: Brands, Consumers and Markets (Ashgate, $99.95) demonstrates that this development is present in a wide variety of faith traditions and societies. The anthology, edited by Francois Gauthier and Tuomas Martikainen, includes case studies from the more expected precincts of American megachurches and New Age groups in Sweden but also examinations of consumerism in Italian monasteries and Tibetan Buddhism.
In the introduction, the editors (with Linda Woodhead) focus less on whether consumerization and branding of religion are negative or positive trends but rather argue that religious brands and markets symbolize the social networks, lifestyle and meanings of people today.
But the chapters also show the resistance and conflict that emerges at the intersection of faith and the marketplace: the Church of Sweden’s uneasy adaptation of management techniques; Tibetan Buddhists’ attempt to preserve pure tradition while creating new therapies and courses for practitioners to consume; and the loss of austerity in monasteries that have to cater to crowds of people seeking retreats and consumer items (from wine to CDs of prayers) to survive.
04: Sites and Politics of Religious Diversity in Southern Europe (Brill, $180), edited by Rudy Blanes and Jose Mapril, documents and analyzes the new religious pluralism that has quietly transformed the southern European countries of Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece.
While most attention to new ethnic and religious pluralism has focused on northern Europe, the south has a long history of diverse religions, even if the dominant churches controlled such heterodox expressions, and now serves as a gateway to new immigrant religious groups. The contributions look both at immigrant religions resulting from population flows from former colonies—Brazilian charismatic Catholics moving to Portugal or Dominican Republic Voodoo practitioners migrating to Spain—and new populations, including Sikhs, Roma or Gypsy Pentecostals, and Albanian Muslims.
The book focuses on the responses of these societies and their governments to these new diversities, which can result in stigmatizing and “racializing” religious minorities (such as Muslims and Sikhs) but also creating new religious markets and spaces in these societies.
Since Vladimir Putin’s reelection in 2012, there are increasing signs of a close coordination between the Moscow Patriarchate and the government in areas of social and security policy, writes Kristina Stoeckl (University of Vienna) in the Swiss monthly Religion & Gesellschaft in Ost und West (October).
But the ongoing debate in Russia regarding who uses whom cannot easily be solved: does the Russian Orthodox Church exercise a strong influence, or does the government control the Church? Stoeckl lists four areas in domestic policy in which church and state have interacted. First, the reform of the juvenile court system as a consequence of ratification of the European Charter in 2009: what seemed to be a non controversial topic became a political issue after representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church warned against the implementation of foreign legal models, suspected of being imposed upon Russia by “international organizations.”
Regarding legislation on homosexuality (for banning public propaganda, such as gay prides), the Moscow Patriarchate supported the new law and political advocates of the law used Russia’s Orthodox traditions to justify it. Similarly, the Moscow Patriarchate supported (indirectly) the law requiring organizations getting money from abroad to register as “foreign agents.” Finally, following the infamous Pussy Riot case, a new law against offending the feelings of believers was welcomed by the Patriarchate.
In matters of foreign policy, Stoeckl stresses that the Government and the Patriarchate have been working hand in hand for promoting “traditional values” in arenas such as the United Nations. “Human rights” have become an important concept for the political coordination between church and state, but they are understood not in the terms of international agreements that Russia has signed, but through the lenses of “traditional values,” as defined by the Patriarchate in its own teachings on human rights, published in 2008
During the first two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, typical church-state issues dominated the church agenda: religious freedom, military chaplaincy, teaching religion at school, restitution of church property. Now that the church has reached what it wanted in those fields, a new phase seems underway, according to the author; it is characterized by a strong political coordination between Church and State in some areas.
However, Stoeckl is reluctant to see this trend as a return to something similar as the state instrumentalization of the Moscow Patriarchate during the Cold War: Putin’s government advocates such laws because they allow it to constrain political opposition, while the church sees it as a way to fulfill its mission in society. This could be seen as “power pragmatism” from the side of the church, although it may end up by paying a higher price than will the politicians: recent surveys show that many Russians reject a political role of the Church, even among many of those believers who otherwise advocate its action for moral renewal.
(Religion & Gesellschaft in Ost und West, Birmensdorferstrasse 52, P.O. Box 9329, 8036 Zurich, Switzerland – http://www.g2w.eu. See also: “The Russian Orthodox Church’s Basic Teaching on Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights” – http://mospat.ru/en/documents/dignity-freedom-rights).
The rapid growth of Pentecostalism in India may be a leading factor in the mounting incidents of violence against Christians in that country, according to Chad Bauman of Butler University.
Although Pentecostalism is a minority faith in India, its political influence is disproportionate to its size, leading to violent reactions among a segment of Hindus. Even though there has been legislation against Christian proselytism of Hindus since the 1960s, it is only since the late 1990s when incidents of violence against Christians started to grow—the same time period that Pentecostalism expanded (with its practices increasingly adopted by other Christian churches).
There have been 250-300 isolated incidents of violence against Indian Christians in the past few years. Much of this is because Pentecostals are more aggressive in evangelism than previous Christians. Such evangelism is seen as “zealotry” by Hindus, especially when it turns critical of Hinduism, and any opposition they draw from such activity is likely to reinforce their claim to martyrdom, according to Bauman, who presented a paper on the subject at the meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Unlike many other Christians, Pentecostals also employ the rhetoric of “rupture” in the conversion process from one’s Hindu past, most evident in many Pentecostal converts refusal to eat food sacrificed to Hindu deities or to go into a Hindu temple. Another Pentecostal point of conflict with Hindus is their emphasis on healing. Somewhat ironically, Hindu critics publicly ridicule these healing practices as promoting “quackery” and opposition to modern life, even though the traditional Hindu criticism of Christianity has been that it is too modern and tied to the West.
Although Pentecostals in both China and Russia face discrimination and restrictions from their respective governments, these churches “actively and openly cultivate patriotism within their congregations” and stress how they fit into their surrounding societies, according to University of Oregon political scientist Karrie J. Koesel.
In presenting a paper at the Boston meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in November, Koesel noted that Pentecostals often face strong repression and that the leaders of these churches believe that their patriotic stance has made these congregations achieve greater growth and strength.
Koesel interviewed 46 Pentecostal leaders and members in Russia and China and observed church services where she found that pastors regularly encourage prayer emphasizing strong loyalty and commitment to their countries. Church leaders call for national as well as personal prosperity.
Even when church leaders have political differences with those in power, they continue to “cultivate pro-regime sentiments within their congregations,” often through their use of new media. In Russia, many churches will identify as “evangelical” rather than Pentecostal (or even Protestant) on web sites to avoid association with stigmatized foreign sects. Even in China, where use of the Internet is limited and monitored, circulating positive self-portrayals is important because of Pentecostals’ unregistered and underground status.
These churches also adopt community-based and civic-minded practices—from relief work in China to involvement in drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers (often Pentecostals establish rehabilitation centers before congregations in a given area).
Koesel concludes that engaging in patriotic rituals and actions are survival mechanisms for these ostracized churches, actually strengthening their outreach. But their pro-regime stances may also undermine their future ability to speak out on issues unpopular with their governments.
From being a country showing serious violations of religious freedom just a decade ago, Vietnam has emerged as a “model nation in Southeast Asia for dealing with issues of religious freedom and law,” according to the Templeton Report (Nov. 8) of the John Templeton Foundation.
While cases of religious infringement still occur in Vietnam, they have significantly decreased in frequency. In addition, while no churches were legally recognized and therefore protected by the government, by 2012, 95 percent of the churches were registered. From only two Christian denominations finding recognition in 2004, today there are 10. The government has also recently approved the formation of a Protestant seminary in the North, actively promoting the idea that educated religious leaders are best able to promote the common good and human flourishing.
The report sees much of the change brought about by the religious freedom activism of the American-based Institute for Global Engagement (IGE). The institute, which is partly funded by the John Templeton Foundation, uses a strategy that creates a “safe space” in which religious leaders, government officials, academics and lawyers can deliberate on matters of religious freedom and the law, often comparing the situation in Vietnam with those of other countries.
IGE also has a network effect as its program entails a certified training program that creates a cadre of alumni who can act as advisors on issues of national and local struggles dealing with the relation of majority and minority religions. IGE is the only American NGO that the Vietnamese government works with on these issues. Chris Seiiple, the president of the institute, says that the bottom-up model that is employed works because it does not impose an imported secular blueprint or legal construct but rather allows outsiders to provide comparative lessons that the Vietnamese can use, thereby equipping individuals to create ways of resolving religious tensions from the bottom-up.
(Templeton Report, http://www.templeton.org)
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has an Islamic background, but presents itself as a “conservative democratic” party, which can be interpreted as a strategy for legitimizing the party internationally and domestically, writes Sefa Şiımşek (Boğaziçi University, Istanbul) in Turkish Studies (September).
This identity as conservative democrat has been affirmed since the founding of the party in 2001 (in succession to former parties with an Islamic anchoring). Efforts to assert and elaborate the “conservative democrat” identity flourished after the AKP came to power at the 2002 general elections. There were conferences and even academic dissertations and theses on the topic. But the visible and the real identities do not always coincide with each other on the Turkish political scene.
The greatest motivation of the AKP for proclaiming itself conservative democracy was to dispel concerns from other sectors that it had an Islamist hidden agenda. Some AKP supporters would have preferred “Muslim democracy,” but this was turned down by the leadership in the belief that Islam and politics should be considered as belonging to different planes (not to mention legal rules forbidding Turkish parties to be based on religion). Moreover, the AKP recruited cadres from non-Islamic political corners, while its electorate represents a wide range of loyalties, among which Islamism is only one.
The conservative democrative identity avoided alienating voters, but it also helped to create a positive image in the eyes of global players, mostly the EU and the USA, according to Şimşek. Especially in the post-9/11 context, the AKP was keen to distance itself from political Islam and rather to advocate a dialogue of civilizations. Conservative democracy was assumed to be “both more universal and more neutral.” It was formulated in a way allowing it to harmonize local Islamic traditions with universal values and create a modernity without excluding tradition.
The AKP is not a conservative party in the strict meaning of the word; coming from oppositional background, it needs to reform before conserving. Since it needs to appeal to different segments of society, the AKP sometimes tends to adopt a multi-faceted identity, observes Şimşek. It has, however, been careful not to alienate its Islamist grass roots, but it initially did so rather through small and symbolical steps than decisions that would create huge tension: it tests the limits of the political system and the patience of secular forces, and attempts to find ways to reach its goals mostly through non confrontational ways. At the same time, this also allows it to send messages that Islam matters to suppliers of Muslim capital from the rich countries of the Gulf (huge amounts of green money have entered Turkey every year, helping the economy).
(Turkish Studies, Taylor & Francis, 4 Park Square, Milton park, Abingdon, Oxon,OX14 4RN, United Kingdom – http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ftur20)
“Chrislam,” a hybrid movement of Christian and Islamic teachings and practices, is gaining adherents in regions of Africa where these two religions are in proximity and conflict, particularly in Nigeria, according to Corey Williams of the University of Edinburgh.
In a paper presented at the late November meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Baltimore, which RW attended, Williams noted that groups blending Christianity, Islam, and native African religious traditions have been growing in the past three decades in southwest Nigeria and areas of Ghana, most recently the Ogbamoso Society of Chrislam (OSC), which started in 2005.
The OSC group that Williams studied, with about 250 members, mesh prayers and liturgy based on Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Yoruba religion. During services members may cross themselves, engage in “salat” (Islamic prayer), and engage in traditional herbal healing.
Chrislam adherents, of which there are about 20,000 in southwest Nigeria, also engage in cleansing practices that draw on both Muslim and Christian tradition (such as in the form of baptism), go on pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem, and fast during Ramadan and Lent. Participants tend to have multiple religious identities within their families and social networks. Individuals may attend Pentecostal services, Muslim Friday prayer and engage in traditional African rituals.
In interviewing OSC members, Williams found that they did not engage in such religious blending unthinkingly or for convenience sake; they had reasons for their syncretism and explained that they were trying to resolve conflicting beliefs.
01: There is a growing acceptance of gays and minorities in congregations, and a bifurcation between very large and small congregations, according to the latest wave of the National Congregations Study.
The third wave of this survey of 1,331 congregations (first conducted in 1998, then 2006-2007 and most recently 2012) was presented at the early November meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Boston, which RW attended. In 1998, only 17 percent of congregations reported that they had openly gay and lesbian members, compared with 31 percent today.
An increasing number of mainly white congregations report more Asian, Hispanic and black members—80 percent of congregations reported they were all white in 1998, compared to 57 percent today. The study found that mid-sized congregations are bottoming out, as churches are tending to grow very large or become small in membership.
02: One of the first statistical studies of the emerging church movement suggests it is attracting a youthful following, largely from mainline and evangelical Protestant backgrounds and are more actively involved in congregational activities than youth in other churches.
The study, conducted by Paul Olson and Gerardo Marti and presented at the meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, draws on data from eight churches that define themselves as part of the loosely based emerging church movement, which is known for its “postmodern” orientation, informal structures, and strong emphasis on community. A sample of 1,771 participants from eight emerging congregations was compared with a sample of 1,648 respondents from the Baylor Religion Survey (Wave II, 2007), which is seen as representative of the American public.
The results show that emerging church participants are predominantly young, single, childless, white, and well-educated, with more females than males. Somewhat unexpectedly, the largest percentage of emerging church respondents were mainline Protestant (the movement has been portrayed more as an offshoot of evangelicalism) at 30.7 percent, followed by evangelical (28.5), non-denominational/interdenominational 13.5 percent), and Catholic (12.6 percent).
Preaching and music were more important to emerging church participants than social activities and social justice. A large percentage of the emerging church respondents (more than 40 percent) had only started attending their congregations within one year—a far higher percent than the Baylor respondents. The researchers found that emerging church respondents (at 57 percent) were far more likely to attend services than Catholics and mainline Protestants (35 and 32 percent, respectively), although not very different from evangelicals. Racial diversity was higher in emerging churches than in the congregations from the Baylor study.
03: The link between various forms of personal and societal insecurity and religiosity was confirmed in the recent World Values Survey, according to Harvard political scientist Pippa Norris.
At a symposium on secularism at the Boston meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Norris presented new findings that she said bolstered the case she and colleague Ronald Inglehart have made in recent years correlating societal insecurity (lack of welfare) and religious faith. By using the sixth wave of the World Values Survey (2010-2014) that added new questions that measured “lived” insecurity” in terms of personal as well as community and national forms insecurity, she found that those reporting such conditions tended to rate higher in terms of religious identity, participation (church attendance) and practices (such as prayer).
Those reporting personal insecurity (such as unemployment) showed a higher frequency of prayer. As she has argued in previous research, there remains a “fit” between those nations with a high GDP and their population’s move toward a secular orientation. She points out that this doesn’t necessarily mean the world is becoming more secular; because those in more insecure societies have larger families, so the religious will continue to outnumber the secular populations.
04: The second generation of Neo-pagans has followed their generation in becoming non-affiliated, or “nones,” although they tend to identify with Pagan spirituality, according to a study by sociologists Laura Wildman-Hanlon and Julie Fennell.
Little has been known about the children of Neo-Pagans and how they have retained the faith of their parents. Wildman-Hanlon and Fennell’s study, presented at the conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, consisted of an Internet survey of 183 of people raised in Neo-Pagan households.
The percentage who have disaffiliated from religious practice is somewhat high—with only 48 percent still engaging in some form of Neo-Pagan religion. Yet 72 percent consider themselves spiritual but not religious—a figure “higher than the national average, which may indicate a development of cultural Paganism,” according to the researchers.
They found a “slight correlation” between those who were raised with a strong level of family-based religious participation as a child and serious religious involvement as an adult. Religious adults were more likely to engage in volunteerism than those who were spiritual but not religious.
Due to developments in Iraq in recent years, only a minority of the Mandaean population, with roots going back to ancient Gnosticism, remain there, while many more are attempting to establish themselves in Western countries as they attempt to organize themselves, reports Friedman Eissler in the German monthly Materialdienst der EZW (November).
The Mandaeans (called “Sabaeans” in the Quran) may be the only surviving group going back to a Gnostic religion of the early Christian era. They have their own sacred books (including ones that claim to report the teachings of John the Baptist), written in their own Mandaean language, which has fallen out of use in the daily lives of the faithful, but is used for religious purposes. They consider themselves as the most ancient religion, going back to Adam. They have priests, who are the only ones qualified to perform rituals, the main ones being baptism, marriage and funerals (complex ceremonies that take over 45 days for helping the soul during its ascension toward the world of light). They turn toward the North for prayer. Only people born in the faith can be Mandaean: one does not convert to this religion.
According to Mandaean sources, there are some 70,000 members around the world. A majority of them used to live in Iraq, with a smaller number in Iran. While there may still be 5,000 to 10,000 of them in Iran, they have dwindled to a small number in Iraq, where their survival seems to be seriously threatened. Only a few thousand are reportedly left there. Moreover, this comes after many decades of pressure toward assimilation after increased Mandaean migration toward Iraqi cities. This also has led both to tensions (even splits), due to a new assertiveness of laypeople as well as a movement of renewal and reform that includes efforts of maintaining the Mandaean legacy through education.
The article reports that Mandaeans in the diaspora are found in Sweden (around 5,000), in Australia (some 6,000, mostly from Iran), in Germany (2,200), in the United States and in a few other countries. Associations have been founded and a few priests are active in the diaspora. There are today a number of Mandaean academics with an interest in maintaining and strengthening their own cultural legacy, according to Eissler. Another positive factor is that the number of priests is increasing again. It is too early to predict the future of the Mandaean religion in a diaspora situation, but Eissler says the Mandaeans are expressing a strong interest for interreligious contacts.
(Materialdienst der EZW, Auguststrasse 80, 10117 Berlin, Germany – http://www.ekd.de/ezw/)
Immigrants from the Philippines remain highly Catholic even if they are staying in the church at a lower rate than they did in their home country, according to Stephen Cherry of the University of Houston.
Cherry found that 85 percent of Filipinos have retained their Catholicism, with only 21 percent claiming Protestant affiliation. But they are less Catholic than in their home country, where 88 percent are Catholic. In an analysis of the 2012 Pew Asian American Survey presented at the November meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Boston, which RW attended, Cherry found that the Philippines is the second largest source of Catholic immigration to the U.S., and that Filipinos have the second highest church attendance rate (37 percent) and involvement in church beyond worship (48 percent) among Asian-Americans.
Cherry found that Filipino Catholics have retained their faith in two distinct waves of immigration and that they have produced a growing number of priests in the American church. Although the 23 percent drop in Catholic affiliation between Filipino in their home country and those in the U.S. is a key issue of concern, Filipinos have so far defied trends that have impacted other Catholic immigrant groups.
While there have been Protestant gains through intermarriage, there is a trend toward switching back to Catholicism with the birth of children, particularly when the husband is Catholic. Cherry also found that church splits in Protestantism have led some back to Catholicism and parish-based groups such as the Catholic charismatic renewal, which is particularly strong among Filipinos.
While Americans are known for switching and shopping for faiths, family ties and influence are still the main way that religious identity, and beliefs and practices are spread. That is the argument of the recent book Families and Faith (Oxford University Press, $29.95) by Vern L. Bengston, with Noella Putney and Susan Harris.
It’s probably the most extensive study of the role family influence in American religion, based on data from 300 families and 3,000 individuals (though not a representative sample).
Somewhat unexpectedly, Bengston and colleagues found little change in the rates of religious influence transmitted from parents to children; between 1970 and 2005, there was a statistically significant similarity between parents and children in the dimensions of religious affiliation, belief, practice, and participation, with evangelicals and Mormons having the highest rate of transmission.
Mainline Protestant and Catholic families had more difficulty transmitting the faith across generations. In 2005, 62 percent of parents surveyed had young adult children who were following in their evangelical tradition, “down slightly from 70 percent in 1970. On the other hand…mainline Protestants declined by more than 27 percentage points, and Catholics dropped an eye-opening 41 percentage points.”
Such transmission can work both ways—strengthening, weakening or secularizing religion. Much of the reason for the religious polarization of recent years is that the baby boomers have transmitted values to their children that put them on opposing sides of the spectrum of religious affiliation and non-affiliation. Bengston finds that the success of religious transmission depends on the closeness between parent and child, but gender differences, parenting styles and the presence of interfaith marriages (without conversion) also have strong effects. Because grandparents are living longer than in previous periods, they are having greater impact on religious socialization of grandchildren.
Especially interesting are the chapters looking at interruptions and failures in religious transmission, including those the author calls “rebels” who break from their religious upbringings (although they often return to the fold), and the much discussed growth of the non-affiliated or “nones.” Non-affiliation and even atheism are increasingly transmitted through families rather than through interruption in such a process; in fact, the researchers were surprised by the high levels of family solidarity and closeness evidenced by most of the non-religious youth.