The Point: Setting the Record Straight on Religious Children


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In 2015, some 80 major news outlets reported on a study that claimed children raised in religious homes were less generous than children raised in non-religious homes.

About a year later, the study’s author admitted his data was incorrect. But as Tyler VanderWeele writes at Psychology Today, only four outlets covered the correction. In fact, you might still find the erroneous study cited here and there by media outlets today.

VanderWeele not only set the record straight, he shared results from his own Harvard study: Children who attend religious services regularly are more forgiving, have a higher sense of mission, and volunteer more often than children who don’t. They are also less likely to use drugs, suffer from depression, or engage in risky behaviors.

VanderWeele tells parents: “Modern life is busy, and it can take a strong commitment to participate in a community, to set time aside for prayer or meditation, and to encourage children in these practices.” But, he writes, it’s “worthwhile.”

Indeed, it is.


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Does a Religious Upbringing Promote Generosity or Not?
  • Tyler J. VanderWeele
  • Psychology Today
  • September 25, 2019

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