A majority of practicing Christians tells Barna they became Christians long before adulthood, usually before they were 12 years old. This is true regardless of the type of household practicing Christians now occupy.
The idea of beliefs that transcend generations is beautiful, but is it also beneficial? That is, does an “inherited” religious identity contribute to the maturation and flourishing of the individual and their faith in the long run? How does this experience compare with that of people who come to Christianity on their own, without positive faith influences in childhood or later in life? The recent Barna report Households of Faith, produced in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries, finds some (at times surprising) links between faith heritage and present faith practice.
Most Practicing Christians Say Their Faith Was Passed Down to Them
For most practicing Christian adults in this study, the early, formative days of discipleship occur in their family of origin. (As the goal of this research was to look at faith formation among households, individuals living by themselves are excluded from this study. See the About the Research section for more details about the methodology.) Usually, respondents say Christianity was “passed down” to them by a particular relative (59%), though sometimes another family member was exploring faith around the same time as the respondent (11%). More than half of those who report growing up in the faith (57%) say they were Christian at the time of their birth, a response that is revealing either of their theology or of how extensively Christianity permeated their upbringing.
In our latest research with @LHMglobalmin, respondents say Christianity was “passed down” to them by a particular relative (59%), though sometimes another family member was exploring faith around the same time as the respondent (11%). https://t.co/0sd6o35XK1
— Barna Group (@BarnaGroup) July 11, 2019