Religious Kids are More Successful in Life

bibleI hope you guys are having a great summer so far. I’ve been busy with other projects. For those living in Texas, I recently wrote this piece on water conservation. Leave a comment or drop me a line and let me know what you all have been up to. I’ve missed chatting with everyone.

Now. Did you know that, “Research Shows Religious Teens Are More Successful in Life?” (Thanks LanceT for the link!)

I didn’t know this either. But before we help our kids find religion ASAP, let’s look at the facts. This is an important topic to discuss with our children: Does an article or claim hold up? What sorts of sources are used?

Of course, the first red flag is that this article can be found only on LDS websites and blogs. Another thing I like to check when I read these sorts of articles is the references. I’ll start with the first quoted source in the article.

I don’t even know where to start. If you click on the link, you’ll be directed to “” Scroll down and you’ll see that the website is owned by the Heritage Foundation (eye roll). Most of you are already familiar with the HF. The site claims as its goal: “ provides data on family and religious practice and analysis of their role in maintaining civil society in America.” Yes, they have an agenda—to promote religion in the secular sphere.

The “Longitudinal study” quoted in the article is a reference to on-going surveys by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that were conducted in two batches, 1979 and 1997. There is no single “recent study of 14,000 youth.” The BLS data is “the collection of data on respondents’ labor force participation and investments in education and training. Other core topics are marital history, fertility, health, and income and assets.”

So I’m not sure how they came up with the “facts” that kids from intact religious families are less likely to do drugs, drink or have sex (gasp). And, certainly, there is no evidence that those kids do better in school. I’m pretty sure if we were to normalize the data from the very small population of kids being raised without religion with the very large population of kids being raised with religion, we wouldn’t find any difference in their academic performances. To my knowledge, there has not been a study of the educational success of children from religious vs. nonreligious homes.

But back to the Mormon article. There’s another study referenced as proof that religious kids do better in life. It’s not titled, but if you click on it, guess where it goes? It directs you to an article by Patrick Fagan, again on the Heritage Foundation’s site.

This article is just more propaganda on the benefits of religion. I guess when you’re used to living your life based on a book that is not supported by facts, it’s okay to write articles that are not supported by facts either.

My question is, Why are they trying so hard to convince everyone that religion makes better people? They doth insist too much, methinks.


19 responses to “Religious Kids are More Successful in Life

  1. Well.. a couple of thoughts
    a)… seems like they are saying “look.. come over with us… even if it is only for the potential to make more money”
    b)… it truly is propaganda for an organization that does not know how to call for the attention of potential “custormers”… but one thing is for certain in marketing: once you are offering money to your potential customers, the next lowest thing to offer is sex… are they going to go that way once they realize they cannot lure more “customers” with money?…

  2. Could it be that lying and propaganda are all that the religious have left? They can’t burn us at a stake anymore nor can they make valid threats.

    I guess I should pity them but I couldn’t care less.

  3. Replace “religion” in this study with “state of residence” or “race” and it would probably show the same differentials. Correlation. Not causation. Statistics 101. Sigh.

  4. Religion, by its very definition, is the practice of being convinced that what they preach is not only “right”, but the only truth there is, regardless of facts. They re-write scientific definitions to fit their own paradigm constantly… for instance, stating that both creationism and evolution are “theories”… what they don’t get is that “theory” means something entirely different in the scientific community to their more colloquially-applied layman’s definition. They believe that we, as atheists, hold a “belief” in science that can be discredited because their “belief” in religion simply disagrees. It hurts my little scientist brain.

    As to kids being “more successful”… I know plenty of my friends who are successful adults (varying definition of success… from happily-married-with-kids to partner-level-career to self-employed, and everything in between) who come from atheist or non-traditional families. I also know plenty of people who came from religious, traditional families who are just now finding their way at 40 because of all the BS they had to tread through to get to a point where they are happy. And then I know people who follow exactly what this “study” finds. Again, it goes back to scientific process… as in, there is none in that “study.” Because, like you said, it’s propaganda.

    And… Hi! Good to see you back on the blog 🙂 I will read your water conservation article here in a bit when I have some more free time today. I’ve been looking for ways to garden more conservatively in Arizona… produce our own produce while conserving water at the same time 🙂 I have plans for an awesome new set of raised beds that use under-ground water tabling, reclaimed from our home’s gray water system….

    • Hi Shanan! Of course, I’m nodding my head to your comment! The whole misuse of “belief” is irritating!

      Love your photo. So cute. I sent you a message to friend me! Between the bugs and the birds and the heat, I have a hard time with a garden. I have had success with arugula, which I love! But that’s about all I can grow!

      Hope your brother-in-law is still doing well.

  5. Ismael Benitez

    Hi Deborah, hope all is well:

    Religious propaganda is invaluable at teaching two timeless lessons: Your religious leaders thinks you’re stupid, and when faced with unreasonable expectations, some people will lose their mind in hilarious ways.

    Religious propaganda, much like a late-night infomercial, is supposed to make you let someone else screw you over. Often, you don’t even realize what’s going on until you’re trapped in a totalitarian religious regime or stuck with a malfunctioning StairMaster.

    Let’s assume for a second that the claim it truth. Because we all know that not all religions are the same and my god have to be better than yours. The next question should be; Which religions produce more successful people?

    It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day, Jewish, Protestants, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims. What about belief in belief, because why not.

    Here is the catch, If you are not accepting real life, you are in fact living in a fantasy. The question remains, for every parent who has to tell a child they have lost a pet, should I lie and say they are at a farm, or explain life and death and face their pain. Is the avoidance of pain worth the disinformation?

    Religious views come with an ugly side, which must equally be acknowledged. Consider the case on an individual who is convinced that their relatives or friends will spend an eternity burning in hell because they hold to the “wrong” religion.

    And just as religion can be used to motivate for good, it can be used to motivate people to go to war, slay neighbors, or impede various classes of people from access to equality.

    If we improve our children’s social skills and self-esteem, they will be successful, no god or religion needed.

    Take care,

    • @Ismael Yes, of course I agree. “No god or religion needed.” We can teach our children the things they need to be successful. The whole idea of the devil or burning in hell is cruel.

  6. lancethruster

    Hell…they had me at “Join us and get your own planet.”


    • @LanceT Good comic. Thanks for the link. Doesn’t Romney have his own planet to store all his stuff?

      • lancethruster

        @Deb – Very true. Wonder if he’ll still need the car elevator with so much room to spread out. Having my own planet will negate comic Steven Wright’s observation —

        You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?

  7. Sounds to me like they’re preaching to the choir, trying to convince themselves and their own young people rather than outsiders who, like you, will probably be more critical.

    What kept occurring to me after I saw your title was that people who appear to be religious are likely to be more successful in life. Many people make a big show of belonging to a church because it’s advantageous in business and politics; it projects an image of respectability and community involvement.

    That’s a bit off topic, but that’s where my head was.

  8. lancethruster

    Also wanted to add that we are not bound by logic alone –

    If we were logical, the future would be bleak, indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work.

    ~ Jacques Yves Cousteau

  9. Proselytizing to the masses. Religions are good at spewing garbage and people buy it hook, line and sinker.

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