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Faith and family are so tightly linked in American society that “even some of society’s least religious people find religion to be important in their private lives,” says researcher Elaine Howard Ecklund from Rice University.

Ecklund

Despite their personal non-belief, reports the website Futurity, a surprising number of atheist scientist parents told Ecklund that they often participate in religious traditions for their kids’ sake.

“Through in-depth interviews with scientists at elite academic institutions — those particularly likely to have no firm belief in God,” reads the abstract of Ecklund’s report, published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, “we provide insight into the motives scientists who are not religious have for joining a religious group.”

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