Looks like patriarchal structures have more of a future than WomanChurch: The Importance of Fathers to Churchgoing. A Swiss survey shows that if both father and mother attend church regularly 33 percent of their children will become regular churchgoers. If the father attends irregularly and the mother is non-practicing 25 percent will become regular attenders. But if the father is irregular and the mother regular only 3 percent will become regulars.
The final figure is startling. After all, if the father goes only sometimes why would it hurt to have the mother go regularly? The obvious interpretation is that in the last case it’s Mom who wants to go and Dad who’s getting dragged along. So what’s important for the children’s future religious life, it seems, is that Dad go because he judges that it’s important to go. Dad has to lead. Which makes sense, given what most of us remember from childhood: Mom may have given us love, understanding and personal connectedness, but Dad stood for decision and reality. And regardless of what you hear, religion is not a matter of sociality or sentiment. It’s a matter of what is real, and what, most fundamentally, one chooses to do in life.