For all these reasons, then, “family and faith are the invisible double helix of society — two spirals that when linked to one another can effectively reproduce, but whose strength and momentum depend on one another.” And, in today’s world, weak families mean that religion is not effectively reproducing.
If Eberstadt is right about the tight links between family and religion, and I am largely persuaded she is, then the short-term future of religion in the U.S., and the West more generally, is not bright. Marriage is likely to continue to lose ground as the central vehicle for bundling together sex, intimacy, property, mutual aid, and parenthood. More adults seem likely to postpone or forgo parenthood. The fundamental family factors that have often pushed people toward religious faith are petering out.