I have a theory; and no real proof for it.
I don’t think the most important human factor for a child’s future faith is hearing a parent talk about faith, or hearing a parent pray. That probably makes a difference, but I think it would be easy for a child to grow up and shrug that off.
I also don’t think it’s church attendance, though again, it no doubt makes a big difference. No doubt propagandistic sorts of intellectual arguments will be important for at least some people. I think peers of sincere faith is a much bigger factor than the others as well.
(Probably the final answer would be, “If you wanted to play it safe then you’d go for all of the above.”)
But something occurred to me the other day, and I’m having trouble doubting it. I wonder if one really big factor might be the act of insisting on a special kind of reverence toward certain objects more closely connected to liturgy or faith, objects that they can interact with under supervision.
I think that’s a really powerful way of handing on something that’s important in the life of faith.
But I can’t exactly say why. I can’t explicate it or defend it. It’s just something that seems undeniably true to me.