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Pew survey finds that a minority of Americans, even within the church, put faith first.

Around Thanksgiving tables this week, Americans will offer thanks for what’s most important to them. For the bulk of US adults, family will top the list.

In a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday, twice as many Americans said that family was the most meaningful aspect of their lives (40%), compared to the second most popular choice, faith (20%).

Among Christians, many obviously rely on their religious beliefs and community for a sense of meaning. More than half say their faith provides a “great deal” of meaning, and 29 percent identified religion as their most important source of meaning.

Christians were also slightly more likely than Americans overall to list family in the top spot (42%).

The research puts numbers around a recurring tension within the American church: how to champion biblical teachings on marriage, children, adoption, and family unity without letting family become a source of meaning and identity above Christ. In short, how can Christians keep from making family an idol?

This notion of idolizing family recently came up when pastor and Reformed Theological Seminary professor Kevin DeYoung tweeted last week, “One of the acceptable idolatries among evangelical Christians is the idolatry of the family.”

More than 1,600 people liked the tweet, and hundreds more responded. Many were frustrated with the suggestion that the church could care too much about family and spoke out in defense of Christian family values. But some agreed, echoing growing concerns that familial expectations in certain church settings isolate singles, widows, and childless couples.

Focus on the Family shared DeYoung’s tweet, saying, “[God] can’t be second. So, if family is first in our hearts, …

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