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Prevalence of Christianity Doesn’t Dent Divorce

Right wing Christians have been using their religion as a kind of sledgehammer in political debates, slamming apart the efforts of loving couples who want to get married by saying that their religion’s God does not approve. They oppose equality under the law for same-sex couples, saying the Lord of the Universe is on their side.

The foundation of their claims is Christians know how to make stable families better than everyone else. They say that if everybody else would just follow extremist Christian rules about marriage, we’d all be better off.

Is it true? Do Christians have better marriages than the rest of us? Would we do better if we just listened to them, and all followed their rules?

In order to try to answer these questions, I looked at divorce statistics and the results of the latest American Religious Identification Survey. (As I mentioned last night, the divorce statistics are a few years out of date and not absolutely complete, but they’re the best information we’ve got.) I looked for a pattern to indicate a relationship between religious identification and rate of divorce – and I didn’t find one.

Comparing states where the prevalence of Christianity is relatively high to states where the prevalence of Christianity is relatively low, there doesn’t appear to be much of a difference at all in divorce rates, on the average. The 10 states with the highest rates of Christianity have a divorce rate of a little bit more than 4 per 1,000 inhabitants. The 10 states with the lowest rates of Christianity have a divorce rate of a little bit more than 4 per 1,000 inhabitants.

Rate of Christian religiosity in a state doesn’t seem to have much relationship to the divorce rate in the state. The claim by right wing Christians that their religion holds all the secrets to successful marriage isn’t supported by the facts. So, when we’re discussing marriage policy, why don’t we leave religious opinions out of the matter, and base our deliberations on what actually works?

9 thoughts on “Prevalence of Christianity Doesn’t Dent Divorce”

  1. Jacob says:

    Do a time study… How have things changed as we moved away from Christianity in the past 40-50 years.

  2. Truman says:

    Jacob, every time I come out with another article showing that Christianity isn’t associated with a superior life, you ask me to look for other information, somewhere else.

  3. Jacob says:

    I have asked for the same thing every time Ive asked. I just think its interesting. I think the prosperitiy gospel is a load of garbage with no scriptural foundation so I dont really care what the other articles say and I said that several times. There was a lot of other people begging for a more complete picture, please check my past posts before you call me out in error. The only article I have ever asked for is one tying the link in the increase in crime, divorce and murder of the past 40 years with the decrease in Christians in the US

    1. Jim says:

      … which was not based in fact, since those increases have not in fact occurred.

      1. Jacob says:

        Excuse me? You sat those things have not increased? Murder crimes and divorce rates are at the same levels as 1950? You way lost me there… In 1950 there were 10 divorces per 1000 marriges. Today there are 22 per 1000. Murder works the same way. There where 9,110 in 1960 and 16,929 in 2007. Raoes have jumped from 17,000 to 90,000. Assault has rose from 154,000 to 855,000. Total crimes have risen from 3.3 million 11.2 million. Thats a nearly 4 times increase while population hasnt even doubled. So there are more crimes per person now then ever before in history while

        The facts point that crime has gotten worse. I must be misreading you.

        1. Jim says:

          First of all, your time frame in your first comment on the subject was three decades, not four. This is no small thing, because you referred to “this exact period of time” as being the past three decades. Link to your comment:

          Then, Second, you shifted your time frame to the past “four decades.” Pick a time frame, Jacob. But even then, you’d be going back 40 years to 1969.

          Then, Third, you tacked on another decade or two, sometimes going back five decades to 1960 and sometimes going back six decades to 1950.

          Three decades, Four decades, Five decades, Six decades… blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s only about time!

          A) The U.S. Divorce Rate in 2007 was 3.6 divorces per 1,000 population. The divorce rate in 1979, three decades ago, was quite a bit higher. The divorce rate in 1970, four decades ago, was just about the same. source. NO Increase, and over the past three decades, which is what you first stated as your standard, there has been a DECREASE.

          B) If we accept your source for crime statistics, then since 1979 (three decades) the murder rate has plummeted. If we accept your brand-new standard of four decades, to 1969, there was also a big drop between then and now.

          C) Rape statistics show a drop over the past three decades (since 1979), and are not reliable for comparison before that point due to historical changes in collection and reporting of rape by police.

          D) By your original standard of three decades (since 1979), there has been a DROP in violent crime rates. By your brand new standard of four decades (since 1969), there has been only a mild increase.

          Get your facts straight.

  4. Jacob says:

    Good point… I think you should stop locking your doors at night. The world is a nice rosey place better then any other point in history. things are much better (must be Rowans magical Iguana doing it…).

    1. Rowan says:

      I already live someplace where I am not afraid to leave my doors unlocked at night. I trust in Herbie the Cosmic Iguana. If you put your trust in Herbie, you would feel safe too. I guess we can see whose higher power is higher. Herbie rocks!

    2. Jim says:

      Wow. Your approach to reality certainly leaves an impression, and not in a positive sense. Facts and information only matter to you until they say the opposite of what you want them to say, and then they’re to be mocked. No wonder you have no problem keeping up your set of unempirical (the blunt word for “supernatural”) beliefs.

      By the way, I live in one of the country’s largest cities, in the inner city, and my kid goes to a public school where most of the students get subsidized lunches. My doors have never been locked in the evening and are often unlocked into the wee hours. They certainly aren’t locked during the day. Guess how many times my duplex has been broken into.

      You mock in a fashion most unconcerned with empirical reality. It is a shame that you aren’t serious. The bigger shame is that a nation full of myth-focused, fearful people like you have turned their homes into fortresses, put gates around their communities, and seriously fucked up the spirit of their communities in the process.

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