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The Christian/Non-Christian Divorce Myth is Divorced from Reality

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Writing in the Southern Baptist Texan, Glenn T. Stanton reports on the popular myth, “Christians divorce at roughly the same rate as the world!”  Not so, claim several sociologists, including W. Bradford Wilcox from the University of Virginia, who directs the National Marriage Project.  The research is clear: those who “seriously practice a traditional religious faith — be it Christian or other — have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population.”  The factors that ensure a long and happy marriage are clearly delineated — attend church nearly every week, read the Bible and/or spiritual materials regularly, pray privately and together, take your faith seriously, and live as a serious disciple.

Stanton quotes sociologist Bradley Wright, who found that the divorce rate among those who self-identify as Christian but do not practice their faith is 60 percent, while the rate among those who attend church regularly is only 38 percent.  Wilcox’s research found that church attendees are 35 percent less likely to divorce, compared to nominal churchgoers, who are 20 percent more likely to divorce than secular Americans.

The Oklahoma Marriage Study, led by University of Denver sociologist Scott Stanley, found the positive result of church attendance and active faith held consistent across the variables of income, education, and age at first marriage.  Stanley found, “those who report more frequent attendance at religious services were significantly less likely to have been divorced.”

As Stanton wrote, “Faith does matter and the leading sociologists of family and religion tell us so.”

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