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Food for Thought: Divorce and Religion

I found an interesting reference today. It seems there’s a group out there called the Barna Research Group, a Christian research group that does a lot of research into statistics surrounding religion in America, among other things. One of their more surprising findings, as paraphrased by Freethought Today is: Born Agains More Likely To Divorce . Now, that’s a hell of a claim. But, if you go to the Barna website , it’s true! Back in 2000, they did a study and found that:

Born again adults are more likely to experience a divorce than are non-born again adults (27% vs. 24%).

(It’s on that page under “7 Most Discouraging Results.”) That’s a pretty interesting statistic, and I’m sure I don’t have to say why. They don’t say what the margin of error on their study might be, but it’s still interesting. Now, this isn’t the most recent research. A mere six months later, they performed a more in-depth study , and found that things were not as bad as that. Instead they found that Born Again Adults Less Likely to Co-Habit, Just as Likely to Divorce —in fact, that’s the title of the study. Which means that religion is NOT a deterrent to a stable marriage, thank Heaven. But it certainly doesn’t point to religion being a stabilizing factor.

It occurs to me that the idea that co-habitation is a bad thing is rather debunked by this study as well, regardless of the fact that it’s referred to with such a disappointed tone. If co-habitation is lower in born-again Christians, and yet has no net positive effect on their divorce rates, either cohabitation has no effect on divorce (and thus shouldn’t be regarded as a bad thing strictly for it’s effect on divorce) or something more complicated is going on (such as the difference in religion and co-habitation off-setting each other with a net-null effect on the stability of marriage). Either way, an intriguing factoid.

Something else that’s interesting to point out: Salon , in this article make reference to this statistic (which is what got me interested). Seems rather unfortunate that they use the older statistic, instead of the newer one—-and even that is almost 3 years old now. Kinda makes you wish they provided references for their articles, doesn’t it?

Still, all in all, good food for thought.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 17, 2004 2:26 AM.

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