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Are Christians Just As Likely to Divorce?

‎“Christians divorce at the same rate as everyone else.” Have you ever heard this? I get this comment all the time when I’m doing speaking engagements or radio interviews. People treat it as an established fact, not even a question. The short answer is: NO THEY DON’T! The long answer is: It depends on what you mean by Christians. If you’re talking about everyone who describes themselves as Christian or Catholic, maybe you’ve got something. But sociologists have verified many times that regular religious practice is a huge protective factor against divorce.

Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family helpfully collects a bunch of this information here.

For instance, nominal Catholics are 5 percent less likely, active Catholics 31 percent less likely, and “average Catholics” 18 percent less likely to divorce than is the general population. Among Protestants, nominal Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce than the average person. Conservative Protestants are 10 percent less likely to divorce, and active Conservative Protestants are 35 percent less likely to divorce than the population at large. 

This false belief is harmful because: 

  • it contributes to a general sense that divorce is inevitable. 

  • it demoralizes people both at the personal level (everyone gets divorced anyway, even the Christians) and at the policy level (we might as well make peace with divorce, even Christians get divorced). 

  • it makes Christians appear to be hypocrites.

  • people can’t see that religious practice has resources that help stabilize marriages. 

— Jennifer Roback Morse, is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute, which promotes an understanding of lifelong married love to college students. Sign up for the Ruth Institute’s free newsletter here

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