John on February 1, 2006 at 11:52 pm
For some time now, Christians have been beated about the head with the claim that divorce rates among Christians are identical to those among non-believers. The thrust of this argument is plain: Your faith doesn’t matter.
Well as Charles Colson notes here, it appears we finally have some information to the contrary. Sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox (PhD from Princeton) has done an analysis of something called the General Social Survey or GSS. The GSS is a broad survey involving thousands of adults. Dr. Bradford’s interest included a number of significant points. Most significant was the association of lower divorce rates with weekly church attendance. Click here for a pdf file of his data. He does not include a graph of the divorce data so I made one myself:
As you can see above, divorce is significantly lower among weekly attenders in all categories but one. The last pair of data items are not labeled as well as they could be. Among all US adults the orange bar represents those who attend less than once a week (which would presumably include atheists) and the green bar represents all those who attend once or more a week (of all faiths). The difference is striking 47% vs. 32%. In addition, Dr. Wilcox found that weekly attendance was significantly associated with marital happiness. Again, I’ve made my own table based on his data:
Here the data is broken down by sex as well as tradition. I’ve omitted the Jewish component because the data was incomplete (See the pdf). Once again, the green and yellow bars (weekly attenders) do better across the board and especially in the last column when compared against all non-weekly attenders.
Does this mean we can finally take the albatross of failed marriages from around our necks? Well, the paper hasn’t been published yet, but that day is drawing near. In a sense, though, this doesn’t tell us anything unexpected. As James said “faith without works is dead.” If you claim to be a Christian but don’t even go to go to church regularly, there is a real contradiction there, one with real world consequences.
[HT: Tom at Thinking Christian]
Category: Marriage & Family |