Monday, April 04, 2011

Christian Practice, Not Nominal Faith, Prevents Divorce

The widely-reported statistic that Christians are as likely to divorce as other people is not quite true.

Brad Wilcox, of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, reports that people who attend religious services are 35% less likely to divorce than people who do not attend religious services.

Even more intriguing, though, is his report that people who report conservative Protestant beliefs, but who do not actually attend church, are 20% more likely to divorce than secular people are.


Victoria Wheeler said...

Do you think this is because of an increased ideological pressure marriages in those who don't attend church, without the institutional support of the church? Or perhaps a general half-heartedness regarding commitment to institutional structures (like marriage or the church)?

Gruntled said...

I think being in a community is more powerful than mere belief in just about everything.

Wilcox notes in passing that nominal conservative Protestantism is associated with several bad outcomes. I think that may be because such beliefs are a proxy for strong judgments about others, which are tempered by mercy in a religious community.

Pastor Dennis said...

Your response to Victoria's comment seems really insightful.