Christians and Divorce

File:John Everett Millais, The Somnambulist.jpgDo Christians divorce more than atheists? They should stay together because they are religious and good- or split, because they are deluded. Research will tell you what you want it to tell you.

Here’s Valerie Tarico on how atheist marriages last longer. Any Evangelical who says that atheists are amoral should look at her Wisdom Commons site.

From the off, there were Evangelicals challenging the research, on various grounds. Here, George Barna is quoted denying that the divorces of Christians occurred before their conversion, or because one partner was Christian and the other not.

The Gospel Coalition found new arguments. Evangelicals who worshipped regularly had lower divorce rates: the divorce rates were among those Evangelicals who did not go to church. The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice. Evangelicals who divorce are likely to be backsliders in other ways too. The article differentiates serious disciples from mere “church members”.

Post hoc propter hoc? Why would someone who does not go to church self-identify as an Evangelical? The researchers can only say a responder to their survey is Evangelical if they claim to be so. The answer is that they still believe. Perhaps they do not go to church because it is too much bother; or perhaps because they have been uncomfortable there, as a divorced or remarried person.

The reason these soi-disant Evangelicals divorce is that they are not “serious disciples” says the Gospel Coalition. This goes against Biblical teaching about what people are like: we would not need forgiven seventy times seven times if we could be Good all the time. Here is Open Bible on Compassion: a hundred verses like Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Here is Romans 3:10: No-one is righteous, not even one. Self-righteous, on the other hand…

14 thoughts on “Christians and Divorce

  1. Good grief, why do people have to make things so complicated? Not you, who are merely casting your careful eye over this latest debate, which reminds me of a early years playground spat. If we have to go around justifying ourselves, we have kind of missed the point, perhaps.

    Bless you! xx :-))


    • People justify ourselves because we are frightened and hurt. Those Atheists are laughing at the Evangelicals!

      Romans 8:30: And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. But for me that justification is only “it is as it is, it is alright”.


  2. People divorce because people are weak and often not very nice to each other. But if divorce was made more difficult less people would divorce. Personally I’d prefer it if only domestic abuse (and possibly adultery but I’m on the fence) was grounds for divorce.

    Anyway, I don’t think atheists are amoral. I just think that atheism precludes the possibility of any _objective_ morality and without objective morality there is no reason besides changeable fashions and social convention not to be amoral.

    As an atheist I can happily run the gauntlet between marxist morality, neo-nazi morality, humanist morality and so on, and none of them seem particularly more true than the other, because how can you have moral truths if there is no moral authority external to yourself? (If there _is_ a moral authority external to yourself, what is that if not a god?)

    Now it might be true that there are no gods, in which case morality is just whatever makes you feel good, dependent on your upbringing, the wider culture and your genetics. Slaughtering the old to save money on pensions is as reasonable a proposition as taxing the young to care for them. Massive feedlots where animals are tortured might seem like a good idea because you feel worse about poor humans going hungry, or starving humans might seem reasonable because the greater number of humans compete with the species you find more appealing for land and resources. What is right or wrong? I’m serious in that question? How can you say anything is better than anything else without a god (not necessarily God)? It’s all a matter of taste, deep ecology for the misanthrope, fascism for the lover of uniforms and order, humanism for the wooly jumpered liberal – but none have a claim on truth.


    • One problem is that we have almost as wide a range of moralities within Christianity. There is the “Prosperity Gospel” and the Quaker Testimony to Equality. For the Nazi, his morality comes from something greater than himself- the State, and the philosophers who articulate State morality.

      What is good? Whatever is creative and conducive to general human prospering. That is a Godless definition. And, yes, that could mean unrestricted cruelty to animals in food production, but I observe that cruelty to animals debases humans- and among Christians I find as wide a range of respect or abuse of animals, justified from the Bible.

      People divorce because they feel the extra expense of living separately is not crippling, the social disapproval not overwhelming, and they will be happier. If they did not have the escape route there would be less divorce, but social disapproval to hold couples together? Is that what you want?


      • What is the point of bonding if bonds can be broken with ease? Why make promises if there is no emotional or social cost to breaking your word? How will anyone ever grow if they run from circumstances and human beings when those circumstances or human beings make them feel uncomfortable?

        I never believed marriage was about personal happiness, although that might be a nice bonus some of the time, its about learning to not be selfish. How much harder would that be to learn if you can just bail when you feel like you’re not “happy” with it?

        If social disapproval can hold couples together I think that is a good thing, there is very little left in the world to hold people together, we have gotten rid of all the ties that bind us now and are all miserable free floating atomised individual units as a result. Of course every time has it’s problems, but whatever else I can’t say we seem better for being more loosely associated and weakly bonded.


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