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Evangelicals are more likely to be divorced than the average American—even Americans who claim no religion.

This unexpected claim comes from an unexpected source: three researchers at Baylor University.

Jerry Park, Joshua Tom, and Brita ...

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Displaying 1–13 of 13 comments.

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William Goldman

February 22, 2014  7:10am

The only obviously true conclusion of this piece is "What is clear is that belonging nominally to a faith group doesn't ensure blessing on your life". The rest is mere speculation at best.

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e 8305

February 18, 2014  12:15pm

I honestly don't feel like this is a surprise.. The "pressure" to marry young, factored in with luke-warm Christianity - would lead anyone down a slippery slope - especially when it's in contrast to the larger cultural norm..I also wonder if the #of married plays a role.. meaning, if you're looking at age/demographic, you're not going to have an equal sampling - because secular view is either marriage isn't as relevant, or people are waiting until their 30's to marry.

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albright39 .

February 17, 2014  12:29pm

@ Crab Grass No....let's not forget about the already married nor the singles either. I'll say this the best way that I can. It seems to me that you are overly obsessed with this issue after viewing way too many posts by you that are stating the same thing over and over again. Plus your username seems to give away your attitude. Ease up a little because the world is not going to change for you. PS. There are many churches out there which are Single Friendly. I attended a group led by a single woman who had a degree from a noted Evangelical seminary and led over 300 singles. This was a church mind welcomed singles to be elders. My conclusion is that some churches do it well and other don't. Maybe it's time to look for another church. But I warn you that an overly pessimistic attitude will draw others away from you rather than draw them to you. I am certainly not asking you to become a Polly Anna which can be just as annoying as a Debbie Downer.

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Wit D

February 16, 2014  8:09pm

I wonder how many Christian single women are trying to win a man by offering sex [intentional or not]; just like the culture around them[us] is doing. It is ironic that the topic suggest that evangelicals are bad for marriage the very institution that is to be an example of the Christian faith. I believe too many Christians are heavily influenced by the culture and not by the bible. We are not allowing the bible to govern our actions and behaviour; How sad, yet we say we are followers of Christ. How sad...

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Gary Kemp

February 15, 2014  12:17pm

Some scholars in times past have posited that Paul was divorced, or at least, estranged. They reason that as a Jew with all his (Saul's) credentials, he almost assuredly been married. But, of course, there is no mention of a wife by Paul in any of his epistles. If this is so, perhaps we should consider said divorce/estrangement as a cost of following Christ. Just a thought... GK>

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Crab Grass

February 15, 2014  10:42am

Forget about the already-married. One big problem that is largely ignored by Christians is the fact that many Christian single women who are over the age of 30 and 40 desire to get married, but are single. One factor is that, based on data I've read, for every unmarried Christian adult man, there are three unmarried adult Christian women, so there are not enough Christian men to marry for all the ladies who want to marry. So they must stay single or marry a Non Christian. We ladies are promised by Christian culture when we are younger that if we pray, wait, and have faith, that God will reward us with a Christian spouse eventually (by our mid 20s or 30s). But then you end up in your 40s still single, despite all the advice. A lot of Christian teaching about dating actually serves to keep single men and women apart. A lot of it basically tells single men to stay away from single women, because women are supposedly temptresses. You can't really get married in America if you don't date.

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Mike Sechler

February 15, 2014  10:40am

Regnerus' comment about apples and oranges is very apt. Many secular or at least non-practicing religious people simple do not marry at all. In fact among the parents of the young children that go to school with my kids that is probably just as common now as married parents. So a better comparison would perhaps be to compare families with children and breakup rates whether they be officially married or not. I suspect that in that category there are many people who do not regularly practice any religion who separate and are not with the parent of their children. If you compared that group to the people who regularly practice some religion to see how many of them have not stayed married to the other parent of their children, I suspect you would find a fairly large gap. It is not unusual at all to find young parents with kids by 2-4 other partners. Very few of these people that I know are regularly involved in any religious practice.

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ANNA KATHRYN Hardin

February 15, 2014  10:22am

Do they include common law marriages? If someone has been living together and sharing expenses for a certain amount of time, they are as good as married in some states, especially if they have children. I agree that commitment to God and church is as important as commitment to each other in avoiding divorce. But I really think we are comparing apples and oranges.

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Gary Kemp

February 14, 2014  11:18pm

Here's a question: Is a nominal Christian a Christian at all? Jesus mentioned vomiting such lukewarm folks out of his mouth - - not a very good assurance of things eternal let alone temporal marriages! As such, comparing the nominal Christian marriages to secular ones is perhaps comparing apples to apples. As more and more churches lead their congregations to follow the way of the world, it's no wonder they reflect the stat's of the world regarding marriage! Jesus spelled out the servant's role for believers, and how we should truly love one another. Allowing this to enter into Christian marriages would certainly go a long way to changing the stats. FYI, my wife and I are working on 50 years being married; it's not all peaches and cream, but our love grows day by day. Oh, by the way, without Jesus firmly in the center of our lives, there is no possible way this could have happened! Praise and glory to Him!!! GK>

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Robert mason

February 14, 2014  8:25pm

Living together with the knowledge of the community is what marriage is in most cultures and in most of history. In God's eyes you have become one and your friends see you as exclusive. That's marriage. I used to joke that modern marriage is more like dating and modern dating more like marriage. Is it better to marry young or to be promiscuous and then marry later? Studies I have seen say promiscuity weakens later marriages and there is the problem of STDs and out of wedlock children. I'm not sure that it is fair or even reasonable to expect people to stay celibate during their peak sexual years. I was, but I had strong convictions and good social support and lived in a country in the mid east where there was less temptation. Parents need to support younger marriages, continue to help them through college, and get started financially the way parents throughout history did. If we are forcing young people to wait until they finish college, we are basically making money the driving value

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Mark Adams

February 14, 2014  4:54pm

In regards to Evangelicals not encouraging education I am not sure where they are getting their information. I guess our family would be considered to be evangelical leaning towards fundamentalism. My Dad has his Masters degree and my mother has her Bachelors degree. My sister has a Bachelor's degree. I have a Masters degree in Theology and my wife has a Bachelor's degree. Our oldest son has a Bachelor's degree and has done some graduate work. Our middle son has an Associates degree and has done some further studies. Our youngest son has his Bachelors degree. As far as marrying young goes, my wife and I were both 22 years old when we got married and we have now been married for nearly 34 years. It is more a matter of commitment than age.

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Mark Adams

February 14, 2014  4:49pm

If one were to factor in the number of those who live together and then break up as being equal to a divorce (I realize living together does not equal marriage)I wonder how the divorce statistics of the two groups would compare.

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Richard Magnus

February 14, 2014  3:04pm

Non-religious Americans simply don't get married as often. They're more likely to live together and avoid marriage to spare themselves the legal battles. If you go to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or other "post-Christian" parts of the country, it seems like more than half of people under 50 are never-marrieds. Since the author speaks of "evangelical Christians" discouraging higher education, it seems plain that the researchers focus on those parts of Protestantism we more usually call "fundamentalists" or "Pentecostals." These groups often draw people who have hit rock-bottom and want to radically change their lives. There is bound to be a lot of instability in some of these cases. So, in short, these numbers don't mean much.

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