Religion and Divorce: Better the Devil you know?

We live in a society where people have different religious beliefs and practices. But, research suggests that those who are more religious are likely to be shaken in their faith, after divorce. So, this begs the question, are religious people less likely to get a divorce than non-religious people?
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Research done by Stephen Jenkins, Professor of Economic and Social Policy in 2010 proves that those who get divorced become less engaged in religious activities. It is because they feel unwelcome or like outsiders. Although, everyone can attend religious services, their subjective feelings about not being a member of the community anymore often prevails all other emotions.

Another reason why divorced or separated parents reduce their involvement in religious activities is because they feel uncomfortable in their communities. This eventually causes a reduction of religious involvement by their children, says Professor Wilcox in 2006. On the other hand, many divorced people admit that practicing their religions helped them deal with the emotional trauma caused by their divorce.

Traumas can occur because making a decision about getting a divorce is more difficult for those who are religious than for those who are non-religious. It is because getting divorced after a couple were married with a religious ceremony or communion can make them feel as if divorce caused a sacred loss and or a sense of desecration. This results in a greater dilemma of whether the couple should split up or not, because a religious marriage has a different meaning than a secular one.

For non-believers marital ceremonies, mean making a promise to another person and signing official documents to make it legal. However, at any time when a person changes his or her mind, the couple can divorce without any religiously compromising consequences.

For Christians, however, marriage is a sacrament taken in Church where a couple is bound together by God. This inadvertently means that Christian marriages are a relationship of three people: him, her and Jesus.

Another thing which can prevent people from getting divorced is some verses from the Bible. Many teachings in the Bible say that “what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark10:9)

However, in extreme cases, this does not mean, that when a husband abuses his wife, she should stay with him. Although, most major religions do not accept divorces, they promote separation in situations when a woman’s life is in danger.

Not only do religious marital ceremonies help in preservation of marriages, but they also enable the religious practices of the couple to be preserved or carried on. There is a saying that “the family that prays together, stays together” created by Father Patrick Peyton, an Irish Roman Catholic priest living since 1909 until 1992. Likewise, there is a lot of research confirming its truthfulness as well. One of them is a research study done by the Barna Group in 2009, which proved that only 28% of Catholics divorced and that Evangelical Christians have just a 26% divorce rate.

But, the Gospel Coalition, an organisation consisting of evangelical pastors and theologians, noted that there is a difference in the divorce rates of those who actively practice their religion and those who just consider themselves to be Catholic, by name alone.

Nominal Catholics are said to be five percent less likely to get divorced than non-religious people. However, actively practicing Catholics are claimed to have a 31 % less likely chance of getting a divorce than non-religious people.

Another point in Barna Group’s research discovered that other Christians had a divorce rate of just 33 %. The Gospel Coalition also found that conservative Protestants are 35 % less likely to get a divorce than non-religious people.

However, Protestants who do not practice their religion as frequently, were only 10 percent less likely to divorce than non-religious persons, as well.

Besides, about 31 % of Muslim couples’ are claimed to get a divorce, as explained in a research study conducted by Dr. Ilyas Ba-Yunas, a sociology Professor at State University of New York between 1992-2002 The Barna Group also looked at those of Jewish faith when conducting a study in 2013, results found that 30 % of those surveyed have been divorced, as well.

The Mormons also have a low divorce rate with only 6 %. However, in marriages where one of them is Mormon, the marriage is said to more likely end in divorce than any other inter-faith marriages according to

One would say that if people do not practice their religions, it means that they do not fully believe in its teachings. This could also be why those who do not practice any religion have shown to have higher rates of divorce than those who were married under the practice of religious services.

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