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Conservative Christianity strong predictor of divorce


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Interesting.

I'm wondering exactly how on affects the other.

Evangelical areas also tend to have higher rates of teen pregnancy (not all are full-on fundies, many more are fundie-lite). I wonder if there is a connection? Would you have more shotgun marriages, or step-children putting strain on marriages?

There's also the possibility that some folks may actually find evangelicals more welcoming - yes, the theology is stricter on paper, but they do more outreach to "lost sheep" and often welcome single moms. So, I wonder if evangelical congregations are growing faster in areas with higher divorce rates.

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I think that doggie also started a thread on this topic.

Fundies want to pretend that logic and common sense can be set aside if someone has enough faith. It is logical that a couple who has life experience, perhaps some sort of education and a better income will more likely have a more successful marriage.

Lots of people don't understand studies like these and will bring up that they or someone that they know married early and were happy. The studies can't say that some people will never beat the odds or have different experiences than the study predicts. It only says that you are more likely to divorce if you marry young and poor, not that it is impossible to have a happy marriage under those conditions.

My guess is that people who marry to get permission to have sex also have a higher likelihood of divorce.

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Some years ago I read a book called Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church, by James Ault, that went into this question a bit. What he found was something a lot like what 2xx1xy1JD was saying: although the church openly preached against divorce, it was tacitly accepted that members (even highly-placed ones) would eventually divorce and remarry. While by the letter of the law divorce is a sin, in the spirit of the law it was understood that all sins would be forgiven within the community for those who showed a desire to remain a part of it. The whole book is a really interesting ethnography of an IFB church in the 1980s and I would strongly recommend it to fundie watchers who like sociology. The same material also made up a PBS documentary series which I have not seen.

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Accepted in the church membership at large, and perhaps sometimes even in the church leadership, but never accepted by the ministers in Evangelical churches. Thus, the preaching from the pulpit is completely incongruent with the real life experiences of the congregants.

My father finally left the Evangelical church because no one would forgive HIM that despite all of his efforts to save his marriage to a cheating Narcissist, he ended up divorced and therefore cannot get a church position as a minister again.

He happens to have a higher education in secular fields as well and became a Dept Chair at same liberal arts college ultimately. But, he tried for years to get another church position and without fail his divorce marked him an unwanted pastor.

But, yes, I can see a LOT of reasons why Conservative Christianity would be correlated with increased divorce rates, even beyond young marriage and early parenthood. Most of what the Conservative Christian religious experience IS creates one ingredient that increases the divorce rate after another.

Now that I'm OUT (and oh so thankful for that reality) I am watching so many conservative friends whose 16, 17, 18 and 19 year old children are getting married and how HAPPY they are. All I can think is I hope I have stressed to my children sufficiently that marriage that young is NOT a good solution that I am not soon finding myself in those ranks. Heck, at least a couple of my friends still on those circles are grandparents, often with more than one grand-child, and they are my age--late 30s to early 40s. Their children are NOT older than mine. They are NOT older than I am. I am simply teaching my children differently now that I escaped that world (get a condom not a ring, for instance).

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Some years ago I read a book called Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church, by James Ault, that went into this question a bit. What he found was something a lot like what 2xx1xy1JD was saying: although the church openly preached against divorce, it was tacitly accepted that members (even highly-placed ones) would eventually divorce and remarry. While by the letter of the law divorce is a sin, in the spirit of the law it was understood that all sins would be forgiven within the community for those who showed a desire to remain a part of it. The whole book is a really interesting ethnography of an IFB church in the 1980s and I would strongly recommend it to fundie watchers who like sociology. The same material also made up a PBS documentary series which I have not seen.

Thanks for the book suggestion - I just read a review and it sounds like I may add it to my reading list.

My thinking on this started when I read this article on teen sex and teen pregnancy in red states vs. blue states:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008 ... act_talbot

The official policy is pretty hard-line BUT there is an acceptance and even expectation that most ordinary people (although not the leadership) will fall short of the idea. I have to admit, since I grew up in an area very much like a blue state, that a pregnant teen who kept her baby would probably not be as comfortable in my neighborhood. I had a case a number of years ago that showed me this - mom was from a smaller hick town known for low test scores and high teen pregnancy, while dad was from my area. They were both teens. Mom complained bitterly to me that the dad's mother refused to attend her baby showers, and viewed a teen pregnancy as something that would ruin their lives instead of happy news. No, people in my area would never condemn a pregnant teen as a sinning whore, but she wouldn't have much company and would be seen as someone who made some stupid choices, to the detriment of both her and her child. [Most folks wouldn't say this to her face, but would be thinking it.] At the same time, premarital sex with proper birth control was absolutely no big deal.

i don't think it's possible for more mainline groups to deal with the impact of the more evangelical groups without really understanding their appeal, and even borrowing some of the tactics when it comes to outreach.

The Ault book reminded me of a book on the outreach activities of Chabad Lubavitch (a Hasidic Jewish group). That author didn't share the groups conservative views, but did come to appreciate the outreach and acceptance and charitable activity.

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Now that I'm OUT (and oh so thankful for that reality) I am watching so many conservative friends whose 16, 17, 18 and 19 year old children are getting married and how HAPPY they are. All I can think is I hope I have stressed to my children sufficiently that marriage that young is NOT a good solution that I am not soon finding myself in those ranks. Heck, at least a couple of my friends still on those circles are grandparents, often with more than one grand-child, and they are my age--late 30s to early 40s. Their children are NOT older than mine. They are NOT older than I am. I am simply teaching my children differently now that I escaped that world (get a condom not a ring, for instance).

I'm in my early 20s and I've seen a LOT more young, quick marriages among my friends/peers than I ever anticipated. Not as young as that though! But similar reasons I think. I didn't think the area where I grew up was that conservative... but idk. One of my family friends got married purely for appearance reasons - her family didn't want her living with a boyfriend before she got married, and they threatened not to pay for her (very expensive) wedding if she waited a year and lived with him first like she wanted to. They are not religious, just really into having the "right" reputation. I'm surprised the couple is still together, honestly, but I imagine it would "look bad" to get divorced, so... I hope they are happy. :? I don't have a chance to talk to her much. (I know he's not abusive, but it worried me that up to about 2 months before the wedding, nobody really knew if it was still happening or not. If you're that unsure, I feel like it might be a better idea just to not have the fancy wedding rather than get married sooner just to please your parents.) I also know a few people who got engaged or married really quick because of religious reasons - I met them all where I live now though which is more Bible Belt-y.

ETA: Oh and after going through that whole drama with the family friends, my mom made a HUGE point that she doesn't want me to feel rushed into getting married because of religion or appearances... "It's much easier to break up than divorce!" :lol: (My parents are Catholic, but not the super conservative kind! My mom is also a huge supporter of birth control.)

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I have two friends whose oldest daughters have planned their wedding during the spring of their senior years in the last year. One of them was already pregnant, which I honestly think is a greater tragedy. Their daughters were both married within weeks of finishing high school and they thought it was awesome. I kept my opinions to myself, but frankly thought it was awful that their daughters thought this was what their lives had to come down to. Both are stay at home wives and one has already had a baby.

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