According to statistics, Southern Christians are more likely to experience divorce than members of other faith groups, living in other regions of the country. Alarming for fundamentalist, is the stark reality that Agnostics and Atheists experience a significantly lower rate of divorce than Christians. Relating specifically to the South, low income, low educational attainment, and marriage at an early age, are all factors contributing to the higher rate of unsuccessful marriages.
Because Christianity is a religion centered on love of Christ and family devotion, the statistical date on divorce is very difficult for conservative Christians to process. In their quest for answers, fundamentalists handily blame the secular world. They contend that those who ultimately consider divorce, do so, because they have allowed secular trends to overrule their religious convictions, negatively influencing decisions made regarding marriage. They further suggest that this “worldly” view of marriage, creates an environment of support for those who choose to leave their marriages when they “stop being fun” or when daunting challenges present themselves.
In reality, Christians (as well as non-Christians) get divorced. Undoubtedly, husbands and wives are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their respective marriages . But, the high rate of Christian divorce raises many questions directly relating to the effectiveness of churches in ministering to families. Clearly, the answer does not lie in questioning why one particular group apparently turns to divorce more often than others. Rather, solutions should be sought to address the needs of all who enter into the sacred covenant of marriage and experience serious difficulties along the way. Certainly, ministers and other qualified counselors must endeavor to reach out to troubled couples and help save families.
Written by: Sandra Prewitt