Is Religious Conservatism Bad for Marriage?

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by ursidman, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. ursidman
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    ursidman Well-Known Member

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    This would seem to be counterintuitive with such emphasis on family and marriage by conservative christians. But maybe such strict cultural expectations lead to disillusionment.
    Anyway, divorce in the Bible Belt is more common than elsewhere. Check out the map.

    http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01...nts-divorce-rates-spread-red-state-neighbors/

    Conservative Protestants in red states aren’t the only ones seeing high divorce rates — so are their neighbors, according to a new study.

    Researchers found that simply living in an area with a large concentration of conservative Protestants increases the chances of divorce, even for those who are not themselves conservative Protestants.

    According to researchers who took into account race, income and other factors, marriage and fertility trends that are common among conservative Protestants — younger marriage, more kids, less higher education — affect all people in areas most populated by conservative Protestants, no matter their personal religious affiliation.
  2. JerseyGator01
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    Yep, everything's a pro-lifers fault. Just ask Katie Couric.
  3. tim85
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    They took race, income, and 'other factors, into account, but yet, they don't mention it at all in the study, or am I missing something? Hard to really get a grip on the study when it's not published yet.

    EDIT : The study itself isn't published yet, nevermind
  4. g8orbill
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    it has not affected my marriage one bit
  5. asuragator
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    This is just the news article author's take. Given that they mention the other factors (presumably as controls), it means they are in the study. However, in studies like this, if the researcher is focusing on a particular effect--in this case, conservatism's effect on marriage outcomes, they will still interpret the effects of the control variables, at least if they are statistically significant.
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    While there are some valid points in that article, one thing I didn't see is the fact that conservative Christians are probably more likely to get married, in the first place. If you simply live together you'll probably break up, eventually, but it probably doesn't get tallied as a divorce in this kind of study.
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    Can't assume the researchers didn't take that into account based on a news article. I'd also note that the study isn't even out yet. It's not even available online at the AJS website so it must mean the UT Austin or the author herself contacted some media to chum the waters.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  8. tim85
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    I also wonder if the researcher took into account people who have been divorced more than once. What I mean is - if Bob has been divorced 3 times, and Larry once, does that count as 4 divorces, in turn raising the rate? I know I read one study about the rising rate of divorce rates and it included the divorces of people who had been divorced more once, which I think kind of inflates it. There are some people who simply marry, and marry, and marry, and marry, until someone sticks.
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  9. asuragator
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    Good question. Without having read the study I can't say, but I can say that if such a factor is important to interpretation, you can bet that Glass et al would include it, or at least try. Sometimes it depends on the data set.

    You are right though, getting married and divorced multiple times does artificially inflate the rate.. However, I do know that quite a few researchers have controlled for that specific issues in the sociological literature.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  10. ursidman
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    ursidman Well-Known Member

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    Would you expect more of that demographic in the bible belt? Why or why not?
  11. tim85
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    I have no idea either way. It would also be interesting to compare this with some historical context, as well as to marriage rates in general for the whole country. Someone mentioned this earlier - are people in the south also marrying at higher rates in general, which obviously would lead to higher divorce rates?

    I would imagine it's rising because as someone who grew up in a southern Baptist mega-church during the '90s, there appeared to be a brokenness amongst the youth where they were going to have an incredibly hard time assimilating and progressing with the secularity of our society. I think a lot of them were trying to find a way to catch up with the society they saw all around them [internet age, cell phone age, etc] but were also instilled with the things from their religious upbringing. I think a lot of it led to early marriages and consequently to a lot of early divorces as well. This is why I think some historical context would bring some clarity, at least for me.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  12. rivergator
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    As I've said here before, if religion makes you feel better about your place in the world, more comfortable with the thought of an afterlife and makes you treat your fellow man better, more power to you. I've seen no evidence that it produces any significant societal good. Nor the lack of it society problems.
  13. ursidman
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    ursidman Well-Known Member

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    Don't know for sure but I assume the researchers controlled for the rate of marriage and I agree that it is probably higher in the south due to societal mores - although probably not much longer. I think your 2nd paragraph lands squarely on the author's point. Interesting that you observed what the authors suggest as a cause as you were growing up. Very good point but couldn't we then expect to see a high divorce rate among religious cultures even more isolated who don't value education and tend to marry early? Amish? Hasidic? or maybe not because they tend to go "out" and mix it up in the world far less than the SB do and thus have a harder time throwing off their group's expectations. I don't know - but having grown up in the south in a family of conservative christians, I was surprised at the study's findings as reported.
  14. tim85
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    It's not meant for societal good, at least not Christianity.
  15. Gatormb
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    Did you type that with a straight face?
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    River, may I suggest you check out the following and edit your post on the lack of Christianity's "social good".

    Christianity and the abolition of slavery.
    http://www.amazon.com/Influence-Christianity-Promoting-Abolition-Slavery/dp/1437381847

    Christianity and the development of health care.
    http://st-eutychus.com/2013/christianity-and-the-development-of-health-care/

    The concept of charity is from Christianity.
    http://christiancadre.org/member_contrib/cp_charity.html

    My favorite Charity where the "Head" gets a small salary and modest house to live.
    www.salvationarmyusa.org

    The Salvation Army is serving more people in the United States than ever before. We are already seeing large increases in the number of Americans seeking the basic necessities of life - food, shelter, and warmth. Approximately 30 million people received help from The Salvation Army in 2012.

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    Children and Families

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    About The Salvation Army
    "Doing The Most Good." In these four words, our mission - to feed, to clothe, to comfort, to care. To rebuild broken homes and broken lives. By walking with the addicted, we can lead them to recovery. In fighting hunger and poverty, we can feed and nurture the spirit. And, in living and sharing the Christian Gospel by meeting tangible needs, we give the world a lasting display of the love behind our beliefs.

    The Salvation Army operates 7,546 centers in communities across the United States. These include food distribution, disaster relief, rehabilitation centers, anti-human trafficking efforts, and a wealth of children's programs. Our work is funded through kettle donations, corporate contributions, and the sale of goods donated to our Salvation Army Family Stores. Eighty-two cents of every dollar we spend supports our various missions across the country. We are a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, and contributions are deductible for Federal Income Tax Purposes to the extent permitted under Section 170(b)(2) for corporations.

    Our mission: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
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  17. Gatormb
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    Take it back or I'm going to put the "oogy boogy" on ya!:);)
  18. fastsix
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    But it takes 2 people to have a divorce. It may be Bob's 3rd divorce, but it might have been Betty's, Becky's, and Bertha's first divorce. And it's probably only a matter of time before Bob's 4th wife, Buffy, has her first divorce too. That Bob is a bastard.
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  19. AustinGator1
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    I would love to see the 'researchers' definition of 'Conservative Protestant'. As an example, Joel Osteen's church is Protestant and I would be willing to bet a large percentage of their members call themselves conservative but anyone who compares what Osteen preaches to conservativism knows the two don't line up.

    All that said, Christians in general have a very poor record on marriage and I have little doubt it has more to do with Christians conforming to this world which is something we are instructed not to do.
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  20. helix139
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    Part of it is many people these days are placing their own sin above their marriage. Far too many churches are too willing to bless a marriage between any man and women who walk in the door. That isn't Godly. My own church is taking a little heat for insisting that all of the couples we marry undergo marital counseling. As part of that counseling, it is our job to point out that if they are living in obvious sin such as living together before the marriage, that we show them biblically why that is wrong and ask them to repent (and in the case of living together to separate until after the ceremony) or we won't marry the couple in our church. Same thing if one or both members of the marriage is not a Christian and therefore the couple is unequally yoked, etc. if you want God to bless a marriage, you have to do it his way, but what we have found is that rather than acknowledging their sin and repenting that far too many people just want to hold onto it, which is going to separate them from God.

    The second big issue I see is a lot of divorce among the empty nesters, which happens a lot of times because they've made the kids the priority in the marriage rather than the spouse as it is biblically supposed to be. Their heart is in the right place in wanting to take care of their kids, but what happens is over those 18+ years, the spouses have become different people than they remember the other being. Parents have to make the time for each other, which means dates, time alone, and yes, regular intimacy. Without that they lose each other.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
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