Researcher Also Finds Majority of Christians Disagree with Related Bible Teaching
By Fred Jackson and Jody Brown
September 9, 2004
(AgapePress) - A new poll is confirming an apparent trend in Christianity to adopt the values of the world. Christian researcher George Barna has released the results of a new survey which show when it comes to divorce, there is little difference between born-again believers and the unsaved.
The Barna poll found that 35 percent of married, born-again Christians have been divorced at least once -- the same percentage as among married adults who are not born-again Christians. And nearly one-fourth of born-again Christians have been divorced at least twice.
Pollster George Barna suggests one reason the divorce rate is not higher among non-Christians is that today many do not bother to marry their partners in the first place, choosing instead to live together out of wedlock, side-stepping marriage -- and divorce -- altogether.
And one reason the rate of divorce is not lower among Christians may be that few people in the general population accept the notion that divorce is a sin. According to the Barna poll, only 15 percent strongly agreed (and 16 percent "moderately agreed") with the following statement: "When a couple gets divorced without one of them having committed adultery, they are committing a sin."
Two-thirds of the 3,600 adults polled disagreed with that statement. More than half (52 percent) of the born-again group did not agree that divorce without adultery is sin, whereas three-fourths of the non-Christians felt that way.
Among the groupings of those surveyed, 58 percent of Protestants and 69 percent of Catholics disagreed with Jesus' teaching that it is a sin to divorce for any reason other than adultery.
Barna offers these observations. "You can understand why atheists and agnostics might have a high rate of divorce, since they are less likely to believe in concepts such as sin, absolute moral truth, and judgment," he says. "Yet the survey found that the percentage of atheists and agnostics who have been married and divorced is very similar to the numbers for the born-again population."
The researcher says his findings do not paint a pretty picture for the future. "Given the current growth in the number of atheists and agnostics, and that the younger two generations [those born between 1946 and 1965, and between 1965 and 1983] are predisposed to divorce, we do not anticipate a reversal of the present pattern within the next decade."
Barna found that 46 percent of married individuals who were born in that earlier generation have already undergone a marital split. Slightly more than one-fourth of those among the younger group have already been divorced as well.
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