Monday, December 04, 2006

Divorce rates among Christians by church attendance


(Post six of a series on Christian divorce rates)

The data presented previously showed an attendance effect, such that Christians who attended church most frequently also demonstrated the lowest levels of divorce.

Today's data look at the functional form of the relationship between church attendance and divorce rates. Again using data from the General Social Survey, I calculated what percentage of Christian respondents were divorced by how frequently they attended church. The results:

49% Never attend church
46% Less than once a year
46% About once or twice a year
42% Several times a year
42% About once a month
41% Two or three times a month
31% Nearly every week
27% Every week
28% Several times a week

You'll notice that the relationship isn't linear. It's easily seen in the graphical plot of these data at the top of this post. So, divorce ratess among Christian church-goers drops dramatically among those who go weekly.

Technical notes:
Data from the General Social Survey, 1985-2004, Christian respondents only (including evangelical, mainline Protestants, and Catholics). N = 18,392.

Tomorrow: Summary of findings

7 comments:

Benjamin said...

Brad-

That is very interesting... and so far encouraging to those of us who spend a lot of time trying to convince people that 90 minutes on Sunday is worth it...lol.

Thanks. I am looking forward to seeing some of your conclusions.

BD

Anonymous said...
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Mike W. said...

Does the GSS have a scale that measures "religiosity" or something similar (or are you using church attendance as a proxy for it)?

While I'm not surprised by your data, I can't help but think that the act of attending church ahs spurious effect on divorce; now, of course, if I could produce what I would think the actual causal variable is, I'd have a better comment. Can't win 'em all, I'm afraid.

Something about those anonymous commenters and inflammatory (and irrelevant) posts. There's a righteous direct correlation if I've ever seen one (based on anecdotal evidence, anyway).

Jay Livingston said...

Re: 90 minutes on Sunday. If you use this logic and look at the data on denomination (Nov. 30), you'd get even a bigger marriage-preserving bang for your time if you spent those 90 minutes in a Catholic church.

Correlation ain't cause.

Leck Hefln said...

Very thought provoking and informative. Thank you for bringing these data together for the non-acedemic crowd.

rongaskins said...

The old story that statistics don't lie, but liars do statistics comes to mind here. George Barna's numbers are appalling coming from someone who should be more trustworthy; but factoring in faith in Christ rather than church attendance significantly changes these numbers.

This still fails to erase the fact that even in Bible believing churches, the divorce rate is much higher than any of us would like to see. These spurious statistics from an otherwise trustworthy pollster are used to immobilize Christians any time we attempt to speak about marriage and general benefits of faith in Christ.

If there were only ONE divorce in all the church, it should break our hearts. If there were NO divorces in all of the church; and the married members among us were not being fulfilled and being a blessing to God through our sacrifices of faith, all of us should be sad.

Those who write here about the campaign for the Presidency must walk into the voting booth in November with JUDGMENT as your primary focus. You must JUDGE who in your mind will do the best job (not a perfect job!) of leading this country - yes, even the world - for the next four years. Character is the issue. Nothing prepares one to know ahead of time what decisions our President will face. What people have DONE (not what they 'say' they will do)in the past does indicate character. That is really the only window we have for people's hearts.

Character causes us to choose our friends and mentors. When I am talking to youth, I often say, "First you choose your friends, then your FRIENDS choose your lifestyle". They often get mad at me; but I have been watching life up close and personal for 60+ years; and I stand by that.

I am amazed at the numbers of people who are not willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to people who are candid about their past failures and ask forgiveness while at the same time, they seem to embrace the impenitent with ease. Biblical? I am just raising the question.

For those of you who don't see the undercurrents of spin control and masterful media management as well as willful participation on the part of the media, I urge you to consider the character of the media reporters too. They are not beyond bias.

The question of does objective truth actually exist comes to mind. If someone does not believe that objective truth exists and is discernible, anything they say or write has to be suspect because to them it doesn't matter if they are telling truth. What ever they say/write is "true" at the moment.

Self-reported polls among the media management finds them in the 90% range reporting themselves as liberal. The ground soldiers in the media are not quite that high, but they are way beyond 50%.

One single instance brings this to light. During Mr. Obama's trip to the Middle East, there were about 200 reporters traveling with him to report his every cough and muse ... and they didn't tell you that the nearly 200,000 Germans gathered were primarily there for a Rock concert. When Mr. McCain went to the Middle East, there were 6 (SIX) reporters who went with him. To them, it simply wasn't news.

Regardless of who you support, this should trouble you. The American people are simply NOT getting an unbiased picture of what is going on.

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