God-damned divorces! Err....
October 6, 2006 11:56 AM   Subscribe

An interesting link breaking apart the myths of religious affiliation and the divorce rate. They also take on divorce rates in interfaith couples.
posted by Kickstart70 (82 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Northeast agnostics FTW. Take that suckas!
posted by Mister_A at 11:59 AM on October 6, 2006


Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significently higher than for other faith groups, and for Atheists and Agnostics.

In your face, losers!
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on October 6, 2006


/atheist dance
posted by riotgrrl69 at 12:05 PM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is cool. Especially since I'm a northeastern atheist. (Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the nation).
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:07 PM on October 6, 2006


I posted this in a recent AskMe thread, but here's an interesting Vancouver Sun article on the rise in interfaith marriages in Canada.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:09 PM on October 6, 2006


"These findings confirm what I have been saying these last five years. Since Atheist ethics are of a higher caliber than religious morals, it stands to reason that our families would be dedicated more to each other than to some invisible monitor in the sky. With Atheism, women and men are equally responsible for a healthy marriage. There is no room in Atheist ethics for the type of 'submissive' nonsense preached by Baptists and other Christian and/or Jewish groups. Atheists reject, and rightly so, the primitive patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in many religions with respect to marriage."

You go, Ron Barrier!
posted by Artw at 12:10 PM on October 6, 2006


Ron Barrier is an awesome name.
posted by Mister_A at 12:12 PM on October 6, 2006


How surprising that a relationship composed of two pathologically dogmatic individuals isn't sustainable. Color me bemused.
posted by docpops at 12:13 PM on October 6, 2006


Ron Barrier is an awesome name.

For a porn star.
posted by jonmc at 12:15 PM on October 6, 2006


> Ron Barrier is an awesome name.

For a porn star.


Your point? It's not like you've swayed anyone from thinking otherwise.
posted by grubi at 12:18 PM on October 6, 2006


I have no point. I was making a joke. Relax, have some dip.
posted by jonmc at 12:19 PM on October 6, 2006


Ya, still awesome. Perhaps even incrementally awesomer.
posted by Mister_A at 12:19 PM on October 6, 2006


Some denominations have a 0% divorce rate by following a simple rule: if you divorce then you're excommunicated.
posted by StarForce5 at 12:20 PM on October 6, 2006


I have no point. I was making a joke. Relax, have some dip.
posted by jonmc at 2:19 PM CST on October 6 [+] [!]


jonmc, I will gladly partake of your dip!
posted by disgustipated at 12:21 PM on October 6, 2006


Is it that onion dip? Ooh maybe some guacamole!!11!!!1
posted by Mister_A at 12:22 PM on October 6, 2006


U.S. divorce rates for various faith
groups, age groups, & geographic areas

Originally written: 2000-APR-27

DIVORCE RATES AMONG INTER-FAITH MARRIAGES

Originally written: 2002-MAR-20
posted by dios at 12:22 PM on October 6, 2006


fwiw, I'm religious but "conservative" in the old sense, as in "not a control freak about who else puts what where when." Oddly, I'm separated-pending from somebody I thought was religious too, and whose church attendance is certainly better than mine, but I see now that it was more a social norm for her than a need for spiritual sustenance.

In grappling with the early stages of the discord that brought us to this pass, I was referred to some flavors of Xtianity that were into the whole patriarchy and submission thing. Eeeewwwwww....I need a shower just thinking about how it made me feel to be in a room full of people who genuinely thought that way in Jesus' name. Dunno how that would've played out, but I couldn't have attempted it with a straight face anyhow.

On preview: Where are the BBQ chips to go with the dip?
posted by pax digita at 12:23 PM on October 6, 2006


Some denominations have a 0% divorce rate by following a simple rule: if you divorce then you're excommunicated.

I think that is a lie. Even the Jehovah's Witnesses allow divorce without disfellowshipping.
posted by parmanparman at 12:23 PM on October 6, 2006


Are you sure? This is all I have for chips.
posted by jonmc at 12:23 PM on October 6, 2006


It seems that religion in general (read: IN GENERAL) fails to promote a respect for the beliefs of others. That's why I believe that beliefs are not a positive thing to posses.
posted by disgustipated at 12:24 PM on October 6, 2006


Are you sure? This is all I have for chips.
posted by jonmc at 2:23 PM CST on October 6 [+] [!]


It's all about breaking bread, brother...not the taste!
posted by disgustipated at 12:25 PM on October 6, 2006


Did you ever read that Woody Allen thing where the protagonist professes his hate for the guy who invented Clamato, and threatens to scratch his face should they ever meet? That's all I can think of when I see Clamato.

So ya, anyway, divorce...
posted by Mister_A at 12:25 PM on October 6, 2006


Ron Barrier...if he were a "brownshoe" (Navy aviation community), his nickname surely would be "Crash." /derail
posted by pax digita at 12:26 PM on October 6, 2006


Those taste like a vaguely off crunchy bloody mary.
posted by jonmc at 12:26 PM on October 6, 2006


It would be of interest to know if different color marriage are as statistically similar to marriage between people of different religions. Since we are told that money, sex and finding another potential mate often lead to divorce, this religion thing just another factor in the resons for divorce.

But the stats that would interest me would be those of people who remarry. What percent of those people remarry within or outside of their religion a second time?

The 50% divorce rate suggests that marriage is a crap shoot: heads you stay married; tails you don't.
posted by Postroad at 12:26 PM on October 6, 2006


Since Atheist ethics are of a higher caliber than religious morals,

Wow, I agree with him totally on this point, but man, I'm betting it's sure to raise some hackles.
posted by quin at 12:27 PM on October 6, 2006


This is pretty old. There must be more recent polling data, but I'm having big troubles googling it; there's a lot of muck out there.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:27 PM on October 6, 2006


There is no room in Atheist ethics for the type of 'submissive' nonsense preached by Baptists and other Christian and/or Jewish groups. Atheists reject, and rightly so, the primitive patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in many religions with respect to marriage."

Why throw out the baby with the bath water? WTF HEATHENS?!
posted by gigawhat? at 12:32 PM on October 6, 2006




Hey guys, sorry I'm late. Did I miss the cips and dip?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:37 PM on October 6, 2006


Great fun to read. Thanks.

I think the practice of living together for a time prior to marriage is going to have a huge impact on these statistics in the coming decades. It seems to cement a good relationship and prevent those that might otherwise end in divorce. And whether athiest/agnostic or a liberal version of some organized religion, I think this practice is increasing. I worked in a nationwide retail chain for years that had a robust wedding registry program. In six years or registering young couples for this, I was amazed to note (as an informal observation) that a high percentage - maybe over 80% - listed the same address for the bride and groom.
posted by ghiacursed at 12:38 PM on October 6, 2006


I haven't had Clamato anything, but I do like a Hot-n-Spicy V8 from time to time. Especially if it's mixed with Vodka and Worcheshire(?).
posted by disgustipated at 12:38 PM on October 6, 2006


The 50% divorce rate suggests that marriage is a crap shoot: heads you stay married; tails you don't.
That's an odd game of craps you've got going there.
posted by fvw at 12:41 PM on October 6, 2006


The 50% divorce rate suggests that marriage is a crap shoot: heads you stay married; tails you don't.

A social disaster both in and out of religious circles and yup something to be thunk about all right.

Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significently higher than for other faith groups, and for Atheists and Agnostics.


For the statistically-challenged: this would no doubt be due to the fact that Christians are more likely to get formally married in the first place rather than live together, no?

Since Atheist ethics are of a higher caliber than religious morals,

Wow, I agree with him totally on this point, but man, I'm betting it's sure to raise some hackles.


I don't know about hackles but it causes a chuckle and raises a question: where's the manual? Where's the definitive guide to Atheist Ethics.
posted by scheptech at 12:43 PM on October 6, 2006


ghiacursed writes "I think the practice of living together for a time prior to marriage is going to have a huge impact on these statistics in the coming decades. It seems to cement a good relationship and prevent those that might otherwise end in divorce."

The data actually show (and you can look this up yourself, I shouldn't be spending time metafiltering right now as it is....) that couples who cohabitate prior to marriage have a higher divorce rate than those who don't. Of course there's a huge confounding factor: non-cohabitating couples tend to be more socially conservative, which means they might be less likely to consider divorce a viable option. I'm not sure if anyone's figured out a way to do the study that that works out that confounder....
posted by mr_roboto at 12:50 PM on October 6, 2006


mr_roboto

Wow. That fits in a weird way with that stat about Rev. Moon hooking up his congregation and only resulting in 17% divorce. Obviously, that's not what I expected. Thanks.
posted by ghiacursed at 12:55 PM on October 6, 2006


I would be interested to see if there were statistics that implied conservative religious couples also married at a younger age. Isn't there supposed to be a correlation between age at marriage and likelyhood of divorce?
posted by sourmike at 1:05 PM on October 6, 2006


I was told there would be pie and free beer. Where's the pie and free beer?!@!

Meh. What kind of athiest meeting is this with no pie and beer?


I have the observation that divorce rates are lower when parties define boundries before engaging in cohabitation. Usually finding out that someone is an utter slob or a complete prissy clean freak is a good thing to know if your going to share a toilet for longer than a night.
posted by daq at 1:15 PM on October 6, 2006


I'm not sure if anyone's figured out a way to do the study that that works out that confounder....

Any of a number of regression-based techniques.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:15 PM on October 6, 2006


*kicks a Christian*
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:22 PM on October 6, 2006


ROU_Xenophobe writes "Any of a number of regression-based techniques."

I'm not an expert, but it seems to me that the main problem isn't doing the statistical analysis, but obtaining accurate data on couples' attitudes to divorce prior to and throughout their marriages. Maybe it's conceptually simple, but difficult to implement, like a big longitudinal study. I'd be really interested in knowing if something like this has been done.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:23 PM on October 6, 2006


For the statistically-challenged: this would no doubt be due to the fact that Christians are more likely to get formally married in the first place rather than live together, no?
That struck me, as well. If an atheist couple never gets married at all, then splits after 5, 10, or 50 years, they're not counted in the statistics, right?
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:24 PM on October 6, 2006


*kicks a Christian*

I can't find one in the office, so I'm just going to give a unitarian the stinkeye, cool?
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:25 PM on October 6, 2006


I tried sorting out the data. The site says approximately 50% cumulative divorce rate and the other site gives divorce rates of 19 to 27% depending on whether you are from NE to SE. And the data for divorce rate by age never goes above 37%. The divorce rate by faith seems to be 21% (Catholics), 29% (Baptists), 30% (Jewish). How is all of this getting bumped up to 50%?
And the rate for the Unification Church is 17% divorce but that's sampled 18 years after the mass marriages (compared to the other rates which are cumulative). So it isn't much different from the Catholics rate - this in spite of the facts that less than half were American citizens and the study sampled marriages that took place in Seoul, Korea (6000 marriages) and New York (2000 marriages). A bit of apples versus oranges. Even taking the Unification Church data at face value, they aren't much better.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:29 PM on October 6, 2006


The data actually show (and you can look this up yourself, I shouldn't be spending time metafiltering right now as it is....) that couples who cohabitate prior to marriage have a higher divorce rate than those who don't.

I thought I would sift through the National Center for Health Statistics report on Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States (5.5 MB PDF link) to get more of a read on this, but those people are too good at their jobs; I can't find the time to put all of those numbers together in a meaningful way. :) Nevertheless, I thought the link might be of interest to some who would like to do so.
posted by Brak at 1:37 PM on October 6, 2006


It's got nothing to do with religion per se, and everything to do with the natural resentment that accompanies having to get out of bed at eight o'clock in the morning every freaking Sunday.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:39 PM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Atheists and Agnostics have the lowest divorce rate of all. Very interesting, I suspect it has to do with less external pressures toward marriage, resulting in a more sincere committment when it occurs, and a lower marriage rate overall.
posted by Manjusri at 1:40 PM on October 6, 2006


The site says approximately 50% cumulative divorce rate ... 19 to 27% ... 37%. ... 21% (Catholics), 29% (Baptists), 30% (Jewish). How is all of this getting bumped up to 50%?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:29 PM EST on October 6


People get divorced more than once. The latter figures are, I believe, for individual marriages.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:41 PM on October 6, 2006


You've all got it wrong. It all goes back to what I call Faze's First Law of Religious Proportion: "Big sinners need big religion." People are drawn to severe sects and fundamentalist churches because they are aware that they lack control and need a strong structure of beliefs and external support to keep themselves in line. It should be no surprise that the big sinners who are attracted to big religion should have trouble keeping a marriage together.
posted by Faze at 1:46 PM on October 6, 2006 [3 favorites]


Atheists think atheists are more moral. I'm speechless with astonishment.

Now, pass the dip. And the beer. There'd better be beer with the dip.
posted by languagehat at 1:51 PM on October 6, 2006


xs think xs are more moral.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:56 PM on October 6, 2006


im in ur churches divorcin ur xtians
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:01 PM on October 6, 2006 [2 favorites]


No, Joannemerriam, I got it wrong but I've had more time to meditate on how I got it wrong. The cumulative divorce rate can be fifty percent, but that's only if you get people at the end of their life. The survey of what percentage of people are divorced would center around how many are divorced by the average length of marriage of those surveyed. If you randomly sample X number of married adults, you'll probably have an average age of about 45 and an average amount of time passed since first marriage of about 20 years.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:01 PM on October 6, 2006


Suck it haters! We totally won and your lame excuses and quibbles about the rules count for nothing!

Now, since we now official rule the concept of Marriage how about we shake it up a little, like maybe by letting the homos in on it.
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on October 6, 2006


Man-on-dog! Man-on-dog!
posted by Mister_A at 2:07 PM on October 6, 2006


... and divorce is necessarily a bad thing why?
posted by kyrademon at 2:16 PM on October 6, 2006


Oh, look, it's Mr Moral Relativist!
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on October 6, 2006


... and divorce is necessarily a bad thing why?

Because if Christians have to stay in their unsatisfying marriages because of social/religious taboo, then dammit, so should the rest of us.
posted by SBMike at 2:51 PM on October 6, 2006


Wait .. I only scanned TFA, but the statistics it lists are people who "are or have been divorced". Isn't the easiest way to not get divorced to not get married? Does this survey say what it claims to say? It doesn't look like it to me, or it doesn't prove it. It could also just mean that atheists don't get married and Christians do.

[I'm a devoted atheist, so I'm not trying to be contrarian. Just that I think this doesn't hold water.]
posted by rogue haggis landing at 2:51 PM on October 6, 2006


sourmike: surprise! those who marry young are more likely to get divorced - some interesting correlations of divorce.
posted by kookaburra at 3:12 PM on October 6, 2006


Personally I'm surprised that no one ever mentions the possible negative effects of celebrity weddings on common folk. Celebrities are often seen as role-models, and we all know that they get married and divorced on a very frequent basis, I think there is a strong correlation between the rise of the divorce rate amongst normals as regards to those of celebrities.
posted by Vindaloo at 3:24 PM on October 6, 2006


Speaking of Clamato... reminds me of my youth.

I was 18 and working at a discount retailer. The female pharmacist was quite a bit older (35?) and very, very attractive, and single. This, of course, made her a constant beacon on my teenage libido's radar.

She was an avid Clamato drinker. One day we kissed, and while she was a most adventurous and erotic kisser, the residual taste of the Clamato was revolting.

She invited me to her house for dinner. I was assured there'd be more where that came from... I took that to mean both the kissing and the Clamato.

I declined. To this day I still think I made the right decision. That stuff is gross on a level that I can't possibly begin to describe.
posted by Ynoxas at 3:34 PM on October 6, 2006


This is obvious to a lot of apostate christians. Christians get married recklesslessly more often for the same reasons kids with poor or no sex-ed have unsafe sex. When sex is not an option, you don't worry about. Same goes for divorce.
Catholics pull it off better because they've got the the guilt thing down to an ancient, ancient science.

Less fundy folks who accept the practice of divorce actually end up doing more to avoid, ie waiting to marry, experimenting more with sex and live-in relationships before marraige.
posted by es_de_bah at 3:35 PM on October 6, 2006


No, seriously. I got divorced, and I'm very glad of it. (If it matters, I'm agnostic, and lived in Massachusetts at the time of the divorce, but whatever.) Why should lower divorce rates be held up as one group's superiority to another?

I understand pointing out the hypocrisy, e.g., that the groups who are loudly claiming that marriage is forever and divorce is a sign of hedonism and leading everyong into a moral sewer etc. etc. are getting divorced more than anyone else, and I understand enjoying the schadenfreude there, but ... why is anyone sensible treating the idea of lower divorce rates = a better thing as a serious concept?
posted by kyrademon at 3:47 PM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


for those pointing out the the stats don't count people who don't get married, I think the point was about how faith applies to the those people who do choose to get married. It's not about which group has the most married people or the most divorced people.

I agree with those asking what's wrong with divorce. It always bugs me when people say that something isn't good if it doesn't last forever. Some, maybe even most, divorces are for the best. And for some of those, the marriage was good but just didn't work out (usually with some ugliness at the end).
posted by sineater at 5:17 PM on October 6, 2006


kyrademon: --why is anyone sensible treating the idea of lower divorce rates = a better thing as a serious concept?

It's an indicator of the rate at which marriages fail. It's better for people's emotional well-being, not to mention the emotional and financial well-being of their children, if their marriages succeed rather than failing. (That isn't to say that people shouldn't get divorced if their marriages fail; the divorce rate is a symptom of failure.)

Regarding cohabitation before marriage: there's a difference, but it's not that much, according to this page. Divorce is more likely when women ... cohabitated before marriage (18% for non-cohabitators versus 24% for cohabitators).
posted by russilwvong at 5:33 PM on October 6, 2006


scheptech"For the statistically-challenged: this would no doubt be due to the fact that Christians are more likely to get formally married in the first place rather than live together, no?"

And scheptech gets the prize for most statistically chalenged, either that or the prize for lying through his teeth.

The data is not on *number* of divorces, but on divorce *rates*. That is, for every 1,000 athiests who get married, how many divorce versus the same 1,000 Christians who get married. If the actual number of athiests getting married is lower it won't affect that statistic at all, we're talking about divorce rates.

It is possible that athiests get married less often than religionists, it may even be the case though I wouldn't count on it. But so what? The point is that athiests who do marry are less likely to divorce.

I can only conclude that either a) scheptech is stupid, or b) he's lying to make his allies and co-religionists look better.
posted by sotonohito at 5:36 PM on October 6, 2006


I think scheptech actually has a point. If non-religious people who know that they're at high risk for divorce are less likely to get married--that is, if there's any selection effect--whereas almost all religious people get married (because otherwise they're not supposed to have sex), then this'll make a difference in the divorce statistics.

Put differently: divorce statistics don't tell us anything about failure rates for all long-term relationships (including cohabitation as well as marriage). For all we know, the rates of failure for long-term relationships are the same for both religious and non-religious people.
posted by russilwvong at 5:54 PM on October 6, 2006


Where are the statistics for the percentage of atheists getting into heaven?
posted by rks404 at 6:02 PM on October 6, 2006


Same as for theists.
posted by NortonDC at 6:12 PM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Just sign me up for Limbo.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:33 PM on October 6, 2006


My statistics are a little rusty but...

I think the point that scheptech is making is that the strongest factor is marrying young. Specifically if your first marriage is at a young age, you're more likely to divorce.

Because cultural factors might result in conservative religious groups being over-represented in the first-marriage-at-a-young age demographic, there's a correlation, but it's unlikely to be a contributing factor to divorce.

The argument is that divorce rates will be higher for religious conservatives, because the rate of young marriages is higher than the rest of the population.

Now, if the divorce rates for young marriages as a whole were still lower than the divorce rates for young marriages of religious conservatives, there's a strong argument for cause. And if the actual age of first marriage for religious conservatives was the same or older than the rest of the population, that would be even clearer.

Of course, no one said that being a born-again christian caused divorce, just that it didn't prevent it (despite the claims of the family values folks).
posted by sourmike at 6:38 PM on October 6, 2006


almost all religious people get married (because otherwise they're not supposed to have sex), then this'll make a difference in the divorce statistics.

I know some very devout Christians who have had sex with more people than everyone else I know put together. And who aren't married. I'm not sure I can get behind this "almost all" thing.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:53 PM on October 6, 2006


we're talking about divorce rates.

We're talking atheist apples and christian oranges. An atheist who separates after a first relationship, then goes on to marry and keep someone else is counted as a 100% success. A Christian in the same situation and believing in the necessity of marriage will contribute to the 50/50 statistic. An accurate comparison of the two groups would require tracking all longer term relationships, not just marriages.

... and divorce is necessarily a bad thing why?


Well, as a child of divorced parents I think I can help out on this one: divorce can be very hard on kids.

Somehow we're just dysfunctional in this area, lousy at generating good matches. Whether some particular groups rate, is 30% or 50% it's still an incredibly poor result and nothing to take pride in no matter who you are.
posted by scheptech at 7:22 PM on October 6, 2006


scheptech, that isn't what you said though. You very specifically said that the statistics lied because you suspected that fewer athiests got married (and you have no evidence for that one, it may be true but you haven't cited anything). The only thing the article does is measure athiest apples to theist apples: divorces per 1,000. Of the *marriages* that do happen an athiest marriage is more likely to survive than a religionist marriage is.

If religionists are getting divorced more often because they marry young (presumably because they want to screw and their religion tells them no screwing before marriage) that's an indicator that not only do religionists get divorced more often, but is a direct "Religion causes divorce" type relationship. If athiests don't get divorced as often because they're willing to shack up for a while, screw outside marriage, and only get married when they've found someone they really like and get along with, I'd say that's evidence that athiesm causes a lower divorce rate.

You can't say its apples and oranges, we're talking about one, single, thing: divorces per 1,000. Athiest marriages are not legally different from religionist marriages.
posted by sotonohito at 8:17 PM on October 6, 2006


Yeah, atheists are lower than most Christian denominations, but check out the Moonies, clocking in at 17.4%. Suck it, Lutherans.

The take away lesson apparently is: For a marriage to succeed, it helps a little not to believe in God. But it helps more if you're mass-married along with a thousand other people and your partner is chosen arbitrarily by an insane megalomaniac.

And speaking as an atheist, sheptech's complaint only begins to scratch the surface of plausible explanations other than 'Christians are morally inferior people' (not that we should rule that out either ;) ). For example, I'd posit that, due to the homophobia espoused therein, homosexuals who are conservative Christians are far more likely to marry people of the opposite sex and then flame out horribly. Also, religious couples with wildly different levels of devotion can be a problem. For example, where one half kinda-sorta believes in God in a 'God wants me to be happy and wake up late on Sunday' way and the other one is uptight about it. Add a kid and the inevitable arguments about how he'll be churched, and ugh, it's a disaster in the making.
posted by boaz at 8:24 PM on October 6, 2006


boaz: While I will claim to be morally superior to religionists in general, I don't think moral superiority is the cause here. All the reasons you list sound like they may be valid explanaitons of the phenominon, but you'll notice that they all boil down to: "Religion causes people to get married when they shouldn't, which results in a higher divorce rate." Or, more simply: religion causes divorce.

You're exploring why the statistics are what they are, and that's great (that's what statistics are for), but sheptech was claiming that the statistics were false, and that's not great. Saying "religionists get married for a lot of messed up reasons" doesn't make the statistics wrong.
posted by sotonohito at 8:45 PM on October 6, 2006


sotonohito - I'm not saying these particular statistics are wrong in themselves, I really have no idea, but I am saying there's more than one way to interpret them. You want to limit analysis to relationships defined by legal marriage as does the article, and that's just fine as far as it goes.

Looking into things a little deeper though, I'm suggesting there's another type of equivalent but unmeasured, unreported 'atheist marriage' that would likely make a difference to the conclusions we draw about it all, if we knew what their numbers were. How would one of these marriages be defined? You live with someone for a year before breaking up, or a month? It may be that in total number of serious/sexual/maybe-it'll-last relationships that end in separation, Christians actually do better since, presumably on average, they have less of these early unreported relationships - they're more likely to go on record by getting married in the first place.

Again, someone who marries twice and divorces once has a 50% success rate - someone who has several broken relationships first, then marries Mr or Ms Right has a perfect record if all we're looking at is state-recorded behavior. Any conclusions we might draw from these stats about any given groups ability to pick good partners or keep 'em by treating them well is suspect because: they're incomplete. There's a lot of relationship activity going on out there not reflected in these numbers.
posted by scheptech at 10:32 PM on October 6, 2006


On the other side of the coin, I would definitely never equate 'making something up that might explain it' with 'looking into things deeper'. Looking into things deeper would involve actually doing a study with a statistically significant number of subjects to test for the effect one's positing.

And let's face it, I don't care enough about religion or divorce to do something like that, and religious people, by definition, are fine with just making something up to explain away problems. Thus, we'll probably never know.
posted by boaz at 11:54 PM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Where's the definitive guide to Atheist Ethics?

I was looking for the definitive guide to Christian Ethics, but all I found was the Bible. It just contradicts itself all over the place, so that can't be it.

(maybe the problem is people looking for an authority to tell them how to act?)
posted by LooseFilter at 12:14 PM on October 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's hardly surprising, because, as we all know, Atheists don't actually get married, per se. They form pacts with Satan, instead.
posted by Sparx at 4:20 PM on October 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


For the statistically-challenged: this would no doubt be due to the fact that Christians are more likely to get formally married in the first place rather than live together, no?

That struck me, as well. If an atheist couple never gets married at all, then splits after 5, 10, or 50 years, they're not counted in the statistics, right?


Pft. You've got to be joking. We want wedding gifts as much as the next couple.

My wife's marriage proposal to me (after five years together, four of living together): "You know, if we get married we'll get gifts."
Me: "Hey, you're right. That would be cool."

We were married about six months later. :)

We have $45 rings we used in the ceremony. Each person's is identical. They are nice little silver Celtic knot rings.

We've been together 14 years now.
posted by smallerdemon at 10:48 PM on October 7, 2006


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