Marriage and Born Again Christians
April 1, 2008, 6:13 am
Filed under: Christendom, culture, media, politics

The Barna organization just released some study stats on marriage and divorce.  There are a number of interesting aspects to this thing.  But I’ll pick two to highlight.

First, the study notes that of the 3792 adults surveyed, 33% had experienced a divorce.  Of these, “born again Christians” had a 32% likelihood of divorce, atheists or agnostics came in at 30%, and “Evangelical Christians” had a 26% rate.  Great, isn’t it?  All our rallying for the “sanctity of marriage” in the public square, and that’s what we have to show for it.  All those blasted homosexuals are “threatening to undermine the institution of marriage.”  Yep, it’s all on them . . . never mind that we heterosexuals are able to stick together only a little better than band-aids and wet skin.  I mean, what would we do if homosexuals had the same rights to get divorced as straight people?

I’m not an advocate for gay marriage.  I don’t really have an adamant position one way or the other on it.  I AM an advocate for more honest, even-handed dialog on the matter, though.

The other thing I find notable is that in Barna’s description, people are categorized as “born again Christian” is they say “they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.”  Apparently making a “personal commitment to Jesus Christ” and going to Heaven (that’s Barna’s capital H, by the way, which I suppose means it has a zip code) is less helpful for marriage longevity than atheism.  Granted, the study did not ask respondents when their divorces took place – before or after their “born again” experiences.  But still, don’t you think the marriage debate in this nation ought to be colored with just a little more grace, given that we’re so very broken in this area?

And what does this say about the way we define our terms?  Being born again has almost nothing to do with being whole-life apprentices to Jesus.  It’s all about going to Heaven after we die.  I’ve heard Todd Hunter say on multiple occasions that maybe we see this kind of incongruity in Christians, not in spite of the way we do evangelism and talk about heaven, but because of it.


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