Seven Most Interesting Lies from Bad Church Statistics

February 12, 2015

Lies vs TruthSociologist Bradley Wright recently wrote a book that shatters popular myths that tend to bash Christians or churches. The book’s title says it all: Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites: And Other Lies You’ve Been Told. Warren Bird, a friend of Exponential, has a short blog post summarizing 7 of these myths. Check it out below…

Myth #1. The divorce rate among Christians is as high as that of nonbelievers.

Reality: Christians have significantly lower divorce rates than the religiously unaffiliated. Further, the more regularly a Christian attends church, the less likely that person is to divorce. (For more, see the opening pages in Lies.)

So where did the “Christians are just as likely to divorce as non-Christians and that’s a 50% chance” stats come from? Can we find the actual source research material that makes that claim? I couldn’t. But then again I’m not a researcher. A blog I’ve previously recommended, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, Found a book that did much more research than I have. So can it really be true that marriages within the church are better than we thought?

The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and DivorceThat’s what Shaunti Feldhahn found when she analyzed the studies for her new book, The Good News About Marriage. Back in 2006 she was trying to dig up the current divorce rate for an article. She asked her assistant to check on it, so her assistant delved into footnotes from other articles. She sought out the original sources. And nothing could justify the rate of 50%–in fact, there didn’t seem to be a credible source at all. And so the two of them started a six-year project to uncover the real divorce rate.

What they found was revolutionary.

The divorce rate for first marriages is actually around 30%–and likely closer to 28%. Christians have between a 30% and 50% lower divorce rate than the general population–which puts us at around 14%-20%. Since these are American figures, we Canucks can likely shave a few points off of even that. Of course, a 15% divorce rate in the church still represents a lot of heartbreak and many hurting families, but it also means that the vast majority of marriages are happy.

Now that’s what I call good news!

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