Christianity and Divorce – Survey shows Christians divorce more than atheists and agnostics


If you look at divorce statistics by religion it may be a bit surprising. While the assumption may be that people who are practicing members of a religious faith are less likely to divorce, the statistics paint a complete different picture.

The slogan: “The family that prays together, stays together” is well known among Christians.

But the slogan seems to fall by the wayside when cognizance is taken of the outcome of the research.

These divorce statistics come from a study conducted by The Barna Research Group in the USA. A total of 3,854 people living in different regions of the United States participated in the survey.

Divorce Statistics by Religion

Religious Faith Percentage of Membership Divorced
Non-denominational 34
Baptist 29
Episcopal 28
Pentecostal 28
Methodist 26
Presbyterian 23
Catholic 21
Lutheran 21
Atheist/Agnostic 21

The results of the survey reached the conclusion that divorce rates are higher among people who are members of conservative Protestant faiths. Being a member of a church does not afford couples an immunity from the issues that affect all couples that can lead to divorce.

The survey found that divorce rates were lower for people who described themselves as atheist or agnostic. The study results indicate that having religious faith does not safeguard believers from the stresses on a marriage that can led to divorce. It is alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce.

“Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing”, according to George Barna.

The research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how most churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage however belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea whether churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.

About the Author:

Bertus Preller is a Divorce Attorney in Cape Town and has more than 20 years experience in most sectors of the law and 13 years as a practicing attorney. He specializes in Family law and Divorce Law at Abrahams and Gross Attorneys Inc. in Cape Town. Bertus is also the Family Law expert on Health24.com and on the expert panel of Law24.com and is frequently quoted on Family Law issues in newspapers such as the Sunday Times and Business Times and magazines such as Noseweek, You and Huisgenoot, and also appeared on SABC television on the 3 Talk TV show. His clients include artists, celebrities, sports people and high networth individuals. His areas of expertise are Divorce Law, Family Law, Divorce Mediation, Parenting Plans, Parental Responsibilities and Rights, Custody (care and contact) of children, same sex marriages, unmarried fathers rights, domestic violence matters, international divorce law, digital rights, media law and criminal law.