Religion and Divorce
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There was a time in European countries when divorce was prohibited primarily because the Roman Catholic Church does not permit divorce. However, because it was so important to some individuals to get a divorce, many individuals traveled to other areas just so that they could obtain a divorce. And while most Christian churches still treat divorce disapprovingly in the United States, different churches vary in their attitude towards divorce. By way of illustration, the Catholic Church will not remarry divorced persons unless the marriage has been annulled, which only happens under stringent circumstances.
Does Praying Together Equal Staying Together?
For years we have heard the expression that families that pray together stay together. But is that really true? In a recent study by the Barna Research Group, a marketing research firm serving Christian ministries, there is a great deal of evidence contrary to that belief. In fact, out of approximately 4,000 adults questioned in a survey, it was found that divorce rates among conservative Christians is often higher than for other faiths and much higher than atheists and agnostics. In other surveys among Christian faiths the divorce rate has shown to be 21 percent for Catholics and Lutherans, 26 percent for Methodists, 34 percent for non-denomination Christians, 28 percent for Episcopalians, 28 percent for Pentecostals, 23 percent for Presbyterians and 29 percent for Baptists. In other religions such as Judaism, the divorce rate is shown to be at 30 percent since Judaism accepts divorce as a fact of life, maintaining that it is better for a couple to divorce than to remain together if they are in conflict. For Mormons the divorce rate is at 24 percent.
How Divorce Impacts on Children & Religion
Many times, parents that are of different faiths may decide to raise their children in a common religion but after the divorce, arguments often ensue about religion, mostly because each partner wants the children brought up based on their particular religion. This can present a problem and may require intervention from the courts. For example, in one instance, a Father was of the Catholic faith and the Mother was of the Jewish faith. While married, they had agreed on raising the children in a common religion, but after the divorce one of the parents wanted the children to follow their religion. Religion happens to be one of the five major issues that child custody law addresses. The law states that neither divorced parent may individually change the religion of the child. In this particular case, during the marriage a joint decision had been made about the religion of the child, and neither of the parents are allowed to change that decision. The only way it can be overturned is if both parents agree or the court allows it. If no religion has been chosen during a marriage, after the divorce, neither parent can enroll the children in any specific religion without the other’s consent. Basically, parents are allowed to share their religious beliefs with their children, but they are not allowed to make any formal changes without the other’s consent.
The Spiritual Aspect About Divorce
Marriage for most people is a sacred institution. Yet in today’s society, although people take a solemn vow to stay together forever, as we all know divorce statistics are very high. And while many people filing for divorce struggle with the spiritual aspect of divorce, peace of mind usually wins out. Consequently, although vows are very important to many people, overall it seems that people believe they should be happy and therefore they divorce even if they have some feelings of spiritual guilt.