The Effects of a House Divided
September 29, 2016 § Leave a comment
“The children of divorced parents have grown up to be adults of no religion,” a new Pew Research Center study(1) says, according to the Washington Post. “People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up not to be religious as adults, the study found. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents told pollsters they are now nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children.”(2)
The correlation in this study seems pretty strong. Does it make sense that when an impressionable young person sees something as fundamental and life-shaping as a safe and sound family structure, where he placed his faith, divide, it can lead to the shaking of other foundational structures, like his understanding of God and faith? And maybe in particular faith in the community aspect of church life?
From the Post article: “Everything in a divorce gets divided. Literally everything. Parents’ friends get divided. Relatives get divided. Everyone takes sides… Even religion takes sides. The church gets divided. Dad leaves Mom’s faith, or vice versa. Negotiating those worlds becomes difficult.”
From politics to family to church, Jesus’ words (also famously quoted by Lincoln) seem to have an increasingly wider application: “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25)
Maybe the lesson for the church is to strive in unity and love as an answer to those soured on it by broken families, if they will come.