It was around the 1970’s that states began passing “no-fault” laws when it came to couples that wanted to get divorced. This basically meant that husbands and wives no longer had to prove that their spouse had done something wrong such as cheating in order to file for a divorce. Since then social scientists have been regularly surveying the American people to assess their attitudes in regards to marriage and the divorce laws. These surveys have given some insight into what attitudes people have towards divorce and even why these perceptions exist. That brings us to the current question – how does religion shape our attitudes about divorce and what specific factors impact it the most?
Does Religious Affiliation Matter?
According to social scientists who have done research on this specific questions the answer is yes. It has been found that those people with a religious affiliation, especially those who identify themselves as conservative Protestants are more likely to believe that divorce laws should be stricter than they are today. Generally, those that fall into the category believe that the laws should at the minimum go back to pre-1970.
Do Biblical Views Matter?
The research that was conducted on this question broke it down a little farther – do those that view the Bible as the literal Word of God feel differently than those that believe the Bible is “inspired, but not literal?” Contrary to what you may think, the research proved that these two groups of people were actually similar in their view that the divorce laws are too lax. This showed that general belief in the Bible was enough to influence the attitudes towards both groups when it comes to divorce.
Does Church Attendance Affect Views on Divorce?
The focus of this question was to discover whether it was general beliefs about religion or the actual attendance of church that was a more solid predictor of divorce beliefs. It was found that church attendance does seem to play a substantial role in what people believed about divorce law. Those who did not regularly attend church appeared to have a more lax view when it came to opinions on the current divorce laws. However, the faithful attendees, regardless of specific religion, were more likely to believe that the divorce laws should be stricter. The ultimate findings of this study showed that church attendance itself, not only the profession of belief, was the strongest indicator of what attitudes people would possess when it came to the divorce laws.
What do these studies show us? That just as we might expect, those with a religious background or religious beliefs tend to believe that the current divorce laws are too lenient. Also, that over the course of more than forty years individual feelings on divorce haven’t really done a whole lot of changing. Those that believe the laws should be less strict and those on the opposite end of the spectrum still seem to be equally divided, just like we are on so many other cultural issues.