Voddie Baucham On The Gospel Centered Marriage

A couple friends and I are going though Voddie Baucham’s book, and we added some media to the mix. I wanted to post the sermon from the 2012 Shepherd’s Conference that we watched. And to give you a taste of how wide and diverse the Body is… one of us has been married for 22-years (not easy though!), another is getting married soon, and the other is divorced and working through being a father and preparing for a real relationship in the future. WE ALL are all student’s of our Lord, and are being challenged and learning from Voddie’s work, a fellow lover of our Lord.

Here are some quotes from the Reformers that were stolen from THE CHRISTIAN BRIDE RESOURCE (no posts since 2013). Take note this should be combined with this post, “The Office of Marriage,” enjoy:

Martin Luther, Preaching on Marriage

“How I dread preaching on the estate of marriage! I am reluctant to do it because I am afraid if I once get really involved in the subject it will make a lot of work for me and for others. … I would much prefer neither to look into the matter nor to hear of it. But timidity is no help in an emergency; I must proceed. I must try to instruct poor bewildered consciences, and take up the matter boldly….

In order that we may not proceed as blindly, but rather conduct ourselves in a Christian manner, hold fast first of all to this, that man and woman are the work of God. Keep a tight rein on your heart and your lips; do not criticize His work, or call that evil which He himself has called good. He knows better than you yourself what is good and to your benefit, as he says in Genesis 1 [2:18], “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” There you see that He calls the woman good, a helper. If you deem it otherwise, it is certainly your own fault, you neither understand nor believe God’s word and work. See, with this statement of God one stops the mouths of all those who criticise and censure marriage.

For this reason young men should be on their guard when they read pagan books and hear the common complaints about marriage, lest they inhale poison. For the estate of marriage does not set well with the devil, because it is God’s good will and work. This is why the devil has contrived to have so much shouted and written in the world against the institution of marriage, to frighten men away from this godly life and entangle them in a web of fornication and secret sins. Indeed, it seems to me that even Solomon, although he amply censures evil women, was speaking against just such blasphemers when he said in Proverbs 18 [:22], “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.” What is this good thing and this favour? Let us see.

The world says of marriage, “Brief is the joy, lasting the bitterness.” Let them say what they please; what God wills and creates is bound to be a laughingstock to them. The kind of joy and pleasure they have outside of wedlock they will be most acutely aware of, I suspect, in their consciences. To recognise the estate of marriage is something quite different from merely being married. He who is married but does not recognise the estate of marriage cannot continue in wedlock without bitterness, drudgery, and anguish; he will inevitably complain and blaspheme like the pagans and blind, irrational men. But he who recognises the estate of marriage will find therein delight, love, and joy without end; as Solomon says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing,” etc.

Now the ones who recognise the estate of marriage are those who firmly believe that God himself instituted it, brought husband and wife together, and ordained that they should beget children and care for them. For this they have God’s word, Genesis 1 [:28], and they can be certain that he does not lie. They can therefore also be certain that the estate of marriage and everything that goes with it in the way of conduct, works, and suffering is pleasing to God. Now tell me, how can the heart have greater good, joy, and delight than in God, when one is certain that his estate, conduct, and work is pleasing to God?

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason (which the pagans followed in trying to be most clever), takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, “Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores, and on top of that care for my wife, provide for her, labour at my trade, take care of this and take care of that, do this and do that, endure this and endure that, and whatever else of bitterness and drudgery married life involves? What, should I make such a prisoner of myself? O you poor, wretched fellow, have you taken a wife? Fie, fie upon such wretchedness and bitterness! It is better to remain free and lead a peaceful, carefree life; I will become a priest or a nun and compel my children to do likewise.”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, “O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers. or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labour, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.”

A wife too should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways; and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works. This is also how to comfort and encourage a woman in the pangs of childbirth, not by repeating St Margaret legends and other silly old wives’ tales, but by speaking thus, “Dear Grete, remember that you are a woman, and that this work of God in you is pleasing to him. Trust joyfully in his will, and let him have his way with you. Work with all your might to bring forth the child. Should it mean your death, then depart happily, for you will die in a noble deed and in subservience to God. If you were not a woman you should now wish to be one for the sake of this very work alone, that you might thus gloriously suffer and even die in the performance of God’s work and will. For here you have the word of God, who so created you and implanted within you this extremity.” Tell me, is not this indeed (as Solomon says) “to obtain favour from the Lord,” even in the midst of such extremity?”

John Calvin’s Writing on Marrying and Marriage

(On what he looked for in a wife…)

“Always keep in mind what I seek to find in her, for I am none of those insane lovers who embrace also the vices of those with whom they are in love, where they are smitten at first with a fine figure. This is the only beauty that allures me: if she is chaste, if not too fussy or fastidious, if economical, if patient, if there is hope that she will be interested in my health.”

(In a letter to a new convert…)

“…I might wish that you were a little more sparing in your approval of celibacy. (Please pardon my naivete, in that I do not hesitate to tell you freely what I do not like.)

I see that your advice is not without a reasonable basis. Those who are involved in marriage are less free for the Lord’s work, and it is expedient for those who want to consecrate themselves altogether to the Lord to be free of this hindrance. Then too, continence itself lends not a little dignity to the holy ministry. Lastly, you do not use pressure or tyranny to force celibacy upon those who hold ecclesiastical office, but you counsel with them simply and convince them of what you judge to be in the best interests of the church.

And yet, although I confess that marriage brings with it many different impediments, and that it is desirable for the servants of Christ to be free of these, nevertheless I do no concede that the impediments are of a sort to call them away from their duty. I would argue, on the contrary, that celibacy has its own disadvantages, and that these are considerable and not all of one type. I am not speaking yet of the difficulty of sexual continence. I say that celibate men are distracted by no slighter and fewer distractions than married men…”

John Knox

“Brethren, you are ordained of God to rule your own houses in his true fear, and according to his word. Within your houses, I say, in some cases, you are bishops and kings; your wife, children, servants, and family are your bishopric and charge. Of you it shall be required how carefully and diligently you have instructed them in God’s true knowledge, how you have studied to plant virtue in them, and [to] repress vice. And therefore I say, you must make them partakers in reading, exhorting, and in making common prayers, which I would in every house were used once a day at least.”

Martin Bucer

“Now the proper and ultimate end of marriage is not copulation, or children…but the full and proper and main end of marriage is the communicating of all duties both divine and human, each to other with utmost benevolence and affection.”

[….]

“There should be the most intimate unity in marriage in accord with its divine institution.”

[….]

“Therefore, let Christians be mindful of the purpose of the institution of marriage, and let them remember that to regard for any reason as unlawful what is commended by God’s voice as good—as indeed we read that marriage is so commended—is to impugn the goodness of God.”

[….]

“Let us notice here also the commendation of the wonderful dignity of marriage: God is its author, and he it is who unites those who come together in marriage. What way of life, what regimen of the holiest of monks and nuns enjoys such an encomium? Therefore, let husbands and wives nourish their confidence on this truth, that God has joined them together. Though they complain when any adversity befalls them, he cannot possibly abandon them in the estate in which he himself has placed them, provided they depend upon him. Moreover, let them nourish also their love on this truth, for if God has joined them together in such a way that they become one person and cleave to each other after leaving their parents, the husband should obviously be happy with whatever wife the Lord has assigned him, and love her as his own flesh. The wife in turn must honor her husband for the Lord’s sake, whatever kind of man he may be, because God has given him to her. Each of them, indeed, ought not to doubt that whatever he or she does for the other partner is done for the Lord.”

BTW, I love how Voddie expresses early that a) he is speaking of the “ideal,” and b) no one is living the ideal. BUT, that doesn’t mean we do not strive towards it. Scripture says we are to “run with patience (endurance, persistence) the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith… For consider Him that endured… lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1-3). A good BIBLE.ORG lesson is this one: “Faith to Run the Christian Marathon” — remember, a race has a goal. Jesus life and finished work is our ideal, our goal, so train well (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD

BIBLICAL MANHOOD

The “Office” of Marriage and Love in the Reformation

The reformers’ early preoccupation with marriage was driven, in part, by their jurisprudence. The starting assumption of the budding Lutheran theories of law, society, and politics was that the earthly king­dom was governed by the three natural estates of household, Church, and state. Hausvater, Gottesvater, and Landesvater; paterfamilias, patertheologicus, and patapofiticus— these were the three natural offices through which God re­vealed Himself and reflected His authority in the world. These three offices and orders stood equal before God and before each other. Each was called to discharge essential tasks in the earthly kingdom without impediment or interference from the other. The reform of marriage, therefore, was as important as the reform of the Church and the state. Indeed, marital reform was even more urgent, for the marital house­hold was, in the reformers’ view, the “oldest,” “most primal,” and “most essential” of the three estates, yet the most deprecated and subordinated of the three. Marriage is the “mother of all earthly laws,” Luther wrote, and the source from which the Church, the state, and other earthly insti­tutions flowed. “God has most richly blessed this estate above all others, and in addition, has bestowed on it and wrapped up in it everything in the world, to the end that this estate might be well and richly provided for. Married life therefore is no jest or presumption; it is an excellent thing and a matter of divine seriousness.”

The reformers’ early preoccupation with marriage was driven, in part, by their politics. A number of early leaders of the Reformation faced aggressive prosecution by the Catholic Church and its political allies for violation of the canon law of marriage and celibacy. Among the earliest Protestant leaders were ex-priests and ex-monastics who had forsaken their orders and vows, and often married shortly thereafter. Indeed, one of the acts of solidarity with the new Protestant cause was to marry or divorce in open violation of the canon law and in defiance of a bishop’s instructions. This was not just an instance of crime and disobedience. It was an outright scandal, particularly when an ex-monk such as Brother Martin Luther married an ex-nun such as Sister Katherine von Bora —a prima facie case of spiritual incest As Catholic Church courts began to prosecute these canon law offenses, Protestant theologians and jurists rose to the defense of their co-religionists, producing a welter of briefs, letters, sermons, and pamphlets that denounced traditional norms and pronounced a new theology of marriage.

Evangelical theologians treated marriage not as a sacramental insti­tution of the heavenly kingdom, but as a social estate of the earthly kingdom. Marriage was a natural institution that served the goods and goals of mutual love and support of husband and wife, procreation and nurture of children, and mutual protection of spouses from sexual sin. All adults, preachers and others alike, should pursue the calling of marriage, for all were in need of the comforts of marital love and of protection from sexual sin. When properly structured and governed, the marital house­hold served as a model of authority charity, and pedagogy in the earthly kingdom and as a vital instrument for the reform of Church, state, and society. Parents served as “bishops” to their children. Siblings served as priests to each other. The household altogether — particularly the Chris­tian household of the married minister — was a source of “evangelical impulses” in society.

Though divinely created and spiritually edifying, however, marriage and the family remained a social estate of the earthly kingdom. All parties could partake of this institution, regardless of their faith. Though subject to divine law and clerical counseling, marriage and family life came within the ,jurisdiction of the magistrate, not the cleric; of the civil law, not the canon law. The magistrate, as God’s vice-regent of the earthly kingdom, was to set the laws for marriage formation, maintenance, and dissolution; child custody, care, and control; family property, inheritance, and commerce.

Political leaders rapidly translated this new Protestant gospel into civil law. Just as the civil act of marriage often came to signal a person’s conversion to Protestantism, so the Civil Marriage Act came to symbol­ize a political community’s acceptance of the new Evangelical theology. Political leaders were quick to establish comprehensive new marriage laws for their polities, sometimes building on late medieval civil laws that had already controlled some aspects of this institution. The first reformation ordinances on marriage and family life were promulgated in 1522. More than sixty such laws were on the books by the time of Luther’s death in 1546. The number of new marriage laws more than doubled again in the second half of the sixteenth century in Evangelical portions of Germany. Collectively, these new Evangelical marriage laws: (1) shifted primary marital jurisdiction from the Church to the state; (2) strongly encouraged the marriage of clergy; (3) denied that celibacy, virginity, and monasticism were superior callings to marriage; (4) denied the sacramentality of marriage and the religious tests and impediments traditionally imposed on its participants; (5) modified the doctrine of consent to betrothal and marriage, and required the participation of parents, peers, priests, and political officials in the process of marriage formation; (6) sharply curtailed the number of impediments to betrothal and putative marriages; and (7) introduced divorce, in the modern sense, on proof of adultery, malicious desertion, and other faults, with a subse­quent right to remarriage at least for the innocent party. These changes eventually brought profound and permanent change to the life, lore, and law of marriage in Evangelical Germany.

John Witte, Jr., Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 200-202.


God’s Ideal Should Be Mine


Persons should accept marriage not only as a duty that served society, but also as a remedy against sexual sin. Since the fall into sin, lust has pervaded the conscience of every person, the Lutheran reformers insisted. Marriage has become an absolute necessity of sinful humanity, for without it, the person’s distorted sexuality becomes a force capable of overthrowing the most devout conscience. A person is enticed by his or her own nature to prostitution, masturbation, voyeurism, homosexuality, and sundry other sinful acts. The gift of marriage, Luther wrote, should be declined only by those who have received God’s gift of continence. “Such persons are rare, not one in a thousand, for they are a special miracle of God.” The Apostle Paul has identified this group as the permanently impotent and the eunuchs; few others can claim such a unique gift.

This understanding of the created origin and purpose of marriage un-dergirded the reformers’ bitter attack on celibacy and monasticism. To require celibacy of clerics, monks, and nuns was beyond the authority of the church and ultimately a source of great sin. Celibacy was for God to give, not for the church to require. It was for each individual, not for the church, to decide whether he or she had received this gift. By demanding monastic vows of chastity and clerical vows of celibacy, the church was seen to be intruding on Christian freedom and violating scripture, nature, and common sense. By institutionalizing and encouraging celibacy the church was seen to prey on the immature and the uncertain. By holding out food, shelter, security, and opportunity, the monasteries enticed poor and needy parents to condemn their children to celibate monasticism. Mandatory celibacy, Luther taught, was hardly a prerequisite to true service of God. Instead, it led to “great whoredom and all manner of fleshly impurity and… hearts filled with thoughts of women day and night.” For the consciences of Christians and non-Christians alike are infused with lust, and a life of celibacy and monasticism only heightens the temptation.

John Witte, Jr., From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), 50.

 

Progressive Attacks on Marriage In the Name of Utopian “Ideals”

A wonderful post by Professor Thies ~ at Libertarian Republican ~ noting the impossibility of the various options outside the “one-male/one-female” classical view of marriage:

….The progressive socialist view of marriage is that it is an institution that the state finds convenient for various purposes. In this case, equal treatment under the law compels the recognition of homosexual unions as well as heterosexual. The liberal-conservative view is that marriage enables the state to identify paternity and, thus, better protect the rights of the children of the marriage. In the liberal-conservative view, the purpose of the state is to protect us, especially the most vulnerable among us. These contrasting views of marriage were spelled out in the majority and minority decisions in the landmark Massachusetts court case, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.

The craziness of where we are at this time is that the state recognizes civil unions among gay couples as marriages, from which children cannot be produced, but doesn’t recognize civil unions among three or more consenting adults, from which children can be produced. Furthermore, the state only recognizes civil unions based on sexual relationships, and discriminates against others who would like the tax treatment and benefits associated with marriage but whose attraction isn’t erotic. Think of sisters who are spinsters, but there are innumerable possibilities.

In the liberal-conservative view, bigamy is two distinct marriages, and establishing paternity is not a problem. Polygamy has a long history, and is or has been recognized by religions as well as states. Polyandry, on the other hand, is problematic with respect to paternity. Modern technology challenges the former presumptions. One of the men in a gay marriage might contract with a women to acquire one of her eggs, and with a second woman to bring the fertilized egg to term, and upon the birth of the child agree that his gay partner be the co-parent. But, the real advances in technology that undermined the former presumptions are the pill and penicillin. The pill made sexual relations and maternity into two choices, and penicillin in theory made promiscuity less risky.

As to where we are headed is clear. It is to the collectivization of children as was contemplated by Plato in The Republic a long time ago. The other side knows and has always known what it’s all about. An absolute totalitarian and communist state. They call it utopia….

And from Gay Patriot:

“Don’t be ridiculous,” they said. “No way does same sex marriage lead to legalized polygamy. The slippery slope argument is a complete fallacy, because enactment of one liberal social policy has never, ever led to the subsequent enactment of the logical extension of that liberal social policy. Ever!”

Well, they may have been wrong about the coefficient of friction on that particular incline. Commenter Richard Bell notes the following: Judge Cites Same-Sex Marriage in Declaring Polygamy Ban Unconstitutional.

[….]

Since marriage is no longer about creating a stable environment for children, and has become (and this mainly the fault of heterosexual liberals) about personal fulfillment, validation, and access to social benefits, there literally is no constraint on how much more broadly it can be redefined.

To Marry, Or Not To Marry? (God v. Apostle Paul)

Talking with a friend he asked a question that brought to mind this recent question from a caller into the Dennis Prager Show on marriage. And honestly, when single men and women use this verse to defend their “single-hood” they do so without sound hermeneutics. In other words, if the Apostle Paul was working from the idea that they [the Apostles] were expecting the Second Coming VERY soon (as the Bible hints at in many places), would the Apostle Paul have wanted the same idea/ideal expressed for almost 2,000 years?

Again, take note that when Paul wrote the following in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9…

I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them if they remain as I am. But if they do not have self-control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire. (HCSB)

I do, though, tell the unmarried and widows that singleness might well be the best thing for them, as it has been for me. But if they can’t manage their desires and emotions, they should by all means go ahead and get married. The difficulties of marriage are preferable by far to a sexually tortured life as a single. (The Message)

…he was writing from the view that Christ’s 2nd Coming was eminent. In other words, being single for a couple of years longer and helping the church get ready for the Groom’s return outweighed merely marrying for marriages sake.

Now remember, I am not saying “get married right away.” Some relationships cause much hurt and strife, and this may take time to work through. However, know that “He [God] has made everything appropriate [beautiful] in its time” (Ecc 3:11, HCSB). Be open to healing old wounds, to sharing your space with another ego/person, and not hiding behind such implied meanings to text — context.

This is the ideal God wants for His people…

Relationshiphand


 Hermeneutics – (interpretation) Branch of theology dealing with the principles governing Biblical interpretation. It is concerned with various types of interpretation, as allegorical and literal, multiple meanings and senses, genres (historical narrative, law, parables, poetry), and the like.

Exegesis – (explanation) Critical exposition or explanation of the meaning of a scriptural passage in the context of the whole Bible. The reader of Scripture studies the word meanings and grammar of the text to discern what… was communicated, drawing the meaning out of the text rather than reading what he wants into the text (eisegesis).

Eisegesis – is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that it introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, and/or biases into and onto the text.

You Make Your Spouse Your “Soul Mate” ~ Marriage Health

I LOVED this article, “My Marriage Wasn’t Meant to Be” ~ via Matt Walsh:

…We think that our task is to find this preordained partner and marry them because, after all, they’re “The One.” They were designed for us, for us and only us. It’s written in the stars, prescribed in the cosmos, commanded by God or Mother Earth. There are six or seven billion people in the world, but only one of them is the right one, we think, and we’ll stay single until we happen to stumble into them one day.

And when that day happens, when The One — our soul mate, our match, our spirit-twin — comes barreling into our lives to whisk us off our feet and take us on canoe rides and deliver impassioned romantic monologues on a beach in the rain or in a bus station or whatever, then we’ll finally be happy. Happy until the end of time. We can get married and have a perfect union; a Facebook Photo Marriage, where every day is like an Instragam of you and your spouse wearing comfortable socks and sitting next to the fireplace drinking Starbucks lattes.

Yeah. About that. It’s bull crap, sorry. Not just silly, frivolous bull crap, but bull crap that will destroy you and eat your marriage alive from the inside. It’s a lie. A vicious, cynical lie that leads only to disappointment and confusion. The Marriage of Destiny is a facade, but the good news is that Real Marriage is something so much more loving, joyful, and true.

We’ve got it all backwards, you see. I didn’t marry my wife because she’s The One, she’s The One because I married her. Until we were married, she was one, I was one, and we were both one of many. I didn’t marry The One, I married this one, and the two of us became one. I didn’t marry her because I was “meant to be with her,” I married her because that was my choice, and it was her choice, and the Sacrament of marriage is that choice. I married her because I love her — I chose to love her — and I chose to live the rest of my life in service to her. We were not following a script, we chose to write our own, and it’s a story that contains more love and happiness than any romantic fable ever conjured up by Hollywood.

Indeed, marriage is a decision, not the inevitable result of unseen forces outside of our control. When we got married, the pastor asked us if we had “come here freely.” If I had said, “well, not really, you see destiny drew us together,” that would have brought the evening to an abrupt and unpleasant end. Marriage has to be a free choice or it is not a marriage. That’s a beautiful thing, really.

God gave us Free Will. It is His greatest gift to us because without it, nothing is possible. Love is not possible without Will. If we cannot choose to love, then we cannot love. God did not program us like robots to be compatible with only one other machine. He created us as individuals, endowed with the incredible, unprecedented power to choose. And with that choice, we are to go out and find a partner, and make that partner our soul mate.

That’s what we do. We make our spouses into our soul mates by marrying them. We don’t simply recognize that they are soul mates and then just sort of symbolically consecrate that recognition through what would then be an effectively meaningless marriage sacrament. Instead, we find another unique, dynamic, wholly individualized human being, and we make the monumental, supernatural decision to bind ourselves to them…

It’s a bold and risky move, no matter how you look at it. It’s important to recognize this, not so that you can run away like a petrified little puppy and never tie the knot with anyone, but so that you can go into marriage knowing, at least to some extent, what you’re really doing. This person wasn’t made for you. It wasn’t “designed” to be. There will be some parts of your relationship that are incongruous and conflicting. It won’t all click together like a set of Legos, as you might expect if you think this coupling was fated in the stars.

It’s funny that people get divorced and often cite “irreconcilable differences.” Well what did they think was going to happen? Did they think every difference would be reconcilable? Did they think every bit of contention between them could be perfectly and permanently solved?

People go into marriage with the mentality of children, and I really think that pop culture has a lot to do with that. Marriage is a choice made against the odds. That’s what’s so exciting about it. Thankfully, I made this choice with my wife. She is now my soul mate, my other, my completion, but I could not say that about her until we said “I do” to each other.

We could have not said it, you know. She could have met someone else. I could have fled into the hills to be a celibate hermit for the rest of my life. She could have moved to the city and married some rich lawyer or banker. She could have never called me back after our first date. We could have dated for years until eventually the relationship flickered out, as they almost always do. She could have gone to California to become an actress. I could have moved to Denmark and shacked up with a Scandinavian crossing guard named Helga. There were literally millions of things that either of us could have done. An innumerable multitude of possible outcomes, but this was our outcome because we chose it. Not because we were destined or predetermined, not because it was “meant to happen,” but because we chose it. That, to me, is much more romantic than getting pulled along by fate until the two of us inevitably collide and all that was written in our horoscopes passively comes to unavoidable fruition.

We are the protagonists of our love story, not the spectators.

There’s no doubt that certain personality types might gel better with you; you might have a few specific traits and characteristics you’re looking for in a mate. It’s good to have standards, obviously. I’m not saying that you should just throw yourself into the mosh pit and say, “hey, I have no soul mate so I’ll just marry anyone! Who’s game?”

But I am saying that, if you’re single, there are probably hundreds of options out there. None of them soul mates, but all of them possibly potential soul mates. You don’t have to sift around for that one custom made, personalized grain of sand in the desert. You’ll be alone forever if you do that, and you don’t have to be alone forever….

…read more…

Sometimes It Takes 50-years To be `Just-right`

(Via The Blaze) The “Duck Dynasty” crew is known for creating a fair bit of laughter, but the Robertson family has also repeatedly made it known that they face the same plights and challenges as everyone else. In a recent interview with “Extra,” patriarch Phil Robertson admitted that his bad behavior once put in jeopardy his 47-year marriage to his wife, Kay — and he revealed how a love note inevitably helped sustain their wedded bliss.

Phil detailed some of the steps he took to get the couple’s relationship back on track during its tainted years. After finding God, he said his worldview and marriage dramatically changed. But he also spoke about how a short note he once wrote played a big role in helping maintain his now-strong relationship with Kay.

Phil told “Extra” reporter Maria Menounos that the note originated long ago when his wife asked him if he loved her.

“I said yes and she said, ‘Write it down.’ So I scribbled, ‘Miss Kay, I love you. I always have and I always will,’” he explained.

That note is still taped over the couple’s headboard, serving as a daily reminder to them both.

So, despite their on-screen love, like any married couple, Phil and Kay have had their share of fights and problems. The Daily Mail noted that the couple began dating in 1964 when Kay was just 14 and that they married two years later.

Along the way, they hit some speed bumps.

“He had about 10 hard years,” Kay told Menounos of the troubles the Robertsons experienced. “He didn’t act nice like he does now, especially when he was drinking. He was real selfish and didn’t want to be responsible.”

Phil chimed in an added that his behavior came at a time “when there was no Jesus” in his life.

“I was following the ways of the world. I was raised in the ’60s,” he added….

Romans 7:17-25 (The Message) ~ What Psi is Saying

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

 

A Family Values [Atheist] Mantra Dissected: Nominal vs. Committed

I found this title of an article very myopic,  ill-considered. You will see what I mean as we get into it, but first, here is the title of the article, “Atheists Have Stronger Family Values Than Evangelical Christians.” Not only is the title ill-considered, but the arguments wihin the article are as well. Divorce, crime, and the like are mentioned in the article, and as we will see later, the 2009 info is a bit twisted… but I will deal with some other issues first. Here is the crux of the article:

The original findings about divorce among non-believers are borne out by a 2009 comparison of geographical regions by the U.S. Census Bureau: the Northeast, known as the home of educated liberals (both liberalism and high levels of education correlate with atheism), has the lowest divorce rate, while the Bible Belt has the highest.

The gap between what evangelicals preach about morality and what they do extends beyond their love lives. Federal Bureau of Prisons numbers show that Christians commit more crimes per person than atheists, who commit fewer than the followers of any religion.

Mind you I realize I am stomping around “The Ecological Fallacy,” but this is a powerful cumulative case that the above is not just wrong, but very wrong. Also note this will turn out to be a battle between committed Christians, nominal Christians and the secular person. In the end you will see that if you were to have your taxes done, you would want them done by a committed Christian. That aside, one should also note that histories biggest mass murderers are atheistic in their cosmology, but conservative Christians who understand the ENTIRETY of their faith, commit less crime than all others in these stats. For instance, Prager did a show on these findings that shows that people who only believe in heaven (universalism, e.g., liberal theology) commit more crimes than those who believe in both heaven and hell.

Heaven or Hell? The Sinners Crutch!

From video description

In this “Ultimate Issues Hour,” Dennis Prager discusses “Ultimate Justice” (God’s justice and otherwise) and justice’s involvement/affect in/on behavior. A new study reveals that belief in hell [and heaven] predicted a lower crime rate; belief in heaven predicted more crimes. Dennis tackles this hard to explain — or is it — issue.

This is uploaded because of an article by a detective and Christian apologist that likewise deals head-on with these questions as well (http://tinyurl.com/l93euel). Detective Wallace says, “Criminals who justify their actions with religious doctrines are typically woefully ignorant of (or purposefully distorting) these doctrines,” I concur. Having been in jail for almost a full year-and-a-half with three felonies, I know first hand the psychological crutch religion can play, rather than the Refiner’s Fire Christianity is meant to be (Zechariah 13:9, 1 Peter 1:7, Job 23:10, Isaiah 48:10).

I will add that “Liberalism,” wherever it is applied (politics, economics, faith, ethics, and the like), harms immeasurably the actions of those involved in it. Theology is no less hurt by this progressive matrix.

Just the latest example of this are those that are opposed to pro-lifers support of a bill that will stop late-term abortions. They can be heard chanting “hail Satan” in response to others singing “Amazing Grace.” As well as “fu*k the church!” The Democrats that once supported and made up John F. Kennedy’s base would not recognize the liberal Democratic party of today. Which is why Dennis says (as well as Reagan) that the Democratic Party left them, not the other way around.

See Detective Warner’s ministry: http://pleaseconvinceme.com/

But there are other parts of this article that interest me. It is this: “both liberalism and high levels of education correlate with atheism,”  the far left site, Daily Kos, agrees as well. Higher education leads to a higher pay as well… this will become important in dismantling a popular myth. This fact disproves many mantras and myths that the political Left. So lets delve into my thoughts on this. And this begins the complexity of what “family values” are, and it is a myriad of positions. Okay, let us divide political positions firstly:

A Gallup Poll shows that 40% of Republicans say they attend church weekly. Twenty-one percent say they attend nearly weekly or monthly, and 38% say they seldom or rarely go to church.

Compare that to only 27% of Democrats who say they go to church every week, 20% who say they go monthly and 52% of Democrats who say they seldom or never go to church. These polls also show that Democrats are less religious than the average American, and Republicans are more religious. Consider this: Almost one in five Democrats identify with no religious faith compared to only one in 10 Republicans who feel that way. (CNN)

Keep in mind that when “Republicans” are mentioned below, they have a higher percentage serious Christians. Here we go. During the 2000 elections (I know these stats are old, but all of this holds true today) an interesting stat caught my attention:

Once in awhile stats are done to see which part of the country (which states in fact) give more to charity per-capita than other states. Do you know which of the top twenty states gives the most to charity? You got it, Bush country! Every single one of the red states in that top-twenty are the middle-income fly-over states. Guess how many red-states got the lower twenty of giving? Two. Eighteen States that were in the lowest giving ratio to charity were Gore states. This is even more interesting with a few recent poles. Just under 66-percent republicans go to church one-to-two times a week. Just fewer than 66-percent democrats do not even go to church once a week. DRAT those nasty religious / conservatives! (From a very old post from my BlogSpot days)

This is important for the conversation. According to the very left leaning Daily Kos, most atheists vote Democrat now, harkening back to the 2000 election stats above, what does this mean? They are selfish? Stingy? You decide.

BIDEN (Politico):

  • When the Obama campaign released past tax returns for Biden in 2008, it was revealed that the Bidens donated just $3,690 to charity over 10 years — an average of $369 a year.

OBAMA (WaPo):

♦ 2005: $77,315 to charity out of income of $1.66 million (4.6 percent)

♦ 2004: $2,500 out of $207,647 (1.2 percent)

♦ 2003: $3,400 out of $238,327 (1.4 percent)

♦ 2002: $1,050 out of $259,394 (0.4 percent)

From Gateway Pundit:

Obama charitable contributions

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle gave $10,772 of the $1.2 million they earned from 2000 through 2004 to charities, or less than 1 percent, according to tax returns for those years released today by his campaign.

The Obamas increased the amount they gave to charity when their income rose in 2005 and 2006 after the Illinois senator published a bestselling book. The $137,622 they gave over those two years amounted to more than 5 percent of their $2.6 million income.

Romney charitable contributions

Tax year Taxable income Charitable donations Donations as % of income

  • 2010 $21.7 million $2.98 million 13.73%
  • 2011 (est) $20.9 million $4 million 19.14%

Why bring up the Blue State and Red State divide and recent elections? Because is shown in every poll by Gallop (since this category was started), that Republicans are happier than Democrats ~ Giving and helping increase happiness, not dependence on government. Now, how bout church attendance, how does this strengthen family and thus family values?

We know that the left/right divide is an indicator of church attendance, how does regular church attendance break down into crime, and a healthy, happy life? Here are some indicators:

Social Scientists Agree

  • Religious Belief Reduces Crime Summary of the First Panel Discussion Panelists for this important discussion included social scientists Dr. John DiIulio, professor of politics and urban affairs at Princeton University; David Larson, M.D., President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research; Dr. Byron Johnson, Director of the Center for Crime and Justice Policy at Vanderbilt University; and Gary Walker, President of Public/Private Ventures. The panel focused on new research, confirming the positive effects that religiosity has on turning around the lives of youth at risk.
  • Dr. Larson laid the foundation for the discussion by summarizing the findings of 400 studies on juvenile delinquency, conducted during the past two decades. He believes that although more research is needed, we can say without a doubt that religion makes a positive contribution.
  • His conclusion: “The better we study religion, the more we find it makes a difference.” Previewing his own impressive research, Dr. Johnson agreed. He has concluded that church attendance reduces delinquency among boys even when controlling for a number of other factors including age, family structure, family size, and welfare status. His findings held equally valid for young men of all races and ethnicities.
  • Gary Walker has spent 25 years designing, developing and evaluating many of the nation’s largest public and philanthropic initiatives for at-risk youth. His experience tells him that faith-based programs are vitally important for two reasons. First, government programs seldom have any lasting positive effect. While the government might be able to design [secular/non-God] programs that occupy time, these programs, in the long-term, rarely succeed in bringing about the behavioral changes needed to turn kids away from crime. Second, faith-based programs are rooted in building strong adult-youth relationships; and less concerned with training, schooling, and providing services, which don’t have the same direct impact on individual behavior. Successful mentoring, Walker added, requires a real commitment from the adults involved – and a willingness to be blunt. The message of effective mentors is simple. “You need to change your life, I’m here to help you do it, or you need to be put away, away from the community.” Government, and even secular philanthropic programs, can’t impart this kind of straight talk.
  • Sixth through twelfth graders who attend religious services once a month or more are half as likely to engage in at-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual excess, truancy, vandalism, drunk driving and other trouble with police. Search Institute, “The Faith Factor,” Source, Vol. 3, Feb. 1992, p.1.
  • Churchgoers are more likely to aid their neighbors in need than are non-attendees. George Barna, What Americans Believe, Regal Books, 1991, p. 226.
  • Three out of four Americans say that religious practice has strengthened family relationships. George Gallup, Jr. “Religion in America: Will the Vitality of Churches Be the Surprise of the Next Century,” The Public Perspective, The Roper Center, Oct./Nov. 1995.
  • Church attendance lessens the probabilities of homicide and incarceration. Nadia M. Parson and James K. Mikawa: “Incarceration of African-American Men Raised in Black Christian Churches.” The Journal of Psychology, Vol. 125, 1990, pp.163-173.
  • Religious practice lowers the rate of suicide. Joubert, Charles E., “Religious Nonaffiliation in Relation to Suicide, Murder, Rape and Illegitimacy,” Psychological Reports 75:1 part 1 (1994): 10 Jon W. Hoelter: “Religiosity, Fear of Death and Suicide Acceptibility.” Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Vol. 9, 1979, pp.163-172.
  • The presence of active churches, synagogues… reduces violent crime in neighborhoods. John J. Dilulio, Jr., “Building Spiritual Capital: How Religious Congregations Cut Crime and Enhance Community Well-Being,” RIAL Update, Spring 1996.
  • People with religious faith are less likely to be school drop-outs, single parents, divorced, drug or alcohol abusers. Ronald J. Sider and Heidi Roland, “Correcting the Welfare Tragedy,” The Center for Public Justice, 1994.
  • Church involvement is the single most important factor in enabling inner-city black males to escape the destructive cycle of the ghetto. Richard B. Freeman and Harry J. Holzer, eds., The Black Youth Employment Crisis, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p.354.
  • Attending services at a church or other house of worship once a month or more makes a person more than twice as likely to stay married than a person who attends once a year or less. David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, “Is Divorce Hazardous to Your Health?” Physician, June 1990. Improving Personal Well-Being
  • Regular church attendance lessens the possibility of cardiovascular diseases, cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema and arteriosclerosis. George W. Comstock amd Kay B. Patridge:* “Church attendance and health.”* Journal of Chronic Disease, Vol. 25, 1972, pp. 665-672.
  • Regular church attendance significantly reduces the probablility of high blood pressure.* David B. Larson, H. G. Koenig, B. H. Kaplan, R. S. Greenberg, E. Logue and H. A. Tyroler:* ” The Impact of religion on men’s blood pressure.”* Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 28, 1989, pp.265-278.* W.T. Maramot:* “Diet, Hypertension and Stroke.” in* M. R. Turner (ed.) Nutrition and Health, Alan R. Liss, New York, 1982, p. 243.
  • People who attend services at least once a week are much less likely to have high blood levels of interlukin-6, an immune system protein associated with many age-related diseases.* Harold Koenig and Harvey Cohen, The International Journal of Psychiatry and Medicine, October 1997.
  • Regular practice of religion lessens depression and enhances self esteem. *Peter L. Bensen and Barnard P. Spilka:* “God-Image as a function of self-esteem and locus of control” in H. N. Maloney (ed.) Current Perspectives in the Psychology of Religion, Eedermans, Grand Rapids, 1977, pp. 209-224.* Carl Jung: “Psychotherapies on the Clergy” in Collected Works Vol. 2, 1969, pp.327-347.
  • Church attendance is a primary factor in preventing substance abuse and repairing damage caused by substance abuse.* Edward M. Adalf and Reginald G. Smart:* “Drug Use and Religious Affiliation, Feelings and Behavior.” * British Journal of Addiction, Vol. 80, 1985, pp.163-171.* Jerald G. Bachman, Lloyd D. Johnson, and Patrick M. O’Malley:* “Explaining* the Recent Decline in Cocaine Use Among Young Adults:* Further Evidence That Perceived Risks and Disapproval Lead to Reduced Drug Use.”* Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 31,* 1990, pp. 173-184.* Deborah Hasin, Jean Endicott, * and Collins Lewis:* “Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Patients With Affective Syndromes.”* Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 26, 1985, pp. 283-295. * The findings of this NIMH-supported study were replicated in the Bachmen et. al. study above.

(From a post entitled “Love“)

(Also see 52 Reasons To Go To Church) These indicators are also mentions in a Heritage Foundation article, “Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability

More Stats

…A survey of 1,600 Canadians asked them what were their beliefs about God and what moral values they considered to be “very important.” The results of the survey are shown below:

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Although the differences between theists and atheists in the importance of values such as honesty, politeness, and friendliness are generally small, moral values emphasized by religious beliefs, such as Christianity, including patience, forgiveness, and generosity exhibit major differences in attitudes (30%+ differences between theists and atheists). (Source)

  • The strength of the family unit is intertwined with the practice of religion. Churchgoers are more likely to be married, less likely to be divorced or single, and more likely to manifest high levels of satisfaction in marriage.
  • Church attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability and happiness.
  • The regular practice of religion helps poor persons move out of poverty. Regular church attendance, for example, is particularly instrumental in helping young people to escape the poverty of inner-city life.
  • Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment.
  • Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against a host of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock births, crime, and divorce.
  • The regular practice of religion also encourages such beneficial effects on mental health as less depression (a modern epidemic), more self-esteem, and greater family and marital happiness.
  • In repairing damage caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, and marital breakdown, religious belief and practice are a major source of strength and recovery.
  • Regular practice of religion is good for personal physical health: It increases longevity, improves one’s chances of recovery from illness, and lessens the incidence of many killer diseases.

So we can see that the above are important factors in a healthy, stable, family which would have the highest percentage or chance in a family situation to create “family values.” What about divorce rates and the 2009 data. This is dealt with well at Christian Action League, and shows how Barna and the Government can miss-categorize whole swaths of people and their affiliations:

…Wright did his own research using the General Social Survey; a huge study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and found that folks who identify as Christians but rarely attend church have a divorce rate of 60 percent compared to 38 percent among people who attend church regularly. More generally, he found that Christians, similar to adherents of other traditional faiths, have a divorce rate of 42 percent compared with 50 percent among those without a religious affiliation.

And his is not the only research that is showing a link between strong faith and increased marriage stability.

University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, concluded that “active conservative Protestants” who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce than are those with no faith affiliation. He used the National Survey of Families and Households to make his analysis.

[….]

Glenn Stanton, the director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colo., has been writing articles to spread the truth about the lower divorce rate among practicing Christians.

“Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes — attend church nearly every week, read their Bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples — enjoy significantly lower divorce rates that mere church members, the general public and unbelievers,” Stanton wrote in the Baptist Press early this year.

At issue in Barna’s studies is how he defined “Christian” and to what other groups he compared the “Christian” divorce rate. Apparently, his study compared what he termed “born-again” Christians — those who described their faith in terms of “personal commitment,” “accept as savior” and other evangelical, born-again language to three other groups, which included self-identified Christians who do not describe their faith with those terms, members of other, non-Christian religions and people of no religious beliefs.

Because his second group would have included many Catholics and mainline Protestants, Wright points out that Barna was, in many ways, “comparing Christians against Christians.” No wonder the rates were similar….

...Party of the Rich?

Only one of the top 25 donors to political 527 groups has given to a conservative organization, shedding further light on the huge disparity between Democrats and Republicans in this new fund-raising area. The top three 527 donors so far in the 2004 election cycle – Hollywood producer Steven Bing, Progressive Corp. chairman Peter Lewis and financier George Soros – have combined to give nearly $24 million to prominent liberal groups. They include Joint Victory Campaign 2004, America Coming Together, and MoveOn.org.

Dems the richest five senators?

Financial statements revealed the five richest members of the United States Senate are Democrats. The annual disclosure allows senators to represent their net worth inside a broad range.

Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is far ahead of his colleagues with $163 million, most of it coming from his wife’s inheritance of the Heinz fortune. The actual estimate is over $400 million.

Lagging behind is Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) at $111 million. The Wisconsin senator’s family owns a department store chain. Sen. John “Jay” Rockefeller (D-WV) comes in third with a personal fortune reported to be $81 million.

Former Goldman Sachs chairman Sen. John Corzine (D-NJ) weighs in at $71 million, with Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) rounding out the top five at $26.3 million. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) breaks the string of Democrat multimillionaires in sixth place at $26.1 million. Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bill Frist (R-TN), John Edwards (D-NC), and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) complete the top ten.

Democrats are 10 of the top 15 richest senators.

(Rich Snobs)

In USA Today, David Kinnaman, Barna’s president, said that “the statistical differences reflect varied approaches, with Wright looking more at attendance and his research firm dwelling on theological commitments.” Duh! The bottom line seems to be that the more seriously couples take their faith, the less likely they are to get a divorce.  That seems like a self-evident truth, but it appears there is also evidence for it. In other words, this is a nominal, vs. committed Christian vs. secular person battle.

I can go on-and-on, but lets shorten what we have learned, and it all revolves around this:

  • “There’s something about being a nominal ‘Christian’ that is linked to a lot of negative outcomes when it comes to family life.”

I realize that much of this can be classified broadly as  “The Ecological Fallacy” — but it is an amassing of stats to show that in fact the committed Christian understands the totality of “family values” and commits to them more than the secular person.

1a) Those who attend church more are to be found in the Republican Party;

1b) Those who do not, the Democratic Party;

2a) Those in the Republican Party donate much more to charitable causes;

2b) Those in the Democratic Party, are much more stingy;

3a) Republicans earn less and give more;

3b) Democrats earn more and give less;

4a) Conservative Christians and Jews (people who believe in Heaven and Hell) commit less crimes;

4b) Liberal religious persons (universalists) have a higher rate of crime;

5a) Regular church attendees have a lower drug use rate;

5b) Irreligious persons have a higher rate;

6a) Moral “oughts” are answered in Christian theism (one “ought” not rape because it is absolutely, morally wrong);

6b) Moral “oughts” are merely current consensus of the most individuals, there is no absolute moral statement that can be made about rape;

7a) Republicans are happier than Democrats;

7b) Democrats are more depressed;

8a) The sex lives of  married, religious persons is better/more fulfilling;


…According to psychotherapist and couples’ sex expert Esther Perel, marriage is when your sex life really begins…


8b) The sex lives of the irreligious person is less fulfilling;

9a) The conservative is more likely to reach orgasm [conservative woman I assume];

9b) The liberal woman is not;

10a) They are less likely to sleep around, which would also indicate lower STDs;

10b Democrats are more likely to have STDs through having more sex partners;

11a) Republicans are less likely (slightly, but this is so because of the committed Christians in the larger demographic) to have extra-marital affairs;

11b) Democrats more likely;

...Happiness Is A Moral Obligation

Forty-three percent of people who attend religious services weekly or more say they’re very happy, compared to 26 percent of those who go seldom or never. The Pew analysis does not answer the question of how religion, Republicanism and happiness might be related, however.

[….]

Most young people start out as naive, idealistic liberals. But as they get older, that changes. They get more conservative, usually because they grow up. But just imagine that you never get out of that liberal mindset. You go through your whole life trying to check people into a victim box, always feeling offended, always trying to right all of the wrongs in the world, and always blaming government for it. It’s no wonder you’d end up miserable when you get older! Going through your entire life feeling like that would make you a very angry, bitter, jealous, selfish person — and often, that describes aging liberals to a T.

All in all, being a Republican gives you a 7% edge in the happiness department, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a greater factor than race, ethnicity, or gender. And just a reminder — Republicans have the advantage across all class lines as well, from upper class to middle class to lower class. Lower class Republicans are happier than lower class Democrats. Middle class Republicans are happier than middle class Democrats. And upper class Republicans are happier than upper class Democrats.

And I’ll say it again. It’s because of the difference in world view.

(RightWing News)

12a) Republicans over the last three decades have been reproducing more…

12b) Democrats abort more often and have less children through educational/career decisions

13a) Christians are more likely to have children and impact the world;

13b) Skeptics replace family with pleasure and travel.

Survival of the Fittest!

“Since women that believe in God are less likely to have abortions, does that mean that natural selection will result in a greater number of believers than non-believers.” Assuming the validity of the “underlying instinct to survive and reproduce” then, out of the two positions (belief and non-belief) available for us to choose from which would better apply to being the most fit if the fittest is “an individual… [that] reproduces more successfully…”?  The woman that believes in God is less likely to have abortions and more likely to have larger families than their secular counterparts.  Does that mean that natural selection will result in a greater number of believers than non-believers?

Also,

  • Divorce. Marriages in which both spouses frequently attend religious services are less likely to end in divorce. Marriages in which both husband and wife attend church frequently are 2.4 times less likely to end in divorce than marriages in which neither spouse attends religious services.1
  • Mother-Child Relationship. Mothers who consider religion to be important in their lives report better quality relationships with their children. According to mothers’ reports, regardless of the frequency of their church attendance, those who considered religion to be very important in their lives tended to report, on average, a higher quality of relationship with their children than those who did not consider religion to be important.2
  • Father-Child Relationship. Fathers’ religiosity is associated with the quality of their relationships with their children. A greater degree of religiousness among fathers was associated with better relationships with their children, greater expectations for positive relationships in the future, investment of thought and effort into their relationships with their children, greater sense of obligation to stay in regular contact with their children, and greater likelihood of providing emotional support and unpaid assistance to their children and grandchildren. Fathers’ religiousness was measured on six dimensions, including the importance of faith, guidance provided by faith, religious attendance, religious identity, denominational affiliation, and belief in the importance of religion for their children.3
  • Well-Being of High School Seniors. Among high school seniors, religious attendance and a positive attitude toward religion are correlated with predictors of success and well-being. Positive attitudes towards religion and frequent attendance at religious activities were related to numerous predictors of success and wellbeing for high-school seniors, including: positive parental involvement, positive perceptions of the future, positive attitudes toward academics, less frequent drug use, less delinquent behavior, fewer school attendance problems, more time spent on homework, more frequent volunteer work, recognition for good grades, and more time spent on extracurricular activities.4
  • Life Expectancy. Religious attendance is associated with higher life expectancy at age 20. Life expectancy at age 20 was significantly related to church attendance. Life expectancy was 61.9 years for those attending church once a week and 59.7 for those attending less than once a week.5
  • Drinking, Smoking and Mortality. Frequent religious attendance is correlated with lower rates of heavy drinking, smoking, and mortality. Compared with peers who did not attend religious services frequently, those who did had lower mortality rates and this relationship was stronger among women than among men. In addition, frequent attendees were less likely to smoke or drink heavily at the time of the first interview. Frequent attendees who did smoke or drink heavily at the time of the first interview were more likely than nonattendees to cease these behaviors by the time of the second interview.6
  • Volunteering. Individuals who engage in private prayer are more likely to join voluntary associations aimed at helping the disadvantaged. Individuals who engaged in private prayer were more likely to report being members of voluntary associations aimed at helping the elderly, poor and disabled when compared to those who did not engage in private prayer. Prayer increased the likelihood of volunteering for an organization that assisted the elderly, poor and disabled, on average, by 20 percent.7
  • Charity and Volunteering. Individuals who attend religious services weekly are more likely to give to charities and to volunteer. In 2000, compared with those who rarely or never attended a house of worship, individuals who attended a house of worship nearly once a week or more were 25 percentage points more likely to donate to charity (91 percent vs. 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer (67 percent vs. 44 percent).8
  • Voting. Individuals who participated in religious activities during adolescence tend to have higher rates of electoral participation as young adults. On average, individuals who reported participating in religious groups and organizations as adolescents were more likely to register to vote and to vote in a presidential election as young adults when compared to those who reported not participating in religious groups and organizations.9
  • Ethics in Business. Business professionals who assign greater importance to religious interests are more likely to reject ethically questionable business decisions. Business leaders who assigned greater importance to religious interests were more likely to reject ethically questionable business decisions than their peers who attached less importance to religious interests. Respondents were asked to rate the ethical quality of 16 business decisions. For eight of the 16 decisions, respondents who attached greater importance to religious interests had lower average ratings, which indicated a stronger disapproval of ethically questionable decisions, compared to respondents who attached less importance to religious interests.10

Footnotes

  1. Vaughn R. A. Call and Tim B. Heaton, “Religious Influence on Marital Stability,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36, No. 3 (September 1997): 382-392.
  2. Lisa D. Pearce and William G. Axinn, “The Impact of Family Religious Life on the Quality of Mother-Child Relations,” American Sociological Review 63, No. 6 (December 1998): 810-828.
  3. Valerie King, “The Influence of Religion on Fathers’ Relationships with Their Children,” Journal of Marriage and Family 65, No. 2 (May 2003): 382-395.
  4. Jerry Trusty and Richard E. Watts, “Relationship of High School Seniors’ Religious Perceptions and Behavior to Educational, Career, and Leisure Variables,” Counseling and Values 44, No. 1 (October 1999): 30-39.
  5. Robert A. Hummer, Richard G. Rogers, Charles B. Nam, and Christopher G. Ellison, “Religious Involvement and U.S. Adult Mortality,” Demography 36, No. 2 (May 1999): 273-285.
  6. William J. Strawbridge, Richard D. Cohen, Sarah J. Shema, and George A. Kaplan, “Frequent Attendance at Religious Services and Mortality over 28 Years,” American Journal of Public Health 87, No. 6 (June 1997): 957-961.
  7. Matthew T. Loveland, David Sikkink, Daniel J. Myers, and Benjamin Radcliff, “Private Prayer and Civic Involvement,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44, No. 1 (March 2005): 1-14.
  8. Arthur C. Brooks, Who Really Cares: America’s Charity Divide, (New York: Basic Books 2006), 31-52.
  9. Michelle Frisco, Chandra Muller and Kyle Dodson, “Participation in Voluntary Youth-Serving Associations and Early Adult Voting Behavior,” Social Science Quarterly 85, No. 3 (September 2004): 660-676.
  10. Justin Longenecker, Joseph McKinney, and Carlos Moore, “Religious Intensity, Evangelical Christianity, and Business Ethics: An Empirical Study,” Journal of Business Ethics 55, No. 4 (December 2004): 371- 384.

For these and other reasons not mentioned here I reject the study referenced at the beginning of this post. You can see from the above why this blog is called “Religio-Political Talk,” separating the values of religion from politics is an impossible task. As Wayne Grudem points out:

…Such “exclude religion” arguments are wrong because marriage is not a religion! When voters define marriage, they are not establishing a religion. In the First Amendment, “Con­gress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the word “religion” refers to the church that people attend and support. “Religion” means being a Baptist or Catholic or Presbyterian or Jew. It does not mean being married. These arguments try to make the word “religion” in the Constitution mean something different from what it has always meant.

These arguments also make the logical mistake of failing to distinguish the reasons for a law from the content of the law. There were religious reasons behind many of our laws, but these laws do not “establish” a religion. All major religions have teachings against stealing, but laws against stealing do not “establish a religion.” All religions have laws against murder, but laws against murder do not “establish a religion.” The cam­paign to abolish slavery in the United States and England was led by many Christians, based on their religious convictions, but laws abolishing slavery do not “establish a reli­gion.” The campaign to end racial discrimination and segregation was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor, who preached against racial injustice from the Bible. But laws against discrimination and segregation do not “establish a religion.”

If these “exclude religion” arguments succeed in court, they could soon be applied against evangelicals and Catholics who make “religious” arguments against abortion. Majority votes to protect unborn children could then be invalidated by saying these vot­ers are “establishing a religion.” And, by such reasoning, all the votes of religious citizens for almost any issue could be found invalid by court decree! This would be the direct opposite of the kind of country the Founding Fathers established, and the direct oppo­site of what they meant by “free exercise” of religion in the First Amendment.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010], 31.

Book recommendation:

“Marriage Is Old Fashioned If You Want to Have Kids” ~ Katty Kay

Is this “new dynamic” good for the continued health of the American way, or will it push us further towards a European way of viewing society? Two Books I highly recommend will be after the video:

Via NewsBusters:

Although Kay wasn’t necessarily advocating for single parents, the statistics concerning that are scary (via SingleParentSuccess.org):

  • In 1995, nearly six of 10 children living with mothers only were near the poverty line. About 45 percent of children raised by divorced mothers and 69 percent by never-married mothers lived in or near poverty, which was $13,003 for a family of three in 1998.
  • 75% of children/adolescents in chemical dependency hospitals are from single-parent families.
  • More than one half of all youths incarcerated for criminal acts lived in one-parent families when they were children.
  • 63% of suicides are individuals from single parent families.
  • 75% of teenage pregnancies are adolescents from single parent homes.

There’s no question that children growing up with both of their parents fare far better in life than any other domestic arrangement.

With such statistics readily available, it’s sad to see a member of the media call it old fashioned to marry before having kids.

Feminism v women
Flipside of feminism

 

 

 

Marriage, The Poverty Destroyer

….”Over a third of single-parent families with children are poor, compared to only 7 percent of married families. Overall, children in married families are 82 percent less likely to be poor than are children of single parents.”

Robert Rector’s study, “Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty,” detailed the problem in each state and he concluded that the Feds need to focus on marriage more.

“Policymakers on the state and national levels recognize that education reduces poverty, but they’re largely unaware that marriage is an equally strong anti-poverty weapon,” said Rector, a nationally recognized authority on the U.S. welfare system.

Heritage said that “while more Americans grow dependent on welfare, government fails to communicate the benefits of marriage even as it warns young people not to smoke, do drugs, have “unsafe” sex, or drop out of school.” Rector calls this “tragic.”

War on Poverty Starts With Marriage

The Heritage Foundation has a great article about marriage. There points are zeroes in on marriage and its positive effects on children. They also point out that since the “War on Poverty” was implemented by President Lyndon Johnson, this single motherhood % and poverty can be seen to be the most affected. In other words, when a mother has a child out of wedlock because the man knows he doesn’t have to pay the bills, society will make up for his selfishness, that child is most affected. So, if you truly care for the child (as progressives almost always say they are), stop the “War on Poverty” as we know it, and start the “War on Broken Families.”