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« on: July 16, 2011, 03:20:25 PM »

Some excerpts from an essay "The Coming Evangelical Disaster" by M. James Sawyer, PhD

"I have for years believed that American Evangelicalism (not Christianity) was skating on thin ice, spiritually and intellectually. As a movement we (not all of us individually) have suffered from a host of problems that began generations ago, as early as the origin of the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century..."

The rest of this blog post can be read here:
http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/03/the-coming-evangelical-collapse/



Content of post reduced to excerpt to enforce compliance with copyright fair use laws (See the Forum Rules Page for precedent.)  -PtA
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2011, 03:51:09 PM »


As a theologian, I would argue


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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2011, 04:01:51 PM »

Seems like all these criticism can pretty much be applied to Orthodoxy as well, especially in Greece.
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2011, 04:18:46 PM »

Seems like all these criticism can pretty much be applied to Orthodoxy as well, especially in Greece.
Yep, although I'd alter the lack of biblical knowledge to patristics in general.
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2011, 04:41:02 PM »

Seems like all these criticism can pretty much be applied to Orthodoxy as well, especially in Greece.
Documentation?

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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2011, 04:43:51 PM »

Seems like all these criticism can pretty much be applied to Orthodoxy as well, especially in Greece.
Documentation?
Just the impression I get from all the anecdotes I hear.
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2011, 04:54:36 PM »

Anecdotal evidence counts for next to nothing in the social sciences though; any hard data? Certainly the disparity in divorce rates is a humongous gulf.

As a former Protestant I always found it disturbing that there was no measurable statistical difference whatsoever between evangelical/Protestant and non-Christian divorce rates despite the fact that Christ Himself issued a command about it. If one digs into George Barna's data it soon becomes apparent this is just the tip of a massive iceberg.
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2011, 04:55:16 PM »

Xariskai, what is the marriage rate per 1,000 in Greece as compared to the US, though?  What I mean to ask is, could the much larger divorce rate in the US be due to far more marriages (marriages, quite possibly, entered into without enough thought, but marriages nonetheless) and people in Greece being more likely to live with a girlfriend or a boyfriend?  I am honestly asking, because I don't know (sometimes those little bits of expression on a person's face and the tone of their voice can get across a point that might be lacking in the written word).
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2011, 05:40:04 PM »

could the much larger divorce rate in the US be due to far more marriages (marriages, quite possibly, entered into without enough thought, but marriages nonetheless) and people in Greece being more likely to live with a girlfriend or a boyfriend?  I am honestly asking, because I don't know
No. I'm sure there are a multitude of factors involved, but cohabitation isn't more common in Greece; the rate there is still one of the lowest in the world. In the U. S. it is skyrocketing; it has actually doubled just since 1990![1]

If anything there are more marriages and fewer divorces in Greece, whereas in the U. S. where articles have recently been published asking if marriage is becoming obsolete[1] because marriage rates are becoming so low and cohabitation rates are becoming so high. Yet there are still a vastly larger number of divorces in the U. S. even with marriage itself on the way toward "obsolescence."

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[1] http://pewsocialtrends.org/2010/11/18/the-decline-of-marriage-and-rise-of-new-families/

"The Rise of Cohabitation. As marriage has declined, cohabitation (or living together as unmarried partners) has become more widespread, nearly doubling since 1990, according to the Census Bureau. In the Pew Research survey, 44% of all adults (and more than half of all adults ages 30 to 49) say they have cohabited at some point in their lives. Among those who have done so, about two-thirds (64%) say they thought of this living arrangement as a step toward marriage.

"Is Marriage Becoming Obsolete? Nearly four-in-ten survey respondents (39%) say that it is; in 1978 when Time magazine posed this question to registered voters, just 28% agreed. Those most likely to agree include those who are a part of the phenomenon (62% of cohabiting parents) as well as those most likely to be troubled by it (42% of self-described conservatives). Despite these growing uncertainties, Americans are more upbeat about the future of marriage and family (67% say they are optimistic) than about the future of the country’s educational system (50% optimistic), its economic system (46% optimistic) or its morals and ethics (41% optimistic)".


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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2011, 06:23:28 PM »

Fantastic article, it's too scarily true. But I still think we have alot that seperates us from the Europeans.
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2011, 06:23:28 PM »

The problem with those stats are the populations aren't as high as America.
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2011, 06:49:43 PM »

Xariskai, what is the marriage rate per 1,000 in Greece as compared to the US, though?  What I mean to ask is, could the much larger divorce rate in the US be due to far more marriages (marriages, quite possibly, entered into without enough thought, but marriages nonetheless) and people in Greece being more likely to live with a girlfriend or a boyfriend?  I am honestly asking, because I don't know (sometimes those little bits of expression on a person's face and the tone of their voice can get across a point that might be lacking in the written word).
This is a very valid point. During the 1980s when I did some years of volunteer (Protestant) missionary service in Paraguay, the divorce rate there was effectively 0% because divorce was illegal and unacknowledged (Divorce has since been legalized - I don't have details on how that has played out). The locals would often criticize North Americans for our divorce rate until it was pointed out to them that most of them did not get married and there was an extremely high rate of "illegitimate" children in their own country.

Divorce rates can be helpful when placed in context but close to useless otherwise.
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2011, 07:53:04 PM »

Is it really suprising that America has such a high divorce and cohabition rate?  Family means nothing here, the only thing that does is individualism and making money.  Greece, like the rest of the Mediterranean world places a high, high value on family relationship and blood ties, something that is definitely lacking both in America and throughout the Nordic world.  I'm not saying that all things are perfect in the Mediterranean. They do have a high rate of adultery and philandering amongst men, but those things are often done in secret and not openly advertised and bragged about in public as here in the States.  Family ties were never as strong in Nordic countries, but at least in the old days it was kept in check by things like religion, morality, and shame (These have all but disappeared there today).  I hope that things will gt better, but as rampant materialism and individualism skyrockets out of control, the U.S. and its Nordic allies will probably continue to See a decline in organized family life.

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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2011, 08:02:47 PM »

During the 1980s when I did some years of volunteer (Protestant) missionary service in Paraguay, the divorce rate there was effectively 0% because divorce was illegal and unacknowledged (Divorce has since been legalized - I don't have details on how that has played out). The locals would often criticize North Americans for our divorce rate until it was pointed out to them that most of them did not get married and there was an extremely high rate of "illegitimate" children in their own country.

Divorce rates can be helpful when placed in context but close to useless otherwise.
I agree; apples and oranges.

Volnutt's claim was that "all the criticisms" made by Dr. Sawyer about his fellow evangelicals "can pretty much be applied to Orthodoxy as well"; I just don't think that's at all self-evident ("especially in Greece" or generally) and would like to see it documented. The divorce statistics are simply an example of why I think Volnutt's claim about Orthodoxy and "Orthodoxy in Greece in particular" isn't self-evident on one point of which I'm aware.

Honestly I would be grateful to God if there was a transfiguration of evangelical Christianity and would not grieve if evangelicals put Orthodox to shame; God knows our world can use a dose of change. I have seen and been deeply saddened by what Sawyer has described for years.
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2011, 11:10:21 PM »

Anecdotal evidence counts for next to nothing in the social sciences though; any hard data? Certainly the disparity in divorce rates is a humongous gulf.

As a former Protestant I always found it disturbing that there was no measurable statistical difference whatsoever between evangelical/Protestant and non-Christian divorce rates despite the fact that Christ Himself issued a command about it. If one digs into George Barna's data it soon becomes apparent this is just the tip of a massive iceberg.
I don't know. This might be good news. Think of how high the divorce rate in the U.S. evangelical population might be, if they weren't Christians.
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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2011, 11:21:38 PM »

Anecdotal evidence counts for next to nothing in the social sciences though; any hard data? Certainly the disparity in divorce rates is a humongous gulf.

As a former Protestant I always found it disturbing that there was no measurable statistical difference whatsoever between evangelical/Protestant and non-Christian divorce rates despite the fact that Christ Himself issued a command about it. If one digs into George Barna's data it soon becomes apparent this is just the tip of a massive iceberg.
I don't know. This might be good news. Think of how high the divorce rate in the U.S. evangelical population might be, if they weren't Christians.
Your logic really doesn't make sense. What xariskai is saying is that the divorce rate among Evangelicals is already equal to that of the non-Christian population. We don't need to see what would happen if they weren't Christians, because they're already matching the non-Christians.
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2011, 12:15:03 AM »

Xariskai, what is the marriage rate per 1,000 in Greece as compared to the US, though?  What I mean to ask is, could the much larger divorce rate in the US be due to far more marriages (marriages, quite possibly, entered into without enough thought, but marriages nonetheless) and people in Greece being more likely to live with a girlfriend or a boyfriend?  I am honestly asking, because I don't know (sometimes those little bits of expression on a person's face and the tone of their voice can get across a point that might be lacking in the written word).

I think this is a valid critique and there are more that can be made with data like these. Unfortunately it takes money that is not available to do this on a global scale. From what I understand from reading the source of the divorce rates so far presented in this thread, the data is pre-2000 (from news sources in some cases). I have compiled the divorce and marriage rates per 1000 population for European countries from the UN Statistics Division (http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dyb2008.htm):
(I left the data tab delimited just in case someone wants to use the compilation, therefore the columns do not line up)

                                   Rate divorce/marriages per 1000 midyear population
Country                2004   2005   2006   2007   2008   
Albania divorce      0.9   1.3   1.3   1.0   ...   
Albania marriage   2.4   2.5   2.5   2.4   
Austria marriage    4.7   4.8   4.5   4.3   4.2   
Belarus divorce     3.0   3.1   3.3   3.7   3.8
Belarus marriage   6.1   7.5   8.1   9.3   8.0   
Belgium divorce     3.0   2.9   2.8   2.8   ...   
Belgium marriage   4.2   4.1   4.3   4.3   ...   
Bosnia divorce       0.4   0.5   0.4   0.5   0.4   
Bosnia marriage    5.8   5.6   5.6   6.1   5.8   
Bulgaria divorce    1.9   1.9   1.9   2.1   1.9   
Bulgaria marriage   4.0   4.3   4.3   3.9   3.6   
Croatia divorce      1.1   1.1   1.0   1.1   1.1   
Croatia marriage   5.1   5.0   5.0   5.2   5.3   
Czech Rep divorce   3.2   3.1   3.1   3.0   3.0   
Czech Rep marriage   5.0   5.1   5.1   5.5   5.0   
Denmark divorce   2.9   2.8   2.6   2.6   2.7   
Denmark marriage   7.0   6.7   6.7   6.7   6.8   
Estonia divorce      3.1   3.0   2.8   2.8   2.6   
Estonia marriage   4.5   4.5   5.2   5.2   4.6   
Finland divorce      2.5   2.6   2.5   2.5   2.5   
Finland marriage   5.6   5.6   5.4   5.6   5.8   
France divorce      2.2   2.5   2.2   2.1   ...
France marriage    4.5   4.5   4.3   4.3   4.3   
Germany divorce   2.6   2.4   2.3   2.3   2.3   
Germany marriage   4.8   4.7   4.5   4.5   4.6   
Greece divorce      1.1   1.2   1.2   1.2   ...
Greece marriage    4.6   5.5   5.2   5.5   4.8   
Hungary divorce    2.4   2.5   2.5   2.5   2.5   
Hungary marriage   4.3   4.4   4.4   4.1   4.0   
Iceland divorce      1.9   1.9   1.7   1.7   1.7   
Iceland marriage   5.2   5.6   5.8   5.8   5.1   
Ireland divorce      0.8   0.8   ...   ...   ...   
Ireland marriage   5.1   5.2   5.2   5.2   5.0   
Italy divorce       0.8   0.8   0.8   0.9   ...
Italy marriage      4.3   4.2   4.2   4.2   4.2
Latvia divorce      2.3   2.8   3.2   3.3   2.7
Latvia marriage     4.5   5.5   6.4   6.8   5.7   
Liechtenstein divorce   2.9   2.7   2.3   2.7   2.8   
Liechtensteinmarriage   4.8   5.4   4.3   5.2   5.8   
Lithuania divorce   3.2   3.3   3.3   3.4   3.1   
Lithuania marriage   5.6   5.8   6.3   6.8   7.2   
Luxembourg divorce   2.3   2.2   2.5   2.3   2.0   
Luxembourg marriage   4.4   4.4   4.1   4.1   3.9   
Montenegro divorce   0.8   0.8   0.8   0.7   0.7
Montenegro marriage   5.5   5.3   5.5   6.4   5.5
Netherlands divorce   1.9   2.0   1.9   2.0   2.0
Netherlands marriage   4.5   4.4   4.4   4.4   4.6
Norway divorce     2.4   2.4   2.3   2.2   2.1
Norway marriage   4.9   4.8   4.7   5.0   5.3
Poland divorce       1.5   1.8   1.9   1.7   1.7
Poland marriage    5.0   5.4   5.9   6.5   ...
Portugal divorce    2.2   2.2   2.3   2.4   ...
Portugal marriage   4.7   4.6   4.5   4.4   4.1
Moldovia divorce    4.1   4.0   3.5   3.9   3.5
Moldovia marriage   7.0   7.6   7.6   8.2   7.5
Romania divorce    1.6   1.5   1.5   1.7   1.7
Romania marriage   6.6   6.6   6.8   8.8   6.9
Russian Fed. divorce   4.4   4.2   4.5   4.8   5.0
Russian Fed.marriage   6.8   7.5   7.8   8.9   8.3
Serbia divorce       1.2   1.0   1.1   1.2   1.2
Serbia marriage     5.6   5.2   5.4   5.6   5.2
Slovakia divorce    2.0   2.1   2.4   2.3   2.3
Slovakia marriage   5.2   4.9   4.8   5.1   5.2
Slovenia divorce    1.2   1.3   1.2   1.3   1.1
Slovenia marriage     3.3   2.9   3.2   3.2   3.3
Spain divorce        1.2   1.7   2.9   2.8   2.4
Spain marriage      5.1   4.8   4.7   4.6   4.2
Sweden divorce     2.2   2.2   2.2   2.3   2.3
Sweden marriage   4.8   4.9   5.0   5.2   5.5
Switzerland divorce   2.4   2.9   2.8   2.6   2.6
Switzerland marriage   5.3   5.4   5.3   5.3   5.4
FYRMacedonia divorce   0.8   0.8   0.7   0.7   0.6
FYRMacedoniamarriag   6.9   7.1   7.3   7.6   7.2
Ukraine divorce     3.7   3.9   3.8   3.8   3.6
Ukraine marriage   5.9   7.0   7.6   8.9   6.9
UnitedKingdomdivorce   2.8   2.6   ...   2.4   ...

ps- there is no marriage data for the UK and there is no divorce data for the USA (the latter not listed).

pss- I suspect the data correlates more with alcoholism than religious affiliation

You may all go back to dissing the Greeks now.



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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2011, 10:05:37 PM »

No. I'm sure there are a multitude of factors involved, but cohabitation isn't more common in Greece; the rate there is still one of the lowest in the world. In the U. S. it is skyrocketing; it has actually doubled just since 1990![1]

Wow.
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2011, 10:09:03 PM »

Anecdotal evidence counts for next to nothing in the social sciences though; any hard data? Certainly the disparity in divorce rates is a humongous gulf.

As a former Protestant I always found it disturbing that there was no measurable statistical difference whatsoever between evangelical/Protestant and non-Christian divorce rates despite the fact that Christ Himself issued a command about it. If one digs into George Barna's data it soon becomes apparent this is just the tip of a massive iceberg.
I don't know. This might be good news. Think of how high the divorce rate in the U.S. evangelical population might be, if they weren't Christians.
Your logic really doesn't make sense. What xariskai is saying is that the divorce rate among Evangelicals is already equal to that of the non-Christian population. We don't need to see what would happen if they weren't Christians, because they're already matching the non-Christians.

Can anyone provides particulars of the "no measurable statistical difference whatsoever between evangelical/Protestant and non-Christian divorce rates" stat? (E.g. what countries is this referring to?)
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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2011, 11:45:27 PM »

In my opinion cohabitation is silently killing the U.S. It makes relationships seem like a salad bar and cheapens love between a husband and wife. Apparently (and I don't have a statistical figure off hand), the divorce rate for people who cohabitate before marriage is much higher than those who don't.
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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2011, 12:01:53 AM »

Can anyone provides particulars of the "no measurable statistical difference whatsoever between evangelical/Protestant and non-Christian divorce rates" stat? (E.g. what countries is this referring to?)

From what I've seen over the years, non-religious people in the United States have lower divorce rates than Christians (of all stripes). As has been pointed out, though, various factors could play into this, including the potentially higher rate of cohabitation (rather than marriage) among non-religious people.
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2011, 10:09:19 PM »

I have heard that people who cohabitate tend to wind up not getting married. Oddly enough, some refer to this as a factor in the drop in the divorce rate.
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« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2011, 10:13:55 PM »

Divorce rates do go down whenever people stop marrying.
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« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2011, 01:12:04 AM »

It depends on how it is measured in a given instance. The so-called crude divorce rate is per 1,000 general population, which does not take into account those who do not or cannot marry, including children not of marriageable age, cohabitation which has already been mentioned and other forms of non-marriage, delay in marriage, etc. Obviously such a method of measurement is ambiguous in many ways and is useful only for very rough comparisons at best. Broad comparisons of cultures are possible by this method, but as such they are rough comparisons subject to qualifications.

A more refined form of divorce rate measures the number of divorces per 1,000 women married to men -it is solely a measure of how many marriages end in divorce regardless of how many people in general are married, cohabiting, too young to marry, etc. When for example Barna op cit measured the percentage of evangelical marriages which end in divorce, the divorce rate statistic was a function of evangelical marriages, not general population.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2011, 01:30:02 AM by xariskai » Logged

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