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A friend of mine, KLH, posted this quotation, attributed to CS Lewis, on his Facebook wall:
“Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling… Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go… But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from “being in love” — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriage) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God… “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”
– C.S. Lewis
For those interested, I was able to find the source for this on page 63 of The Complete CS Lewis Signature Classics, within the Mere Christianity section, Harper Collins, 2002.
Here is my response:
Interesting quotation. Do you think that’s really true? I ask because, according to the Associated Press, the highest divorce rates are in the Bible Belt (as cited in the link below). This is from ReligiousTolerance.org:
“Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience.”
These figures are a little old (10ish years), but then again so is that quote from CS Lewis.
Some of the reasons for this are likely related to the younger age at which conservatives tend to get married (increasing the likelihood that they are not ready and rushing into a decision they will regret), and because of the idea that sex should be reserved for marriage (who wants to wait until they are 25 to have sex? (See above link for sources). In reality, 95% of Americans admit to having premarital sex; that may actually be even higher because conservative Christians, who don’t tend to be very willing to talk about their sex lives with random telephone pollsters, may be lying).
Source: Most Americans have premarital sex, study finds (2006)
Also, teen pregnancy rates are highest in the South and among conservative Christians, because of pushes for abstinence-only education:
Source: See page 13 (2010 study of 2005-6 data)
“Purity rings,” celibacy pledges, etc have been shown to delay sex in teens by only 3-4 months versus teaching how to use condoms and safe-sex practices, and in those cases, teens are more likely to get pregnant because they don’t tend to use protection if they’re not taught how. This article from TIME says that teens are just as likely to have sex regardless of whether they make a virginity pledge or not, and those who do make one are significantly less-likely to use protection:
It seems that the idea that Christian marriages are maintained by God, as CS Lewis suggests here, is really pretty skewed. If God is helping to maintain Christian marriages, he is actually doing a *worse* job at it than non-Christians are doing on their own!
If you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend you check out this 1-hour talk from the Skepticon conference by researcher Darrel Ray, based on his brand-new book, “Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality.”
Here’s the book:
and here’s the video of the talk:
Here is the 46-page PDF study on which the book is based, which includes TONS of fascinating charts, graphs, and hard data that he and his research partner collected and put together for the book:
I quote it because it’s interesting, but not because I’ve experienced it. Even if it is true, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s rarely lived out.
[Correction: Darrel Ray has informed me that the PDF study linked above is only the basis of one chapter of the book, not the basis of the whole book, which has many other chapters as well. Thanks, Darrel!]
Until next time,
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Dave Muscato is Vice President of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. A junior at Mizzou majoring in economics & anthropology and minoring in philosophy & Latin, Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. His website is http://www.DaveMuscato.com.
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