Another problem with religion is that it has social implications…social taboos that can negatively impact the quality of your life if you follow them to the letter. I was thinking about this recently…
I’ve noticed an intriguing phenomenon occurring in churches across America. Walk into any church, and I can pretty much guarantee you will notice the disparity in the MALE to FEMALE RATIO. There appears to be far more practicing Christian females than there are practicing Christian males. This has resulted in an interesting cultural phenomenon, an odd shift of sorts, namely, there are far more single Christian women than single Christian men.
Even when I was a believing, practicing Christian, I encountered this at my own church. All the 20-something males were partnered and married off quickly while a sizeable number of Christian women in the same age group remained single.
In fact, whenever I go back to my childhood church I see that many of these Christian women have thriving careers, have kept up their appearance and their spirituality—yet they can’t seem to find a Christian mate. Conversely, I don’t think I can name a single Christian male past the age of 25 that I grew up with who is currently single. Yes indeed, Christian males get married off very quickly. Even in the Christian world, with decreased supply, comes demand.
Amidst this imbalanced ratio, there is still the ever quoted Bible verse (2nd Corinthians 6:14) “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…”. Considering the disproportionate ratio of males to females in churches these days, this Bible verse seems to benefit Christian males more than Christian females. The options that many Christian women are left with is either to disobey this command and yoke-up with an unbeliever, or, to live the rest of their lives happily single. This is not to suggest that being married is an endlessly sublime experience without trials and tribulations. Nor is this to mean that being single for the rest of one’s life is the epitome of all existence—far worse things could happen, sure. I just happen to know very few women who say their ideal life is “remaining single and going through the entire rest of their life by their lonesome….err, with Christ as their husband”.
A number of studies seem to show a correlation between marriage and health and overall happiness. http://www.livescience.com/20649-married-people-happier.html Some studies even show that married people live longer http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/marriage-research_n_2450639.html. Finally, married women are also better off financially than single women http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/05/married_women_better_sex_more.html. There are truly many advantages to being married that married people probably take for granted that many singletons are profoundly aware of.
Some of these unmarried Christian women I know do initially seem to think that it is much better to remain single than to marry a man who isn’t a Christian. They talk about the “consequences” of entwining their lives with such a person. This is easier said than acted upon, long-term. It is hard to go through one’s entire life fighting off one’s natural urges to find love and companionship simply because the Bible commands “Do not be unequally yoked”. For instance, I have one single Christian friend who struggles when being asked out by a particular non-believing male—she wants to get to know him, but realizes he “isn’t spiritually available” and “isn’t a Christian” so she declines the invitation and chooses to wait for the right Christian guy. Like many other Christian women, she follows advice like the kind in this blog http://thechristianpundit.org/2012/08/15/it/.
One of the first pieces of advice offered to the single Christian woman is “You have no business yoking a redeemed soul with an unregenerate one, even if he seems open to change”. (per blog above) Aside from the fact that this statement exudes divisive, black and white thinking and uses tribalistic language to describe the entire non-Christian male population, does this actually make sense? Is this a factual, evidenced based account of the average non-Christian male? Should Christian females abstain from forming relationships with non-Christian males simply because the Bible says so?—especially when there are so few Christian males to begin with? Should Christian women simply wait for the right man to come along when studies show women’s relationship options actually become fewer over time?
While there is already a marked decline in male church attendance, I predict that with the internet and this constant access to science, information and other forms of accessible entertainment, this trend will only continue. Why would this not affect female church attendance too, you ask? I’m sure it will, but my view is that it will not be to the same extent that it would affect male church attendance and male religious affiliation. Females tend to be generally oriented towards community and social events. A church membership can help fulfill these needs. Also, many studies seem to show that instead of spending time on scientific sites and philosophical debate-type sites that encourage examination and reconstruction of one’s world-view (and abandoning of one’s religion), user demographic data seems to indicate females generally gravitate towards sites like pinterest, and other social media sites, as well as sites that involve fashion, décor, clothes shopping and anything that involves food and recipes.
From a practical standpoint, Christian females can only expect the Christian mancession trend to continue. Perhaps single Christian females should be more open to forming a relationship with a non-Christian male. Perhaps they should consider objective qualities that matter in reality—like how kind the man is, how he treats you, whether he shares your interests (aside from church) and whether he is a hard worker, is committed, has integrity, honesty and is loyal and caring. Perhaps single Christian women should just abandon their alliance with superstition and magical thinking, realizing that being “Married to Jesus” ends up making you feel lonely in the long-run—because Jesus is the quintessential absent husband and father.
In the end, relationship formation is based upon common interests and traits that you deem important for your partner to have (and vice-versa). Thankfully, these traits are human traits and can be possessed by both Christian and non-Christian males alike.