The Data is In: “Religious Couples Most Blissful of All”
One of the more remarkable developments of the last 50 years is the relentless commitment of a segment of the American academic and cultural elite to selling a vision of American life that is slowly but relentlessly proving to be — on balance — more harmful for children and less joyful for adults, while also relentlessly mocking (at worst) or ignoring (at best) the life choices that lead — again, on balance — to greater human flourishing.
I’ve asked this question before, but let me ask it again. How many happy, sexually vibrant religious married couples have you seen on popular television shows or movies — even in this era of fragmented, targeted entertainment? Now, compare that number (which is very, very close to zero) with the number of times you’ve seen liberation from religion portrayed as the key to sexual fulfillment.
How many times, amid the celebrations of sexuality on college campuses, do you hear the speakers at the various “sex weeks” say something like, “If you really want to improve your odds of enjoying a sexually satisfying life with a faithful partner, you might want to check out church”? Or how many wonkish progressives — the very people most likely to share charts and graphs about the effects of public policies or to pass around the latest social science about race, gender, and gender identity — will dwell on charts such as these, from the invaluable Institute for Family Studies:
These figures represent the U.S. portion of an extraordinary IFS study that attempted to answer the question “Is faith a global force for good or ill in the family?” IFS examined the relationship between religion and fertility, domestic violence, relationship quality, and infidelity. The findings were fascinating.
The global data reflected the U.S. reality. Highly religious couples “enjoy higher-quality relationships and more sexual satisfaction” compared with mixed or entirely secular couples. Moreover, in the global study, religion has an increasingly positive influence on fertility. Religious couples had “0.27 more children than those who never, or practically never, attend.”
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by David French and originally published at the National Review. Title changed by P&P.]