This article is a follow-up to the last article I wrote entitled, “Unacceptable Statistics.” In the last article, I shared the results of a twenty year study from three different congregations. The results from each congregation were almost identical. Among other things, the findings from these three congregations showed that the vast majority of our young people who marry non-Christians eventually leave the faith (72%, 80%, 75%). Furthermore, these findings showed that very few of our young people are able to affect the conversion of their non-Christian spouses (17%, 14%, 5%). What may be even more disturbing than these statistics is the fact that the majority of our young people are choosing this path for themselves. From the three 20 year studies, an average of 71% of our young people chose to marry non-Christians.
At this point, allow me to interject another unintended consequence of this life choice. If one wishes to ignore the statistics, thinking he will be the exception to the rule, that is his choice (I certainly pray that they are right). However, what is seldom considered until after the fact is the impact that this choice has on the children that will be born into a religiously-mixed marriage. What happens to the faith of children raised in religiously mixed homes? While I don’t have statistics from two of the congregations mentioned in the previous article, I do have statistics from one of the congregations. Here are the findings:
- 72% of the children born into religiously-mixed homes left the faith after graduation from High School.
- 5% of the children born into religiously-mixed homes attend all the services of the church (Sun. A.M., P.M., Wed.) after graduating from High School.
- 70% of the children born into homes having two Christian parents remained faithful after graduation from High School.
Again, whether one views these statistics as anecdotal or a fairly accurate representation of what typically happens is your choice, but I am convinced they are fairly typical. Most young people entering a religiously mixed marriage think they’re strong enough to handle the inherent challenges such a relationship poses, (though only a small minority actually are), however few seem to think ahead far enough to consider whether their future children will also be that strong. One of the unintended consequences of Christians marrying non-Christians is the spiritual loss of the vast majority of their children.
Please don’t discard this information because you are, or you know someone who is an exception to the rule. If you’re an exception to the rule, I give God thanks for you, but recognize what you are, “an exception.” If on average 3 out of 10 people can survive a fall from a five-story building, that’s wonderful for them, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. Give it some thought.