If your marriage ceremony didn't include the Lord or his ambassadors — and instead maybe involved jumping over drum circles and then sticking banjos up your partner's butthole before making out with a litter of dogs wearing pasties and chaps?* — you might be an atheist. And if you're an atheist, there's a chance your marriage might last longer than a Christian one. Take that, holier than thou sanctity of marriage people! Take that all the way to divorce court. Where you probably already are.
According to research by the Barna Research Group — conducted on 3,854 people living in different regions of the United States — American divorce rates were highest among Baptists and nondenominational “Bible-believing” Christians and lower among more theologically liberal Christians like Methodists, with atheists pulling into last place in the Divorce Olympics.
Salon has the word on the backlash to the survey's release over a decade ago:
When the findings were made public, George Barna took some heat because Christians expected the difference to be more dramatic and to favor believers. Ellis suggested that maybe Barna had sampled badly. Perhaps some people who called themselves born again had never really devoted their lives to Christ. But Barna held his ground, saying, “We rarely find substantial differences” [in the moral behavior of Christians and non-Christians].
In 2008, Barna again sampled a similar cross-section of Americans about divorce rates. The numbers changed some, but atheists were still large and in charge in the still being married department.
Unsurprisingly, the issue appears to not be that atheists are so great at staying together, but that churches inadvertently promote divorce via draconian ideas of marriage:
To prevent that greatest-of-all-evils, abortion, such communities teach even high school students to embrace surprise pregnancies as gifts from God. They encourage members to marry young so they won’t be tempted to fornicate. But women who give birth or marry young tend to end up less educated and less financially secure, both of which are correlated with higher divorce rates.
So, there we have it, institutions that don't value women are bad for everyone. If ladies are forced into situations where they must surrender control of their bodies and minds, there will be backlash. Additionally if women are viewed as breeding mares, the marital bliss shitteth with hitteth the fan — especially after they've popped out a few little angels. And you do not want to be there when a Good Christian mother of three finally breaks — trust me.
Perhaps the real solution here isn't to force everyone to forsake their God right here and now, but instead to build systems that are more supportive of women and their choices. That way, you can wander down the spiritual and/or religious path of your choosing and know that none of them lead to ladies (or anyone, really) being disrespected, ignored, and generally crapped upon.
Of course, this is a very NO DOY situation, and we can't even get to a place where all loving couples receive equal rights under the law, so I don't have high hopes. How about everyone — believers, non-believers, Tom Cruise — just meets me under the bridge in five and we'll burn this whole institution to the ground. I'll bring the lighter fluid and Satan.
*Or whatever it is heathens do.