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Marriage collapse, absent fathers 'unraveling' Christianity in growing US crisis: study – Fox News

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Samaritan’s Purse President Rev. Franklin Graham weighs in on a new study that suggests Americans are rapidly losing religious faith on ‘Fox & Friends Weekend.’
A nonprofit organization that works with churches nationwide to develop stronger families has released a study of churchgoers that suggests a collapse in marriage and resident fatherhood is fueling widespread loneliness and “the unraveling of Christianity” in the U.S.
Communio conducted a survey of 19,000 Sunday church attendees while they were attending services at 112 evangelical, Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. While it found that just 22% of regular churchgoers are lonely, the study noted “a substantial gap between married, cohabiting, and single Sunday churchgoers in feelings of loneliness.”
Single churchgoers were more than three times more likely to feel lonely.
“We are told that you should not prioritize getting married and having a family, that you should instead prioritize climbing the career ladder and maximizing your income,” Communio president J.P. DeGance and study author told Fox News Digital.
CHRISTIANITY QUICKLY DIMINISHING IN US, ON PACE TO BECOME MINORITY RELIGION IN DECADES: STUDY
Loneliness is less among regular churchgoers, but remains highest among churchgoers in their 30s who have never married. (iStock)
“What we’re seeing in the study is that the net effect of all of that is the crisis of loneliness; that the most lonely people walking around in our churches, in our communities, are actually not the elderly or widows. It’s men and women in their 30s, who in every other time period — almost every other decade before this century — would have been overwhelmingly likely to be married.”
“They’re not today, and as a consequence, they are also the among the loneliest Americans,” he added.
Nearly two-thirds of men and women in their 30s who never married were considered lonely, according to the study, which notes that percentage is higher than among widows.
Communio’s study comes in the wake of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s May 2 advisory that warned epidemic loneliness in the U.S. could be as deadly as smoking.
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Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy’s issued an advisory on May 2 warning that epidemic loneliness in the U.S. could be as deadly as smoking. (iStock)
DeGance said most churches are not doing enough to address the marital and relational crisis afflicting younger people, noting that the study also found that 85% of all churches in the U.S. report spending nothing each year on marriage and relationship ministry.
He also pinpointed the effects of many churches failing to address the effects of widespread premarital sex and rampant pornography addiction.
“When sex is cheap — meaning it’s undervalued and unvalued — it ultimately causes ‘capstone marriage,’ which is the delay in decisions to get married,” he said, citing sociologist Dr. Mark Regnurus, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who wrote the book “Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy” in 2017.
Rampant pornography has made it difficult for many Christian young men to form healthy relationships, Communio president J.P. DeGance said. (Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
“And pornography is epidemic,” DeGace continued. “It’s growing, shockingly, among younger women, as well as men. And, increasingly, guys in particular are just incapable of forming the kinds of relationships that can lead to a healthy marriage because of pornography.”
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He noted he recently spoke to a woman at a Focus on the Family event who told him her two Christian daughters had six consecutive breakups with Christian men between them because of the men’s inability to break out of their porn addiction.
“We live in this weird time when we have this strangely paradoxically puritanical world, where sex is all around us, but we don’t really want to talk much about it in certain ways,” DeGace said, noting that the average age children are first exposed to pornography is now younger than 10.
“Sex is everywhere except in our churches, and by that I mean being able to talk in a healthy way about sex within Christian marriage, and what authentic, life-giving sexual relationships and marriage look like.”
The study also suggested the collapse of fathers in the home amid declining marriage rates is fueling the decline in Christian faith in the U.S. Of all Sunday church attendees, 80% across all demographics were raised in a continuously married home with both biological parents.
A Pew Research Center study last year found that churches are rapidly emptying as Christians under 30 abandon their faith to become “nothing in particular.” (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
A report by Pew Research Center and the General Social Survey published in September found a surge of adults leaving Christianity to become atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” The study predicted that if the number of Christians under 30 abandoning their faith accelerates beyond the current pace, adherents of the historically dominant religion of the U.S. could become a minority by 2045.
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“The collapse of resident fathers through the collapse of marriage is at the heart of the unraveling of Christianity,” the Communio study said. “The growth of the religious nones is unlikely to stabilize until 25-30 years after married fatherhood stops its decline. Renewal requires new strategic action.”
Jon Brown is a writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to jon.brown@fox.com.
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