It Makes No Difference

For decades, the share of U.S. children living with a single parent has been rising, accompanied by a decline in marriage rates and a rise in births outside of marriage. A new Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories shows that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households.

Almost a quarter of U.S. children under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults (23%), more than three times the share of children around the world who do so (7%). The study, which analyzed how people’s living arrangements differ by religion, also found that U.S. children from Christian and religiously unaffiliated families are about equally likely to live in this type of arrangement.

In comparison, 3% of children in China, 4% of children in Nigeria and 5% of children in India live in single-parent households. In neighboring Canada, the share is 15%.

U.S. has world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households

Right now, it makes no difference in our lifestyle, whether we are Christian or not.

This is going to have to change.

Now, there are extenuating circumstances that I am forced to acknowledge:

  • the article simply assumes that all who call themselves Christians even attempt to live in a way that please God;
  • there are so many Christians in America, that it’s hard to separate their influence from that of the general culture.

But still. If there are so many Christians in America, why is Christian behaviour noticeably worse than in China, or Nigeria, or even (more) unbelieving Canada?

Even worse, why is there no difference between believers and unbelievers in this (bad) choice of lifestyle?

(True: there is no welfare state in China or Nigeria, to be the let’s-pretend father. But there IS one in Canada.)

We must remove the log out of our own eye, before we can take the splinter out of the eye of our neighbour.

And, if that means that wealthy and successful Christians need to go out of their way to assist the less wealthy and less successful believers, then that is exactly what we should do.

(In reality, this will probably mean that the middle class and working-class believers help out the working-class and truly poor believers. Rarely do truly wealthy people – of whatever religion or ideology – rub shoulders with the poor.)

This is where churches can help, as well as groups of Christians who are not merely “concerned”, but “active”. Helping the poor man get on his own feet, and produce his own wealth for his family makes the entire local community stronger.

Real happiness isn’t someone who was earning $100,000 rise to earn $1,000,000 a year.

Real happiness is someone who was earning $0 rise to earn $20,000 a year. With some guidance and support from his real friends.

That’s where the victories kick in. For your town, and for the world.

Also: churches who really help the poor earn real respect from the world.
As is right and just.

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