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The Bible comes down hard against divorce. “I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel," states Malachi 2:16. In Matthew 5:32, the Bible clearly lays down the line: "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery." Yet, despite these strong edicts, in 1533, Henry VIII demanded that the Catholic Church give him a divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon so he could marry his new (and hopefully fertile) squeeze, Anne Boleyn.

Until then, Henry VIII had been a devout Catholic. But Catherine hadn't given him a son, and in politically tense England Henry needed an heir to fend off power hungry royals. Plus, Anne Boleyn, was hot. Henry fought the Church for a divorce in a move that eventually ripped apart the Catholic Church and began a reformation of religion in England. This reformation redefined the rules of how people interacted with God and approached the Bible.

Today, in America, many American's are still caught in the Henry VIII conundrum. The United States is the most Christian nation in the world, yet has the highest divorce rates among all the developed nations. In a 2004 study done by the Barna Research Group, only 24% of Christians believed that divorce was a sin. The same study also showed that Christians are divorcing at the same rate as unbelievers.

And many Christians are dealing with the conflict between religion and divorce in the same way Henry VIII did, by redefining how they interact approach their faith. "When I sat down and thought about my divorce and my faith," says Dr. Linda Seger, who holds her doctorate in theology from The Graduate Theological Union, "I thought, if it's true that a divorced person can't get remarried, and find happiness after the misery of a marriage, then a bad marriage is the only unforgivable sin. I could murder someone, serve my time, be forgiven, and start life again and, possibly, find happiness. But this would mean that I couldn't marry someone, divorce him, and then find happiness through love and marriage."

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  • Comment Link Kim Thursday, 26 May 2016 23:17 posted by Kim

    Dr. Seger makes an emotional argument, not a Scriptural one. As the article quotes from Matthew 5:13, Jesus said that if a person divorces except for any other cause but fornication (unfaithful spouse) and marries another, he/she commits adultery (a sin).

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 17 April 2010 13:42 posted by Guest

    Divorce and Adultury: My wife commited adultury while we were married ( we still are as I am writing this ).
    She said that because I left her alone and worked too much she felt single but I was working hard to make sure our bills were paid.
    We have a nice home and two cute little dogs and I took her out when ever possible and tried to make as many family functions when I could.
    But money got tight even though I was working nearly 80hrs a week.
    Since she left about six weeks ago I have gotten the budget under control ( money isnt an issue now that shes not here ), I have been working out to make myself feel better and look better even though im 32 and look 22.
    I have been going to church a lot here lately because I have no family to talk to about the divorce which has turned out to be comforting, it still feels as my heart has been ripped from my chest but some comfort is better than none.
    My question is my wife commited adultry and is filling for divorce, if I willingly sign the divorce papers and do not fight it any longer am I a sinner or should I drag it out and fight her every step of the way.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 20 August 2009 06:30 posted by Guest

    From the religious point of: From the religious point of view, you should avoid divorce.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 04 June 2009 22:52 posted by Guest

    Response to Guest: I am a Christian and I agree that marriage is sacred, but I have forgiven many, many times and tried to be Fun, Pretty, interesting etc.. If only one person works at it, it becomes hard. I think God will forgive us. After 30 years of marriage, I quit. I have been humiliated so much, that I finally gave up and told him to move out. I felt such a release and freedom. I did not even cry. I think God held me up, because by all rights I should have been on the floor crying my eyes out. But I was very calm, not shrill, maybe even nice. I told him to go be with the other woman, how could he stay here with me when it was clear by their text messages, they are love. I prayed that night and slept very well, I went to work and did not fall apart. Of course I hated coming home to face him, but he was doing his chores and watching TV like nothing ever happened. I think he believes I will be a door mat again. God has given me such peace and strength over my decision how can it be wrong? I will be seeking his answers and forgiveness. I think even if I never find love again, God's love will certainly be enough for me. Hang in there girls, life is not so black and white.

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 04 June 2009 22:06 posted by Guest

    In response to your post...: I hope your post made you feel better about yourself (I'm pretty sure it didn't help anyone who read it), and that you consider yourself truly blessed that you haven't had to suffer through the breakdown of a marriage.

    To imply that those of us who have were not willing to "stick out the bad times" or that it was as easy as bailing out when we found that marriage was not perfect is insulting to say the least. It trivializes the vast and complicated elements that contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. You have certainly not drawn anyone here closer to God or religion.

    How wonderful for you to know, as fact, what God loves or hates and why, which sins are forgivable, and on top of that to deem your life & faith so perfect as to be able to use them as the benchmark for everyone else.

    Sometimes it's hard to see what others are suffering through from way up on that high horse. What you have succeded in doing is propagating the negative stereotype of the religious "high & mighty" attitude, and that is a very sad thing. Knowing that people come here to seek support (or "justify their decision" as you say), you just couldn't resist the temptation to try to make us feel even worse. When I wonder what Jesus would do, I'm confident that it would not be to kick people when they're down.

    To assume that you know what God has planned for each of us is the epitomy of self righteousness. What I know for certain is that I am living God's plan for me, and that includes an extraordinarily painful divorce.

  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 02 June 2009 19:31 posted by Guest

    Response: Comparing Henry VIII to anything in scripture is ridiculous. He wasn't God. He was behaving in the interest of self.

    God hates divorce because it's a broken relationship. God is love; he hates to see his children in pain. Of course, divorce is forgivable but it is a sin (a sin being something that misses the mark of what is right and true). Also, because marriage is a spiritual institution where 'two become one' it's an especially destructive thing.

    I'm not going to argue with the stats but many people call themselves Christian. It is often just a title. However, in my life, those who are truly living their faith, making God a priority and their marriage a priority (on a daily basis) have a lower chance of divorce and are happier over all. They stick out the bad times and support each other through them.

    I know that this website is here to justify people's decisions about divorce but it is not what God has for you. Marriage is supposed to be a blessing but as in any relationship, it is not going to be perfect. Jesus is the only perfect relationship you can have. Only you can make yourself happy.