Is divorce a sin according to the holy scriptures and different religions? Although religion doesn’t advocate for divorce, it is an option if a couple finds it hard to live together because of issues like adultery, abandonment, abuse, etc. Different religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, have varying views concerning divorce and when to consider it appropriate.
This article outlines whether divorce is a sin based on illustrations from different holy scriptures and helps you know the possible grounds for a religious divorce.
Is Divorce a Sin?
Divorce is considered a sin in biblical teachings if only there aren’t specific situations and scenarios where it might be allowed. If someone divorces because of adultery or abandonment, it’s not viewed as a sin. It’s important to note that different religions have varying views about divorce.
What The Bible Says About Divorce
It’s essential to analyze what religious scriptures like the Bible say about divorce to understand whether it’s a sin or not. The Bible is a reference book for Christians and helps outline different aspects of the Christian life. We’ll outline what the Old and New Testaments say about divorce.
– The Old Testament
In the Old Testament, the book of Deuteronomy teaches much about the issue of divorce for Christians. The book outlines that a man is free to write a divorce letter to his wife if he’s no longer interested in her. The divorce letter will then give her the freedom to move out of the relationship and get married to someone else if she wants to (Deuteronomy 24:1-2).
This section of the Bible doesn’t justify divorce but outlines the scenarios where divorce might be allowed. Here, a man can only divorce his wife if she doesn’t please him anymore. It, therefore, allows a wife to remarry.
– The New Testament
Jesus also talks about divorce in the New Testament when preaching the gospel. He emphasizes the importance of marriage and why one should “not separate what God has put together.” This implies that he never saw divorce as something appropriate before the eyes of God. In typical situations, Jesus perceived those divorced and remarried to have committed adultery (which was a sin).
He emphasizes the need for people to stay as husband and wife and not separate. However, according to Christian doctrines, Jesus also outlines instances where divorce is inevitable. He says that if someone divorces because of adultery or abandonment, it’s right for them to do so.
One cannot continue living with an unfaithful partner since trust they’ve broken the initial trust in their relationship. Also, if someone abandons his wife, she’s free to get remarried because he no longer expresses care or love for her.
From these biblical teachings, it’s evident that divorce only becomes permitted under specific situations. One should not rush to divorce their partner but instead look at what the holy scriptures say about divorce. Divorce is avoidable if Christians find new avenues to solve issues in their marriage and continue living as husband and wife because that’s what God wants.
How Different Religions View Divorce
In comparison to civil society, religion also acknowledges both marriage and divorce. Based on one’s religious affiliation, a religious divorce often results in the termination of a marriage between husband and wife. It’s important to note that different religions have varying views about divorce, which may significantly differ from the civil laws in your state.
– Christianity and Divorce
Christianity is considered the largest religion worldwide, with over 2.3 billion followers. Despite the different denominations, the unifying factor for Christians is that they believe in the existence of only one God through his son Jesus Christ. Most Christian views on divorce build on what Jesus taught his disciples and followers. Christian views on divorce emerge from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Christianity perceives marriage as a life-long association between a man and woman. Although the bible outlines that God hates divorce, Christianity allows it to prevail in special instances. For example, if a party is found abusive (Exodus 21:10-11) or unfaithful (Matthew 19:9), Christianity gives a chance for a divorce. Despite that, denominations give varying scriptural interpretations of divorce.
Let’s look at how some denominations interpret divorce in the Bible.
- Protestantism. Most Protestant churches advise against divorce whenever possible. However, divorce becomes inevitable when a relationship breaks beyond repair because of issues like abandonment or adultery. This denomination also allows a divorced person to remarry.
- Catholicism. The Catholic church considers divorce a sin since it treats marriage as a sacred sacrament. A marriage only ends if the church annuls it or a party dies.
- Mormonism. Mormonism allows a couple to divorce in only specific instances like abuse or adultery. The church then offers a “cancellation of sealing,” indicating that the marriage has ended.
A Christian couple may therefore choose to divorce based on the denomination they associate with.
– Judaism and Divorce
Judaism is among the oldest religions. It uses a sacred book (the Torah) as a reference when making laws and teaching various aspects of the religion. This religion also believes in the existence of God and that He made a covenant with his people. Like in Christianity, divorce isn’t encouraged in Judaism. It’s only allowed in some instances, however.
Although the traditional Jewish law initially allowed only a man to divorce his wife, it’s now possible for either party to initiate a divorce. The Jewish laws require a couple to sign a marriage contract (Ketubah) before legally getting married.
Therefore, they’ll have to present the document during the divorce proceeding in the rabbinical court. Judaism only allows divorce because of irreconcilable differences, abuse, or infidelity.
– Hinduism and Divorce
Hinduism originates from India and is considered more of a way of life than a religion. There’s no sacred scripture like Christianity or Judaism, but they believe in religious codes (dharma) that outline how people should live. Hinduism also allows divorce, although under rare circumstances.
Historically, this religion used to forbid divorce because their culture considered women inferior to men. It also considered marriage a sacrament and a life-long partnership never to be broken. According to the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 (passed in India), the major grounds for divorce in the religion include:
- Absence of communication or
– Islam and Divorce
As the second-largest religion in the world, Islam believes in Allah and his prophet, Muhammad. All Muslims seek to live according to the will of Allah and the holy scripture (Qur’an). This religion also allows divorce, although people opt for it only when no other alternative exists.
According to the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammad says that Allah considered divorcing the most detestable thing among His followers. Therefore, before they try out divorce, Islamic couples are asked to visit the mosque and have their differences sorted out. Islam also allows men and women to remarry alike.
The only difference is that a man can marry immediately after a valid divorce, whereas a woman will have to wait for some time (at least three months).
– Buddhism and Divorce
Buddhism doesn’t have many restrictions concerning marriage. Religion doesn’t restrict a couple from divorcing and considers it more appropriate if one is in a stressful or unhappy relationship.
Grounds for a Christian Divorce
Although Christianity considers divorce a sin, there are unavoidable circumstances in which a Christian couple is allowed to divorce. God’s main intention for marriage was to create a spiritual, emotional, and physical connection between a married man and woman. When this connection breaks, ending the marriage becomes inevitable.
The scriptures, therefore, allow divorce under such circumstances. Below are the main grounds for a Christian divorce.
Several Christian divorces happen because of abandonment by either of the spouses. The abandonment can either be emotional or physical. Physical abandonment is when a partner leaves the other and moves to a different place. On the other hand, emotional abandonment happens when a partner stops communicating with the other.
With emotional separation, two people might still live in the same house. When abandonment happens, the abandoned spouse has no option but to leave the marriage. They’ll have to cite abandonment as the reason for their divorce.
If your Christian partner abuses you, it’s allowed to divorce them based on biblical teachings. One can abuse you either physically, verbally, or emotionally. It indicates abuse if your partner belittles, bullies, or calls you names. You can talk to your partner and find a way to end their emotional abuse.
However, if that persists, continuing the marriage becomes unsafe and unhealthy. You’ll have no option but to seek divorce from your violent spouse because of their violent behavior.
The Bible also mentions adultery as one of the main reasons a Christian couple may decide to divorce. Infidelity in marriages has existed since the early days. People might engage in sexual immorality for many reasons, including lack of satisfaction or lust. If you find that your Christian partner has committed adultery, the church allows you to divorce them.
Christianity allows one to divorce someone if they’ve persistently engaged in drug and alcohol consumption that is ruining your relationship. Someone addicted to drugs and substances will rarely care for the family. Such people are also toxic since they are overly abusive. You can therefore cite drug addiction as the main reason for divorcing your spouse under Christianity.
The Impact of Religion on Overall Divorce Rates
Recent research indicates that a couple’s religious involvement could reduce divorce rates by up to 14%. Further, studies outline that spouses who attended church together had a lower chance of divorcing in their life since they consider it a sin. Although religion can reduce the chances of people divorcing, it’s not always the case because irreconcilable differences may also impact marriage.
The religious view on divorce has constantly evolved. In the past, religious individuals feared divorce because they could be stigmatized and even judged by the religious community. Some also thought that an act of divorce could lower their faith in God. Studies have also revealed an overall decline in religious participation following a party’s divorce.
With time, people have considered religion a personal thing and do not mind how it affects their decision to divorce. As long as the grounds for divorce are evident in the marital relationship, a religious couple is free to seek divorce.
– Is It a Sin to Divorce and Remarry?
No, as long as your marriage fulfills the biblical grounds for divorce like abandonment, abuse, adultery, and addiction, divorce is not a sin. Also, the Bible states that when a couple divorces, their bond breaks forever. Therefore, it’s bad for a divorced person to fall in love with someone else and marry for the second time.
The Bible considers it adultery if a man divorces his wife and marries another without any reason. The Bible only allows divorce under particular grounds. However, if someone has a lust for another woman and decides to divorce his current wife so that he can marry the second woman, that is considered a sin.
– Can God Forgive Divorce?
Although God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), it doesn’t mean a divorcing couple won’t receive forgiveness. Since the Bible allows divorce in particular instances like adultery, God forgives a person that divorces the other. God only dislikes divorce because he intended to have a man and woman bonded forever as husband and wife, leading a happy life.
– Does God Want Us to Divorce?
No, God created marriage so that man and woman can live as companions and develop a unique bond never to break. God wants marriage to last so that a couple can sire children together and multiply the world. However, if there’s no happiness or spiritual connection in the marriage, the Bible allows a party to divorce.
Before divorcing, the troubled couple should consider visiting the Church and seek guidance on the right thing to do.
– Can Prayer Stop a Divorce?
The Bible urges Christians to do everything possible to save their marriage since it’s a lifelong bond. So if a couple decides to pray to save their marriage, it’s considered the best option since it’s an act of faith. Apart from prayer, Christians should consider setting aside time to talk and work on the issues affecting their marriage. They should also consult religious leaders like pastors for prayer and spiritual guidance.
– When Should You Start Dating After a Divorce?
You’ll need to finalize your divorce before considering dating someone else. Divorce is also a heavy thing to the heart; hence you need time for healing before pondering your next move. You should wait for six to twelve months before considering dating following a divorce.
You should also consider your children’s safety and emotional wellbeing if you decide to date another person following a divorce.
This article has illustrated that divorce isn’t a sin if done for the right purpose, and in summary, we’ve learned that:
- The Old Testament advocates for divorce if a man no longer loves his wife and wants her to move out.
- Jesus says that divorce isn’t good, but you should consider it an option if someone becomes unfaithful, or abusive.
- Religion considers divorce appropriate when a party commits adultery, abandons or abuses their spouse.
- The four major biblical grounds for Divorce in the Old and New Testaments are abandonment, abuse, adultery, and addiction.
Research shows that since many religions don’t advocate heavily for divorce, the divorce rate among religious couples is slightly lower. Despite that, religion doesn’t prevent someone from divorcing their partner, given there’s some ground for divorce. If you feel that divorcing your spouse is a sin according to your religion, you should consider seeking guidance from leaders of your religion first.