Are Interfaith Marriages with Atheists on the Rise?

It seems a bit out of place at The Economist, but the rise of interfaith marriages is a fascinating subject for discussion:

Yet American rates of inter-faith and inter-denominational marriage are rising, to the point where 45% of marriages in the past decade have involved either two religions or Christian doctrines that clash seriously…

There are a lot of reasons for this, as the article points out: People are marrying later in life so family traditions no longer weigh as heavily on their minds. Marrying someone of a different faith is no longer as taboo as it used to be.

I wonder, though, if atheists break those trends.

For a long time, we were in the closet. You didn’t know a lot of other openly non-religious people, so, by default, the people you met and married were at least somewhat religious. Also, atheism wasn’t necessarily as much a part of one’s identity as it is now.

Because there is a growing number of non-religious people overall, dating websites allow you to identify as atheist, people do identify very strongly as atheists, and there are more opportunities to meet other atheists in person, I wonder if we’re more likely now to marry people who share our disbelief in God?

Are atheists less likely to date people of faith these days because we finally have secular alternatives? I would think so… though I’ll admit it’s pure speculation. (There are obviously individual couples who are atheist and theist, but I’m speaking of an overall trend.)

Is there any validity to my theory or do you think atheists marry theists as much if not more than ever before?

(image via Shutterstock — Thanks to Jamie for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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