SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, October 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – A Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia called MARRIpedia that compiles the latest and best social science research into religion's and the family's impact on society was unveiled at the World Congress on Families, staged in Salt Lake City this week.
MARRIpedia's spiritual parent, Dr. Pat Fagan, did the honors. He is the director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, itself an adjunct of the Family Research Council of Washington, D.C. The online MARRIpedia will make the research MARRI has been reporting, synthesising, and conducting in recent years much more accessible, in alphabetized form, for internet-raised advocates for the traditional family.
Fagan makes no bones about MARRI's and MARRIpedia's goals: show that the findings of modern social science support what conservative and religious teaching have always said – namely, that “the intact married family that worships weekly is the strength of the nation on every outcome measured.”
While opponents of the traditional family and advocates for minority sexual relations often produce research based on tiny, self-selected samples, MARRI draws on the far larger, randomly selected, and more reliable General Social Survey of the University of Chicago and of the longitudinal studies of the federal government. As well, MARRI synthesizes existing research. Sometimes, says Fagan, “five to six hundred papers” are boiled down into one 20-page report.
For example, MARRIpedia cites and graphs a dozen studies showing how premarital sex, unwed pregnancy, and marital infidelity all decrease with increased church attendance, while sexual satisfaction also increases.
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Asked if social science findings are what a Christian should expect, Fagan told LifeSiteNews, “Absolutely.” And in a video displayed on MARRI's website, he explains, “The social sciences well done cannot but illustrate that God made man.”
While the connection between religion and sexual restraint may be unsurprising, MARRIpedia reports many more benefits in a research product titled “95 Social Science Reasons for Religious Worship and Practice,” as well as in the report “Why Religion Matters Even More: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability.”
Both regular religious worship and intact nuclear heterosexual families correlate with dozens of similarly positive outcomes related to the health, income levels, and happiness of parents and children, and to the school performance, truancy, and criminal activity of children.
When they marry, men work harder and longer – 400 hours more a year – than single counterparts, while women who marry work less, but nearly enough to outweigh their husbands' gains. Moreover, the sons of single mothers are less productive, not least because they spend more time in jail than their peers from intact marriages.
There is plenty of bad news, too, as MARRIpedia chronicles the decline of the intact family in many ways, tying it to declines in income.
But bad or good, the correlation between religion and family on the one hand and dozens of measurable positive outcomes on the other is solid. “It is a great joy to present this resource to the families of the world,” Fagan said.