Science attests that traditional families happier, healthier

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Michael F. Haverluck (

As same-sex "marriage" continues to gain momentum in the United States, with 36 states now allowing it and the U.S. Supreme Court considering whether to legalize it nationwide in the upcoming months, a preponderance of research continues to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that traditional families are more happy, healthy, ethical, academically superior and financially stable than untraditional families.

A Closer LookAnalyzing 351 academic studies spanning over 13 nations from five continents, a researcher at Mexico's Autonomous National University, sociologist Fernando Pliego, found that families made up of heterosexual married couples are much better off.

"The members of … traditional families enjoy better physical health, less mental illness, higher incomes and steadier employment," Pliego reported from the summary of his research. "They and their children live in better housing, enjoy more loving and cooperative relationships and report less physical or sexual violence."

Pliego also declares that children brought up in traditional families are far better socialized than those raised in unconventional homes, which have recently been promoted by the government, media and schools as providing wholesome environments in which to raise youth.

"Moreover, when the bonds between parents and children are more positive, drug, alcohol and tobacco use is lower, children are better socialized and cooperative, they commit fewer crimes  and they perform better in school," Pliego attests.

Furthermore, a summary of Pliego's work asserts that when heterosexual spouses provide the base of a family unit, their quality of life is much higher than unconventional families.

"Professor Pliego found that 89.4 percent of the studies concluded that intact families produced a higher level of well-being than other family types," the research summary reads. "Only one in 10 claimed that all family structures produced similar outcomes. And only a negligible fraction of the studies — around 1 percent — claimed that other 'family' structures produced a better outcome."

Times are changing … and it's not for the good

Conservative talk-show host and nationally syndicated columnist Dennis Prager contends that much of the politically correct rhetoric spread by the LGBT community and the White House has drastically changed the sentiments in younger and older generations alike across America.

"In one generation we've gone from 'father knows best' to 'father doesn't matter,'" Prager commented on the state of the American family.

Christian author and host of The Point daily national radio program, John Stonestreet, is amazed at how quickly times have changed concerning how American society defines the modern family.

"When I was growing up, no one ever asked what a 'family' was," recounted Stonestreet, who also co-hosts BreakPoint Radio Commentaries with Eric Metaxas. "It was assumed that everyone knew the answer."

Stonestreet says that for many years now, everyone from academics to politicians to professors to Hollywood actors have blurred the line as to what a family is or should be, confusing an issue that was clearly drawn by God.

Family riding bicycles"Christians and other traditionalists on this issue will say a family consists of a married man and woman and any kids who come along," Stonestreet contends. "Others will say that definition is too restrictive, that a family can be an unmarried man and woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Others wonder why we restrict the family unit to two adults at all and advocate a kind of model known as polyamory."

Because of the secularization of society — a process that has been at work since the U.S. judicial system kicked God out of the public schools in 1963 — the Bible is no longer viewed as an authority when it comes to societal issues, including marriage and sexuality.

"'Who are you,' they pointedly ask us, 'to tell people who they can love?'" Stonestreet parroted a common contention. "In the old days, we could point to the Bible, as well as the thousands of years of history, to support our answer. But what do we do when people either reject the witness of Scripture and history, or willfully change its clear message?"

The God of the Bible and the God of science

Because society has been taught for decades to discount biblical authority, Christians often have to appeal to science in order to be given any kind of platform to reveal the truth about human nature — much like the common debate between creation and evolution, where naturalistic scientists won't allow biblical accounts into the discussion.

"Well, there is yet another source of authority that most of our neighbors still respect," says Stonestreet, who co-authored the book Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage with Sean McDowell. "It's called 'science.' And while empirical data are limited in what they can tell us about moral questions, such as what makes a marriage, they can tell us a lot about what works in the real world."

Hispanic FamilyAfter pointing out how children bonding with both their married father and mother demonstrate less socially deviant behavior, better social skills and better grades, Stonestreet says the findings corroborate what one Christian expert on criminal behavior has known for decades.

"Now this would be old news to Chuck Colson, of course, who worked in prisons for 34 years with Prison Fellowship," Stonestreet said. "In fact, every person I've ever talked with who works in prison points to the devastation wrought when young men don't have a father at home."

Stonestreet recalled one quote from the late founder of Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint that stresses how much intact families really matter.

"Every time I set a foot inside a prison, I see the results of splintered families," Colson shared years ago, according to Stonestreet. "So many of the prisoners I talk to tell me about growing up without dad."

God's never been wrong … and numbers seldom are

After recapping that nearly 90 percent of the 350-plus studies Pliego examined show that intact families produce superior levels of well-being than various other family types, Stonestreet concludes that God's Word on marriage and the family is corroborated by research.

"So based on a huge sampling of the social science data, it is fair to say that the family, as defined by Scripture, has been proven to be best, if we judge it by its effects on the people involved, based on the many measures of social well-being," the Christian radio host asserted.

Yet, he contends that winning others to Christ and God's standard of living isn't something that should be argued as if one were pleading a case in a court of law based on empirical evidence.

"Now it would be easy to take all these 351 studies and bludgeon our opponents with them — after all, by any reasonable measure of the data, we've won the argument about marriage," Stonestreet interjects. "But clearly the data has not won the culture, and that's because winning an argument is not the same as winning hearts."

Stonestreet insists that Christians must rethink the way they reach out to unbelievers with opposing views.

"As we've said before, Chuck used to talk about the Gospel being the 'great proposal,' a banquet of righteousness, peace and joy … We don't impose; we propose," Stonestreet concluded. "We don't need to browbeat anyone into the kingdom. In fact, we can't. So since we're talking about marriage, let's invite our neighbors to the wedding feast of the One who designed marriage in the first place."


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