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Maybe Brit Hume Should Preach Buddhism . . .

5 years ago
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...And maybe Tiger Woods, who has described himself as a Buddhist, should become a bit more observant.

As everyone knows by now, Brit Hume, the Fox News analyst, used last Sunday morning's talk show to advise the serially adulterous golfer "to turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

And as we wrote here, Hume made his pitch in part by comparing Buddhism unfavorably with Christianity -- a characterization that was disputed by many Buddhists, and one that I also took issue with by noting data showing that Christians don't seem to be much better than anyone else at staying faithful or married.

Yet now it seems Christians aren't just as bad as everyone else when it comes to marriage, but Buddhists are actually better than everyone else.

Darren Sherkat, a sociologist of religion at Southern Illinois University and one of the more provocative practitioners of that trade, has crunched the numbers at his blog and found that --"Ohm my gosh!"-- Buddhists in the U.S. are less likely to stray than any other religious group, notably Protestants.

From 2000-2008, according to the General Social Surveys -- the gold standard of such measurements --17.3 percent of Protestant men reported being unfaithful to their spouse as opposed to 15 percent of Buddhist husbands. And close to 20 percent of those husbands identifying as just "Christian" were unfaithful over the eight-year period. (Similarly, 10.4 percent of Protestant wives confessed to violating the Sixth Commandment -- or the Seventh, depending on who's counting -- while 7.7 percent of Buddhist wives did so.)

On the plus side, Hume, who is divorced and remarried and says he is now practicing his Christian faith "more ardently," can point to stats showing that those who report no faith also report the highest levels of infidelity: more than 20 percent of husbands who identify with no religion were unfaithful from 2000-2008, and nearly 15 percent of the unaffiliated wives said the same.

As they say, a man has to believe in something.

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