What Religions Do Not Allow You to Have a Divorce?

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The joining of two people together in marriage is an ancient tradition. The religions of the world almost universally regard the institution as sacred, as a blessed union that should, if possible, be preserved. Although religions in general disapprove of the dissolution of marriage, some, including Judaism and Islam, acknowledge the importance of allowing for divorce. However, a handful of faiths explicitly condemn divorce and do not deem it to be an acceptable end for a dysfunctional marriage.


The Jain religion developed in India several centuries before the beginning of the Common Era. The principle of non-violence occupies the theological center of Jainism, and this principle extends into the lives of its practitioners. Jains struggle to overcome violence and suffering in their minds, lives and interactions with the world around them. Within Jainism, divorce is considered an act of violence, an invitation for misery and confusion. Partners in the marriage are strongly encouraged to seek harmony and pacifism with themselves and with each other instead of terminating the marriage. Jains do not exclude divorcees from the faith, but they consider divorce to be theologically incompatible with their beliefs.


The Roman Catholic Church has, over the years, developed an absolute position on the subject of marriage and divorce. According to the Church, a marriage within the faith---that is, a marriage between Catholics and properly officiated---is eternal in the eyes of God. Thus, the marriage vows can never be broken for any reason, including divorce. The Catholic Church does not perform divorces, nor does it recognize them, even if they were legally obtained, and considers remarriage to be adulterous. However, marriages that are not religiously officiated, like unions between non-Catholics, are not considered true marriages by the Church, and can therefore be terminated without consequence.


The body of religious practitioners known as Sikhs believe that marriage is an indissoluble union that should never be terminated with divorce. During the Sikh wedding ceremony, the couple moves around the holy Sikh book, Guru Granth Sahib, and swears to honor and preserve their marriage. Because Sikhs consider Guru Granth Sahib to possess consciousness and religious authority, the vows of the married couple are held to be binding, the souls of the two united into one, forever. The couple may separate if they choose, but the marriage would still be considered active. Thus, divorce is theologically impossible and impermissible, according to Sikhism.


The Hindu religion developed in India during prehistory, and over millennia, became an inextricable part of India's culture, society and conceptions of marriage. Marriages in India are traditionally arranged by the relatives of the marriage partners. After the marriage ceremony, which is filled with Hindu ritual and devotions to various deities, the marriage is considered to be permanent. The concept of divorce is unthinkable to many Hindus, particularly Indian Hindus. Hinduism does not acknowledge divorce as a proper or valid course for a couple to take.