Friday, August 13, 2010


So, I was going to reformulate my post on atheist ethics today, but now I am not. Since two of my good friends get married tomorrow, and one severely disagreed with my last post, and probably will disagree with me still, though hopefully less vehemently, why pick a fight tonight. Let us instead celebrate marriage.

I was going to post a while back with thoughts on Prop 8, but again, my desire not to pick fights dissuaded me. While we are celebrating marriage, it seems worthwhile to bring this up. Whatever your position on who should have sex with whom, I assume we can all agree that love is good, and the more love, the better the world is.

This brings up an interesting point, in our culture today we tend to equivocate sex and marriage. This is in spite of the fact that it is widely acknowledged that many, many, unmarried people are having sex with each other. I would assume that there are also some married couples who are not regularly having sex with each other.

I think that modern mainstream Christianity is partially to blame for this. By attempting to make sex all about a marital relationship, the idea of sex and marriage have been linked, and it becomes easy to make the logical mistake of thinking that marriage is only for sex. However, this is certainly not the case.

Since I am lacking in deep thoughts today, I invite you to come up with your own. What is marriage? What does marriage mean to you? Is marriage a legal state or a spiritual state? If both, are these two different types of marriage? Can one have both, can one have only one of them?

"Mawidge is what bwings us togewer today." The priest was not addressing only the bride and groom, but everyone.


Cameo said...

I think you bring up a good point, Mr. Kenny, sir. Defining marriage is tricky, I think in part because it has so many religious implications as well as being a state institution, which in our country is strictly separate.

I define marriage as a state supported union between two people that legally connects them as one unit. Although that probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am an atheist. To me, the term marriage carries, almost exclusively, legal connotations. I guess that's why I'll never be governor of Arkansas... if I had my way our country would be an English speaking version of France.

Frank said...

Oh, my, we do go deep in this blog, do we not. Here's what I got.

What is marriage? I believe that marriage is a commitment between two people who plan to live together forever.

What does marriage mean to you? Obviously, love is involved, and is an important part of the e relationship, but I think the commitment part is more important, for those initial, nutso, crazy, irrational feelings of love will fade, hopefully being replaced by a deep commitment to the relationship.

Is marriage a legal state or a spiritual state? Oh, crap, Kenny, way to go deep, as always. In our country it is a legal state, but I'm not sure if that is how it originally began. Take Isaac and Rebecca, for example. Abraham's servant went and got Rebecca, she moved onto Isaac's tent and bingo, there you go. No ceremony, nobody saying any fancy words, just move on in and become a wedded couple. This type of system is repeated again and again in the Old Testament and lead me to believe that marriage is more of a spiritual state than a legal one.

If both, are these two different types of marriage? Ideally, a couple will have both, but one of the reasons I think our divorce rate is so high is because we tend to concentrate on the legal state rather than the spiritual. How many people do you know that put all sorts of emotional energy into the wedding, which is the legal state, and then let the marriage, which is the spiritual state, fester. Sadly, I know many.

Can one have both, can one have only one of them? Yes, you can have both, and I think this is ideal. Yes, you can have only one, and as evidence of that I offer up my principal and his "partner". They have been together for 25 years and are not legally married, but come on, a good proportion of marriages do not last that long, so I just gotta believe that spiritually they are indeed married, if not legally.