Sanctity of Marriage

Undefined threats to the “sanctity” of marriage have become obsessive propaganda material among some ego-driven religionists in the twenty-first century USA.  Since the “holy scriptures” that these judgmental believers cling to says little-or-nothing about such alleged god-approved contracts, where does that self-serving opinion come from?  Where did they arrive at the claim that a contract of marriage somehow bestows a higher degree of spiritual value that is extended only between breeders?  Could that possibly be because it is a manufactured prejudice circulated by organized faith systems for their own purpose?

In the eighth century BCE, marriage outside the cult system dedicated to Yahweh, as expressed in the Deuteronomic view, was hostile—due to the typical cult fear that it could lead to the abandonment of faith (Deuteronomy 7:1–6).  This fear is also prominent in 1 Kings 11:8 and in 16:31-32.  These books were composed in the same general timeframe as Deuteronomy, and probably by the same priestly authors.  Postexilic accounts such as Ezra 9-10 and Nehemiah 10:28 and 13:23-28, again took up the position that marrying outside the faith really was about the unspoken fear that it would threaten priestly authority, hardly a spiritual endorsement for commitment to a domestic partnership.

To the aggravation of Christian hawkers today who love to proclaim the “sacred” place of marriage and family in god’s judgment, the New Testament actually offers no definite or comprehensive ideas concerning marriage.  The closest the NT comes to a discussion on marriage is in 1 Corinthians, chapter 7 (written by a Roman Empire author c. 94-100 CE), where the greatest thing that the self-appointed “apostle” Paul has to say (not Jesus) is that marriage is an answer to sexual immorality; but Paul thought celibacy was better.  The problem with this assessment is that two thousand years ago, Paul, who was not married, used that assessment in support of the storyline that Jesus’ second coming was imminent, thus in god’s final judgment the sexual conduct in marriage would be regarded as somehow less immoral than other consenting sex acts.  Later writing attributed to Paul, and which some call the “household codes,” imitate the more conventional Roman approach on marriage in that timeframe—such as the subordinate standing of the woman in the partnership.

The priestly impression of what marriage symbolized in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament is that a marriage commitment is a reflection of the relationship between god and his people.  The marriage vows were therefore meant to publicly express the emotional-spiritual union between the participants, thus the biblical “prophets” used marriage commitment to express the higher commitment between god and his people.  As an example, that curious imagery that was utilized in the end-times book of Revelation 21:2, where it speaks of “…a new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  Then in verse 9 it speaks of “…the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”  Etc., etc.

Marriage was not particularly thought of as being a “holy” event in one’s personal life until the timeframe of the early Middle Ages.  In those feudal societies marriage commitments were looked upon as simply a contract for breeding purposes, and agreement was solidified by paying for a license or legal permit that was issued in the villages, towns or cities where a couple swore not vows of love but reproductive obligations.  When the Catholic Church awoke to the money-making potential of such contracts, the promotional scheme of “holy wedlock” was contrived so that “what god hath joined together (read church controlled), let no man put asunder.”  The feudal legal contract, which was more a breeders commitment and could be easily terminated if children were not to a sire’s liking, then got tossed into the cauldron of religious ceremonial magic.  It all became “holy” once some god-representative presided over the agreement and he mumbled a few man-conceived magic rites over the glassy-eyed couple and presto! they were zapped into a god-approved union ever after.

The mutterings of some faith system’s representative over a couple’s expectations does not, unfortunately, assure or insure a “holy” union, as millions of couples will testify.  The fraud of “holy wedlock” incorporates ceremony to mark their agreement, and that does provide an emotional way to make public their commitment to each other.  But the magical incantations of some faith system’s representative are superfluous to those who are sincerely committed to one another, and those priestly theatrics become utterly meaningless to those who grow disenchanted with each other.  Bluntly stated, religious ceremony giving alleged heavenly blessing to physical pairing amounts to a strategy of control for a faith system’s use based on faulty misinterpretation of the natural world.  Religious marriage ceremonies constitute only a revenue pursuit for faith systems and they bestow nothing tangible or enduring to the parties of the contract.

That which is truly “holy” in any devotional commitment is generated by the couples’ desire to commit to each other, and holiness does not  arise out of some exterior element claiming to have exclusive “holy” influence.  The true secret of “holy wedlock” is found in being emotionally and instinctively involved (it’s called love) to confront life together for mutually desired ends.

Addendum:   Christian myth has it that Jesus’ first miracle was whipped up for a marriage that allegedly occurred “…the third day (and) there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there” (John, chapter two).  No explanation is ever given from what event the “third day” was reckoned, and theologians have often stressed-out over this.  It refers to the third day of Creation, however, and is a coded reference to the “spirit” in Genesis 1:2 that moved upon the waters and turned energy into matter (Genesis 1:9-13).  Therefore Mary, the mother (personification of the virginal void out of which Creation is made manifest), had to be there, and thus she complained about the lack of wine (waters of life).  Well, Jesus, the Life Principle, called for six water pots to be filled with water for the one-time-only event.  Why six water pots?  Because they represent the six days (phases) of Creation development ala Genesis.  Jesus then conjured up about sixty gallons of wine for the alleged wedding party.

Interestingly, when Jesus was asked to perform the water/wine miracle at the wedding, he initially responded to Mary, “Who is my mother and who are my brethren?”  And he also tossed out a statement that has always made theologians squirm.  “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”  That is an uncomfortable bit of holy word for family values.  What is disregarded is that this is myth, and it has nothing to do with any human mother and son: it is cosmological action presented in mythic dress and used as “history” just as it was in Genesis.  Jesus’ seemingly harsh response to Mary therefore pointedly indicates that no physical manifestations (i.e. mother, brothers, etc.) can be an all-inclusive representative of the Life Principle that is active throughout all Creation.

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