Archive for marriage

Sanctity of Marriage

Posted in Atheist, humanism, humanist, random, religion with tags , , , , on June 1, 2012 by chouck017894

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.

Fundamentalists Marriage Merry-go-round

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, life, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on November 3, 2009 by chouck017894

One of the great myths of radical right religionism is the propaganda that they alone stand upon the highest moral ground—family values, pro-life, material profit prove god’s love, man should not love man, take every man-written sentence of the Bible literally—that sort of stuff.

 So when it comes to the sanctity of marriage among the fundamentalists, there is a curious point to ponder.  With the passage of time after the exchange of “I Do’s” among the hard-nosed religionists, the ironic thing is that born-again fundamentalists can turn around and boast of having one of the highest divorce rates in the nation.  This is not made up to give liberalists or atheists a turn at snickering up their sleeves.  In fact some years back, around 2006, an evangelical pollster, George Barna, found a very high rate of divorce among conservative Christians.  Even more disturbing to the pollster, the trend had been in place for more years than the fundamentalists wished to admit.

To add to the embarrassment, an independent research outfit found that the “Bible Belt” states had higher divorce rates than did other regions of the country.  The hellish irony for the self-righteous believers was that states scorned by them as being hotbeds of liberalism had far lower divorce rates.

Most alarming for the hard-nosed evangelical ambassadors of god was the glaring proof that their much touted Bible-based counseling for couples was seriously flawed.  The alarm among the fundamentalists was not so much in regard to the many marital split-ups, but that the evidence of counseling failure seriously threatened the (unconstitutional) channeling of tax monies into their religious programs–programs they constantly declared worked.  But their true success rate was in the toilet.  And worse, it was common practice among the religious “counselors” to stack statistics to conceal the ineffectiveness of their Bible-based programs.

Bible-based counseling included such fundamentalist dogma-style guidance as: men should run the household and wives were meant to submit to their husbands; warned that wives are at risk of becoming jealous of their husband’s relationship with his mother; children are meant to be brought forth in sorrow; woman is commanded to be under obedience (1 Corinthians 14:34); woman must learn from her husband at home (verse 35); and similar dogma inspired counseling.  Then the counselors feigned bewilderment that using the Bible as a marriage manual had not brought the blessings of the “practical and life-changing support for steadfast marriages” as they claimed.

The guise that radical religious groups were protecting marriage brought considerable blessings of public money into the coffers of groups such as the Northwest Marriage Institute.  Congress was actually duped into allocating more than $100,000 to this group in 2006 for the alleged purpose of building healthy marriages which, they declared, would lower the nation’s divorce rate.  We have seen how well that worked out.

 The Northwest Marriage Institute later ducked out of a court challenge brought against them regarding its use of tax money for Bible-based marriage counseling by dropping the Bible quotes in order to keep its public funding.  Apparently foregoing the Bible quotes had nothing at all to do with the commandment not to bear false witness.

Faith-Based Failures

Posted in Atheist, Bible, culture, faith, history, life, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2009 by chouck017894

One might assume from the title of this post that we will delve into the Bush-era Born Again leadership fiasco, but that stands out only as a symptom of the radical right’s built-in tendency to self-destruct.  One of the great myths of the radical right religionism is the propaganda that they alone stand upon the highest moral ground: family values, pro-life, material profits prove god’s love, man should not love man, take the Bible literally—that sort of stuff.

So when it comes to the sanctity of marriage among the fundamentalists, there is a curious point to ponder.  With the passage of time after the exchange of “I Do’s” among the hard-nosed religionists, the ironic thing is that born-again fundamentalists can turn around and boast of having one of the highest divorce rates in the nation.  This is not made up for liberalist snickering.  In fact, some years back, around 2006, an evangelical pollster, George Barna, found a very high rate of divorce among conservative Christians.  Even more disturbing to the pollster, the trend had been in place for more years than they wished to admit.

To add to the embarrassment, an independent research outfit found that the “Bible Belt” states had higher divorce rates than did other regions of the country.  The hellish irony for the self-righteous Right was that states scorned by them as hotbeds of liberalism had the lowest divorce rates.

Most alarming for the hard-nosed evangelical ambassadors of god was the glaring proof that their much touted Bible-based counseling for couples was seriously flawed.  The alarm among the fundamentalists was not so much in regard to the many marital split-ups, but that the evidence of their counseling failure seriously threatened the (unconstitutional) channeling of tax monies into their religious programs—programs they constantly declared worked.  But their true success rate was in the toilet.  And worse, it was common practice among the Born Again “counselors” to stack statistics to conceal the ineffectiveness of their programs.

 Bible-based counseling included such fundamentalist dogma guidance as:  men should run the household and wives were meant to submit to their husbands; warning that wives are at risk of becoming jealous of their husband’s relationship with his mother; children are brought forth in sorrow; woman is commanded (by god) to be under obedience (as in 1 Corinthians 14:34); woman must learn from her husband at home (verse 35); and similar dogma inspired counseling.  They then feign bewilderment that using the Bible as a marriage manual had not brought the blessings of “practical and life-changing support for steadfast marriage” as they claimed. 

The guise of pervasively religious groups protecting marriage has brought considerable amounts of public money into the coffers such as the Northwest Marriage Institute.  Congress actually allocated over $100,000 to this group in 2006—the GWB era—for the alleged purpose of building healthy marriages and thereby hoped to lower the nation’s divorce rate.  We have seen how well that works out.

The Northwest Marriage Institute later ducked out of a court challenge of using tax money for Bible-based marriage counseling brought by Americans United, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church/state separtation.  NMI dropped use of Bible quotes in order to keep its public funding.  Apparently it had nothing at all to do with the commandment not to bear false witness.

Religion, Nature and Sex

Posted in Atheist, Bible, biological traits, Christianity, culture, freethought, humanity, life, meaning of life, naturalism, random, religion, sex taboos with tags , , , , , , , on June 4, 2009 by chouck017894

The three organized religions of the western world—Judaism, Christianity, Islam—have been cultivated upon a strong sense of man’s superiority to nature, provoking in that ego-centered illusion the attitude that in nature’s diversity dwells the contamination of evil.  Western organized religions are not exactly philosphies of life: they are philosphies of otherworldly speculations.  To pass judgment upon nature from such an arid obsession is to assure failure across all human relationships, for such judgment is an assault upon the pulse of nature within each of us which reflects the spontaneity that is creation.

This negative approach to understanding the energy-activity in which we have our existence has resulted in millennia of needless emotional turmoil to strongly and negatively color the most intense and dramatic way that human relationships can be expressed: sex.   Thus, in our western cultures where humans are taught to feel isolated from nature, the diabolical result is that individuals will react in squeamishness at sexual attraction or even to devoted relationships.  Christianity with its anti-sex “saints” such as Augustine and Jerome fanning unnatural guilt about passion and attraction have not served as the shepherds of inner peace and contentment.  The natural result of pretending to be above or apart from nature is that the organic spontaneity of sexual attraction gets enthroned as forbidden treasure.

When the interacting energies that manifest as nature are assessed as inferior or contaminated with evil, our biological selves react by hoarding attraction and passion in a corner of consciousness to churn there with mental turmoil spoken of as sex on the brain.  This negative religious approach to nature and sexual attraction has never allowed a philosphy of life to be integrated with the belief in creative intelligence.  Instead of recognizing sexual attraction as a means of spiritual exchange between persons, western religions have installed a formula of prohibitions that reject such attraction as “animal.”  Nonetheless, the human physical being is a mammal, a manimal if you will, that has been taught by negative religious interpretations to think that personal ego reflects universal favor.

An example of grudging toleration that western religions extend to sexual attraction is shown in 1 Corinthians 7, where the implication is that marriage is solely for the purpose of avoiding the greater “sin” of being sexually attracted to more than one.  The  preferred conduct for  man, according to verse 1, says, “…It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”  The unlikelihood of that gets summed up in verse 9 as “…if they cannot contain, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.”  By that statement it would seem that marriage is not exactly a holy sacrament but a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card.

There is, conversely, in verse 7 of chapter 7 of Corinthians, also a sly nod to nature’s diverse expressons that are present and active within man.  There it is ackknoledged, “But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.”

Strangely, the gay community has neglected to utilize this statement of one’s “proper gift” as defense when the homophobes spout select biblical verses to justify their bigotry.