Saturday, June 02, 2007

Is marriage just a religious concept, or one that is useful to humanists too? What do you teach children about relationships and families?

from BHA site:

"I have not really linked the choice of whether to get married or not strongly with a religious decision, but for separate and probably similar reasons, shared my view that marriage is an historical institution which is becoming less necessary, but fine for those who wish to use it if it offers people something they want.”

“The third definition of marriage in the Collins English Dictionary 1979 (updated 1982) describes it as ‘a religious or legal ceremony formalising [the union that is nowhere described as religious]" - which suggests that it's nothing to do with religion at root. I'm sure marriage is useful to some humanists - I know some who've chosen to marry. The value of a relationship (especially a marriage) is in the acts of the couple involved, and I extend this approach to all my relationships. As for others' ' choices in relationships, they should be respected, although open to criticism when the actions don't live up to reasonable expectations.”

"P ersonally, I think marriage is important. Staying with one other person for the rest of your life is a challenge, and without the support of friends and family, might prove impossible. A wedding, if nothing else, brings those people together to support you. Children need stability. Unless a relationship is totally rotten, there is much to be said for living and maturing alongside another human being, bringing up children together.”

"I don't think marriage is a religious concept, but a morally neutral and useful social convenience for the bringing up of children and for mutual support. If couples can achieve the same degree of loyalty and mutual support and long-term commitment to children outside marriage, then fine, though the statistics give some cause for pessimism about that. I think I would feel happy and relieved if my daughters did marry, because I see it as a grown-up commitment, a sign of settling down at last - this is old-fashioned, I know, but it's certainly not a religious impulse!”

"I haven’t worked out what I think about marriage but when I do I might try it out for size. I’ve never discussed it with the kids but have always been open about the fact that I never married and have never been asked for any reason.”

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