I am curious how most Atheists view marriage? It is largely seen as a religious act. Should non believers participate in marriage?

Tags: atheist, marriage, religion

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Marriage is much more than a religious act.  If it were only that, it would have as much meaning outside of ceremonial context as a Bar Mitzvah or a Confirmation does outside of the faith communities they originate in.  If you tell someone you're married, it is relevant in secular society in a way that your admission to Level 5 in the cult of Scientology is not. 

 

Google "legal marriage rights."  The lgbt equality movement has done a great job underscoring just how many legal rights are conferred upon married couples in America.  Marriage is a secular institution (but also a religious institution).  Don't forget marriages can be done by Navy Captains or Justices of the Peace.

 

Non-believers have just as much of a right to the civil liberties our government developed around the institution of marriage, despite the fact that our modern concept of marriage has developed from a religious background.

 

 

Should it still be considered a permanent decision even without the fear of a sky Gods judgement?
Does the fear of losing half of your possessions and access to your children not count?
prenump
The legal ramifications of dissolving a marriage contract can have permanent repercussions, especially when children are involved. So, in that sense and for all intents and purposes, it is not a matter of "should", but a matter of "is".
How is this related to the original question?

It's a toughie. My fiancé is Christian, and because the Bible says people of different faiths should not be married under God, we're having trouble finding somewhere that will perform the ceremony.

 

I don't know about the US, but in the UK we can legally get married without the religious ceremony, however many atheists/agnostics choose to use a church simply for the tradition of it.

 

Maybe another argument for the separation of church and state?

As the preacher if his wife was a virgin on their marriage day. Unless he lies and says yes, you could ask him why he didn't stone her to death on her fathers door step... Just saying...

 

As a guy, I have a hard time with the thought that the person I want to be with in my 20s is the same person I will want to be with when I am 70. Maybe the marriage license should be more like a drivers license. Renew every four years or you lose it...

Well, there is no-fault divorce these days, so people can just call it quits if they don't get along anymore. Kids can complicate that, but in most cases splitting up is better than staying in an unhappy marriage.

Completely secular ceremonies are easily possible in the US. Either at city hall or through a secular celebrant. Where much of Europe is far superior is that a civil ceremony is usually required in addition to an optional church wedding. Thank Napoleon for that. It makes it clear that it's the civil part that really counts.


Much of western Europe has a clear church/state separation about marriage. The US doesn't. It has a silly system where you get a marriage license at city hall and then anyone who is registered to perform marriages can sign it. That has the unfortunate effect that priests can perform a legally valid wedding and led many people to believe that you have to get married in a church.

My husband is a christian and we had issues also with planning our wedding because I didn't want a religious ceremony.  Never been to the UK so can't give you any good locations to get married, but my husband and I looked into halls or convention centers that could hold a wedding.  We ended up finding a great place on the water that held parties and it wasn't a church.  We also managed to find a justice of the peace that had done many atheist weddings in the past and specialized in writing customized non-religious ceremonies.   
I was married in the county clerks office in California. There were no priest or religion. Just a judge.

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