I'm getting tired of having to spoonfeed this to some of you people individually. As it turns out though, thankfully, I can edit the OP so at least read this. I am not arguing against love, relationships or commitment, or anything the like. Quite the opposite, I'm saying they're good enough on their own without the need for the legal paperwork, money-waste and label of marriage. I welcome any opinion whether I like it or not, but not when you're missing all of the actual points like a little boy splashing the rim and substitute your own. No one's forcing you to read the whole thread, but at least read the damn OP of the thread next time or don't bother. It's getting frustrating having to read through your condescending tones just to find out you just didn't pay attention.
Hey. I'm not sure if I made a thread before but I'd like to put some of my thoughts on marriage here and see what all of you guys think. I see many of you as much smarter than me, and I think I can learn some. This got a little long, and I don't know if I should post it as a blog instead, but since my objective is to get some sort of exchange/discussion going a thread is more fitting. This is my opinion only. I'm not going to talk about gay-marriage or things like that, we all already know enough about that. I want to talk about marriage itself.
My stance on marriage is not that everybody should be allowed to have one, including gays. My stance is that nobody should get married, including straight people. And I'm often confused as to why atheists, secular intelligent people, would want to engage in this antiquated, forcefully contrived and often religious social construct.
I've said this in one form or another before. People like to think about marriage as this magical bond between two people in love, but for the bigger part of its history marriage wasn't about love at all. We know that in the past ages marriage was only used as a form of sales-contract, a political relationship building tool between two parties, and a way for the rulers to keep tabs on their subjects, while making sure they don't run amok fucking and raping each other aimlessly. It was an easy social structure to introduce into a primitive society that would otherwise kill each other over women to rape (which they did, and still do regardless). As a religious construct, it has been solely used for the above mentioned purposes, plus turn women into property. We need only look at some religious men and their harem of wives, to see that in that marriage women have become nothing more than a commodity. In marriage, even today, women are often nothing more than merchandise. Why do you think religious men always emphasize the importance of staying pure and staying away from sex until marriage? Because some men have very small penises. And some men with small penises are willing to pay high prices for a certain commodity: virginity. They want sex with virgins, because the small-dicked man knows the virgin doesn't know any better, so he has a confidence boost. Same reason they marry old geezers to little children, under the ruse of "our prophet did it." It's all about keeping the business running. Tell girls not to fuck. Slut-shame them should they dare to have sex outside of marriage. Call them whores, sluts, whatever. Put peer-pressure on them. Because if they do, the market will run dry.
There are a some popular arguments for/about marriage that I'd like to take on.
- It's a public declaration of loyalty. / It shows commitment.
This is a common error. Marriage doesn't make someone any more loyal then s/he would've been anyway, and if it does it's either because of peer-pressure (look up countries with the lowest divorce rates) or simple disingenuity. If you are in a relationship (which is not open), then you should be able to stay loyal and make it clear you're committed all by yourself, without a ring on your finger to vouch for you. Saying marriage ads to the commitment and shows loyalty is really no different than, for example, saying the bible gives us strength and hope. We should be able to have those things by ourselves, and those who cling to it show only a lack of those traits in themselves; just as someone who can not be as loyal without marriage shows a lack of confidence in their loyalty to begin with.
Now there also many people who say that they want a marriage to make sure their partner is committed. To me, a person who says they cannot expect loyalty and commitment unless their partner agrees to marry them is a person who displays a severe lack of trust, confidence and faith in their partner. A crucial flaw which wouldn't work out too well for a relationship to begin with.
I'm quoting the next point from a post from another member, MikeLong, here. I originally wanted to answer you in that thread, but the lack of a reply button was getting on my nerves, sorry.
- If shit goes south, marriage makes us try harder to preserve the relationship, rather than simply cast it aside as just another failed relationship.
Again, I think this should go without having to be married. If the relationship is worth it you should put all effort in, but not because you think "Oh well, we're married now. And it's kinda too much work to get divorced anyway." If marriage is your only incentive to keep a relationship alive, it's not a relationship of love as it is a cold iron chain locking you together.
More importantly though, just because a relationship is over doesn't mean it's failed. We fall in love, and then often we get jaded, and it's over. But that doesn't mean it wasn't worthwhile, that it was a waste of time, or that it failed. We experience something nice, and then it's time to move on. What marriage does is hold you trapped, after you've had enough. And I believe that the idea of an ended relationship being a "failed" relationship is something, more often than not, pushed into our culture by clergy. They are mostly the ones we hear bitching about divorce rates in secular countries and how it's somehow directly related to the moral decline in that country. That's bullshit. The only thing a divorce means is that two people no longer want to be together. What does the reason matter? Clergy often pretend like it's because people turn gay and the men divorce their wives because they want to go to a gay bar and have wild gay sex out of wedlock (ironically the solution would be to allow same-sex marriage, but I digress). But even if it were so, so what? How would it make those two people any more happy if they were continuously trapped in a marriage? Even when, at first, only one of the two partners wants a divorce, to me it would be much more horrible to force the other person to stay married. I certainly wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't want me anymore. Platonic love doesn't end well for either party.
So what I'm rambling on about it that ending a relationship is not always a bad thing. Call me a cynic, but I believe that it's a good time even most of the time. Something sucks, you work at it. But at some point you have to stop and accept that it might just not be worth it to try and pick up all the pieces off of the floor so you can glue them together and hope it sticks for just a little while longer. At some point you just have to leave the pieces lie and move the fuck on.
- marriage is the sacred bond between a man and a woman
Obviously, this is an argument that comes from the theist camp. Now I'm not going to argue about how retarded it is to suggest that gays have any less of a right to a marriage, we already know that, but instead tell you why I think religion loves pairing different genders so much. It's because man + woman = baby. Baby = another unit in the army. That's it. Nothing profound to it. Sacred bond my ass. It's about growing numbers like a virus. Rulers in all ages understood that if you want to build a powerful nation, what you need are people. Many many people. As many as possible. Living conditions, quality of life - doesn't matter. If he can hold a weapon and become cannon-fodder he's good enough. Same reason religion values men more than women. They're physically stronger. Same reason clergy are against abortion, it kills potential units and dwindles their numbers. (It also kills off all the pussy in the age range they like.)
- We do it for the civil / legal / financial rights.
I actually don't know enough about this to be able to fairly comment, so I'd love some input. Obviously I still don't like it. I know people who have been together for years but have no intentions of getting married for any benefits, my own sister included, and they seem to lead happy lives. But are the benefits worth compromising your integrity?Is there no other way to achieve those rights? Would it be at all possible for us to change this? I'm aware that gays fight for marriage because they want the rights that come with it. Now I remember Strega saying in a different thread that if they made some other civil construct which would allow her, as a gay person, to have all the benefits of a usual marriage provides, she'd do it right away. Even if it wasn't called a marriage. Do you agree with this, or do you think that, if anything, both straight people and gays should get the exact same thing? In which case it cannot be a religious union, because all major religions are homophobic. And so...I'm tired.
That's it for now. I actually have much more to say, but I kinda already wrote more than usual and I'm getting bored and I'm sure I've bored most of you by now too. I might add some later. Cut me some slack!
@Kris As long as you're not saying that people shouldn't think about known risks when deciding whether or not it's wise to bring a child into the world. If more people were realistic instead of idealistic, there'd be far fewer latchkey children, teens getting in trouble after school, etc.
I think most people would first look at the facts. You have to have a reason or reasons to get to the point where being a single parent is a better option. I know of many woman that had to make that choise and not an easy one to make. You have to weigh up if it is more beneficial for the child in the current situation or would a single parent situation be better. If for instance their is abuse this could also be aimed at the child, then you know that financialy you are going to go through a tough time as a single parent, but on emotional level the child would be better of in the long term. You can give financial stability to a child that does not mean the child is growing up in a stable home, single parent or with both parents.
Ms. Whitehead recognizes in the article that some people are forced into unfortunate situations and choices. I noted early on, though, that anecdotal evidence doesn't contradict statistical facts. Of course, the world isn't perfect and will never be made perfect, as long as it has humans in it. Sometimes people prove to benefit from being an exception to the statistical rule.
People aren't rational. They will never be driven by statistics. A woman who wants a child without a husband will tell herself, even in the face of the statistics, "I'll try hard. I know I can make it work." We all, myself included, make choices based on irrational optimism. When they're making a choice and only risking themselves, that's admirable. But when they're risking the welfare of their child or child-to-be...
RE: "the world isn't perfect and will never be made perfect, as long as it has humans in it."
I'm really not sure that perfection has ever been firmly defined, has it?
But when they're risking the welfare of their child or child-to-be...
The statistics themselves are not risk factors; it's the reasoning behind the statistics. If a single woman has the means to raise children providing a decent degree of comfort, stability, and opportunity, while also having the time for their children's emotional and social needs, most of the problems associated with single parent families are satisfied. Statistically, single parents are less likely to provide such things, but individually there are going to be plenty of exceptions.
Truth be told, if we were going to do what is best for the children, my suspicion is that most people in my metro region should be living in extended families with the grandparents, and not nuclear families for pretty much the same considerations. In a world where both parents are working and the price of real estate is absurd, nuclear families should be questioning their living arrangements as much as any family and not rest on the status quo. Again, it's not a question of what the statistics say, but why they say what they say.
Of course statistics themselves are not risk factors. I don't believe that and I don't think I wrote that. However, someone who ignores statistics does take a risk, such as when someone smokes or when they decide to raise a child even though they can't at the time see how they'll be able to provide for it adequately.
And, sure, I don't think there's any doubt that living in a situation with our extended family would, on average, improve the lives of children. Seeing grandma/grandpa daily is far better for them than video chatting occasionally. A lot of parents would behave better and less selfishly, I'm sure, if their own parents were looking over their shoulder.
However, someone who ignores statistics does take a risk, such as when someone smokes...
My point is that these two things are not similar. I was even going to include a similar analogy. The risks associated with smoking are intrinsic to smoking. The risks associated with single parenting are most likely not intrinsic.
The risks related to single parenting ARE intrinsic when the choice is made to have a child without being sure one is prepared to provide for the child. True, smoking to any degree involves risks whereas the risks I was referring to in deciding to have a child are related to circumstances. But circustances can be analyzed and the risk assessed.
But circustances can be analyzed and the risk assessed.
At which point it is neither statistical, nor isolated to any given family type.
Well, Kris, if I'm a woman thinking of having a child, I can look at my salary and (in a hypothetical case) determine that my income is not far above the poverty line and look at the statistics for the outcomes of children in single-parent low-income households and realize that bringing a child into that situation is betting my child that I can improve the situation.
You keep adding qualifiers. Can we give her a meth habit as well?
You keep adding qualifiers. Can we give her a meth habit as well?
No situation is perfectly general. Every situation can be described with qualifiers.