Monday, September 23, 2013

Same-sex Marriage

gold wedding rings
I would like to offer my feelings concerning same-sex marriage, such as they are, and hopefully some readers will see something of value in the words that follow. Many people are going to be against what I say here and many for different reasons. But the thoughts are offered as an addition to a discussion which is already going on and comes at the problem from a slightly different angle than I have seen elsewhere. I ask only that you think outside the proverbial box.

The discussion of same-sex marriage is based on the foundation that religion has a problem with first homosexuality, and second that the marriage of two people of the same sex is against God's will, and third that the institution of marriage (which is purportedly sanctioned by God) will suffer degradation. If viewed from an areligious (or atheistic) point of view, the opposition to same-sex marriage would come from the supposed degradation of the institution of marriage (which is based on tradition that is in turn based on religion), and on the deleterious effects it would have on the family unit and on the proper raising of children.

This present discussion will take place in the presence of religious argument because most of the opposition to the practice comes from that quarter.

First of all, it is not my place to say that the relationship that involves same gender love between two adult people is right or wrong, just as I have no place to say that the relationship between an 80-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman is right or wrong. Nor, I would further contend, is it the business of anyone else. In the end, that relationship is between those two people and God is the only and ultimate judge over a person and their actions on Earth. I do know that God celebrates and encourages love between people and so this love between two people of the same gender is very probably blessed by God as any love is. Since physical love is a reinforcement of our spiritual love for our mate, I would think that this love would be in harmony with God and His laws as well (ie., not a sin). By physical love, I mean sex within a relationship of love between two adult parties where the love between the two is buoyed by the physical contact. Not sex for sex. Not friends with benefits.

So if God looks at love between homosexual partners with favor, then how does he look at marriage between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman?

First we need to ask, How does God view marriage in general?

God is interested in the love between two individuals. Jesus has said over and over that God is Love. If these two people have committed to be with each other, then it is the hurt that one causes the other that is the sin. Adultery then is the break of the trust and bond of love within a couple's relationship and the pain caused the other party. That is where the sin of adultery is. God doesn't see the institution of marriage, He sees the relationship between two people and how they treat each other.

The institution of marriage is an institution created by man (secular society and church) to sanction the relationship between two people. That sanction of marriage offers benefits to the couple from society (tax benefits, insurance benefits, child-care rights, etc.). Benefits are also gained from the religious organizations that sanction marriage (acceptance of the couple that they are not living in sin). The church benefits because people are further bonded to the creeds, dictates and traditions of the church, and society benefits because people and families are easier to keep track of, regulate and dispense benefits to. The benefits that people receive from God by being in a marriage are the same as those that two people committed to each other in love receive but who are not "married by men".

There is no "living together in sin" if the partners are committed to each other in love. This is what God wants and it is better still if this person is your soulmate. In God's eyes it doesn't matter if you are married but only if you are loving.

If you are to follow this reasoning to its natural conclusion, then you must realize that marriage is a human construct and as such its definition is whatever we as humans want it to be.

If most humans want marriage to be defined as a loving committed relationship between two consenting people of adult age, then that is what marriage is. If most humans want to reserve the meaning of the word marriage to mean only the committed relationship between a man and a woman then perhaps another term could be looked for for homosexual commitments.

I am going to take what I surmise to be the point of view of God on this and say that what men say and their institutions require doesn't matter as regards this subject. As humans in charge of the human institution of marriage, that institution, that word, can mean and include whatever we want it to and broadening it to include people of the same gender is not much broadening at all and ought to be done in every country and every place, since God himself has nothing to say about it and man everything.

Let me also deflect the myriad quotations from the Bible that will be advanced in support of the traditional view of marriage. Everyone knows about the inconsistencies in the Bible. There are many, including those concerning homosexuality versus God's love and grace and in general Jesus' portrayal of His Father. Inconsistencies in a book that is supposed to be the word of an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect Being. These inconsistencies arise from (not only) the fact that humans, through the centuries and even to today, are responsible for copying, typesetting, typing, cutting and pasting, printing, and proofreading the Holy Book. For instance, Bibles are printed each and every day, in many countries, right now. Do you think the books leave those presses every day with no errors? Is it the word of God when words are dropped within those pages or pages left out of the bindings? Typesetters and typographers are not perfect. Printers and their machines are not perfect. Proofreaders are not perfect. Human beings are in charge of the printing of Bibles in this time period and people are as flawed now as ever. They are God's highest creation, but flawed still (due to the exertions of their own free wills). Errors are introduced by omission and commission.

So it is now, so it has been for thousands of years. There is much that is correct and in accord with God's law and love in the Old Testament and the New Testament. But there have been so many people and committees and councils involved that much of what is included in these books should be subject to careful and deliberate inspection, thought, and prayer as to its Truth. Blind obedience to a book shepherded through history by flawed men (men with agendas) and held as God's word because an ecclesiastical council said it was so is not the thinking that God gave us brains for. In fact, it is not thinking but agreement by consensus of the masses in the authority of the Church (or various churches).

Don't get me wrong, I love the Bible. It has many wonderful lessons and generally shows how to be a good person with respect for our Creator and in it can be found the path to Heaven if you look carefully. But if you want to know what God thinks about an issue, the Bible should not be your only source. Your heart, your mind, and your soul are not just supplemental resources when it comes to Truth, they are indeed the most important instruments.

Let every man and woman think for himself and herself. And in my humble opinion, let every man and woman marry the man or woman of their choice.

(When responding, please respond to the discussion of marriage. The discussion of the existence of God is not material to this present discussion because the argument against same-sex marriage generally presumes such existence. Someday we will have a blog posting concerning that topic. Thanks.)

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