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Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian, Part 7: Marriage in the Church

09/08/10

Permalink 11:10:00 pm, by Norgaard Norgaard Email , 506 words   English (US)
Categories: Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian

Why I am not a Catholic nor Protestant Christian, Part 7: Marriage in the Church

Marriage is a very important part of human society in all cultures. It is natural for men and women to pair up and to signify their love for each other and to cement the intended monogamy of their relationships through official matrimony.

When I was young and growing up within the Catholic Church, I was taught some inaccurate things about marriage. One strange and needlessly restrictive marriage rule I was taught that only marriage within the Catholic Church is valid in God's eyes. My mother even went so far as to say that all marriages must be performed physically inside a church and presided over by a priest. Basically this means that only marriages sanctioned by the Catholic Church would be real and all others would be false. So for all people who were married in other churches or by a justice of the peace were not married at all but were living together in sin.

I was taught that it was a horrible sin to ever have sex before marriage and that this was the main reason why so many people go to hell these days. With the belief that most people I knew who claimed to be married were actually living in sin because they were not married in the Catholic Church, this had the effect of making me look down upon most people because they were not Catholic. There would be many perfectly good married people who I knew that, because they were not Catholic, I would think of them as living in sin.

This was how I thought of things for a few years when I was young. I began to seriously doubt this dogma when I was about 12 years old. I knew there had to be a stark difference between those who made no attempt to be married and lived promiscuous lives and never loved anyone versus those who were, in their own eyes, very much married. They were told in their religion that they were married so how could they not be? Later I also came to see anyone who was married in the legal sense as also married since there is no reason to believe otherwise.

I now see that these restrictions on the definition of marriage were created centuries ago by church leaders who wanted to control aspects of people's personal lives. They wanted the sole authority to determine the rules for marriage. They did not want any important social function such as marriage to be out of their control. So if any marriages were performed out of their jurisdiction, then these were not marriages and they said the marriages were not recognized in God's eyes. This is completely false. I am glad I was able to realize the universal importance of marriage as a social custom and not as something that must be sanctioned by religious authorities.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Is faith virtuous, or is it harmful? Let your voice be heard in the forum.
You can also email the me at brandon@enlightenedworldview.com

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