Friday, April 23, 2010
As an atheist, I can't, obviously, believe that an all-knowing, all-loving god first created me so imperfectly and so sinfully that I am not allowed to procreate and further advance the human race until another human, who can be ordained for $10 on the Internet, can perform a five-minute ceremony. It makes no sense to me. Rather, if I believed that, it would really make me want to shake god until his teeth rattle for being so illogical.
So what's the big deal?
I don't want to get divorced. I don't want to rip apart all our mutual belongings, pay a lawyer, deal with alimony, and mess around with child support and visitation rights. I don't want to undergo the hurt of realizing that I married someone without really knowing him, and that we're better off divorcing than staying married. I wouldn't want to do that to children.
I can understand that marriage was important in an age when women depended on men to support them--or were legally and socially forced to do so. If you were married, you were generally safe--unless he engaged in horrific cruelty. But most women had to marry for security, and it's different now. We work. A lot of us love to work, and a lot of us are very good at what we do. We don't need financial security. It might be nice, but we can get it for ourselves just as well as men can.
I don't believe that it's ethical to promise to stay with someone until death do you part unless you know that you will be able to keep that promise. You don't know how much someone will stay in love with you over the years, how much he'll help keep the house in order, how much he'll help raise the children, how prone he is to cheating, how prone you are to cheating, how well your ways of life clash or meld together until you try it out first. I should think it causes a lot more pain and sin to rip apart a family and break a solemn promise than to live together before marriage to make sure that you can, in fact, tolerate each other.
I live with my boyfriend. I adore him. However, if I'd married him, I'd feel a bit cheated, because I would have expected that he would be my helpmeet in every way of life. He gets sick to his stomach when he has to clean out the catbox and cannot stand the noise of clipping the kitty's claws. So, if I eventually decided to marry him and maybe have children with him, we'd have to seriously speak about the number of child responsibilities (specifically feeding, grooming, and diaper-changing) I'd be stuck with before I even considered a decision like that. If we can't agree, maybe it won't work out. It would hurt, but it would hurt far less than the end of a marriage and the divorce payments. I see no problem with waiting a bit before doing something as important as getting married.
So why does it bother so many people that I feel this way?
Is it possible that ancient decrees on marriage and sin might be wrong?
Is it possible that, when those ancient decrees were written, we knew no more about the universal nature of right and wrong than we do now?