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Saturday, February 25, 2006


Why Divorce and Contraception are Wrong
NOTE: This is written from a Christian perspective, so I'm getting at the fundamental issue of the meaning and purpose of marriage, rather than the obvious financial, emotional and psychological harm divorce does to people.

The first 1e verses of Mark Chapter 10 (linked to above) were Friday's Gospel reading at Catholic masses. This reading tells of Jesus' teaching that marriage was ordained by God to be indissoluble. But why is that?

When you read the Bible, you frequently see marriage used to describe the relationship between man and God. Examples include: The Songs of Songs which describes the love between an man and his beloved, some parts of Revelation, and the book of Hosea in which God has the prophet Hosea marry a prostitute in order to serve as an example of how God feels when the Israelites are unfaithful to him by worshipping other gods and disobeying his commands.

So what does this tell us about marriage? It's a sacrament: a visible sign of something sacred, something that draws us closer to God. It's meant to teach us about the relationship that we were meant to have with God and will again if we meet Him in Heaven after the end of our earthly existence. It's therefore a representation of God's love.

What do we know about God's love? One thing is: it's eternal. It never ends. So if God's love never ends, how can the symbol of that end be allowed to end?

What's something else we know about God's love? It's fecund, or fertile. After all, he not only has a Son ("begotten, not made") but the love between them is so powerful that it "took form" as the Holy Spirit. His love is so infinite that he created us in order to have still more people to love. How can a symbol of God's love not be fertile therefore? God's doesn't restrain the fertility of his love, how can we restrain the sacrament? (This doesn't exclude those who, for reasons beyond their control, are unable to have children from marriage, of course. They can still have an openness to life that reflects God's love.)

We also know that we are most happy when we fulfill God's plan, so if we enter into marriage with a proper view of what a great sacrament and gift it is, that's when we'll experience the most happiness. And even the msot happy marriage contains just a fraction of the happiness we'll experience when we're reunited with God in heaven.

Comments:
You oppose abortion and believe it should be illegal. I suspect that you believe abortion should be illegal for theological reasons...trhe USA shouldn't do anything to contravene God's law. right?

Do you also think that contraception and/or divorce should be illegal?
 

Answering that question properly deserves a detailed response and I may not be able to answer all the questions that you will to my response. I'll try to work on a good long answer when I get the chance.

Short answer: no-fault divorce should be abolished and divorces should (in general) be harder to obtain. I would not ban contraception.

The question I've been working on (for a whle now) is how do we decide what immoral activities should be illegal and which shouldn't. I haven't yet come up with a decent rule, but I'm studying the issue.
 

"no-fault divorce should be abolished and divorces should (in general) be harder to obtain"

Paul, what do you think of this as an alternative? Making getting married more difficult...a mandatory waiting period w/ mandatory counseling by a professional or a clery of one's choice?

A former student of mine once recommended that.
 

I would like that, but rather than as an alternative to eliminating no-fault divorce, I think we should require it anyway.

It's similar to what the Catholic Church does: requires marital counseling where the couple makes agreements and decisions that will help establish a basis for a sound marriage. For example, one of the agreements they make is a maximum amount of money that can be spent by one member of the couple without consulting the other. That can help avoid a lot of arguments.

No-fault divorce is some senses an oxymoron: two people pledged to spend the rest of their lives together and now someone wants out; something happened to cause that. Requiring a declaration of fault by investigating the matter can spur reconciliation by helping the couple recognize and resolve the issues.
 

"For example, one of the agreements they make is a maximum amount of money that can be spent by one member of the couple without consulting the other. That can help avoid a lot of arguments"

Wow! What a great idea!

"No-fault divorce is some senses an oxymoron: two people pledged to spend the rest of their lives together and now someone wants out; something happened to cause that. Requiring a declaration of fault by investigating the matter can spur reconciliation by helping the couple recognize and resolve the issues."

Here's my concern about that. Sometimes the fault is either violence or the threat of violence and a finding of fault by a court can result in retribution by the violent partner on the victimized partner who made the charge of fault. No fault obviates that possibility.

Also, I think in most cases fault isn't easily attributable to one person. Sometimes fault is quite complex.

Also, to whom is the pledge of lifelong committment made? To each other? If so, both should then be able to, as it were, freely decide to let each other out of the contract. Is the vow made to the church and/or God? If so, what business is that of the state?

And what of those who recite vows that don't make those kinds of promises...people who write their own vows. Should they be excluded from no-fault divorce?
 

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