Stupid arguments

Some traditionalists seem to think that a purpose of the game of football (soccer) is to score goals. Is this not hurtful to all those players who have participated in goalless games? Are these traditionalist saying that goalless games are not actually games of football? Furthermore, you do not even have to play a game of football to score goals. There are other types of sport in which you can score a goal. No, football is not about goal scoring, it is about the commitment the teams have to the game.

Advertisements

Marriage Part 2: Marriage is described not defined

When I hear some people speak of marriage, it is as if some committee sat down many years ago and decided to set up an institution that discriminated against certain people or as a legal entity for the benefit of men. This is not the case, of course, it has evolved or developed over time. (Or as I believe, was created by God.)

Some other people like to see marriage as a “cultural construct.” This implies that people (within their culture) have created marriage. If marriage is indeed a “cultural construct” then it would follow that we can indeed reconstruct it in some way that is acceptable to the dominant culture. The problem of course for such marriage “constructivists” is that marriage (at least until recent reconstructions) has miraculously constructed itself the such similar ways* across every single culture**.

Marriage exists as a result of a biological and psychological reality. We can use words to describe it, we can construct rules and traditions around it, but to think that we change its basic nature is to show that we don’t actually have a grasp of the reality of what marriage is.

* Many cultures of course accept polygamy as a form of marriage. It should be noted a man with two wives (as an example) typically is involved in two separate but concurrent marriages. This in no way detracts from my argument that marriage exists as a result of a biological and psychological reality.
** I note that in discussion threads on various forums that some people note that some cultures in older times other forms of relationships have been established and even recognised in a way that is similar to marriage. We need to be careful when including these in current debates around marriage as some of them are miniscule exceptions to the overwhelming norm, while others are simply not acceptable forms of relationship by any current standard.

Marriage Part 1: Yes I am informed by God on marriage

It would be a bit misleading if I didn’t come straight out and state that I am informed by God on marriage. Apologies straight up … I am no great theologian … what is below is just my simple understanding.

Marriage is the first human to human relationship described in the bible. Now I do not personally believe in a literal Adam and Eve, but I do read truth from Genesis in that God created us to be in a relationship with him and each other and that a man will leave his mother and father and become joined to his wife and the two will become “one flesh.”  This implies a sexual relationship and it implies reproduction. It also implies that the man completes the woman just as the woman completes the man. The relationship is complimentary not symmetrical. It is not implied that sex in marriage must only be for the purposes on procreation.

This theme continues throughout the bible and I think that being a Christian, there are some extras that I need to include in my marriage which those of you who are not Christian need not worry too much about. Needless to say the extras are probably not politically correct in this day and age, being that imply different roles for men and women.

Of course all this will lead to some to ask “why should my opinion be forced on others?” especially considering my opinion is based so heavily in religion. I will make two contentions:

  1. My contentions on marriage in particular could be arrived at through “secular thinking”. My religion describes marriage it does not define it. I would argue that God defines marriage, an atheist could argue a similar concept of marriage and say that it has evolved the way it has.
  2. The other question I will ask is, if a religious persons opinion should be discarded, under what rational basis does one do so? What logical argument has ever been posited that proves that an irreligiously informed opinion by default supersedes a religiously formed opinion?

What is marriage?

Is is apparent that marriage is very much up for grabs at the moment. Or at least how we want it to be enshrined in law at any rate.

Part of me wants to go with the flow on this one … this affects people close to me … but another part of me is saying “Whoa! Think carefully and critically about this … this is no small thing that we do.”

Someone much more thoughtful than me has framed this question. I think it will (with intended bias) help answer the question.

I can think of no culture throughout history that has not had some sort of form of marriage. If humans were asexual (meaning that an individual can reproduce) do you think that any of these cultures would have developed this thing we call marriage?

What do you think? What is marriage?

Inverse Equality

There seems to me to have been a shift in the usage of the word equality lately. I am not speaking of logical equality, but of human equality.

From a logical point of view, when I am writing a computer program, I evaluate two different entities to determine if their value is the same. If the value of these two is the same then I can perform any set of actions; otherwise if they are not the same I can perform a different set of actions. Logical equality is only relevant if I want to use that equality (or lack thereof) to determine a branch within a procedure.

A strong basis for equality is famously described in the United States Declaration of independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Even though it uses a specific gender and although we can debate whether or not the people at the time felt it applied to slaves, the vibe is that it speaks to humanity. Unlike logical equality, “human entities” are given equal value. Their value is not tested for equality. Their value is assumed to be equal. One human is “equal” to another.

When discussing marriage this week in the Sydney Morning Herald, a significant number of people did not like Peter Jensen’s point that: men and women are different and therefore it is appropriate for them to have different vows. Many were posting that men and women are in essence the same. Thus they should have the same vows otherwise they somehow lack equality.

I really think they miss the point. The reason why Thomas Jefferson felt the need to say “all men are created equal” is that while all people are created equal, they are also created different. There is a real thrust behind much of the “equality language” at the moment which seeks to achieve a level of sameness by discounting difference. We seem to be seeking equality by deceiving ourselves. By defining difference out of the equation we lie to ourselves and we are going about it topsy-turvy.

Equality is a given (in my opinion by God), not something to be achieved. Therefore we should treat others as if they are our equals and respect any differences we have. We should not be redefining others to be like us (or us to be like others) in order to achieve equality.

Marriage is considering divorce

Removing my ring from my finger hurt me, so I hope you appreciate this photo.

Watching Q&A is something that I like to do. Virginia Trioli conducted the panel this week and at one point asked this:

Why does it matter so much to you people what one couple down the road might do if they decide to shack up together? Why do you believe that it is going to unpick the entire institution of marriage? I know gay couples who are together they have nothing to do with my marriage what so ever. “

Without commenting too much about the wording and tone of the question, I would like to look into this line of questioning from a different point of view. The question is unfair in as much as it contains implicit parameters which need to be unpacked and agreed to before the actual questions can be discussed. The Q&A format does not allow for this type of in depth analysis.

The question contains a hint of what Virginia thinks marriage is, or more to the point what marriage is not. It seems to me, that those who want marriage, but are currently unable to have it, spend a lot of time telling us what marriage is not.

The whole debate around marriage involves separating marriage from things that been associated with it up until we have been told otherwise. Why do I believe that is going to unpick the entire intuition of marriage? Because that is exactly what we are doing already!

I wonder if the separation rhetoric will actually have an impact on marriage in reality.

I wonder if we actually do change marriage will we realise that we have divorced marriage from many of the things that make it desirable?