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Understanding the "sanctity" of marriage?

I've been hearing a lot of people talking about the sanctity of marriage, how we have to defend marriage. In my ranting against those who banned gay marriage in 11 states, 2 people have explained to me that they don't believe all of those people are bigots. They simply see marriage as a union between one man and one woman and so it's simply illogical that it would be otherwise. I've been thinking about it and I'm wondering, just how do you define what marriage is supposed to be?

People against gay marriage are either bigots or think it is wrong for the definition of marriage to change and want to "protect it." The problem with the former is obvious. The problem with the latter is that the current definition of marriage that we used today has evolved and changed constantly over thousands of years, so it is ridiculous to say, "Ok, this is how marriage is supposed to be, you can't change it."

Most of the people who want to "defend the sanctity of marriage" are Christians. First, marriage isn't a Christian concept and I'd REALLY love it if everyone could get that into their heads. If marriage is a Christian concept then what about Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Animists, Atheists, Wiccans, etc, etc, etc. It's not a Christian concept. Repeat after me. It is a concept that appears to be as old as civilization. If you really, REALLY desperately need to attribute it to a religion then you'd have a better time convincing me that it's either Jewish or Arab considering it existed way before Christ ever did.

However... since most of you who hold this "defensive" stance on marriage are Christian, let me try to speak your language.

Gen 26:34, 4:19, 28:9, 29:26-30, 30:26, 31:17, 32:22, 36:2, 36:10, 37:2, Ex. 21:10, Judges 8:30, 1 Sam 1:2, 25:43, 27:3, 30:5, 30:18, 2 Sam 2:2, 3:2-5, 1 Chron 3:1-3, 4:5, 8:8, 14:3, 2 Chron 11:21, 13:21, 24:3, All of the Scriptures on one page

Each of these scriptures shows examples of men in the Bible who had more than 1 wife. None of these men or women were looked at in disdain, this was the way marriage worked. Where did this concept of marriage being between a single man and a single woman come from? Certainly not from the Bible.

So, then if we have already changed the definition of marriage from the what the Bible defines it as, then how is this a Christian issue? Our definition of marriage is far more based on current societal views than on the Bible.

In addition to that, did you know that the Apostle Paul said that while marriage was ok, it was better not to get married? (1 Cor 7:1, 7:27-28, 7:32-34, 7:38) Paul even goes so far to say that marriage will only bring you more pain.

Let's go one step further. If you as a Christian really want to protect the concept of marriage found in the Bible you'll want to make sure you understand the property rights surrounding a wife, because you get no choice in the matter (Gen 6:2 and Deut 21:11).

Ok, so given each of these Biblical standings on marriage, doesn't it make sense that the concept of marriage we hold today is not based on the Bible, but simply based on how society views the rights of individuals which has changed over time? If it's not based on the Bible (which it's obviously not) then it isn't something that is endorsed, ordained or controlled by God. It is a societal institution that was put into place outside of the concept of religion.

Interestingly, it turns out that atheists and agnostics statistically get divorced much less than religious folk. Nation wide 24% of people have gotten a divorce, with Jews and Baptists leading the way at 30% and 29% respectively while atheists and agnostics are way below the average at 21%.

Another intesting point is that religion wasn't involved in marriage until the 9th century. Here's an exerpt from "The History of Marriage":

Until the ninth century marriages were not church involved. Up until the twelfth century there were blessings and prayers during the ceremony and the couple would offer their own prayers. Then priests asked that an agreement be made in their presence. Then religion was added to the ceremony.

English weddings in the thirteenth century among the upper class became religious events but the church only blessed the marriage and did not want a legal commitment. In 1563 the Council of Trent required that Catholic marriages be celebrated at a Catholic church by a priest and before two witnesses. By the eighteenth century the wedding was a religious event in all countries of Europe.

In Colonial times in North America the customs of the old countries were followed. There were some who only wanted a civil ceremony and not a religious ceremony. The Colonists who wanted civil marriages passed laws to this effect.

So... it's not a Christian instituion.. marriage as we know it today isn't even a Biblical institution. So what's left? Gays. That's what's left. The only _true_ biblical or Christian belief that stands between us and gay marriage is that Christians believe homosexuality is wrong. (1 Cor 6:8-10, Romans 1:26-27, Both on one page). Any Christians who don't believe homosexuality is wrong are making that decision outside of the Bible and the Church and to them I say, "Thank you."

For the rest of you though who think it's wrong to be gay because it says so in the Bible... why do allow Muslims to be married? The Bible clearly states that they are wrong not to serve the Lord, so why are their marriages ok? Why don't Christians yell that Muslim marriage is going to destroy our society?

1 Corinthians 6:8-10:
8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

You allow sexually permissive people to marry, why not gays? You allow adulterers to marry, why not gays? You allow idolaters and male prostitues and thieves and greedy persons and alcoholics and liars and cheats to marry.... why not gays?


Biblical marriage: a bad source for debate

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