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The "defense of marriage" position
#26

The "defense of marriage" position
Quote:I have been married for 32 years.

If there were such things as "saints" your wife would have to be one.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#27

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-05-2023, 09:09 PM)SteveII Wrote: You missed a major point in my response: "...from one generation to the next." The same, objective set of values as the previous generation.  Sure,  individual autonomy, freedom of thought and liberty are values, but they are not "ethics, and moral principles" that I said are equally important.

If one is equally important as the other, what do you do when one comes in conflict with the other. For example, a value of previous generation was that women were inferior to men in status and owed men special obedience and respect that men did not owe to one another. This does go against the values of individual autonomy, freedom of thought and liberty. What do you do? Do you reject tradition or do you uphold it? What principle would guide your reflection on the issue? 

Quote:Do you pick an choose which parts of a sentence are important to my point and which are not?

Well, yes, I read you and I gain an understanding of your words based on my comprehension of the English language and based on which of your point strikes me those most or seems unclear either due to phrasing, word choice, poorly telegraphed intent, adversarial reading, etc.

I believe you do the same. At worst, if the problem was one of comprehension of phrasing more than ideas, we can always go back and clarify. 

Quote:Again, I think you miss the point of my response. The family is to pass on a set of stable, intergenerational values, ethics and principles that then govern the life of the child as they become adults. Perhaps counter-examples will help: There is no question whatsoever that the number of people who are willing to steal, cheat, lie, hate, hurt others (physically or mentally), totally lacking compassion, have no mercy, and/or otherwise live a completely self-centered life is on the rise...substantially.

Data on crimes, on charitable giving, on government money and resources spent on citizen welfare and services, the number of wars show the exact opposite. This is absolutely and completely false at least if you look at long term trends. If you look at the last 30 years the situation is fairly stable. In the last 10 years you can see some decline, but we are a far cry away from what the world was in the roaring 20's or the dark times of the 30's for example. 

Quote:My wife is a teacher in a public school. Parents lie ever single day to teachers and administrator right in front of their children. Many of the children lie all the time--a practice that does not even phase them as wrong. Stores are moving out of neighborhoods because of shoplifting continuously. My 26 year old son told me on Sunday he had an acquaintance admit the previous week that he loves the self-checkouts at Walmart because you can always steal an item or two. I have bought tools at Lowes because they are returned after someone does the project they needed it for.

It's not even a religious thing. Basic character is more and more rare.

While I will believe these sentiment to be true and honestly held, I would say they are a bit too anecdotal and lack a proper frame of reference to make pronouncements as accurate and useful in the context of a discussion on politics and society. There is a common personal bias to attach more attention to villainous acts, no matter how petty, to acts of kindness and generosity, no matter how petty. 

Quote:What does that have to do with anything? The Christian view of marriage is not defined by what Christians do. The basis comes from the Bible and theology. If a 'Christian' divorces, then one or both has not followed through on the principles taught or the underlying Biblical attitudes needed.

The Bible teaches that people should love one another, get married and stay true to one another forever. Fair enough, nobody is against that. The problem is that the Bible seems to teach values and practices that goes against that objective hence why devout Christians, especially devout Protestant, have a higher divorce rate than "liberal Christians" and atheists/agnostics. It seems that there is something in the biblical teachings that doesn't foster love, respect, trust and kindness in the context of family and love life. It does make the "defense of marriage" arguments presented by Christians as hypocritical; window dressing more interested in the pomp and legality of marriage than love and harmony itself.

Quote:First, love is a choice that takes two people to sustain.

I would not call love a choice. This seems a poor choice of word. Love is an emotion and one doesn't choose an emotion. They are not rational or always controllable things. In fact, controlling one's emotion is one of the hardest thing a human mind can do. I don't think I could make you love someone enough to marry them and stay with them for the rest of their life. Love, like all emotion requires things to sustain itself and mutual love, the foundation of marriage doubly so. As people age, they grow and change. It seems inevitable that as time passes more and more loving relationship either transform and renew themselves or disappear in an almost evolutionary process and like in all evolutionary process, luck and outside circumstances plays a good part in it.  

Quote:People place their individual needs ahead of the institution they vowed to uphold.

All institutions made by mankind are supposed to be at the service and for the benefit of mankind. Sacrificing people's needs and happiness for the benefit of a structure whose sole purpose is to make people happy is absurd and contradictory.

People didn't vow to uphold the institution of marriage. They vow to love another person and nobody can actually guaranty that such vow will be held. Everybody knows that. Love is blind, fleeting and enduring at the same time. We have written and spoken about it for millennia and we are not even close to being done doing so. 

Ironically though, if people saw marriage as a contract closer to a business deal than a romantic endeavor, maybe there would be longer lasting marriage, but in my opinion of hopeless romantic, that would suck all that is good about it in the first place.

Quote:No-fault divorce was one of the worst ideas of a century of a lot of bad ideas (the twentieth).

Data shows it reduced the rate of domestic violence and child abuse significantly though. I would say it's one of the best idea we ever had. No longer are children born out of wedlock considered as worthless bastards. No longer are there people living in different houses claiming to be married. No longer are people victim of abused forced to prove they are victim of abuse before a judge to obtain divorce. 

Quote:It sends the message that the institution is not important. The results were predictable. Marriage rates have declined 60% in the last 50 years. 

What is important there? Marriage or two person living together in love and harmony under the same roof? The later doesn't need to former to be. My older brother has been living with the same women in a loving relationship for a little over a decade. They have two young children. They are not married nor is there any legal need for it since common-law spouse have the same protection than married couple in Province. Marriage is, after all, only a ritual (if religious) and a legal status formalizing this principle. You can't force people to love and live with one another in harmony under the same roof. You can, at best create the best condition for it and while pomp and ritual can help that in the short term, it takes far more than that. One needs to remember when talking about emotions and people though is that nothing can be guarantied forever.

Quote:The US has the highest rate of children living in single parent comes.

That's not quite true the place with the highest level of single parent household is Sweden at over 30% compared to the Us which sits at around 23%. The lowest country with statistic on the issue and has no fault divorce laws on the book I could find is Croatia with a rate a little bit lower than 5% and Finland and Romania following behind at around 7%. Canada, my own country is at around 19%.

There doesn't seem to be much correlation between no fault divorce at single parent household since all those countries have no fault divorce and wildly different rates. Religiosity doesn't seem to correlate a lot either. Croatia like the US is fairly religious and Finland and Sweden are not yet Sweden and the US have closer rates while Finland and Croatia are very similar. It seems to me the situation is more easily explained by economics or cultural quirks than anything else. In the US for example, a strong drivers of single mothers is the very high incarceration rate of men in country, especially of men in poorer economic strata.

I would also note that single parent family statistic to conceal split-custody arrangement. A child can be both in a single parent family yet still be raised by both parents at the same time. It's good to remember that there is three types of lies: big lies, little lies and statistics. 

Quote:Even for people trying to do it right, more and more men are not even adequate marriage prospects. These things don't correct themselves. Where are we headed?

In my opinion (to be taken with a grain of salt) many, many men in history were not adequate marriage prospects. They were not loveable and responsible people. They were not kind and trustworthy. They were not generally pleasant character that would be able to endear a woman around them. What they had is the benefit of having women deprived of the same freedom they enjoyed. They could always rely on the fact they had a much, much easier access to one of the basis for a healthy family: income. They were less loving partners and more "sugar daddy" to women who were not emancipated and were treated much like children for their entire lives and all but forced to marry a man sooner than later. 

Unfortunately, many men, even today, have not learned to be loving, responsible partners who can endear a woman around them and behave much like their forebearer in a world that no longer caters to them exclusively. Having a stable income or even wealth, formerly the greatest asset a man could have to enhance his marriage prospect, is now one of if not the least important of quality. Young women rarely seek stability and wealth in their future spouse since they can acquire those things by and for themselves; they seek a partner, a proper lover, a confident, a friend, etc.

Quote:I have been married for 32 years. I have 5 children. Two were valedictorians of their highschools. 5 for 5 college graduates. Two engineers, a business manager, a special ed school teacher (like her mother), and a nurse. Three married. Two grandchildren, two on the way. The nest is empty. I am the oldest of 7. Parents are still married after 55 years. All siblings married at least once. Three of my siblings are divorced, one is in the process of it. One of them had a fire and lost a child. One had brain tumor.

I say all this only to show that I have deep experiences with the topic I am speaking of and the difficulties and joys, mistakes and accomplishments, the success and failures of marriage, and have thought deeply on all of them. Despite my slight bragging above, I have become more humble and more willing to extend grace to others the older I get and reflect on life.

Well it's going to sound corny, but I am happy that your family life has been very fulfilling for you. You also have my sympathy for your sibling affected by a brain tumor and your lost nephew; these things are pretty horrible. I hope that your sibling has an treatable cancer and that there will be a chance for recovery though, from my understanding, most forms of brain cancer are pretty brutal.

It's nice you ear you are more willing to extend grace to your three sibling who are divorced (or anybody else in similar circumstances). It would have been very sad to learn that you think less of them due to their divorce and view yourself as superior for it. One of the greatest joy of my life is the love and comradery I enjoy with my three siblings. I don't think such a thing would be possible if I looked down on any one of them.
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#28

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-04-2023, 03:28 PM)SteveII Wrote: Christians believe the family to be the most important institution in all of life. This is why when one talks about modern ideas of what constitutes a family Christians bristle--because it undermines the most important structure to human flourishing. Here are some notes I had from another project.

Here's a passage about the historical organization of families, and the sexual division of labor, in a matrilinear culture here in America.

Quote:2.5 La herencia familiar patiana 

Uno de los elementos de la familia negra fue la tradición de la familia extensa y aglutinada. Situación que caracterizó a las familias que se fueron conformando en el extenso valle del Patía. Es así como

Quote:Abuelos, tíos, y primos comparten el mismo núcleo familiar. Dentro de los lazos consanguíneos, las y los hijos son hijos de todos y cuidados por todos […] El rol del varón es el padre biológico o semental quien puede tener varias mujeres y engendrar hijos con ellas. La familia es, pues, matrilineal y la mujer con su rol de partera, rezandera, curandera, educadora, consejera y luchadora por la supervivencia de la familia, la convierte en trasmisora de la cultura y memoria histórica de la etnia. Es quien convoca, une a la familia y fomenta la solidaridad.16

Para la comunidad patiana, la familia como núcleo básico constituye un elemento fundamental para la reproducción de sus formas de la vida sociocultural, ya que el arraigo que se manifiesta fundamentalmente en la relación de parentesco de consanguinidad, establece un apoyo esencial de su organización social
y comunitaria. Este hecho se refleja en la conformación de familias extensas, producto de un sistema de progenie –la de más de dos generaciones, unidas por lazos de consanguinidad–, lo cual ha contribuido notablemente a fortalecer el proceso de poblamiento en el valle del Patía. Lozano plantea que:

Quote:La estructura familiar como en la gran mayoría de las poblaciones afrocolombianas en la unidad familiar es matrilineal, la madre ejerce la guía y apoyo de los hijos e hijas, nietos, nietas y sobrinos, cuando no existe la figura paterna el hijo mayor de la familia asume esas responsabilidades en la casa (2010: s.p.).

Las características del grupo familiar de los patianos y su sistema de herencia reconoce la disponibilidad de la tierra para los hijos legítimos y reconocidos por sus progenitores a la muerte de estos, que en general son pequeñas parcelas y minifundios, así pues se va debilitando la tenencia de tierra de los negros, o incrementando más las franjas o ‘callejones’ que algunas veces no sirve sino como espacio para construir sus viviendas.

La estructura familiar como en la gran mayoría de las poblaciones afrocolombianas en la unidad familiar es matrilineal, la madre ejerce la guía y apoyo de los hijos e hijas, nietos, nietas y sobrinos, cuando no existe la figura paterna el hijo mayor de la familia asume esas responsabilidades en la casa (2010: s.p.).

Las variantes de organización familiar surgen de la adaptación de los pobladores a las condiciones objetivas en que se encontraban. Las familias se extendían ocupando el espacio a lo largo de las riberas de los ríos, ligadas mediante lazos sanguíneos o simbólicos. Estas formas de organización familiar se convertirán en mecanismos delegitimación del derecho territorial de los pobladores iniciales y sus descendientes. La escasez inicial de mujeres en las cuadrillas o en los grupos dispersos que van constituyéndose, la división sexual del trabajo que implicaba una gran movilidad de los varones y la forma de poblamiento disperso van a determinar la manera como los pobladores negros conformaron sus familias. La familia nuclear clásica avalada por las costumbres de la sociedad mayor no es que sea rechazada por los pobladores negros pero se ve alterada y adaptada a las circunstancias de poblamiento descritas. Esta estructura ampliada y extendida, que muestra una continuidad significativa, será la base del establecimiento de las relaciones de clientela que durante la Independencia y la República caracterizarán la dinámica política regional.18

Las relaciones familiares se organizaron dentro de un marco en el que, teniendo la familia como asiento el platanar (sobre el cual existía simplemente posesión y dominio), en términos de propiedad brindaba una seguridad transitoria, pero por su tamaño y características daba suficiente solidez para la conformación de una familia, Zuluaga expresa:

Quote:Allí, en la pequeña parcela ubicada al píe del río o quebrada, se construía una choza y se sembraban algunos de los productos para el consumo inmediato: plátanos, yuca y maíz; al mismo tiempo, se tenía acceso a la arena del río para la obtención tanto del pescado para el consumo diario, como de un poco de oro por procedimiento de mazamorreo. Se estableció, entonces, una cierta división sexual del trabajo, donde las labores agrícolas y el mazamorreo recayeron fundamentalmente sobre la mujer, mientras tanto, el hombre se dedicaba a obtener un ingreso adicional o la carne necesaria trabajando temporalmente en las haciendas vecinas o ejerciendo esporádicamente el abigeato. Además, la condición inestable de esta sociedad, dada su característica de ilegalidad o legalidad parcial frente a la sociedad mayor, hizo del hombre un elemento fundamental como amparo de la mujer, defensa del hogar y garantía de la condición “libre” de la familia (2007: 134).

Para ejercer esta función defensiva los varones debieron asociarse. También las familias se vieron compelidas a aglutinarse en pequeños núcleos semi urbanos, que tradicionalmente han recibido en el valle del Patía el nombre de ‘veredas’, las que generalmente se ubicaron en las confluencias de los ríos y quebradas. Las familias se organizaban “[…] en forma de vereda, una casa aquí otra allá, distanciada, pero cada familia en el punto correspondiente; por facilidades del agua o por otro tipo de necesidad” (Zuluaga 2007: 134). 

La condición defensiva debió influir en la formación de veredas,19 y en el establecimiento de numerosos vínculos familiares que unidos a las características de familia extensa común entre las comunidades negras colombianas, hicieron que el prestigio y autoridad dentro de la comunidad estuvieran estrechamente ligados al parentesco y al ‘avunculado’.20

Quote:a familia extensa engendrada por la sucesión de matrimonios de un mismo ego genitor, hizo que en el Patía la identificación social de los hijos tendiera a relacionarse más con la mujer cabeza de familia (madre, abuela y/o tatarabuela), denominada generalmente Gran Madre. Este hecho creó una tendencia a la matrilinealidad social, en una sociedad con patrilinealidad legal, donde el ego del poder y autoridad era ejercido por la Gran Madre con mayor número de vínculos de parentesco con el mayor número de unidades familiares. Este mismo hecho, que debilita la posibilidad de autoridad directa de los progenitores varones, introdujo la necesidad del avunculado. A través de esta relación avuncular el hermano o el hijo mayor de la madre se entenderá con la crianza y educación de los varones en las tareas que la sociedad les asigna, tanto en las relaciones sociales y políticas de las familias con las autoridades, como en el papel del hombre como protector de sus parientes. Estas dos vertientes de poder harán que el sistema de defensa de la sociedad patiana en general se ejerza a través de grupos defensivos cuyo ego se instaura sobre la base de núcleos familiares avunculares (Zuluaga 1993: 50).

(Via DeepL)

Quote:2.5 The Patiano family heritage  

One of the elements of the black family was the tradition of the extended family and the agglutinated family. This situation characterized the families that were formed in the extensive valley of the Patía. This is how 

Quote:Grandparents, uncles, aunts, uncles and cousins share the same family nucleus. Within the consanguineous ties, the children are everyone's children and are cared for by all [...] The role of the male is the biological father or stallion who may have several wives and father children with them. The family is, matrilineal and the woman with her role of midwife, prayer-giver, healer, educator, counselor and fighter for the survival of the family, makes her the transmitter of the culture and historical memory of the ethnic group. It is who convokes, unites the family and fosters solidarity.16

For the Patio community, the family as the basic nucleus constitutes a fundamental element for the reproduction of their sociocultural forms of life, since the roots that are manifested fundamentally in the relationship of kinship and of consanguinity, establishes an essential support for their social and community organization. This fact is reflected in the formation of extended families, product of a system of progenyo -that of more than two generations, united by consanguineous, -this has contributed significantly to the strengthening of the settlement process in the Patía valley. Lozano states that:

Quote:The family structure as in the vast majority of Afro-Colombian populations in the family unit is matrilineal, the mother is the guide and support of the sons and daughters, grandchildren, granddaughters and nephews, when there is no father figure the eldest son of the family assumes these responsibilities in the house (2010: s.p.).

The characteristics of the Patianos' family group and their system of inheritance recognizes the availability of land for legitimate children recognized by their progenitors upon their death, which are and small plots of land, thus weakening the land tenure of the blacks, or increasing the strips or 'alleys' that sometimes serve only as a space to build their homes.

"...] The forms of settlement that are produced by the cuadrillas and also the arrival of groups of free blacks and mulattos will have a fundamental support in the family organization that is built in this context" (Romero, quoted in Zuluaga 1987a, 1987b: 141).17

The variants of family organization arise from the adaptation of the settlers to the objective conditions in which they found themselves. Families spread out occupying the space along the riverbanks, linked by blood or symbolic ties. These forms of family organization became mechanisms for legitimizing the territorial rights of the initial settlers and their descendants. The initial scarcity of women in the crews or in the dispersed groups that were being formed, the sexual division of labor, which implied a high mobility of men, and the form of dispersed settlement will determine the way in which the black settlers formed their families. The classic nuclear family, endorsed by the customs of the larger society, is not rejected by the black settlers but it is altered and adapted to the circumstances of the settlement described above. This extended and extended structure, which shows a significant continuity, will be the basis for the establishment of the clientele relations that during the Independence and the Republic will characterize the regional political dynamics.18

Family relations were organized within a framework in which, with the family as the seat of the family had the platanar as its seat (over which there was simply possession and dominion), in terms of property it provided transitory security, but because of its size and characteristics it provided enough solidity for the formation of a family, Zuluaga says:

Quote:There, in the small plot of land located at the foot of the river or creek, a hut was built and some of the products for immediate consumption: plantains, yucca and corn; at the same time, they had access to the sand of the river to obtain fish for daily consumption, and a little gold by the process of gold panning. A certain sexual division of labor was established, in which the agricultural work and gold mining fell mainly on the woman, while the man dedicated himself to obtaining the additional income or the necessary meat by working temporarily on neighboring farms or by sporadically rustling cattle. In addition, the unstable condition of this society, given its characteristic of illegality or partial legality vis-à-vis the larger society, made the man a fundamental element in protecting women, defending the home and guaranteeing the "free" condition of the family (2007: 134).

In order to exercise this defensive function, men had to form associations. Families were also compelled to agglutinate in small semi-urban nuclei, which have traditionally been called 'veredas' in the Patía valley, which were generally located at the confluence of rivers and streams. Families were organized "[...] in the form of a vereda, a house here and a house there, distanced, but each family in the corresponding point; by water or by other type of need" (Zuluaga 2007: 134). 

The defensive condition must have influenced in the formation of veredas,19 and in the establishment of numerous family ties, which, together with the characteristics of the extended family common among Colombian black communities, meant that the prestige and authority within the community were closely linked to kinship and 'avunculado'.20

Quote:The extended family engendered by the succession of marriages of the same genealogical the Patía, the social identification of the children tended to relate more to the female head of the family (mother, grandmother and/or great-great-grandmother), generally called Gran Madre. This fact created a tendency to social matrilineality, in a society with legal patrilineality, where the ego of power and authority was exercised by the Great Mother with the greatest number of kinship ties with the greatest number of family units. This very fact, which weakens the possibility of direct authority of the male progenitors, introduced the need the need for avuncularization. Through this avuncular relationship, the mother's brother or eldest son will take over the upbringing and education of the males in the tasks assigned to them by society, both in the social and political relations of families with social and political relations of the families with the authorities, as well as in the role of men as protectors of their relatives. These two aspects of power the defense system of the Patio society in general will be exercised through defensive groups whose ego is established on the basis of avuncular family nuclei (Zuluaga 1993: 50).

(pages 57-59)

Vivimos del Mate: Voces y testimonios de mujeres afropatianas

PDF: Mujeres afro Patía Vivimos del mate.pdf (centroafrobogota.com)

Amazon.com: Vivimos del mate: Voces y testimonios de mujeres afropatianas: 9789587321975: Luis Antonio Rosas Guevara: Books

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#29

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-05-2023, 09:09 PM)SteveII Wrote:  
First, love is a choice that takes two people to sustain. People place their individual needs ahead of the institution they vowed to uphold. No-fault divorce was one of the worst ideas of a century of a lot of bad ideas (the twentieth). It sends the message that the institution is not important. The results were predictable. Marriage rates have declined 60% in the last 50 years. The US has the highest rate of children living in single parent comes. Even for people trying to do it right, more and more men are not even adequate marriage prospects. These things don't correct themselves. Where are we headed?

If divorce sends the message that the institution of marriage is not important, then why do so many divorced people choose to remarry?

Growing Number of Americans Have Remarried | Pew Research Center

Marriage, in fact, seems to be quite popular amongst many divorced folks these days.

Some people get married two, three, or four times, even, which should tell us something about the popularity of the institution of marriage.
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#30

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-05-2023, 10:45 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(12-05-2023, 09:09 PM)SteveII Wrote: You missed a major point in my response: "...from one generation to the next." The same, objective set of values as the previous generation.  Sure,  individual autonomy, freedom of thought and liberty are values, but they are not "ethics, and moral principles" that I said are equally important.

If one is equally important as the other, what do you do when one comes in conflict with the other. For example, a value of previous generation was that women were inferior to men in status and owed men special obedience and respect that men did not owe to one another. This does go against the values of individual autonomy, freedom of thought and liberty. What do you do? Do you reject tradition or do you uphold it? What principle would guide your reflection on the issue? 

In no way did I mean to imply that values of the previous generation should just be adopted unthinkingly. My point was that it is critical that well-developed values, ethics, and morality are inculcated in the next generation--a job that only the family can do properly. Any other scenario is less than ideal. On to your question...

Arising from one's basic worldview, values are the foundational beliefs that guide an individual's life, ethics provide a philosophical framework for evaluating and understanding right and wrong, and moral principles are specific rules derived from ethics that guide behavior in particular situations. Values inform ethics, and ethics inform moral principles, creating a hierarchy of principles that guide human behavior and decision-making.

The example you describe is at the values level which should have worldview answers to why you believe that. Worldviews of past generations were shaped by the realities they lived in (real or perceived), how their culture dealt with those realities, and religion or other ideologies that served as guardrails to thought.

As we moved from the premodern world where the principles or self-determination, freedom of thought/conscious, intrinsic value, and other 'natural' rights were not part of the equation, to the modern era where it took some time to work out the concept completely (ending slavery, women's rights, working conditions, universal education, etc.), and then to the dawn of the post-modern age (where you and I had our formative years) we can easily see the progression of each successive generation as such thoughts have matured and many of the practical problems solved as society has been reengineered. I fear the postmodern thinking will actually unravel what it means to be human but that is another topic.

In conclusion, I think you should understand the basis of all of your values and make sure they are rooted in truth as best you can. If that mean rejecting the misogamy, or racism, or prejudices, or an institutional loyalty of the previous generation...so be it.

I'll get to other sections of your reply as I am able.
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#31

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-14-2023, 07:54 PM)SteveII Wrote: ... In no way did I mean to imply that values of the previous generation should just be adopted unthinkingly. My point was that it is critical that well-developed values, ethics, and morality are inculcated in the next generation ...

In other words, unthinkingly.

What should be apparent observing history is that not only are values and mores variant between cultures, they change within cultures.  To assert at any point that THIS value or THAT more constitute THE One-And-Only-CORRECT value or more cuts against the entire trajectory of human social experience.  Who is anyone to say that where we are NOW constitutes THE ideal and any further advance is pointless.  It's standing in the surf on the edge of a continent with a sheet of cardboard and trying to stop the tides and continental drift with it.
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#32

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-06-2023, 02:09 PM)pythagorean Wrote:
(12-05-2023, 09:09 PM)SteveII Wrote:  
First, love is a choice that takes two people to sustain. People place their individual needs ahead of the institution they vowed to uphold. No-fault divorce was one of the worst ideas of a century of a lot of bad ideas (the twentieth). It sends the message that the institution is not important. The results were predictable. Marriage rates have declined 60% in the last 50 years. The US has the highest rate of children living in single parent comes. Even for people trying to do it right, more and more men are not even adequate marriage prospects. These things don't correct themselves. Where are we headed?

If divorce sends the message that the institution of marriage is not important, then why do so many divorced people choose to remarry?

Growing Number of Americans Have Remarried | Pew Research Center

Marriage, in fact, seems to be quite popular amongst many divorced folks these days.

Some people get married two, three, or four times, even, which should tell us something about the popularity of the institution of marriage.

Every word you said helps my point. Right up until this generation, marriage was defined as a life-time commitment. People do not understand the importance of a stable, healthy, enduring marriage as an institution best equipped to raise the next generation. The ease and frequency of people moving in and out of marriage illustrates my point.
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#33

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-14-2023, 08:38 PM)SteveII Wrote: Right up until this generation, marriage was defined as a life-time commitment.
Seems false.
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#34

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-14-2023, 07:54 PM)SteveII Wrote: In no way did I mean to imply that values of the previous generation should just be adopted unthinkingly. My point was that it is critical that well-developed values, ethics, and morality are inculcated in the next generation--a job that only the family can do properly. Any other scenario is less than ideal.

That's actually largely inaccurate or, to be more precise, overly simplistic to the point of being wrong. The family is by default the first and most important institution for transmitting values and traditions, but family doesn't require marriage nor is it set to one form. Family as an institution has changed in composition and forms through the ages. Right now, for example, when some people say family they mean the nuclear model of the family as popularized in the post WWII era and the rise of the middle class. This is very different than what a Pashtun would consider family which is more akin to the tribal model of the family or even the most prevalent model of the family for working class people during the industrial revolution (what we call today the extended family which is basically grand-parents plus all their children and grand children living in building). You get the point. Marriage doesn't make a family. It's not even synonymous with happy, stable couple engaged in long term relationship let alone a family.

Then again, family is never and cannot be the only institution that help children and young adults to develop their values, ethics, morality and learn their tradition. People don't live in tribal clans anymore where every members of the group were part of the same family. We live in large and advanced societies composed of hundreds of tribal families and more. Trying to isolate children from the influence of other institutions and members of society is detrimental to their ability to grow, live and participate in their own culture. Any scenario in which school, friends, cultural personalities and leaders of society have little to no impact on the intellectual development of a child is less than ideal.  

Quote:As we moved from the premodern world where the principles or self-determination, freedom of thought/conscious, intrinsic value, and other 'natural' rights were not part of the equation, to the modern era where it took some time to work out the concept completely (ending slavery, women's rights, working conditions, universal education, etc.), and then to the dawn of the post-modern age (where you and I had our formative years) we can easily see the progression of each successive generation as such thoughts have matured and many of the practical problems solved as society has been reengineered.  I fear the postmodern thinking will actually unravel what it means to be human but that is another topic.  

I find it a bit sad and perplexing that you seem to embrace the radical and profound changes brought by people of your generation and prior to the traditions and moral understanding of world and human nature yet fear the changes that are occurring now. I understand the anxiety that comes with any changes; after all, what if the changes were bad this time, but it seems strange to me to view so positively the changes that have been made yet at the same time fearing so much for the future. 

Then again you do claim to consider the idea that people should live in unhappy, loveless and resentful marriage and relationship until this unhappiness, lovelessness and resentfulness becomes downright violent and abusive for some strange reason that I don't understand yet, but this seems to be an exception and not the norm and you seem to hint at loving most of the changes that were made like no longer considering children born out of wedlock as bastards an worthless, teenagers having a romantic and sexual life of their own or women having absolute authority on who they date and marry without having to obtain the consent of their father first. Overall, despite the problem you might see with family and relationships today, you seem to prefer it to what it was in your country when you were a little child or when you own parents were children themselves.
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#35

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-14-2023, 09:04 PM)rocinantexyz Wrote:
(12-14-2023, 08:38 PM)SteveII Wrote: Right up until this generation, marriage was defined as a life-time commitment.
Seems false.

Yeah, It never was or has been and should not be. People change as they mature. Young adults marry in passion and ignore some differences that show up later in the relationship. Sometimes it is best to part on friendly terms. With good memories of the start, at regret for the changes. There are songs about finding a new person to love for a reason.
Never try to catch a dropped kitchen knife!
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#36

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-05-2023, 10:45 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(12-05-2023, 09:09 PM)SteveII Wrote: What does that have to do with anything? The Christian view of marriage is not defined by what Christians do. The basis comes from the Bible and theology. If a 'Christian' divorces, then one or both has not followed through on the principles taught or the underlying Biblical attitudes needed.

The Bible teaches that people should love one another, get married and stay true to one another forever. Fair enough, nobody is against that. The problem is that the Bible seems to teach values and practices that goes against that objective hence why devout Christians, especially devout Protestant, have a higher divorce rate than "liberal Christians" and atheists/agnostics. It seems that there is something in the biblical teachings that doesn't foster love, respect, trust and kindness in the context of family and love life. It does make the "defense of marriage" arguments presented by Christians as hypocritical; window dressing more interested in the pomp and legality of marriage than love and harmony itself.

There is something in the biblical teaching that explains it: sin and the fallen nature of mankind. The fact that many Christians cannot manage their marriage biblically is not surprising--most can't manage the basic fruits of the spirit. I don't think you are right about the statistics, but even granting that you are, Christians not living up to a standard says nothing about the standard.

Quote:
Quote:First, love is a choice that takes two people to sustain.

I would not call love a choice. This seems a poor choice of word. Love is an emotion and one doesn't choose an emotion. They are not rational or always controllable things. In fact, controlling one's emotion is one of the hardest thing a human mind can do. I don't think I could make you love someone enough to marry them and stay with them for the rest of their life. Love, like all emotion requires things to sustain itself and mutual love, the foundation of marriage doubly so. As people age, they grow and change. It seems inevitable that as time passes more and more loving relationship either transform and renew themselves or disappear in an almost evolutionary process and like in all evolutionary process, luck and outside circumstances plays a good part in it.  

The english word love is not all that useful when discussing so a complicated concept. That's why the Greeks had 8 different words for it. Here are the 5 relevant to a husband and wife relationship:

1. Éros (ἔρως): This is often the initial type of love that brings a couple together. It's the passionate, romantic love that includes sexual desire. In a marital relationship, éros is important for creating a deep, intimate bond and maintaining physical and emotional closeness.

2. Pragma (πράγμα): This type of love grows over time and is characterized by deep understanding, patience, tolerance, and long-term interest. It's the kind of love that matures and develops over years of being together, dealing with life's challenges, and making compromises. Pragma is essential for a lasting and fulfilling marriage.

3. Philia (φιλία): This represents the deep, affectionate friendship that can develop in a long-term relationship. In a marriage, this is about enjoying each other's company, sharing common interests, and having mutual respect and understanding.

4. Agápe (ἀγάπη): This is a selfless, unconditional love. In the context of marriage, it's about loving your partner in a sacrificial way, putting their needs above your own, and being committed to their well-being no matter what.

5. Storge (στοργή): While primarily referring to familial love, storge can also be relevant in a marriage, especially when a couple has children. It's about the natural affection and deep, familiar love that comes from prolonged cohabitation and shared experiences.

A healthy marital relationship would exhibit a blend of these types of love, each contributing to a strong, enduring partnership. I highlighted all the things that are not beyond our control. Love in a marriage context very much involves choices. The interesting part is when you commit to these choices, the other types of love that are more beyond our conscious control develop almost necessarily.
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#37

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-15-2023, 02:25 PM)SteveII Wrote: There is something in the biblical teaching that explains it: sin and the fallen nature of mankind. The fact that many Christians cannot manage their marriage biblically is not surprising--most can't manage the basic fruits of the spirit. I don't think you are right about the statistics, but even granting that you are, Christians not living up to a standard says nothing about the standard.

It does not say anything about the standard, but setting lofty standards is piss easy. As mentioned before, the problem is not with the standard. Nobody is against love, stable relationships, comradery, peace on Earth and generosity. What I am criticizing here is not the lofty yet banal (in the sense that everybody wishes those things) standards, but on the lessons and teachings it contains to make those lofty standards achievable or at the very least approachable. The Bible, at least how it's taught by profound Protestant, seems to produce the inverse effect. Without the teachings, they would have achieved results closer to the standard of the Bible than with it.     

Quote:The english word love is not all that useful when discussing so a complicated concept. That's why the Greeks had 8 different words for it. Here are the 5 relevant to a husband and wife relationship:

1. Éros (ἔρως): This is often the initial type of love that brings a couple together. It's the passionate, romantic love that includes sexual desire. In a marital relationship, éros is important for creating a deep, intimate bond and maintaining physical and emotional closeness.

2. Pragma (πράγμα): This type of love grows over time and is characterized by deep understanding, patience, tolerance, and long-term interest. It's the kind of love that matures and develops over years of being together, dealing with life's challenges, and making compromises. Pragma is essential for a lasting and fulfilling marriage.

3. Philia (φιλία): This represents the deep, affectionate friendship that can develop in a long-term relationship. In a marriage, this is about enjoying each other's company, sharing common interests, and having mutual respect and understanding.

4. Agápe (ἀγάπη): This is a selfless, unconditional love. In the context of marriage, it's about loving your partner in a sacrificial way, putting their needs above your own, and being committed to their well-being no matter what.

5. Storge (στοργή): While primarily referring to familial love, storge can also be relevant in a marriage, especially when a couple has children. It's about the natural affection and deep, familiar love that comes from prolonged cohabitation and shared experiences.

A healthy marital relationship would exhibit a blend of these types of love, each contributing to a strong, enduring partnership. I highlighted all the things that are not beyond our control. Love in a marriage context very much involves choices. The interesting part is when you commit to these choices, the other types of love that are more beyond our conscious control develop almost necessarily.

We can both agree that Greek philosophy and Olympianism (the Greek religion) contains far richer and more useful lessons on the subject of love than Christianity. In fact, if people heard more about love from that angle than that of Christian theologians and scriptures would probably be way better. The fact that Christian theologians, pastors and priest have been historically systematically men and that even today women in such position remain extremely rare certainly doesn't help. Worst even, most of those theologians and the majority of priest are forbidden from ever entering in romantic relationship too is atrocious. These are people with no experience of love and family pontificating about those subject using scripture written ostensibly by men who never had family's either. Is it so surprising that by denying women the ability to teach or even talk about about love and relationships and by having having little to no experience to offer from their own personal lives and relying on the moral teachings of other celibate men that Christians fail more often than others at creating successful, loving and longstanding marriages? I think not. It's not because Christian are inherently corrupted. They are not any more depraved than anybody else, but devout Protestant are significantly less apt than other groups at forming good marriages because they have a terrible romantic and sexual education.

I would also like to note that many Greek philosophers considered love and marriage to be two very different things. Greek society was so misogynist that men and women rarely interacted in a significant way, especially for men of higher social classes (the poorer you are the closer men and women could share in common). Developing complicity and common interests was thus almost impossible. Many saw marriages as essential, but more as a civic duty to produce legitimate children for the good and future of the City-State instead of a celebration of love. Love was something a man found, more often than not, elsewhere and often with another man, usually a pupil. Of course, the Greeks considered that a man who truly loved his wife was the luckiest of all man and they also knew that a woman who did not love her husband was condemned to a life of misery for where a man could seek affection and reprieve from a loveless marriage by investing himself in the wider society, she could not as she was confined to a loveless home. 

On another note, a lot of those things you highlighted are indeed beyond our control or at least partially outside of our control. You don't choose your interests all that much. You can foster and develop them; you can force yourself to try new things and go outside your natural comfort zone, but it's not exactly all that easy. I don't think I could seriously make you love something you don't to the point you could share complicity with women with those interests. The same goes for patience or even worst unconditional love. These are things that you can ty to develop, but it's madness to consider you control them. I would also note that dealing with life's challenges and making compromise always comes at a cost and sometimes that cost is simply to heavy to bear and relationships crumble under such weight. The most common cause of divorce in my country is financial troubles and disagreements. Financial stress ruins relationship and kills love very easily as it forces compromises nobody wanted to make, create stress that eat away at patience, it tarnishes leisure activities and limits them, etc. If children are involved it gets even worst.
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#38

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-01-2023, 06:26 PM)pattylt Wrote: Besides the large number of closeted homosexuals within the church, defending marriage and attacking the gay lifestyle was their strongest move. It was liberal America and the nones where it kept gaining traction.  The problem they had was lack of any quality evidence that gay marriage harmed anyone…including any children within the gay marriage.

I think the problem is that they view being gay as a "lifestyle choice."  My experience with conservative Christians is that very few of them have ever had openly gay people in their lives, or if they have, they just don't know what to do with them except tell them that they are wrong.  They've never truly grown up with gay people or been in their communities, so they're removed from the thing would create having understanding or compassion for them.  What they're left with is a bunch of scriptures that they believe are about gay people rather than pederasty, pedophilia, or ancient Greco-Roman sex cults.  So, they view from the outside "being gay" as something that is a willful choice or morality issue rather than a preference that you cannot help. I think it's why you hear conservatives say "gay lifestyle" rather than "being gay".  

In a way, conservative Christians are kind of sheltered or they shelter themselves.  They push themselves away from anything or anyone they consider "worldly" like gay people, atheists, or liberals.  If they're not busy keeping themselves away from them, they'll push these groups further away simply through their disapproval.  They don't know how to relate to them nor are many of them even willing to learn, because if they do they're "condoning immorality."  If they do have gay people in their lives, they're usually only applauded or allowed into the group after choosing to live in a "heterosexual" marriage, even though they are lying on the inside to themselves. So, a marriage that looks good, right, and "biblical" on the outside is preferred over honesty, truth-telling, and finding true companionship in life. Thus, the "institution of marriage" is protected over the person. Other marriages are a threat to the "institution." I think a healthier view is saying that marriages are not sacred in and of themselves, people are. Jesus always valued people over institutions.
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#39

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-14-2023, 11:12 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(12-14-2023, 07:54 PM)SteveII Wrote: In no way did I mean to imply that values of the previous generation should just be adopted unthinkingly. My point was that it is critical that well-developed values, ethics, and morality are inculcated in the next generation--a job that only the family can do properly. Any other scenario is less than ideal.

That's actually largely inaccurate or, to be more precise, overly simplistic to the point of being wrong. The family is by default the first and most important institution for transmitting values and traditions, but family doesn't require marriage nor is it set to one form. Family as an institution has changed in composition and forms through the ages. Right now, for example, when some people say family they mean the nuclear model of the family as popularized in the post WWII era and the rise of the middle class. This is very different than what a Pashtun would consider family which is more akin to the tribal model of the family or even the most prevalent model of the family for working class people during the industrial revolution (what we call today the extended family which is basically grand-parents plus all their children and grand children living in building). You get the point. Marriage doesn't make a family. It's not even synonymous with happy, stable couple engaged in long term relationship let alone a family.

But you are not refuting the point. Of course extended family adds plenty of dimension and advantage. But your point is one of addition, not replacement. Marriage is the basic building block even in your examples. How do you think the successive generations were built? Each generation married (even Pashtuns) as the institution in which to bring the next generation into the world.


Quote:Then again, family is never and cannot be the only institution that help children and young adults to develop their values, ethics, morality and learn their tradition. People don't live in tribal clans anymore where every members of the group were part of the same family. We live in large and advanced societies composed of hundreds of tribal families and more. Trying to isolate children from the influence of other institutions and members of society is detrimental to their ability to grow, live and participate in their own culture. Any scenario in which school, friends, cultural personalities and leaders of society have little to no impact on the intellectual development of a child is less than ideal.  

I didn't say the family is the only institution... but it is the best institution. It has the most lasting impact. It is the most important institution in your life while your brain is being wired as a kid. Just like kids who are ignored and watch television for 18 years have mushy brains and don't amount to much while the children whose parents read to them, took an interest in their education and held them to high standards result in smarter, more responsible, and productive adults. The same dynamics are operating at the values, ethical and moral levels.

Quote:
Quote:As we moved from the premodern world where the principles or self-determination, freedom of thought/conscious, intrinsic value, and other 'natural' rights were not part of the equation, to the modern era where it took some time to work out the concept completely (ending slavery, women's rights, working conditions, universal education, etc.), and then to the dawn of the post-modern age (where you and I had our formative years) we can easily see the progression of each successive generation as such thoughts have matured and many of the practical problems solved as society has been reengineered.  I fear the postmodern thinking will actually unravel what it means to be human but that is another topic.  

I find it a bit sad and perplexing that you seem to embrace the radical and profound changes brought by people of your generation and prior to the traditions and moral understanding of world and human nature yet fear the changes that are occurring now. I understand the anxiety that comes with any changes; after all, what if the changes were bad this time, but it seems strange to me to view so positively the changes that have been made yet at the same time fearing so much for the future. 

I don't fear the changes because I fear change. I fear the changes because they are fundamentally at odds with human flourishing. It does not follow that since we have made advances in the past the current changes are beneficial. Not all changes in the past were beneficial. No fault divorce is a good example of the erosion of the family structure. Instead of society honoring and encouraging family formation, we yielded to the trend of the self-centered psychology of the modern age. We are in the second generation of telling people that marriage is not the most important building block of society. Fast forward to today:

1. Increased Child Behavioral Problems: Children raised in non-traditional or unstable family environments may have higher incidences of behavioral and psychological problems. This can be attributed to a lack of consistent parenting, emotional support, or exposure to conflict and stress.

2. Economic Hardships: Single-parent families, which are more common as traditional family structures decline, often face economic difficulties. This is due in part to the reliance on a single income and the increased expenses and responsibilities borne by one parent. This economic strain can lead to poverty, housing instability, and reduced educational opportunities for children.

3. Educational Challenges for Children: Studies have shown that children from non-traditional family structures may face more challenges in their educational journey. These challenges can include lower academic performance, higher dropout rates, and less involvement in school activities, partly due to less parental involvement or support.

4. Mental Health Issues: The breakdown of traditional family structures can contribute to mental health issues in both adults and children. The stress of divorce, single parenting, or unstable family environments can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

5. Community and Societal Instability: Traditional family units often provide a stable foundation for communities. The erosion of these structures can lead to a reduction in community cohesion, increased crime rates, and a general sense of societal instability. Children growing up in less stable family environments might lack role models for positive social and relational behaviors.

Further, this individualistic notion that you seem keen on has gone too far. While it is important to have a balanced life that includes being your own person, we are getting to harmful thinking about the importance of the individual. For example, depression and suicide are increasing at an alarming rate--especially in kids. We tell them that they get their identity from their feelings and sources from within themselves. However, children's brains are not fully developed and the stress of trying to build the scaffolding of life all from their meager experiences and warped understanding of the real world is so so damaging. Institutions are important and we as a society are dismantling them (or undermining trust in them) one at a time (intentionally or not).

Quote:Then again you do claim to consider the idea that people should live in unhappy, loveless and resentful marriage and relationship until this unhappiness, lovelessness and resentfulness becomes downright violent and abusive for some strange reason that I don't understand yet, but this seems to be an exception and not the norm and you seem to hint at loving most of the changes that were made like no longer considering children born out of wedlock as bastards an worthless, teenagers having a romantic and sexual life of their own or women having absolute authority on who they date and marry without having to obtain the consent of their father first. Overall, despite the problem you might see with family and relationships today, you seem to prefer it to what it was in your country when you were a little child or when you own parents were children themselves.

Your first point relies on the claim that loveless and resentful marriages are not the fault of the people involved. To which I answer: they need to grow up. Unless there was some event (like cheating), abuse, or mental sickness any marriage is repairable at any point in the process. It takes work and a proper perspective of what commitment means on a two-way street.  

More interestingly (and to close the loop), the more children are raised in homes where values are relative, ethics are illusive, and morality is a loose concept, the more we will have people entering into marriage in the near future that are even less capable of making it work.

To your final point, along with the advances in the 20th century came some bad thinking about marriage, family, the individual, identity, and value (basically what it means to be human). We are now seeing the fruit. Criticizing the bad does not undermine the good nor require me to accept it. It was not a 'package deal'.
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#40

The "defense of marriage" position
Many people spend many years tied unhappily together because of the institution of marriage.
It's an outdated concept just like church on Sunday or meat for dinner.
Yes people can pair off for life and that's great.. I think I've done that (who knows) but it's no big deal if she fucks off with the milkman... It won't make it into the history books.
It's just another thing that can go either way.
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#41

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-20-2023, 06:45 PM)SteveII Wrote: But you are not refuting the point. Of course extended family adds plenty of dimension and advantage. But your point is one of addition, not replacement. Marriage is the basic building block even in your examples. How do you think the successive generations were built? Each generation married (even Pashtuns) as the institution in which to bring the next generation into the world.

Here is where you make an error. Marriage is not one institution. It's a name given to wide variety of rituals and legal status given to coupling amongst humans. Marriage is singular in every culture, but there are many different versions of it. Marriage is an institution much like government is an institution. There is not one type of government and there isn't one type of marriage. That's not without even delving into marriage as a legal status vs marriage as a symbolic ritual vs marriage as catch-all term to describe all long term love relationship between people sharing the same household. Marriage is not one thing.

Quote:I didn't say the family is the only institution... but it is the best institution.
 

I disagree. The family isn't apt at transmitting certain traditions, values and practices since these values, traditions and practices take effect outside of the family itself. This doesn't mean that those values, traditions and practices are any less important. Take tolerance for difference for example. This is essential to live in large modern society, but most family cannot teach that well since they don't have the wealth to make their young children travel for extended periods of time in other culture and can hardly expose them to difference early on. Schools and other cultural institutions are far better equipped to impart lessons on tolerance for difference than most families. It would be more apt to say that the family is the best institution to instill traditions, practices and values in certain areas, but it lacks in others. The same could be said about school, religion, cultural events and actors, government, friends and even some institutions with special creed (like the army, nurses and doctors for example). All of these each are the best institutions to instill values, traditions and practices in certain areas and under certain circumstances and all of them are equally important to foster an healthy adult.

Quote:1. Increased Child Behavioral Problems: Children raised in non-traditional or unstable family environments may have higher incidences of behavioral and psychological problems. This can be attributed to a lack of consistent parenting, emotional support, or exposure to conflict and stress.

Marriages, especially marriages as defined by devout Christian Protestants, doesn't guaranty a stable family environment. An environment doesn't need to be stable. It needs to be good and stable. Bad marriages and terrible families can be stable, but they are even more terrible for a child's development than an unstable family. 

Don't you see how you jump from marriage to happy, stable, loving families without even addressing the core issue that goes with no-fault divorce? Being married doesn't mean having a happy, stable, loving and fulfilling relationship. No-fault divorce laws were put in place to make it easier for unhappy, unloving, unfulfilling, abusive relationship to be dissolved officially more easily. No-fault divorce doesn't make people less happy in their relationship. If there are unhappy, abusive and cold hearted marriage than marriage is not equivalent to happiness and stability. Any defense of marriage thus becomes a pointless virtue signaling exercise and should instead focus on love and stability instead of focusing on institutions. No-fault divorce doesn't make people less likely to love one another. It doesn't make people more stable or better at communicating. Marriage doesn't transform people; love does.

I would also like to note that child behavioral problems have not been seriously studied and recorded prior to the late 80's, decades after no-fault divorce became a common trait. I would also like to note that nothing prevented people from separating prior to no-fault divorce. One of the main argument for presented by people who campaigned for such change was the fact, many, many couple were separated, often in new relationship, but not officially divorced making the prohibition against divorce rather pointless and preventing those new relationship, which were in many cases more solid than those that came before, to turn into marriages. Making divorce more difficult did not help people have better relationship because legal status and religious ritual don't make people more loving, better at communicating, more financially secure, more honest, etc.

This is a bit of the problem of people arguing for a return to a state of affair that was common when they were basically preschooler and have little to no actual knowledge of the politics and legal trouble of the time and look back at an era through the lenses of nostalgia instead of properly researched history.

Quote:Further, this individualistic notion that you seem keen on has gone too far. While it is important to have a balanced life that includes being your own person, we are getting to harmful thinking about the importance of the individual. For example, depression and suicide are increasing at an alarming rate--especially in kids.

In Canada, while depression in teenagers are much more commonly diagnosed, suicide rates are down from a high in the late 90's and have been stable for over 2 decades now. I suspect the more frequent and early treatment of depression in teenagers is a large cause of that drop which means that the rates of depression did not actually increased, it's simply that we ignored it in the past. In the US, suicide rates for teenagers seems to be stable since the 90's when stats on the subject became reliable though there has been a sharp increase from 2015 to today in young adults from a long period of stability prior to that too. We don't see that trend in France for example where suicide have been steadily declining since the 90's both in teenagers and young adults. Note that all these countries have had no-fault divorce for significantly longer than they had reliable statistic on suicide or depression.

I would also like to note that the group who commits suicide the most remains, in all countries, mature and elderly men (men from their 40's and upward), declining health, substance abuse, financial troubles and acrimonious divorce are cited as the most common cause for those suicides and they are usually found together. Teenagers and young people are the least likely group to successful kill themselves and even have lower levels of attempted suicide too.

Quote:Your first point relies on the claim that loveless and resentful marriages are not the fault of the people involved. To which I answer: they need to grow up. Unless there was some event (like cheating), abuse, or mental sickness any marriage is repairable at any point in the process.

Even if we were to grant this as true (which I think is absurd; I don't think people who grow apart can reunite with 100% certainty rates, this does not make a good marriage. A hailing marriage could take years of effort to repair which would of course be doted with failures along the way. In the middle of that unstable, challenging and sometime heartbreaking process filled with resentment, frustration, arguments, tears, insults, reconciliation, apologies, forgiveness, etc. There are children. A couple trying to fix their broken or hailing relationship do not offer in the present a stable and loving environment for their children. Who cares if they are still happily married when their children leave the nest if while the children were in the nest the couple was engaging in screaming matches in between reconciliation moments. The children grew up in a bad relationship. It got better and survived, but they didn't get to experiment it in the same way. Relationship take a long time to fix themselves and as long as they are not fixed they are bad relationship. In fact the time, emotional efforts, stress (and often money to pay for professional help) devoted to solve their issues is that many "resources" that they can't devote to their children in the meantime. Juggling a struggling relationship, stressed-out children and a full time job in a very competitive economy and job market for years all at the same time is very difficult. In fact, many marriages collapsed only faster and harder by attempting this difficult feat which lead to even more acrimonious divorces and more dysfunctional final years. 

Maybe you could save every sinking marriage, but is it worth the effort and is it in the best interest of the children? Is it not more mature to leave your partner instead of sacrificing your children's wellbeing to try and fix your relationship first and foremost. Should their wellbeing not be the priority instead of your relationship. Sure, in an ideal world children do better in stable loving families, but if your family is not loving nor stable in the first place, can you honestly say that the quickest and best way to provide them the next best thing is always to go for the healing of the marriage instead of the divorce? It's not like divorce breaks children as surely as a diet of bath salts. Most children in mono-parental, split-custody and/or recomposed family do well. Let's not confuse a trend with an individual data point. It's not like children will not see you stumble your way into repairing what is broken anyway. It's not like the instability will not be seen, be felt and have consequences. In fact, they might be very distressed by the stark contrast of the harmony of some days and the complete breakdown of others as children rarely have the emotional maturity and forethought to understand on a deeper level the turmoil of a bad relationship that people try to repair. You seem to have a very naive view of the cost, sacrifice and consequences of trying to save a hailing relationship. This idea that people divorce for petty disputes and because they are self-centered fickle fairies is in my opinion and from every single reliable information we have on divorces (or break-up of long standing relationship) largely a myth; a self serving myth that some people in happy marriage seem to love as it flatter their ego more than reflects reality. I would classify it very much like "the poor are just stupid and lazy" type of myth.   

Your entire argument is basically indulging without any form of forethought into a sunken cost fallacy and this can be very damaging.
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#42

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-20-2023, 11:48 PM)epronovost Wrote: Marriages, especially marriages as defined by devout Christian Protestants, doesn't guaranty a stable family environment. An environment doesn't need to be stable. It needs to be good and stable. Bad marriages and terrible families can be stable, but they are even more terrible for a child's development than an unstable family.
I wouldn't agree with that as some hard and fast rule, but I certainly agree that stable but bad marriages can OFTEN be even worse for a child than an unstable family.

My wife's family was both terrible AND unstable and her transcendence of both is something I could probably write a book about if she were not such a private person. She often says, with wonder, that I have no idea how lucky I am to have come from a family that was both loving and stable. She's probably right.
(12-20-2023, 11:48 PM)epronovost Wrote: Any defense of marriage thus becomes a pointless virtue signaling exercise and should instead focus on love and stability instead of focusing on institutions. No-fault divorce doesn't make people less likely to love one another. It doesn't make people more stable or better at communicating. Marriage doesn't transform people; love does.
I cannot imagine how this ^^^ could have been said better. Bravo. The promotion of marriage as if it were some kind of magic totem is a childish attachment to unrealistic romantic ideals. Ironically, one can better honor the institution of marriage by encouraging the dissolution of relationships that have become a ghastly mockery of the concept.

(12-20-2023, 11:48 PM)epronovost Wrote: This is a bit of the problem of people arguing for a return to a state of affair that was common when they were basically preschooler and have little to no actual knowledge of the politics and legal trouble of the time and look back at an era through the lenses of nostalgia instead of properly researched history.
Conservatives of all stripes often seem to not know what they are trying to conserve, or if it ever was even real. They conveniently forget that in the supposedly Good Old Days of marriage, unhappy housewives often relied on "mother's little helper" (valium) and similar to get through their days. It's as if divorce opponents want to will into existence some idyll that cannot be and never was, if necessary by forcing people to act it out when there is no actual feeling to do so.
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#43

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-20-2023, 10:02 PM)SeaPigeon Wrote: Many people spend many years tied unhappily together because of the institution of marriage.
It's an outdated concept just like church on Sunday or meat for dinner.

Quote:I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that

Oscar Wilde.

Quote:Yes people can pair off for life and that's great.. I think I've done that (who knows) but it's no big deal if she fucks off with the milkman... It won't make it into the history books.
It's just another thing that can go either way.

Quote:Had she taken a bullfighter I would have understood - but a fucking chemist!

Wolfgang Pauli after being informed his misses had legged it with some non physicist dude.
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#44

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-17-2023, 05:15 PM)Kathryn L Wrote:
(12-01-2023, 06:26 PM)pattylt Wrote: Besides the large number of closeted homosexuals within the church, defending marriage and attacking the gay lifestyle was their strongest move. It was liberal America and the nones where it kept gaining traction.  The problem they had was lack of any quality evidence that gay marriage harmed anyone…including any children within the gay marriage.

First, welcome. You seem like a reasonable, thoughtful person and I look forward to interacting with your thoughts.

Quote:I think the problem is that they view being gay as a "lifestyle choice."  My experience with conservative Christians is that very few of them have ever had openly gay people in their lives, or if they have, they just don't know what to do with them except tell them that they are wrong.  They've never truly grown up with gay people or been in their communities, so they're removed from the thing would create having understanding or compassion for them.  What they're left with is a bunch of scriptures that they believe are about gay people rather than pederasty, pedophilia, or ancient Greco-Roman sex cults.  So, they view from the outside "being gay" as something that is a willful choice or morality issue rather than a preference that you cannot help.  I think it's why you hear conservatives say "gay lifestyle" rather than "being gay". 
 

Thinking that the Bible is talking about pederasty, pedophilia, or ancient Greco-Roman sex cults is something made up by people who want to believe that--so they can still hold the Bible as authoritative but not offend. There is no actual evidence in the text that this is true.

To your last point, I don't think that Christians who care about nuance would say that being gay is a willful choice. The Bible does not condemn feelings or inclinations. If condemns homosexual physical relations (as well as every other sexual relation outside of marriage). Morality is tied to actions and not desires. So what you think "gay lifestyle" means in the Christian context is exactly backwards. It describes engaging in the physical relations aspect and not referring to the inclination.

Quote:In a way, conservative Christians are kind of sheltered or they shelter themselves.  They push themselves away from anything or anyone they consider "worldly" like gay people, atheists, or liberals.  If they're not busy keeping themselves away from them, they'll push these groups further away simply through their disapproval.  They don't know how to relate to them nor are many of them even willing to learn, because if they do they're "condoning immorality."  If they do have gay people in their lives, they're usually only applauded or allowed into the group after choosing to live in a "heterosexual" marriage, even though they are lying on the inside to themselves.  So, a marriage that looks good, right, and "biblical" on the outside is preferred over honesty, truth-telling, and finding true companionship in life.  Thus, the "institution of marriage" is protected over the person.  Other marriages are a threat to the "institution."  I think a healthier view is saying that marriages are not sacred in and of themselves, people are.  Jesus always valued people over institutions.

You are probably right about a lot of conservative Christians: they do no seek out people in different lifestyles--who does? Believing someone is living an immoral lifestyle does tend to push the two groups apart.

To your last point, I have written several posts (thousands of words) in this thread why the institution of marriage is more important than the individual (you're welcome to respond to anything specific). You're wrong about Jesus. He values the institution of marriage over the individual:

Matthew 19:3-9 (NIV)

3. Some Pharisees came to him [Jesus] to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4. “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’
5. and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?
6. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7. “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
9. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

(real quick, the context was they were trying to trick him into taking sides on a cultural hot button topic, which he sidestepped and got to the root of the issue instead)

Verses 5-6 shows an institution is established: marriage (the very first in fact).

Verse 6 "Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate" refers not to some words someone says but the bond designed into the very nature of being human (v. 8b). With such an understanding, it should not be surprising to hear objections when people want to redefine it. Redefining it literally rejects the notion that the bonding of the man and women into a union and that union is the best foundation for a family is baked into the wiring of what it means to be human and replaces it with the notion that whatever people want to do is what it means to be human and everyone must affirm them. It's easy to see how there might be conflict.
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#45

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-20-2023, 11:48 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(12-20-2023, 06:45 PM)SteveII Wrote: But you are not refuting the point. Of course extended family adds plenty of dimension and advantage. But your point is one of addition, not replacement. Marriage is the basic building block even in your examples. How do you think the successive generations were built? Each generation married (even Pashtuns) as the institution in which to bring the next generation into the world.

Here is where you make an error. Marriage is not one institution. It's a name given to wide variety of rituals and legal status given to coupling amongst humans. Marriage is singular in every culture, but there are many different versions of it.

You need to give examples of societies where 99.999% of what people considered marriage is not between a man and women with the intention for life. Marriage (traditionally conceived) is older than recorded history and is the basis institutional building block for all known societies right up until today.

Regarding non-traditional notions, at best you will find some acceptance of same-sex unions. I couldn't find any society that called them marriages. Since same-sex unions are ancient, that shows there was a consistent definition of marriage in mind throughout all of history.  

Regarding marriage for status or property or some other purpose other than love--sure, there are strata of some societies where the mechanics of choosing a spouse is different. It was/is however lifelong and intended to make a family. I think you would be hard-pressed to show that a bond was not the goal or avoided. There certainly is no material difference that would warrant calling these marriages a different institution.

Quote:Marriage is an institution much like government is an institution. There is not one type of government and there isn't one type of marriage. That's not without even delving into marriage as a legal status vs marriage as a symbolic ritual vs marriage as catch-all term to describe all long term love relationship between people sharing the same household. Marriage is not one thing.

I think the comparison is a category error. Marriage is way more basic. Do you have a bond with the government? Maybe some patriotism.  I would refer you back to the 5 type of love (from the Greek) that pertain to marriage. There is a profound personal aspect to getting married and comparing it to the menu of government options seems more than a little ad hoc.  Marriage predates governments so the concept of legal status is an artifact of it being a basic, ubiquitous, universally recognized, and necessary institution. Actually, I would argue the legal status of marriage exists in part to protect and support the much more ancient institution of marriage in many ways. You have to get the causal arrow correct.
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#46

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-21-2023, 09:31 PM)SteveII Wrote: You need to give examples of societies where 99.999% of what people considered marriage is not between a man and women with the intention for life.

Mine. Marriage doesn't require the production of offspring nor does it contain the mention of children or of producing children at all; traditional marriage vows do not contain any mention of having children and raising them together. Marriage between two men and two women is also viewed as perfectly normal. Marriage is mostly viewed as a big party to celebrate two person loving each other and signaling their intent for it to last.

Quote:Marriage (traditionally conceived) is older than recorded history and is the basis institutional building block for all known societies right up until today.

This is, again, a false equivocation between marriage (the institution we have and as defined by our culture and modern religious practices and rituals) and coupling between men and women to form family groups recognized by past society. Marriages, if defined as an institution, relies on the idea of a legal definition, of a government, of specific rituals and rules. It's not the same thing as marriage, as defined as a custom or to describe a couple. It would be making both presentism and ethnocentric biases to assume the two are the same.

Here is an example of traditional marriage that you would certainly not consider a marriage: Bridenapping. This is very traditional and common to almost all societies in human history, but I don't think the practice of stealing women from your enemies to rape them and marry them by force is considered "traditional" by you despite being literally and tradition. In fact, I would believe these unions should not be called marriages even though they were. Today, we would refer to such "unions" as slavery more than marriages.
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#47

The "defense of marriage" position
I notice he hasn’t mentioned marriage to multiple wives and it being biblical.
How about a society where a woman must first be pregnant before a marriage can take place? That is a case of marriage designed to include children.

Many warrior groups were (most likely gay) men bonded to each other for life…though not called marriage?

Royalty had arranged marriages solely to produce heirs and the woman was blamed when no children were produced. The royal male was permitted concubines in many of them.

Humans are as creative as always in deciding what constitutes a marriage or union. Shall we look at child brides? Thats usually a man and a girl though I wouldn’t call her a woman.
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#48

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-21-2023, 11:07 PM)pattylt Wrote: I notice he hasn’t mentioned marriage to multiple wives and it being biblical.
How about a society where a woman must first be pregnant before a marriage can take place?  That is a case of marriage designed to include children.

Many warrior groups were (most likely gay) men bonded to each other for life…though not called marriage?

Royalty had arranged marriages solely to produce heirs and the woman was blamed when no children were produced.  The royal male was permitted concubines in many of them.

Humans are as creative as always in deciding what constitutes a marriage or union.  Shall we look at child brides?  Thats usually a man and a girl though I wouldn’t call her a woman.

That's a bit the point of the rhetorical trick. It's a classic Motte and Bailey argument. Someone attacks the tradition and centrality of marriage in human society? Equivocate between marriage and people forming couples to start and produce a family: the Motte. Someone talks about divorce, polygamy, bridenapping, sexual slavery, marriages of convenience, homosexual marriages, by-law couples and families, recomposed family, etc. Then suddenly marriages means the sacrament as used by a specific religion or sect: the Bailey. Someone attacks that more narrowly defined tradition: retreat to the Motte and then start all over again.
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#49

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-20-2023, 11:48 PM)epronovost Wrote:
(12-20-2023, 06:45 PM)SteveII Wrote: I didn't say the family is the only institution... but it is the best institution.
 

I disagree. The family isn't apt at transmitting certain traditions, values and practices since these values, traditions and practices take effect outside of the family itself. This doesn't mean that those values, traditions and practices are any less important. Take tolerance for difference for example. This is essential to live in large modern society, but most family cannot teach that well since they don't have the wealth to make their young children travel for extended periods of time in other culture and can hardly expose them to difference early on. Schools and other cultural institutions are far better equipped to impart lessons on tolerance for difference than most families. It would be more apt to say that the family is the best institution to instill traditions, practices and values in certain areas, but it lacks in others. The same could be said about school, religion, cultural events and actors, government, friends and even some institutions with special creed (like the army, nurses and doctors for example). All of these each are the best institutions to instill values, traditions and practices in certain areas and under certain circumstances and all of them are equally important to foster an healthy adult.

My point was the family is the best vehicle for transmitting values, morality, and ethics. Other institutions can but are way less effective and if we had to reply on them, we would be in trouble. What would be more effective to produce a balanced young adult prepared to navigate a pluralistic society: parents living out (modeling) tolerance to their children as they grow up for 18 years or taking periodic trips to see other cultures? Exposure to different cultures does not create tolerance, it creates knowledge that may or may not lead to tolerance.

Same with schools, churches, community groups. They may teach values and may fill in where parents fall short, but the family has way more potential for modeling lasting values. Why?

Firstly, because values are really low-level worldview concepts. A worldview is a comprehensive perspective through which one interprets and understands the world around them. It's a mental model of reality, encompassing beliefs about the nature of the universe, life, morality, humanity, and other fundamental aspects. Nestled within a larger worldview, values cannot be easily created nor changed. Formation or change in values would take time as there would certainly have to be worldview shifts to incorporate the change in the wider structure. Institutions may influence, but the family remains the best method.

Secondly, the best way to inculcate values is modeling them. The family is the best way to model a value because a) it takes time and repetition to model something so that the next generation accepts it, and b) successful modeling requires meaningful context and family life context is second to none in influence. Watching a documentary in school on the importance of soup kitchens is nowhere nearly as effective as serving in one periodically with your parents.
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#50

The "defense of marriage" position
(12-22-2023, 03:10 PM)SteveII Wrote:
(12-20-2023, 11:48 PM)epronovost Wrote:  

I disagree. The family isn't apt at transmitting certain traditions, values and practices since these values, traditions and practices take effect outside of the family itself. This doesn't mean that those values, traditions and practices are any less important. Take tolerance for difference for example. This is essential to live in large modern society, but most family cannot teach that well since they don't have the wealth to make their young children travel for extended periods of time in other culture and can hardly expose them to difference early on. Schools and other cultural institutions are far better equipped to impart lessons on tolerance for difference than most families. It would be more apt to say that the family is the best institution to instill traditions, practices and values in certain areas, but it lacks in others. The same could be said about school, religion, cultural events and actors, government, friends and even some institutions with special creed (like the army, nurses and doctors for example). All of these each are the best institutions to instill values, traditions and practices in certain areas and under certain circumstances and all of them are equally important to foster an healthy adult.

My point was the family is the best vehicle for transmitting values, morality, and ethics. Other institutions can but are way less effective and if we had to reply on them, we would be in trouble. What would be more effective to produce a balanced young adult prepared to navigate a pluralistic society: parents living out (modeling) tolerance to their children as they grow up for 18 years or taking periodic trips to see other cultures? Exposure to different cultures does not create tolerance, it creates knowledge that may or may not lead to tolerance.

Same with schools, churches, community groups. They may teach values and may fill in where parents fall short, but the family has way more potential for modeling lasting values. Why?

Firstly, because values are really low-level worldview concepts. A worldview is a comprehensive perspective through which one interprets and understands the world around them. It's a mental model of reality, encompassing beliefs about the nature of the universe, life, morality, humanity, and other fundamental aspects. Nestled within a larger worldview, values cannot be easily created nor changed. Formation or change in values would take time as there would certainly have to be worldview shifts to incorporate the change in the wider structure. Institutions may influence, but the family remains the best method.

Secondly, the best way to inculcate values is modeling them. The family is the best way to model a value because a) it takes time and repetition to model something so that the next generation accepts it, and b) successful modeling requires meaningful context and family life context is second to none in influence. Watching a documentary in school on the importance of soup kitchens is nowhere nearly as effective as serving in one periodically with your parents.

But there is also the model of 2 angry parents who stop getting along as well as they once did and the child who suffers the confusion of their anger. Automatically connecting "2 parents to childhood happiness" can be inaccurate sometimes. Law and religion sometimes pushes unhappy parents to stay together. I don't think that is always good for the children.

There is no guaranteed 2 or 1 combination of adults (and there are many) that are best for children. It depends on the individual adults.
Never try to catch a dropped kitchen knife!
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