Marriage will always be a never-ending topic to be discussed. :) In my "Religion Education" class we also talked about it. (See my previous posts here and here.) Below you will find the answer of my students in one quiz I gave them some time ago. There are 12 students in my RE class.
The first question is "why do people marry?"
Interestingly, the number one answer is to be able to celebrate the joy of sex. Well, despite the fact that some students of mine claim that they are non-believers, they put "sex" as the most important thing people pursue from getting married legally. The second most answer is to have babies. No matter what if you live in Indonesia, you will feel more ungodly if you have babies outside wedlock. You will feel that you follow the society norm by having babies after you get married.
(I remember many years ago, I liked teasing my students if they answered "to have babies" to answer why people get married by saying, "To have babies, you don't need to marry, you just need to have sex with someone. LOL.)
Some other answers vary from to strengthen the bond with the one they love, to prove to their loved one that they love him/her, to continue the family name after having babies, to ensure that their partner is committed to them and is responsible for the babies they "produce" :) to get rid of society's pressure that someone must get married after reaching a certain age until more "economic" reason such as to lessen parents' burden, to ease financial burden, and to continue the family business (in case of forced marriage). Some students answered people marry because their religion asks the adherents to. :)
The second question is "Explain why attitudes towards marriage have changed."
There are some interesting answers. First is the influence of globalization era. This era really has shrunk the world so that one nation cannot avoid the influence from other nations. Second now that women have more rights (in public sphere), such as working to make their ends meet or pursuing education as high as they want, they become less dependent on men. When a woman does not depend on a man, she probably can view marriage differently; this probably makes her think that she no longer needs any bond with any man. Third, economic factors. Marrying and 'building' a family is costly in this era so that it can stop someone from thinking of the need to get married. This, therefore, leads to the following reason: people are a lot more career-oriented.
Besides those four reasons, some other reasons are mentioned such as in this era people are not that strict anymore in adhering a religion so they do not need to feel guilty/sinful to have sex outside marriage. When they can have sex before getting married first, why do they need to marry? :) (This reason is really contradictory to the answer in the first question, isn't it? :) ) The practice of cohabitation is more acceptable now. Last but not least is in this era gay people are more open about their sexual orientation; so as long as they have a soul mate (from the same sex), they do not need to 'imprison' themselves in a marriage boundary. :)
The third question is "How does Judaism view marriages?" but I do not want to include the answer of this question in this post.
The last question is "Do you think religions should accept homosexuality?"
From 11 answer sheets I have (1 sheet was gone :( ) three students answered NO. There is only one reason: it is against religion teaching. They believe that God created man and woman to love each other, it is the natural law. Man and women are created to love each other, then marry and have babies to continue "human race". A homosexual couple cannot have baby so they are against the "natural law".
Eight students answered YES. Some reasons are
- It is everyone's right to choose who they will live their life with as long as they do not harm others.
- Spiritual encounter is personal, it differs from one person to another.
- Gay people deserve equality with heterosexual people.
- Religions (are supposed to) believe that only God judges a person for his/her sins, not a preacher.
- There is nothing wrong for being gay.
No one remembers to answer that love is more important than being heterosexual/homosexual. As long as love exists between two people, what else matters?
GG 08.14 11 September 2014