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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Marriage & Homosexuality

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

  1. It is everyone's right to choose who they will live their life with as long as they do not harm others.
  2. Spiritual encounter is personal, it differs from one person to another.
  3. Gay people deserve equality with heterosexual people.
  4. Religions (are supposed to) believe that only God judges a person for his/her sins, not a preacher.
  5. 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

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Changing attitude towards marriage (2)

First thing to do before discussing the subject, "Family and Relationship" the material provides some vocabulary needed. Excitingly, most vocabulary is related to sex :D such as promiscuity, cohabitation, pre-marital sex, adultery, civil partnership, nuclear family, reconstituted family, faithfulness, remarriage, contraception, and homosexuality. It is surprising that my students do not know yet many words, such as promiscuity, cohabitation, adultery, nuclear family reconstituted family and civil partnership.

The material does not provide the reasons why and how British attitudes towards marriage changed. We came to one point, though, "women are now more financially independent so they no longer depend on men/husband." If 50 years ago, women wouldn't have filed a divorce -- no matter what happened in their marriages -- because they depended on their husband to finance themselves, now women are free. Therefore, I suppose that women movement really brought big impact on marriage life. If 50 years ago, nuclear family referred to father, mother and children, in this era, nuclear family can mean only a mother (or a father) and kids. Talking about civil partnership, well, as I wrote in the previous note, after doing research, scientists concluded that being a gay is not a choice; it is fixed by mid childhood. This means, a nuclear family can mean same sex parents and kids. 

The last topic we discussed this week is about divorce, from Christian point of views. As in the discussion last week, in viewing divorce, the material also provides us three different views, Catholic Christian which is very strict, Church of England which is in the middle, and Liberal Christian which is liberal.  

The material of RELIGION EDUCATION class in the school where I work provides students different point of iviews. The students are expected to open their horizon so that they can accept differences. 


promiscuity: having sex with many partners without getting married
cohabitation : living together with a partner without getting married legally
pre-marital sex : having sex outside marriages
adultery: a sexual act between a married person with someone who is not their marriage partner
nuclear family: mother, father, children living together as one unit
remarriage: getting married again after divorce
reconstituted family: two sets of children (step sisters and step brothers) become one family after their divorced parents marry each other
contraception: intentionally preventing a pregnancy from occurring
faithfulness: staying with your marriage partner and only having sexual contact with them
homosexuality: sexual attraction to the same sex
civil partnership: a legal ceremony giving a homosexual couple rights as a husband and wife

LG 18.10 06/09/2014

Changing attitudes towards marriage

For these past a few months, my Religion Education class has been talking about "Family and Relationship". The first subject is about the changing attitudes towards marriage. Since the material is from Cambridge, the topic is about the changing attitudes towards marriage in the UK. (And it surprised my students to find out that several decades ago UK was as "conventional" as Indonesia nowadays. (It made me remember one lecturer I had once said that Indonesia is 50 years left behind America. :) ) 

Here are the list we discussed what happened in 1960s

  1. Most people got married in churches in their mid 20s.
  2. No sex before marriage
  3. Divorce was taboo
  4. Children were born inside marriages
  5. Homosexuality was sin

In the beginning of 2000s, those 1960s "attitudes" changed into:

  1. Less marriages are held in churches
  2. Divorce is more acceptable
  3. Sex before /outside marriage is common
  4. Many children were born outside wedlock, some children were raised in same-sex parents
  5. Homosexuality is more widely acceptable -- although the UK does not really "endorse" same-sex marriage, the government accepts civil partnership (same sex couple live together) and they get exactly the same rights as heterosexual couple

Two weeks ago we talked about homosexuality. The changing attitude viewing this is in1960s, homosexuality was a criminal offence as well as a sin, but now homosexual couple can have their relationship recognized legally with a civil partnership. After studying for many years, scientists concluded that being gay is NOT A CHOICE. It is generally accepted that people do not choose their sexuality, but it is fixed by mid childhood. The prejudice suffered by many gay people in society certainly wouldn't be chosen by anyone. Many gay people we see on the television are stereotypes and do not really help people accept homosexuality.

Last week we talked about sex before/outside marriage. First, the students are to write their own opinion about cohabitation, promiscuity, and pre-marital sex. whether they agree and disagree. Second, they must write what their religion teaching tell them about those three things. (Un)luckily this time we "only" discuss Christian views on these attitudes. (Not yet from other religions such as Islam.) Christian view is divided into three; 1) Catholic Christian (which is very rigid) 2) Church of England 3) Liberal Christian. Catholic of course condemns both homosexuality and sex outside marriage; Liberal sets the adherents free because people are seen as resposible people who will take the responsibility of anything they do. Church of England is in between Catholic and Liberal.

Are you interested to know how my students think about this changing attitudes topic? 
(2 students of mine are Muslim, 2 students are "strict" Christian, the others are 'liberal' Christian and Buddhist. Some say that they are non-believers.)

We do not talk about inter-religion marriages yet, one topic which is still very much debated in social media at this moment. :)

LG 11.38 06/-9/2014