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Saturday, September 06, 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

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