Religion and Relationships
Religion and Relationships Coursework
Describe what Christians teach about marriage and divorce
Christians believe that marriage is instituted by and ordained by God for the lifelong relationship between one as a husband and one woman as a wife. In the New Testament marriage is thought of as normal and proper. It is to be “held in honour among all.” Christians get married in a Church. They read from the Bible and say prayers. They give each other rings; these are symbols of everlasting love that never ends because they are circles and circles have no end. The vows are a “contract” between the couple to symbolise their love for each other. Prayers are said to bond the couple and help keep their marriage bond safe and happy. The marriage is a sacrament. The couple make a bond with each other and with God. The marriage is believed to be a gift from God. When the couple get married they also promise to bring a family up in the Christian faith. They give their lives to each other; candles are lit to show their lives becoming one. In the Bible it says, “The two will become one flesh.” The quote tells us that ones they are married they become one. The white wedding dress which is worn by the dress is to show the purity of the bride and is recognition of the bride’s virginity. The dress is also a reminder that sex belongs within the marriage only.
Their marriage is exclusive. This means that they will always remain faithful to each other. The rings are also a symbol to show the whole world that they are married and unavailable to anyone else. In the Bible it says, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
The only way the marriage can end is if one of them dies.
However marriage is not for everyone. Unmarried people who have either chosen to remain single or who have lost their spouse for some reason are neither incomplete in Christ nor personal failures. There is no suggestion that Jesus was ever married. The marriage is permanent, so it’s everlasting. In the vows they say, “Till death us do part.” This shows that they together until they die, so to the end.
As the marriage is a bond between the couple and God it is sacred. In the vows they say, “According to God’s holy law.”
The importance of marriage is emphasised by Jesus,
“But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:6-9
This is showing that men and women were created to become one together and God wants everyone to become one and no one should be alone.
Divorce is the legal process to show the marriage has legally been ended. Divorce is the termination of a marriage, cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage between two people. In most countries divorce requires the sanction of a judge or another authority in a legal process to complete a divorce. A divorce does not declare a marriage null and void, as in an annulment, but divorce cancels the material status of the parties, allowing them to marry someone else if they wish to.
In order to prove this to a court the parties need to give evidence in writing (in the divorce petition) of anyone of these facts, which need to be accepted by the court for the divorce to be approved.
These 5 facts are:
1. The other spouse has committed adultery (quote from Bible, “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14)
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2. The unreasonable behaviour of the other spouse
3. 2 or more year’s desertion
4. The couple have lived apart for 2 years and the other spouse consents to the divorce.
5. If the couple have been separated for more than 5 years they don’t require the other spouse to get a divorce
A divorce will not be granted if the marriage ceremony was invalid. When one of the partners is already married to someone else and when one or both of the partners didn’t mean some of the vows they took.
In the New Testament it states that the teachings of Jesus were against divorce,
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32
The above quote shows that Jesus believed that man should not divorce his wife and that marrying a divorced woman is seen as adultery.
The Roman Catholic Church is totally opposed to people cohabiting. Some Protestant Churches allow cohabitation but in the hope that the couple will eventually get married. Sexual intercourse outside of a marriage is a serious sin and couples who sin in this way cannot receive communion in church. Also the Roman Catholic Church believes that a divorce can never take place as the marriage bond can never be broken. The Catholic Church realises that some marriages will fail and advises the couple to seek counselling. However another option to having a divorce is an annulment in the Roman Catholic Church. This is not a divorce but a legal cancellation of the marriage declaring it null and void. The church will state that the marriage was never really valid to begin with for certain reasons or if the marriage was never consummated.
Some Christian Churches, such as Church of England, will allow a divorce. They allow the couple to divorce because they believe it is the lesser of two evils or the most compassionate thing to do for the couple because of adultery or abuse (physical or mental).
Explain how Christian’s teachings on marriage and divorce effect how they live their married lives
Christian’s believe that marriage is a sacrament, a gift from God, exclusive between the couple and should remain permanent. The couple must attempt to make the marriage last forever or until one of them was to die. A vow which they say to each other to show this is “till death us do part.”
This quote shows that the couple promise to make their marriage last forever – not break the marriage bond - or until one of the dies where the marriage will end (they will be parted).
If the relationship is experiencing problems the couple will be expected to undergo counselling and to avoid a divorce or annulment. The Catholic Church never wants a marriage to lead to divorce so they recommend an annulment; the Church of England may advise the couple to have a divorce.
The couple must work hard in their relationship together; try their hardest to keep the relationship intact and follow the vows which they stated at the wedding ceremony.
One of the vows they state is, “in sickness and in health.”
This vow shows that the couple must stay with each other even if the other spouse was to become ill and they must stay with each other even if the other spouse is perfectly healthy. This will impact on the couple’s lives because they must make a commitment to stick their vows and care for another spouse if they were to fall into poor health.
Another vow which is started by the couple is, “to love and to cherish.”
This vow tells us that the couple promise to love and keep each other happy within their marriage no matter what happens or any obstacles/problems that occur within their marriage. This particular vow means the couple will make every effort to remain together and keep the bond of love in their marriage strong even if troubles in their marriage come between them.
“For richer, for poorer,” is an example of a vow the couple state to show that any problems, particularly financial problems, which may become apparent in their marriage they will attempt to surpass and continue to be happy in their married life and not care about the other spouses financial status.
The couple must also not become affiliated in relationships with other people. In their wedding vows they promise to forsake all others which means they that if they are tempted at any time to engage in a relationship with someone else or even be attracted to someone else they must resist this urge at all costs and ignore any further temptations. The vow that is said by the woman is, “forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?” and by the man, “forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?” The part of the vow that states, “be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live,” just emphasises the first part of the vow showing that the spouse must be faithful to the other until the other dies.
If the marriage was to fail or was failing then the couple would have to decide if they were going to stay together, get an annulment or get a divorce. The couple may decide to stay together if they had children and didn’t want to cause upset to them or have to fight out for custody in a court case. If the couple were to get divorced or get an annulment they would not be keeping to their vows, till death us do part.” This vow states that the couple must stay together until one of them dies.
Depending on which Christian denomination the couple come from it will differ on whether they get a divorce, but all Christian denominations agree on or hope that divorce never occurs within a relationship. Mormons believe that divorce is an institution that is supposed to continue into the afterlife, they believe they will enjoy the same family relations in the afterlife as they do in life. This is however a view which is disputed by all other denominations as it is not written in the Bible.
Roman Catholics believe a couple should never divorce under any circumstances, however they allow the couple to get an annulment which declares the marriage was never valid. The Church of England will allow the couple to get a divorce under certain circumstances (abusive spouse); however they will firstly encourage the couple to get counselling to keep their marriage intact. If the couple do decide to get a divorce or annulment they may get remarried under certain circumstances, for example, if your previous spouse committed adultery then you can remarry. You can also remarry if your spouse deserted you, even if they don’t remarry you can still get married again or if you’re a widow or widower you can remarry; under no other circumstances are you permitted to remarry as is said in the Bible because you would be committing adultery.
In Christianity a part of marriage is having a family and children. All Christian denominations also believe that a family and children is an important part of a marriage. Christians believe that God intended that a family to be a place where children could be raised in a loving and supportive environment, as is stated in the Bible. The Bible also states that parents should teach their children about Christianity and God and raise them in an environment where they believe in God and Christianity. All denominations have a similar view on family life. Roman Catholics believe that children are firstly influenced by their parent’s word and example; also they believe that the home is the first place for Christian life and that in the home children learn joy of work, love, generosity, forgiveness, and above all worship in prayer and the offering of their life (to God and to other people). The Church of England believe that for children their home life is their primary contribution to society and their future life or behaviour will be affected of their childhood home life. Quakers, another denomination, have a contrasting view, they believe that parents can have somewhat of an affect in raising their children in a good manner but in the end they must allow the children themselves to discuss, enquire, listen and reflect on their own personal beliefs that they may adopt. Quakers are known for their modern or socialist views. The Bible states that children must obey their parents, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Colossians 3:20
This quote shows that children must do whatever their parents ask of them because this pleases God. Most Christian denominations agree on this view and agree that a family is the place to raise and influence children.
“Men and women are not equal”
“Men and women are not equal” is a statement which by many in modern society would be construed as being absurd. However, for thousands of years men have been seen and believed to be the superior and dominant ones – and this view is still considered to be true by some.
Some people would agree with this statement because of obvious physical differences between men and women. Men are shown to be stronger than women; there are certain jobs which most people within society perceive a man occupying (for example, working in the fire service) or a woman occupying (for example, nurse, and primary school teacher).
Also another reason for people agreeing with the statement is that in all religions all Prophets and most people of importance are depicted as men; this importance of men in religions may make people think that men are more superior to women.
Some Christians believe that society today should be patriarchal (men should be in charge), like it was when Jesus lived; so women should allow men to take the lead role and women should support them and take care of the children and household. There Christians also believe that women should never try to equal men as they believe men an women have different roles; therefore women should take on the role of carer, the Bible states this, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)
This quote shows that as Christ, a man, is the head of the church, all men are therefore the “heads” (leaders) of all women. The quote also symbolises women as the church, so as the church submitted to Christ all women must do everything their husbands tells them to do.
Also, some Christians, such as Roman Catholics and Orthodox Churches, believe that women should not be ordained as priests in the church or have any leadership role within the church as they believe God wants his representatives on Earth to be men. They believe that when a priest celebrates the Eucharist (Mass), he is representing Christ in making his sacrifice: it would be inappropriate for a woman to do this. Also, they believe, Jesus chose men, not women, as his apostles, so women do have many roles but leadership is not one of them. The Bible teaches that women should not preach in church, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (Timothy 2:11-15)
This quote reveals that the Bible’s teachings prohibit any kind of teaching ministry for women, especially in a public way within the church. It also shows that women must be “silent” within the church and never have any authority over men.
Some people would disagree with this statement, “Men and women are not equal.” In modern society most people now believe men and women are equal; they believe that any views on women not being equal to men are traditionalist or pessimistic. They also believe women are equal to men because within contemporary society men and women are both given equal chances and opportunities, so anything a man can do so can a woman.
Some Christians disagree with statement as it’s an old-fashioned view and inappropriate for the modern world. They believe men and women should be equal within society as Jesus treated men and women equally; he taught women, healed them and a lot of his followers were women. Also, Jesus appeared to a woman first when he was resurrected (rose from the dead). The Bible teaches that men and women should forget their differences, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
This quote shows that Jesus does not care about anyone’s gender because he views all people as equal regardless of gender.
Some Christians such as the Methodists, the United Reformed Church and the Church of England believe that women can be ordained as priests, vicars and ministers. They believe if a person is right for leading a church, then it should not matter whether they are male or female. They also believe that the church should set an example to the rest of the world by encouraging equality. Another reason they believe is that Jesus lived in an extremely different society to the one we have today, and it would be wrong to treat women in the way they used to be treated in the society Jesus live in.
I both agree and disagree with the statement. I agree with it because men and women are obviously different, both physically and mentally. Most men are physically stronger and men are biologically different; women also have a slightly different mentality to men. If men and women were completely equal there would be no need to discuss the equality of men and women. In modern society Sociology and political correctness has a way of attempting to argue against basic facts; men and women are obviously different, some jobs will obviously favour men as they may require more strength and some jobs will obviously favour women.
I also disagree with the statement because I think within society and social status men and women should be equal. I believe both men and women should be given equal opportunities, given equal pay in jobs and treated equally etc. Men and women should be equal within society but different roles will prefer men or women; men and women should respect each others abilities.