This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Marriage - two viewpoints

Graxan's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Graxan

What strikes me as odd about this whole debate is that nobody has superceded all of the claims of identifying what marriage actually is with the truth. This truth, I think, would shut up a lot of people.

Rather than being owned by the faiths or governments, I would say the institution of marriage comes from far antiquity where things like fertility, mating rights and the value of women in a tribe were closely guarded assets. Women were (and still are in many third world countries) considered assets in this way and had to be protected from 'spoiling'. The gaurantee of a resulting child being of correct lineage would be of prime concern for any interested tribesman. So we can see therefore that marriage was merely a form of contractual arrangement involving the swapping of vows of commitment at a time when survival resources were more scarce than they are today. This can be seen in, for example, Spartan culture in ancient Greece, where hoplite warriors were encouraged to take younger men as lovers in order to release pressure from the risk of early copulation with young women. The reason for this being the sad fact that girls who were 'spoilt' before being wed were killed or exiled, or in some cases forced into becoming priestesses. Marriage has long been combined with concerns about procreation and material wealth, with the introduction of doweries and inheritance of familial and tribal estates. The modern issues of love and choice have historically had little to do with it.

In short, the church has no grounds to any say in the matter and the modern day form of marriage is a particularly new phenomenon, so its matters little who marries who as it has no effect on our 'tribe'.

That's what I think anyway.

Wed, 14 Mar 2012 11:12:19 UTC | #926885