Monday, March 30, 2015

Assumptions that underlie the marriage discussions

I don't want to engage in a discussion on "redefining marriage" or "marriage equality" (however you choose to frame the issue), nor do I want to start in on a battle about whether marriage is a joining of people for love or for creating children. These things are being talked about endlessly, ad nauseum (mostly because people are not listening to each other or compromising, but merely digging in their heels in a "my way or the highway" approach that has resulted in a vicious cycle of hurt feelings and bullying that is getting us nowhere).

So why am I writing about it?

I am seeing some underlying assumptions that nobody is talking about, but that I think are important parts of the topic. In any serious discussion, it can be extremely helpful to examine the underlying assumptions because they drive the discussion.

Without extensive discussion of what I think of these (whether I agree or not), here are the assumptions I'm seeing that I think are important to the "marriage question":

1. We--our lives and our personalities--are defined by our sexuality more than by any other factor.

2. Sexuality (and sexual attraction) is so powerful that it ultimately cannot and should not be resisted.

3. Love is the outgrowth of sexual attraction.

4. Sexuality is one of the driving forces of our lives and, as such, is an appropriate focus of our thoughts and energies and is a reliable guide to happiness. 

5. We're all defining the words involved in this discussion (marriage, family, etc) the same way and have the same understanding of what these things entail, including their appearance and their purpose. 

6. All gay people think the same way and want the same things, and all religious people think the same way and want the same things.

7. You know what I think because of my religious identification and I know what you think because of your sexual identification.

8. If what God says doesn't make sense to me, HE must be wrong. Or you must. Because I am not. (This assumption shows up on both sides of the debates, by the way. Don't think it's the property of one side or the other.)

These assumptions are worth considering.

Personally, I like what Hugh Nibley said: "Lunch can easily become the one thing the whole office looks forward to all morning: a distraction, a decoy‑‑like sex, it is a passing need that can only too easily become an engrossing obsession. " (

I think too many people are asking the wrong questions. The real core question, in my opinion, is "In the ubiquitous search for happiness and meaningfulness in life, who or what am I going to take for my guide?"  Is it going to be your body? Science? Your God? My God? Someone else's God? This religion? That? Some old text? Logic? Social policy? Something else?

Who do you trust to show you the best, happiest, most fulfilling path for your life? Who are you going to follow?

I can't answer that for you, but it would be wise for all of us to think about it so that the choice is made knowingly and willingly instead of as a knee-jerk reaction to what someone else is saying or doing.

If we don't knowingly, thoughtfully, considerately understand our assumptions and consciously choose our guide, we might not like where where we end up. (And that goes not just for the marriage question, but for the entirety of life--career, family, money management, parenting, etc.) 

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