Religion -> Marriage, and Marriage = Dysfunction

comments 2
the godless side

“Parenting is effing difficult. Marriage is effing difficult.
If you survived either today, you are an effing saint. If you survived both today? You are an effing goddess.”

My post today in a closed facebook group to which I belong came from a deep place of frustration.  Monogamous motherhood is impossible.  We often barely scoot by because pleasing one’s children in emotionally healthy and loving ways while maintaining one’s marriage in emotionally healthy and loving ways while trying to somehow survive as an autonomous individual IS impossible.  It just is.  Daily, we sacrifice one of the three which puts strain on the other two, so somehow we manage to juggle and rotate them often enough and well enough that everyone survives with a smile on their face, sort of.

I blame religion for marriage and children.  Boom.

Society’s blind adoption of religious principles has created the status quo by which humans must live in order to gain any sort of social respect– that is, for every woman (and man, I suppose) to think she must be married in a lifelong monogamous relationship and have babies to be ultimately fulfilled, valued, and respected.  With very few exceptions, a middle-aged single woman is thought of as dusty, irrelevant, and socially weird.  She must be ugly.  And if not, what the hell is wrong with her??  Middle-aged single men are generally thought of as creepy, gross, and likely sociopathic or pedophiliac.

These are terrible prejudices and I blame religion for them.

What’s additionally frustrating is what I’m about to talk about will cause religious people to mentally recite their self-fulfilling prophecy that “once someone leaves faith, they just go down the slippery slope until all morality is lost,” being completely blind to the fact that they defined “slippery slope” and “morality” in the first place.  I neither accept your language (slippery slope??) nor agree with your definitions, so you are not allowed to define me by them.

But it won’t matter.  This will just confirm to them that I’m furthering myself down the road of debauchery and filth as I have lost the light.

For any of you left reading that aren’t annoyed, let us continue towards a real dialogue.

Monogamy is patriarchal BS that originated as a form of a diabolical ownership of the female by the male, demanding her loyalty and sexual purity using her virginity as a definition of her identity and provided the basis for her very survival.  Look up the origins of traditional wedding ceremonies and you’ll no doubt agree.  In fact, read the Old Testament with some sort of unbiased approach and you’ll see that YHWH too, in fact, was a patriarchal monster.  Some examples:

A woman’s period was often called her “sickness” during which she was always “unclean.”   Women who gave birth to daughters were considered twice as unclean as if they had given birth to sons (Lev. 12), and not only that, but she must atone for this “sin” with sacrifices given to the priest.  Women who were raped were to be stoned to death, (see Deut. 22), and if that woman was a priest’s daughter, she was to be burned by fire.   Are you guys reading this?!?  A FEMALE RAPE victim was to be BURNED BY FIRE?!?!  Sexual “purity” was a form of sexual slavery that we now celebrate with a ring on the finger and lifelong devotion.

Let’s pretend for a second, though, that we can completely ignore the foundation from which monogamy originated.  Isn’t it just so lovely that a man and woman come together to promise to only to squish their genitals with each other and each other only for the rest of their lives on earth?   Isn’t this how societies thrive?

People change.  So much so that very strong cases are made in the science community that not only am I not the same person in any single verifiable way that I was five years ago, but I’m not even the same person I was 5 minutes ago!  (Thanks Mike for that one 😉 ) How can one person make a choice for someone that doesn’t even exist yet to commit to someone else that doesn’t even exist yet??  My husband and I are each SOOOOO very different than when we first married.  Luckily for us in the eyes of society, we still get along.  We still choose to commit to each other daily.  And we still believe a partnership makes our life better as individuals and with our children.  But to expect that of everyone else is preposterous.  The future is unknown to all.

What I DO believe is that it takes more than one person, more than TWO people, to raise a child.  Why does it have to be one man and one woman?  I strongly, strongly believe that living in community with others is absolutely vital to our own emotional health and the emotional development of our children.  But why in the world does that mean single, isolated monogamy?  And I also believe that companionship is a human need, but why does that have to mean single isolated monogamy?

We scarlet-letter every divorcee in our society and by doing so pressure people to stay in abusive and dysfunctional relationships.  It’s unhealthy and dangerous.  How much domestic abuse would be eliminated if we didn’t put monogamy on a pedestal?  I shudder at the thought.  And how much depression at bleak entrapment into an emotionally unhealthy relationship would be eliminated?  Okay I’m digressing a bit here, but the point is the same.

This is already getting too long so I’ll have to write about children and religion and more about sexuality and society in another post.  What I am wanting isn’t sexual promiscuity for the world.  I honestly have no desire to have sex with anyone but my husband, but that shouldn’t matter, at all.  What I am wanting is liberation from the bondage of isolation.  And I believe one of the greatest causes of isolation in this western society is monogamy, especially for women.  Monogamy creates single family units and single family units cause isolation.  Monogamy causes oppression for women and demands women’s sexuality to be enslaved to their husbands.  We aren’t meant to be effing goddesses.  We aren’t even meant to be effing saints.  We should just be effing humans.

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The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.

2 Comments

  1. “I believe one of the greatest causes of isolation in this western society is monogamy, especially for women. Monogamy creates single family units and single family units cause isolation.” This is one of the most on point ideas I’ve read in a while. You’re absolutely right. But I’d add that the patriarchal male breadwinner and female caregiver model plays a huge role in this, because someone has to take care of the kids, and nine times out of ten it falls to the woman, which means she may have to work fewer hours, or not work at all, isolating her to the home and to occasional visits to the grocery store. As the children become old enough to go to school and have play dates with other kids, the mother regains some opportunities to break out of that isolation, but in children’s earliest years the mother is too often expected to handle most of the child rearing in isolation from the community where she would normally work. That’s completely unfair to both the mother and the child. Why the heck is this the norm, and why is daycare the only other option? Why are stay-at-home-dads not a common thing? Why do people rarely leave their house to talk to their neighbors and give them a hand? I have so many questions.

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  2. Rahul Murdeshwar says

    I agree whole-heartedly with your statements backing the redundance of religion in the modern liberalised era. I also believe that concepts that we view as nothing short of revolting today- like monogamy, the subjugation of women, the oppressive cultural norms in place to standardize women’s relationships in society, etc, were all very necessary back then. There exist several anthropological theories that support the claim that as societies grew larger and competitive, warfare became a primary method of mantaining societal relevance and regulating populations. Male dominance was a key component to making a society efficient in warfare- which meant a higher male:female ratio as well as the development of societal norms of male agression and dominance, etc. I’m not saying these practices are still relevant today, far from it. Just that there were real, justified reasons behind establishing and mantaining them in the past.

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