The evolution of marriage in western society and its different definitions throughout culture and history.
Evolution of Marriage in Western Society – It’s All Relative
Tradition is a funny belief. While, in today’s world, tradition is something to be cherished, even admired, it can also be the very ritual that holds civilization back. While every civilization evolves and develops new ideals and cultures, it does not come without struggle and controversy. A prime example of the constant changes that come with a developing society is the idea of marriage. While the evolution of marriage in western society is slow developing as marriage is a traditional idea that many hold dear, it has become the center of criticism in the modern western world, where there are those attempting to “challenge” the supposed traditional values and create an entire new definition of the word. However, as times goes on, humans as a society forget that traditions and cultures change.
Evolution of Marriage in Western Society – Different Times, Different Views of Marriage
While many people who are seen as the conservative right believe that marriage should solely stay between one man and one woman and claim that it has been that way since the bibles creation, they forget that the concept of marriage has developed and changed during society’s progression and also is relative to different cultures. Looking back throughout mankind’s history, one can see how marriage varies and develops within different cultural and religious groups over time. For instance, back when Ancient Egypt was the superpower of the world, pharaohs would marry their siblings or offspring, an incestuous act that is frowned upon today. Furthermore, polygamy was a more accepted practice in those times, where now it is the point of controversy among the modern western society.
Evolution of Marriage in Western Society – Marriage and Religion
While the fact that marriage is a relative term that holds many definitions among different countries, cultures and religions, marriage in western society is at the center stage of political conversation when it comes to discussing same-sex marriage. The majority of those opposed to same-sex marriage derive from religious beliefs. For instance, in Christianity, passages like one in Leviticus prohibiting “lying with mankind as with womankind” and like the story of Sodom and Gomorrah have been popularly interpreted as condemning homosexuality. Moreover, in the three most popular religions in the world, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, there is a consensus among conservative views when it comes to the topic of same-sex marriage; the majority of conservatives in the three most popular religions believe that same-sex marriage is a sinful act, as sexual acts with a member of the same sex is a sin. The Roman Catholic Church goes as far as to condemn any sort of sexual activity that does not serve the purpose of procreation. While same-sex marriage is subject to scrutiny in the conservative religious realm, there is a progressive movement among certain religious groups that see same-sex marriage as legitimate. The Unitarian Universalist, Metropolitan Community Church, Quaker, United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ and Reform Jewish congregations, some Anglican dioceses, and various Neopagan faiths are among the religious groups that recognize same-sex marriage.
Evolution of Marriage in Western Society – End of Sanctity
While the evolution of marriage in western society has, especially in the US, come to a certain point where only one singular definition of marriage is acceptable, a trend that has become more apparent is the lack of sanctity in marriages as more than half of marriages in the modern western society end in divorce. While divorce was heavily seen as a last resort option for a married couple and was intensely frowned upon, in the modern western world, it has become an act that is commonplace. In fact, one could argue that divorce has been idolized by Hollywood, as the majority of celebrity marriages have ended in divorce and have been highly publicized. This new trend has also left an important change in family dynamics, as more and more children are being raised in a single parent household, changing the once predominant “Leave it to Beaver,” family mentality and creating a whole new common family.
Evolution of Marriage in Western Society – Time for Change
While the struggle to break away from the single-minded view on marriage is slowly starting to develop in the western world, as the LGBT community is fighting for their right to have equally recognized same-sex marriages, those opposed to change need just to look back in history to find that marriage does not have a sole interpretation, but varies and adapts throughout cultures and time. Furthermore, as the US and most western governments have strict policies and beliefs to separate the church from the state, the religious arguments against same-sex marriage should not carry any weight. Just recently, president Barack Obama has come out in support of gay marriage, however, he is allowing the decision for same-sex marriage recognition to be made according to each state and not on the federal level. While this does show progress, it shows reluctance to empower the one belief that America was found upon, “We are all created equal.”
Evolution of Marriage in Western Society.