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What Does God Know About Marriage?

This week, the Southern Baptist Convention reiterated its opposition to equality in marriage rights for heterosexual and homosexual couples. The Southern Baptists’ new president said that Americans ought to live under “God’s definition of marriage”. What he didn’t explain is why that ought to be the case.

Why should all Americans have to live under “God’s definition of marriage”, when increasing numbers of Americans, in every state do not believe in “God”? There’s no evidence that this God character ever has really existed, much less created reliable and useful definitions of things.

But, even if this God thing exists, why should we trust its opinions about marriage? According to Christians’ own descriptions of the supernatural character, “God” has never been married, and grew up without married parents. The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention says that everyone should have a mother and a father, but if “God” didn’t have a mother and a father, why does this particular arrangement have to be a requirement for everyone else?

We might as well ask a cheetah for a definition of scuba diving. We might as well listen to a clam giving advice about the best way to brush our teeth. I don’t think that any definition by any unmarried god has much relevance for the quality of married life… and neither does the opinion of the Southern Baptist Convention.

19 thoughts on “What Does God Know About Marriage?”

  1. Tom says:

    ” . . .if “God” didn’t have a mother and a father, why does this particular arrangement have to be a requirement for everyone else?”

    Because they said so! You wanna be in da club, ya gotta follow da rules.


    1. F.G. Fitzer says:

      Yes, well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? What they say is “God’s definition of marriage” is really just the Southern Baptist Convention’s definition of marriage. It’s just what they want, because… they’re a bunch of hateful bigots.

  2. Richard Winger says:

    One would think the Ten Commandments include: (1) Marriage is between one man and one woman; (2) thou shalt not have sex with a member of the same sex; (3) thou shall not have an abortion.

    The only one of the Ten Commandments about family is the Commandment to honor one’s father and mother. And of course, the patriarchs sometimes had several wives.

  3. Bill says:

    Here in NC, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Southern Baptist…probably the main reason why Amendment 1 passed recently, making same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

    I know a lot of SoBaps, and I like and respect many of them as fellow flawed human beings, but their theology leaves me ice-cold, so I just don’t go there with them. Still, where there’s life, there’s hope: the Southern Baptist Convention just elected their first black president, thereby entering the 1970s. Not many years ago they would have considered that itself a mortal sin.

  4. jeffd says:

    Fitzer, The God you don’t believe in is omniscient so He does know what marriage is all about and what it means to have a father and mother.

  5. JJ says:

    God not only created the definition of marriage–He created marriage itself. So supporting God’s definition of marriage is not like asking a cheetah to define scuba diving. It’s much more like asking an engineer to discuss engineering.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Fitzer, I hate your title to this article. Of course God knows all about marriage. He doesn’t have to have been married to know about it, or about anything, because He is omniscient. He knows everything.

    What’s more, He’s so smart, He even knows that He doesn’t actually exist. Which is more than some people commenting on this blog know.

    1. F.G. Fitzer says:

      Okay, Anonymous, how do you know all that? How can anyone know that God is omniscient?… Sounds like a good topic for a new article.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Look, don’t pick on me, I’m not the expert here. I did badly in first grade Sunday School. But God does know (being All-Knowing), so I’ll let Him defend Himself (you see, He’s All-Powerful, too, you know).

        1. F.G. Fitzer says:

          I’m assuming that you’re being facetious. But, the question is important. If believers can’t answer it themselves, what does that say about the quality of their belief?

          Another theologically important question: Can the Christian god get married? If not, he isn’t all powerful.

  7. Tom says:

    This oughta give you a chuckle:

    “University of Oregon Professor Azim Shariff and University of Kansas Professor Mijke Rhemtulla published an interesting study in the scientific journal PloS One finding that people who believe in heaven are more likely to commit a crime.”

  8. JJ says:

    Hey folks, those who acknowledge the existence of God are not the only ones with the burden of proof. Those who deny His existence also have a duty to back up what they say with something more substantial than sarcasm. Sarcasm fails as a rhetorical device when it’s unsupported by a rational argument.

    1. JJ says:

      Oh, and it would also be good to hear something more substantial than name-calling. Calling Southern Baptists “a bunch of hateful bigots” is an epithet, not an argument.

      1. F.G. Fitzer says:

        No, JJ, it’s not name-calling. It’s a description.

        When the Southern Baptists act in a hateful, bigoted manner, they shouldn’t get upset that they’re referred to as hateful bigots.

    2. JJ says:

      Oh– forgot to mention that, since I believe in fairy tales like the Bible, I am actually incapable of rational argument. But I have no problem holding you to that standard.

    3. JJ says:

      One more word about that horrible sarcasm. It’s simply unchristian. If only our dear Torquemada were here to take care of it. Or Oliver Cromwell. There was no place for such humor then, just as there’s no place for it now.

      1. F.G. Fitzer says:


        If I have to choose between sarcasm on the one side, and denying equal rights to an entire group of peaceful citizens of our democracy on the other side, I know which side I’ll go with.

        I’d much rather have a society with sarcasm and equality than a society of reverent conformity and inequality, which is what the Southern Baptists and their allies are seeking.

    4. F.G. Fitzer says:

      JJ, what exactly do you think is lacking in the rational department here? People who don’t rely on the non-rational faith in the existence of an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient supernatural being work simply from the facts:

      Fact: Homosexual marriages are numerous and appear to be just about as stable as heterosexual marriages. There’s no evidence of a correlation between psychological or social problems and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

      Fact: Our nation’s Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law, which includes marriage law.

      Conclusion: There is no rationally justified legal or societal basis for objection to the legal equality of heterosexual and homosexual marriages.

      In the face of the clear, rational case for the legalization of same-sex marriage, religious opponents of legalization have had to resort to absurd claims about the preferences of an invisible ruler of the universe.

      When choosing between one side whose argument relies on the belief without evidence in invisible supernatural forces, and another side whose argument does not rely on the presumption that invisible supernatural forces are at work, there’s no contest.

  9. JJ says:

    F.G., the last two comments attributed to me (dated 6/28/2012, 10:51 a.m., and 6/28/2012, 10:59 a.m.) were not made by me. Someone thought the best rhetorical strategy would be to put words in my mouth–presumably because nothing would sound good coming out of their own.

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