Human Relationships

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Christians & Marriage

All Christians agree that marriage ought to be for life. Features of a typical Christian marriage ceremony are:

  • Vows: "'Til death do us part" reflecting faithfulness to each other for the rest of their lives
  • Rings, which reflect the eternity of love and marriage and concept of monogamy
  • Hymns and a blessing which show that the marriage is a promise before the grace of God as it is a sacrament and represents the relationship between Christ and the Church
  • Signing a marriage register which is a legal document, binding them together
  • A white dress for the bride, representing purity, as traditionally she was expected to be a virgin
  • Bible readings etc. and an emphasis that God is part of the marriage: "That which God has joined together, let no man divide."
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Christians & Civil partnerships

Catholics and Church of England

  • are against same-sex partnerships because of Christian teachings on marriage, which say it should be between one man and one woman
  • sometimes believe homosexuality is wrong as it is forbidden in the old testament, which says it is 'detestable'

Liberal Christians

  • can feel that homosexual marriage represents the same values as a heterosexual marriage so should be accepted
  • Quakers accept homosexuals as part of their congregation

Responses: If even the law, which is separate from the Church, does not accept homosexual marriage, why should Christianity? God has a plan for everyone - why would he make people feel sexual desire towards the same sex if it was wrong?

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Christians & Roles of men and women

Some Christians

  • Think that because Eve was created as a "helper" for Adam this means women are supposed to support a husband with his duties
  • Also think women are the weaker partner because Eve gave into temptation first
  • Therefore agree with the idea that women should stay at home to look after children etc. and the men go out to work
  • Say that Jesus had no female disciples, so there should be no female priests

Others

  • Think these views are outdated, as the Bible is
  • Say Adam and Eve were both created "in the image of God", making them equally important

Responses: Without St Mary, Jesus would not have existed. And Mary Magdalen was practically a disciple. However, CofE has not yet decided on women bishops- true equality does not yet exist.

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Christians & Sexual relationships

Fundamentalists:

  • Believe people should not have sex before marriage
  • think cohabitation is a sin
  • think the body is a temple to the Holy Spirit and by abusing it with sex before marriage, you are ruining the relationship with God
  • believe sex was created by God and adultery or promiscuity ruins this

Liberal Protestants:

  • Think cohabitation can be good as it shares the values of monogamy and commitment with marriage and may lead to marriage. The CofE agrees

All: think promiscuity and adultery are wrong: "You shall not commit adultery"

Responses: Love is the focus of Christianity, so anything they can do to encourage love should surely be adopted.

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Christians & Contraception

Roman Catholics:

  • Disagree with artificial contraception because they think God made sex for strengthening love but also producing children
  • May accept natural methods like rhythm method and monitoring ovulation
  • Think God has a plan for all children and people should not stand in the way of that plan: "Be fruitful and multiply"

Most other Christians:

  • See that it is responsible to plan families around what the parents can afford etc.
  • Know that God made sex for strengthening love and not just procreation

Responses: What if a couple does not want children? Family planning can be the best thing for any existing children. If they know it is for strengthening love, why do some not accept cohabitation as a prelude to marriage?

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Definitions

Abstinence: Not having sex 

Adultery: Sex outside of marriage

Annulment: Agreeing the promises made in a marriage are void so the marriage is discounted

Celibacy: Not marrying or having sex

Civil partnership: Legal union of same-sex partners

Cohabitation: Unmarried couple living together

Conception: When an egg is fertilized           

Contraception: Methods used to prevent conception


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Definitions (cont)

Divorce: Legal ending of marriage

Marriage: The lifelong sacred relationship between one man and one woman

Monogamy: Being in a long-term sexual relationship with 1 person

Procreation: To have children

Promiscuity: Having many sexual partners without commitment

Vow: A promise made to God

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Quotes

"Wives, submit to your husbands"

"you are all one in Christ Jesus"

"til death do us part"

"I will make a suitable helper for him"

"Be fruitful and multiply"

"You shall not commit adultery"

"You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife"

"your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit"

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