R.E Marriage and the Family - Christianity

Edexcel GCSE Religiion and Life: Christianity

Marriage and the Family

Changing attitudes

Attitudes to marriage, divorce, family and homosexuality have changed. Examples of change include:

  • abolition of slavery
  • women's voting rights
  • global views of the world (media)
  • multi-ethnic and multi-faith society
  • TV

People have come across different attitudes and ways, and this has made them more tolerant and open to other cultures.

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Sex outside marriage

Christian attitudes to sex outside marriage

Bible quotes:

"You shall not commit adultery" - Exodus 20:14

"God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality." - 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Christian attitudes

  • the Bible only allows for sex between marriage partners
  • children born outside marriage may have a less stable family life
  • promiscuity makes a person vulnerable to STI's
  • loving sexual relations unite a married couple

However some Christians believe today that sex before marriage is acceptable if the couple love each other and they are in a long-term relationship. Many Christians believe that the teachings of the Bible need to be interpreted to suit the 21st-century.

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Purpose of Christian marriage

Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God - they believe that the bride and groom should be Christian.

"For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

This suggests that marriage is:

  • the mark of the shift in adult responsibility from the parents to the child
  • a public occasion
  • a sexual relationship where two people become one
  • between a man and a woman (heterosexual)
  • between two people only (monogamous)
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The purpose of marriage (Christianity) is to:

  • have lawful, fulfilling sex
  • be faithful to one partner
  • procreation
  • form a secure environment in which to bring up children
  • provide love and companionship
  • symbolise God's love for the Church
  • the emphasis on God's role makes it a spiritual agreement
  • the vows promise a life-long exclusive commitment
  • the verses from the Bible emphasise the nature and purpose
  • the congregation pray for the couple
  • the rings symbolises the unending agreement of marriage

In the UK about 1/3 of marriages end in divorce

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