Keywords and Meanings
Role: The position or job that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship
Contraception: The use of any various methods intended to prevent pregnancy
Cohabitation: If two unmarried people live together and engage in a sexual relationship without being married
Promiscuity: Having many sexual partners or relationships
Homosexual: A person who is sexually attracted to someone of the same gender
Adultery: Unfaithfulness to a married partner by having a sexual relationship with someone else
Marriage: A legally accepted relationship between a man and a woman in which they live as husband and wife
Civil partnership: A legal relationship between people of the same gender
Divorce: When a marriage is ended by an official or legal process
Christian views on the roles of men and women
Traditional: Men and women were created for different purposes.
Some Christians see women as weaker than men that have specific roles, e.g. caring for children whilst the men earn money.
"Wives be submissive to your husbands, husbands in the same way be considerate to your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner."
Modern: Men and women were created equal
Other Christians argue that the old traditions are not appropriate in modern society. Men and women are equal and should have equal responsibilities within roles.
"There is neither male nor female for you are all one in Jesus Christ."
Methods of Contraception
Natural method: Rhythm method/Calendar method - Not having sex when a woman is at her most fertile
Disadvantages of natural methods: They aren't very reliable. Women ovulate at different times within a month and some cycles are longer than others. It doesn't protect against S.T.I's.
- The pill
- The coil/IUD
- Hormone implants
Some people disagree with artificial contraception because it interfers with the natural process of creating a baby.
Christian views on sex
Tradititional: Sex is only appropriate between couples that are married. This means sex before marriage, homosexual relationships and affairs are all wrong.
Traditional Christians believe that your body should be treated with respect:
"Do you know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit, who is in you whom you have received from God? Honour God with your body."
They also believe that sex is purely for creating children and not for pleasure:
"Go forth and multiply"
Modern: Sex is acceptable between two committed and loving people, as the main message of Christianity is love.
Therefore modern Christians accept committed homosexual couples or dedicated couples that live together. However, sex is still seen as wrong if the people have only just met or they do not particually care for one another. Therefore affairs and flings are not acceptable. Sex is more about love than procreation.
The bible teaches agape (unconditional love and acceptance for all).
Christian views on Contraception
Traditional: Against the use of artificial contraception.
This is because traditional Christians believe that sex was designed for procreation (creating children). Therefore using artificial methods that stop pregnancy is going against God's plan for children. However, natural methods of contraception are allowed.
Modern: Allow for artificial contraception.
Modern Christians allow for artificial contraception because they believe that it shows more Christian love to prevent a pregnancy if the family can not afford children or the child would otherwise be born into a difficult life. Using contraception is seen as responsible and modern Christians argue that children that are planned for and wanted are far more likely to be loved than children that are born due to not being allowed to use contraception.
They also believe in the equality of men and women. Therefore women are allowed to use contraception as it lets them choose what to do with their bodies and allows them to have sexual relationships whilst pursuing a career before having a family.
However, modern Christians do not believe contraception should be used to allow people to be promiscuous.
Content of marriage (in order):
- The minster asks if there is any reason in law why they may not marry
- The couple has to give their consent to each other
- The couple exchange marriage vows
- The couple are proclaimed as husband and wife
- The register has to be signed as a legal record of the marriage
Christian marriage vow:
"To have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, 'till death do us part."
- Rice: Throwing rice symbolises fertility
- Rings: Placed on the third finger as it wasd believed a vein ran from there to the heart
- Bridesmades/Groomsmen: It was believed that the devil was out to get the newly weds, so close friends would dress similarly to confuse him
- Threshold: The bride is carried over the threshold so demons didn't trip her up
- White: Symbolises purity and celebration
Christianity and Marriage
Christian beliefs about marriage:
- It is for life
- Couple should be faithful
- It is the best context to start a family
- It was created by God from the beginning
- It symbolises the relationship between Christ and his Church
- It should be freely entered into and not forced
- Monogamous (no adultery or affairs)
The purpose of marriage:
- P - Procreation. Marriage is for producing children
- U - United. Marriage partners should be as one, supporting each other.
- R - Responsibilty. Marriage partners should be faithful and should support the family
- P - Prayers. Marriage is connected to the church.
- O - Objections. Marriage should be freely entered into and others are allowed to object
- S - Sacrament. Marriage is sacred and monogamous.
- E - Everlasting. Marriage will last until death.
- A civil partnership is the joining of a homosexual couple in the eyes of the law.
- It became legal in the UK in 2005.
- Gives couples the same rights as civil marriage
- Can not happen in a religious venue (e.g. a church)
Some traditional Christians disagree with civil partnerships because they believe homosexuality is a sin. "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
Other Christians believe that civil partnerships and homosexuality is acceptable as God created them the way they are and loves them. They also believe parts in the bible about the wrongness of homosexuality should be ignored - after all, also in the bible it says that women who are not virgins on their wedding nights should be stoned to death, and yet this practice is never used in today's society.
Arguments for divorce:
- If the relationship is physically abusive
- If the couple are no longer in love
- If one or both partners have an affair
Arguments against divorce:
- It takes the seriousness out of marriage if you can easily get out of it.
- Marriage is sacred and supposed to be for life
- Divorce can have a detrimental affect on children
Traditional Christion view:
- Does not allow for divorce because Jesus said it was wrong
- Marriage is sacred
- Allows for annulement (cancelling a marriage so it seems as though it never happened)
- 'What God has joined let no man asunder'
- 'Till death us do part'
Modern Christian view:
- Divorce is sometimes allowed (physical abuse, mental disabilities)
- Jesus allowed divorce for adultery
- Humans make mistakes, God forgives sins
- Allows re-marriage
Conditions for annulement:
- If the couple were not sound of mind (drunk)
- If the marriage was forced
- No intention of children
- Never consummated the marriage (had no sex after marriage)
Getting an annulment involves a lot of serious questioning, absolute proof and can take a long time.
Remarriage: Another marriage after the death of one partner or a previous divorced marriage
Church of England Christians:
- Allow remarriage
- Most vocars allow remarriage in their church
- Do not allow remarriage in a catholic church
- If you remarry you do it without the church's consent
- If you remarry many catholics say you are committing adultery
By Amy Wolstenholme