Human Relationships and medical ethics.

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Christians believe that the decision to marry and start a family is personal, however, some Christians choose to remain single and devote their life to god instead. Some of the best known and most respected Christians have not married, e.g. Catholic priests, monks and nuns. Jesus never married. Some single Christians choose to do important work that does not fit with family life, e.g. helping victims of war in dangerous parts of the world.

Love is often used to describe a close attachment to another person. Sex means sexual intercourse between two people. Most religions have views on love and sex. The Christian Church emphasises non-sexual love.

The Christian Church often has very strict views on love and sex. These are based on passages from the Bible. Christians are often encouraged to love one another in a non-sexual way. This type of love, sometimes called ‘agape’ is the love that Jesus showed to other people when he gave his life for them. 

Christian teaching is generally that sexual intercourse is wrong unless it happens within a marriage. God intended men and women to live together as married couples but not to live together outside marriage.

Despite this teaching that homosexuality is wrong, a growing number of Christians today accept that for some people homosexual relationships are not going against God’s wishes.

Christians see marriage as vows taken before God, and divorce is not encouraged.


In the marriage service of the Church of England, the couple getting married make vows to each other. The traditional marriage vows are:

I, take you,to be my wife [or husband].to have and to holdfrom this day forward;for better, for worse,for richer, for poorer,in sickness and in health,to love and to cherish,till death us do part,according to God’s holy law;and this is my solemn vow.

Marriage is important for Christians because:

  • it's a gift from God; it's part of God’s plan for creation that men and women should live together
  • it provides a relationship through which husband and wife support each other; this relationship is built on love and faithfulness
  • it provides a secure environment for the bringing up of children  

The importance of marriage is emphasised and encourages by Jesus. 

The teaching of Jesus in the New Testament is against divorce (the legal ending of a marriage before the death of a spouse).
Adultery (sex with someone who you are not married to) is also wrong according to the teachings of the Ten Commandments.

Many churches now allow divorce but a marriage can only be ended by an annulment in the Roman Catholic Church. This means that the marriage is regarded as never having taken place for special reasons like they never had sexual intercourse after the marriage which is said to seal the marriage. 

The Roman Catholic Church is totally opposed to people cohabiting (living together without being married). Sexual intercourse outside of a marriage is a serious sin and couples who sin in


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