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When the Supreme Court of the United States officially legalized same sex marriage, Justice John Roberts, in his dissent, argued that the way the ruling was written, there is no reason polygamy couldn’t also be justified using the same reasoning. He was mocked for his warning, but it is already starting to come true.
Trial court judge Karen May Bacdayan of New York, in a case last fall, legally recognized a polyamorous relationship where there were three “family members” involved. She ruled that a tenant in an apartment dispute had a right to renew a lease because this person claimed that, even though he was not married to the lease owner who died, he was a “non-traditional family member.” In a world where relativism rules, even marriage is a meaningless concept.
The polygamy argument may be one of the more dramatic examples of how marriage is becoming a meaningless institution in modern society, but it is certainly not the only one. The Marriage Strengthening Research & Dissemination Center recently released a report that further illustrates this point. They found that nearly 80% of 15 - 19 year olds expect to cohabit before marriage. Obviously, to this age group, marriage has very little meaning at all.
In modern society, “love” has become the bottom line foundation for defining family relationships. However, the meaning of the word “love,” in this society, is not tied to anything objectively real. In today’s vernacular, all it refers to is the aroused sexual feelings people have toward one another based on their own perceptions. There is no necessary element of lasting commitment, and little sense of a need for self-sacrifice on behalf of a family unit. Essentially, these relationships are based on consent to have sex with one another. And if that definition represents actual reality, proponents of incest, pedophilia and plural marriage have a case that their beliefs about marriage are just as legitimate as traditional marriage.
A biblical view of marriage is entirely different. It begins with the notion that the definition of marriage is the creation of a family unit comprised of one man and one woman for life, along with the children that come into it. Certainly within the marriage relationship there are feelings of love between the husband and wife, and sexual relations are expressed as the culmination of that love. But there is so much more to it.
Marriage was instituted by God as He established the one man, one woman family as the very cornerstone of civilization. It is the most foundational institution of society where children are born and socialized to become productive and fulfilled citizens generation after generation. When a biblical model is followed, children have the best chance at a stable, loving environment that will allow them to grow into well adjusted adults. One only need look at the lack of discipline, high rate of suicide, self-centeredness, substance abuse, and sexual immorality present among modern youth to see how the destruction of the traditional family is destroying our young people – and civilization along with it.
Yes indeed, a large percentage of modern society sees marriage as a relatively useless institution. When the going gets tough, they are quick to simply throw it away. When they have amorous feelings for another person (or multiple other persons), they see nothing wrong with going outside of any current relationship to satisfy their personal desires. When they have sexual urges, there are no limits to what they are willing to do. Marriage just doesn’t mean much to this society.
But the institution of marriage is not useless. Whether people are willing to recognize it or not, it is still the bedrock of a stable civilization. To the degree we are willing to honor it, civilization will stand. To the degree we are willing to trash it, civilization will fall.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
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