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“Holy” Matrimony September 29, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, friends, issues.
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Fred* (named after “Special Fred” in that Stephen Lynch song, tee-hee) isn’t as crazy as I might have made him seem in my “Truthiness” entry. Sure, he’s got a few psychological conditions he’s working on, but it’s not like he has conversations with trees or eats glue. I enjoy talking to him because I feel like he and I are cut from the same cloth, somehow (a thought that scares me just a little). I honestly have no idea whether or not he’s atheist; he acts like one at times, but at present he tells me he’s a Catholic.

I didn’t have any problem telling him about my atheism, and he didn’t react with much fanfare, either, just as I’d expected.

“I’d do the same, if it weren’t that inconvenient,” Fred told me. “I keep my religion solely for convenience. Nobody would marry me if my papers said ‘atheist.'”

“That’s really the first thing that came to mind?” I asked him, amused, and he replied in the affirmative.

Now, I haven’t had my papers changed to say “atheist” yet, but I’m not sure where I stand on the issue of marriage. I don’t know if I’m abnormal for thinking this, since marriage seems to be the ultimate goal for most people, but I couldn’t care less whether or not I ended up getting hitched. (And married atheists exist, don’t they?) Seriously, everyone is so obsessed with hooking up. My whole life, I’ve been pelted with, “Stop [doing X action] or you’ll never have a boyfriend!” Like this one time, when my science teacher addressed me in front of the class and said, “Stop growing taller or you’ll never have a boyfriend!” (I’m 5’8″, and I could do with a few more inches. 5’8″ is short in the modeling industry, you know!)

Mind you, this isn’t a feminist or even an atheist rant. I’m not for or against marriage; I really just don’t care. Most marriages end up in divorce, anyway — oops, except for my Predominantly Christian Country because divorce isn’t legal here.

But what if I should chance upon a smart, sexy Mister Right and want to start a family? I feel like marriage is not necessary for starting a family anyway, but if Mister Right is of a certain religion (though I’d probably prefer an atheist) and would want to get married the traditional way, I wouldn’t object. I see marriage the same way I see Christmas: I love the frivolities (in this case, cake, pretty dresses and a fancy reception), but I’m indifferent to the “significance” of it all.

If I were still a Catholic, I’d probably take the Angelina Jolie or Sarah Silverman route and proclaim that I wouldn’t get married until the gays and lesbians could. Which, in my country? Not in a million years.



1. jaywalker - September 29, 2007

I’m an atheist but whenever people ask me what my religion is, i usually tell them that i’m catholic. And whenever i have to fill out forms, i usually indicate that i’m catholic. Being “part” of a religious organization still has its uses πŸ™‚

2. Martin - September 29, 2007

I experimented on the guidance test given to freshmen in the first few days. I put “none” when asked for my religion.

There was no reaction whatsoever. XD

3. Teen Atheist - September 29, 2007

Jaywalker: Heh, I can see how the closet can come in handy. πŸ˜€

Martin: Excellent! I’m going to try writing “Pastafarian.” πŸ˜›

4. vjack - September 29, 2007

This atheist was married for a few years and now…isn’t. The whole church wedding thing was pretty awful, but I eventually learned that weddings aren’t for the couple getting married but for their families. In our case, this meant big church wedding.

In hindsight, I sought marriage because that was what my culture said I was supposed to do. Even though I’d managed to escape the clutches of religious delusion long ago, I wasn’t so lucky when it came to marriage. I have nothing against marriage – it can be great when it works. But I’ve realized that it probably isn’t for me. I’ve also realized that my next partner will be an atheist or there probably won’t be a next partner.

5. Teen Atheist - September 29, 2007

Really sorry to hear that, vjack. But thanks for sharing it, though — I feel like I’m going about the marriage issue the smart way (i.e. I’d rather not). Fred thinks I’m weird and sad for being apathetic towards marriage, since his number one goal in life is to get married. But hey, I think he’s weird and sad too. πŸ˜›

Also, I think I’m the type to probably wind up a divorcee, so I might as well dodge the bullet. You’re right, marriage is totally a culture thing, and though it’s great for some people, I don’t think it’s for me.

But if I would ever get married, I don’t want a big church wedding. Just a small affair, like the Nate/Brenda wedding in Six Feet Under. When I was younger, though, I used to dream about getting hitched in Vegas! πŸ˜›

6. overcaffein8d - September 30, 2007

You have to have papers that tell your religion?

Dude, that’s not cool.

Anyway, I think that the reason that one wants to get married is because you are brought up to think that. Nearly everyone has the instincts to reproduce. Those who don’t reproduce are rare…and since they don’t reproduce (if it is genetic), it doesn’t get carried to the next generation. So having kids is kind of genetic- if you parents didn’t have any kids, you probably won’t either.

7. Teen Atheist - September 30, 2007

Overcaffein8d: Most official documents here (birth certificate, etc.) require you to specify your religion.

if you parents didn’t have any kids, you probably won’t either.
Haha, of course not. I wouldn’t exist. πŸ˜›

8. Karen - September 30, 2007

vjack’s right, weddings are for families. I was very lucky in that my parents married in a military base chapel just before my father went out on a tour of duty; nobody but them, a couple who acted as witnesses, and the Catholic priest who married them. Then the lot of them drank some warm champagne and that was the “reception”.

So not only was I not pressured into having a big wedding, but my own modest affair was much larger than my parents’: sixteen guests (not counting the neighbor’s cat who wandered into the sanctuary during the ceremony) at a morning wedding followed by a midmorning snack of cake and punch on the church lawn. We’re still contentedly married after 27 years. Many friends who threw fabulous weddings also suffered bitter divorces. I suspect there’s a correlation there somewhere, but I can’t figure out what the parameters might be. Independence? Personalities? Expectations? Don’t know.

My husband’s Best Man married a dozen or so years later, to the woman he’d lived with and raised her daughter as his own. I think they were a household for nearly two decades before they took marriage vows one weekend before a visiting friend who happened to be a judge. I believe their main motivation was to have the legal rights and protections associated with marriage in the U.S. That was a good while back, and they’re still married and still going strong.

My point is that finding someone who will stand back-to-back with you to face life’s challenges, who will love you for who you are and not who you “ought” to be, and who matches you as a life partner, is a precious person to be searched for and nurtured carefully. The whole get married -> have kids -> now what? may or may not ever work for you. So what?

9. Teen Atheist - September 30, 2007

I’m happy for you, Karen! Inspiring stories. I think my ideal situation, if I ever found a suitable partner, would be like that of your husband’s best man.

The whole get married -> have kids -> now what? may or may not ever work for you. So what?

Exactly! And while right now I don’t care for it, I’m still open to the idea. I’m actually glad that I’m not as “desperate for love” as some other people I know. Hee! πŸ˜€

10. lagim214 - October 1, 2007

Pish. Our country sucks.

11. Teen Atheist - October 1, 2007

Is it only in this country where one is required to specify a religion in official documents?

12. DaFatalGigabyte - October 31, 2007

If you want to be legally married, have a ball(pun intended). But really my dad asked me “What benefits?” when I asked him about getting some sort of benefit for being legally married. Like maybe it makes it more convenient performing functions of the family. Apparently it doesn’t really matter. In fact, in America, when you prove that you have lived with a person for seven years and are still living with them, you can choose to just be considered married. I don’t know exactly how it works. So if you end up having a kid(or not) with some dude, and decide to stay (because you know it’s the right thing to do), then after seven years, you’re married. But that’s America.

On divorce, I find that it’s because people A)are artifically declaring things. I talked about artifical declarations in https://teenatheist.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/wanted-objective-and-gay-third-party/#comment-280, and B)are looking for that *cute lisp*special someone*cute lisp*. You can’t possibly know who’s your special someone after three years, or six months for that matter sheesh. You just kind of have a kid and stick with the guy. Or not have a kid and stick with your friends, or go it alone. It doesn’t matter. That’s just me though. I’d only get married in the religious institution(or government) if my official partner wanted to. It’s official, versus using the term civil or legal, because I had a child with her and I feel obligated to taking care of him/her. Heck for my good friends I’d feel compelled to helping them, and I might live with those who want to start off adulthood with their friends sharing the apartment rent. This is quite a loose idea.

Yes in America you’re married ‘on paper’ too :P.

13. tatz - December 21, 2010

I didn’t know in America you have to identify your religion. I’ve never heard of that and I live up north. I know Canada you don’t have to identify your religion. Some people kind of find that personal.

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