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Why Thank God?

Sunday 31st October 2010

This weekend, I’ve been down to Reading for a university friend’s wedding, which was all very pleasant indeed. Far too many of my friends are getting married or buying houses, I remarked to one over the weekend that “you’re like a proper grownup now”!

The friend that got married yesterday is very religious, as is her husband, so not surprisingly the wedding was all very religious too. Which is fine. Obviously not how I’d do things, but it’s their wedding so what does it have to do with me, so I can’t really complain. And I’m not, but some of what was said, some of the comments and revealed attitudes, were really intriguing to me.

There were a couple of readings from the Bible, and there was one in particular that I thought was odd. Ephesians 5:21-33 (hope I’ve cited that correctly):

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

I’m certain I don’t have to explain why this irked me! One of the speakers tried to explain this away, and came up with an explanation which to my ears really wasn’t much better. Needless to say that the guidance given in that extract is not how I’d want any relationship of mine to be like. Now, I’m not shocked that this is in the Bible. It’s an old text, it’s reflective of the attitudes at the time, and fair enough. I would question the wisdom of referring to such a text for moral guidance; if we start picking and choosing which bits of it we like, then surely that defeats the point of having such a text? But essentially, if people wish to do that then that’s their business. I can accept that, even if I don’t respect it.

To be honest, I find a lot of the sentiment of religion to be rather offensive. For instance during the course of the wedding there was lots of prayer to give thanks, to show gratitude for the things God has done, acknowledge the ways he has blessed us. And well, bollocks to that. Because it’s not some benevolent deity that meekly delivers good things to us. It’s us, and the people around us. I don’t need to thank some spirit in the sky for the various things I’m blessed with; I have to thank parents, family, friends, and myself for a whole lot of effort to get and do those things. And I find it really offensive to suggest otherwise, because it takes something away from that.

For instance. At the reception, someone said grace before we all started eating. They thanked God for putting the food on the table, and so on. But it wasn’t God; it was down to the efforts of people. Someone worked hard to pay for the food, someone worked hard to make it. Let’s not diminish those achievements by attributing them to God, let’s thank the people who put the effort in.

I guess that really, the whole thing seems incredibly anachronistic. I genuinely don’t understand why people are religious at all, because to my mind it all seems pretty ridiculous really.

Posted at 11:54 pm | Posted In: Rant Tagged:

1 Comment:

Callan

Monday 1st November 2010, 8:32 pm

Thank God for writing this.

That is all.

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