Faith and Spirituality discussion

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message 1: by Kipahni (new)

Kipahni | 29 comments I am preparing for an upcoming cross-culture, sort of inter-faith marriage and this had me thinking about how important death, marriage, rites of passages (ect) are to different faiths.

So my question is how does your Faith/Spirituality view marriage? What are some of the traditions or views that your faith play as far as roles in a marriage?

Really not just in marriage but of death as well. In what ways does your faith help you process or view death or other rights of passage?


message 2: by The other John (new)

The other John (theotherjohn) | 14 comments For me and my, uh, people (denomination? tradition?), marriage is the joining of two people. Like it says in Genesis and was quoted by Jesus, "the two shall become one". This means not only the joining of bodies, but also of lives. According to the book of Ephesians, there is equality in the command to "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." There is a difference in roles, however. Wives are instructed to "submit to their husbands as to the Lord"; husbands are instructed to "love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." As a husband, I read that as not a license to be a household tyrant, but rather a command and challenge to be a servant.

As for death, it's a bittersweet experience when the dearly departed is a fellow Christian, and just plain depressing when they aren't. We believe that there is a life after death, but that everybody deserves to spend that life apart from God. Jesus has made atonement for the wrong things we've done, so if you believe in that atonement--i.e., you are a Christian--then you get to spend the life after death with God. So when Christians die, we believe they pass on to a better life. They're "more alive than they've ever been," to quote a friend of mine. So while we miss them, we also find comfort and joy in the belief that they are in paradise and that we'll see them again. For a dearly departed person who hadn't believed or had rejected that atonement, we feel sadness. While the final judgment of that person belongs to God alone, I really have no basis to hope.

As for other rites of passage, the only one that has a direct religious basis is the rite of confirmation. We believe that God works faith through the sacrament of baptism and so baptize infants. The rite of confirmation is a ceremony where a baptized person can affirm for themselves the faith into which they were baptized. We usually go through this ceremony around the age of thirteen, though it can occur any time after that.

The only other rite of passage that comes to mind is getting one's driver's license. Our religion doesn't play a role in that event, though I certainly think I will be doing a lot of praying once my kid's reach that point in their lives. ;-)


message 3: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 64 comments I am a Pagan, and I beleive that marriage is the union of two people who love each other and want to spend their lives together. That they are committed to each other. I believe they are equal partners and have no "pre-ordained" roles to play in their union. They are just together, loving and committed to their lives together. I beleive gender roles are developed by society's expectations - not God/dess's.

After death, I believe in reincarnation and karma. Each life is an opportunity to learn, grow and love. I honestly don't "get" or want the idea of heaven where you are "with God". I beleive we are with God/dess every moment of our lives. I also believe without challenge, there is no purpose to being. That to just exist with no need to grow or develop is frankly boring, empty and unfulfilling. It is the uniqueness of our lives that is exciting. I do not believe in Hell, eternal punishment/damnation or anything like that. We are repsonsible for our actions and karma will make us pay for the bad ones at some point. We are given opportunities to learn and correct our mistakes. This might take mutliple lives but it continues. I believe that God/dess is all that is. All life/the universe/good and bad. That balance is the key to happiness and that we all have both in us. Recognizing and acting are our responsibility. I cannot accept the concept of a loving god condeming those to eternal punishment for any reason. Especially just because they don't worship in that God's name. I was raised as a Christian and NEVER accepted that - it just defied all logic to me.

But regardless, these are what I believe to be true. What my soul feels are true. Just as all others believe and feel of their faiths. But we can't know. And that is why I believe that we all need to find our own paths to fulfillment and peace and that we are all responsible for our actions and accountable for them to society and God/dess/Universe.

But I do definitely have a prejudice which I fully acknowledge. I find anyone who uses religion (whichever religion) as a justification for hurting anyone else (all our isms - sexism, racisim, terrorism, nazism, etc...) is still fully accountable to society for their actions and should pay the penalties for it. It is not an excuse.


message 4: by Kipahni (new)

Kipahni | 29 comments all very interesting thoughts.
I figure I will answer my own question.
I really had no idea how I viewed roles in a relationship until I sat down and talked it over with my future spouse (just a little back story, we had a sort of modern day arranged marriage, religiously I guess you could call me a Hybrid of faiths, he on the other hand is probably closest to what americans would consider evangelical, but a christian in Egypt has a different set of mores and traditions than one in America sort of)

So anyway there are two main themes I have picked up with his culture in regards to marriage and that is, Purity and Honor.
In a middle eastern world it is extremely important to always do the Honorable thing, and for a girl this means to remain pure (unfortunately this has given way to the practice of FGM, which was just outlawed 2 years ago)
So part of the marriage and it's surrounding ceremonies celebrate the idea of purity. Also in this religious culture, Family is number 1, so a guy isn't considered a man until he is married and a girl isn't considered a woman until she has children! Traditionally there are set roles but this is slowly changing in Egyptian society as well.

Personally I think marriage is a life long commitment between 2 people that connect in such a way that is an awesome physical example of the image of G-d and the desire to be one with us.


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