Being born and raised in an essentially religious-based culture, it is hard to dispute the fact that the union of "marriage" is often held as the ultimate achievement in any 'dating' relationship.


The question is; 

Is "marriage" not a religious principle ?  And if so, then shouldn't ALL Athiests be "single" ?


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Forms of marriage have existed in any culture regardless of religion through out history. I feel christianity has hijacked it somewhat for its own gains long ago and today laws are suffering because of it. To me marriage is a legal bond and a ceremony showing that you are committed to the person. I personally do not require the ceremony i feel i can be committed to a person without it. I would like the legal status so i can enjoy the benefits.
"Single" does not mean "not married". It means, "not in a committed relationship with one or more other people". Single. Solitary. Alone.
I have seen arguments against marriage. You see, if a couple is so committed to living together, then they can simply live together without a piece of paper that says they are married. Furthermore, no matter how strongly a couple is committed to each other there is always the small chance that someones personality or temperament might change and the relationship might have to end. Being officially married makes it so much harder to separate or end a relationship.
No, not necessarily religious. Marriage is simply a cultural formalization of a pair bond between 2 people that implies monogamy. Every religion co-opts it for their own ceremonies because they need in on this important event in people's lives.
I think most stable relationships would probably end up monogamous in our modern society with or without the influence of religion. Marriage is just a legal term, and that is why it is only fair for it to also apply to unconventional unions.
Wow, J.P.M., you and I think alike. I didn't read you comment until after I wrote mine and we both said that religion has co-opted marriage. I rarely even use terms like "co-opt" because they seem too textbook-ish, but felt it was the best term in this case.
It's not a religious principle by origin. It was a social principle. What it was then isn't what it was more recently, and isn't what it is today or will be in the future.

Fact is, I'd really rather not be single. I'm really tired of being surrounded by the stupid and religious all alone.
I think that technically it is possible for a couple to live together without having any official marriage ceremony. I suspect that the idea that such a ceremony comes from Jewish and christian morality which seem to say making love is a sin or necessary evil that only exists in order to have children; sex is really the main or only purpose of a relationship. Even some married couples choose to not have children and there is probably nothing wrong with this. Given the fact that there are so many divorces, an official marriage ceremony neither increases nor increases the chances of a family remaining together. In fact, belief in the necessity of marriage is, dare I say, almost as bizarre as belief in gods.
"sex is really the main or only purpose of a relationship".
Sorry, but have to comment on this.
When you are single at your age, it can sure seem that way.
But if you manage to sustain a relationship with a woman over any number of years, the sex pales in importance compared to other things, believe me. You have to function as team in so many ways. To me, marriage was never much more than a piece of paper, albeit one that can rather expensive to tear up. I also lived with each of my wives for about 2-3 years before I took the leap.
I am from a Jewish family, and observant Jews have the so called family purity laws; this has to do with womens cycles and not having sex for 12 + days a month and then only after going to a ritual bath called a mikva which is only in the basement of certain orthodox synagogues... and I think this all has to do with my attitude in my reply above, and I am on this atheist site to increase the chance I will meet a girl who does not follow this mishegas (craziness)...
It depends on whether you are taking the word "marriage" to denote a civil contract with the state or a religious covenant with God. If you think of it as the latter, then yes, we should all be single. If you think of it as the former, then no, I see no reason why we ought to be single.

I have for some time thought that we ought to just give religious people the word "marriage," taking it to denote only a religious covenant with God, and use some other term, like "civil union," to denote the civil contract with the state. Using two different terms would help alleviate confusion, and the word "marriage" seems to mean so *much* to them--why not let them have it? But as matters stand, legal marriage confers rights that legal civil unions don't; the law would also have to change, so that the contract with the state would *legally* be called a "civil union."

At any rate, it's confusion between two different uses of the term that is leading to your question. Distinguishing between them makes your question vanish.
Actually, I think that, in terms of taxes and secular laws imposed by the government, there should be neither any advantage nor disadvantage to having a civil union or secular marriage; even a completely secular, non-religious marriage is unnecessary; if you and a woman are committed to each other, you could logically both just make a commitment to live together. Calling or contacting your family and/or friends with the news might seem strange but it would serve the same purpose as a secular marriage, and the government does not need to know or care (unless someone in the government just happens to be closely related to you and you choose to tell them). In terms of whether we call ourselves single or the opposite of single, maybe it is better to instead say whether we are solitary or whatever the opposite of solitary could or should be called.
Marriage very much is not a religious principle; though many religions have co-opted it for their own purposes.

Committing to one partner for life is something that is even seen in some other animals. In humans it is older than any religion practiced today (I suspect the first beings to decide that it was not okay for a man to bop another man over the head and take the woman he was with had some sort of godlike thing they believed in that controlled what we call natural forces).

In cultures that still have arranged marriages, marriage is more about business that religion. From what I have read about ancient cultures, it seems that marriage was a social and business (trade relations) construct when it wasn't just about who liked who.

I view marriage as a public statement of commitment that comes with a legal agreement that sets certain rights and responsibilities. The public statement doesn't have to be a big elaborate party, there can be no party at all if that is what the couple wants. (Me, I want a party, but nothing like the traditional American church wedding with a shiny white dress and penguin suits - I want it outdoors, no mention of religion, a medieval and/or Viking theme, and one heck of a lot of fun.)


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