Religion is so influential that even atheists talk about marriage as though it was normal. I've added some more details to the main page of and in the process began to think about why government has such a strong hand in marriage.

Marriage is a religious institution, is not congruent with nature, allows the government to apply privileges and penalties to married couples that unmarried individuals would not experience, forces women into the beds of men they don't like, allows men to maintain authority and leverage over women, and reinforces a false sense of inferiority and sublimation in women.

Think about it. Just like there are many degrees of attraction between homosexuality, bi-sexuality, and heterosexuality, there are degrees of behavior between polygamy and monogamy. One could make an X-Y axis chart with the two sets of the aforementioned data sources and find the majority of intersecting points in the range of polygamous heterosexuals (if they only practiced unprotected sex). That would only make it cultural norm purely because of successful procreation.

The survival of our species depends on the willingness to raise the children we produce together. There was an advantage in numbers and large families once had a better chance at surviving when they were completely on their own, hunting and gathering.

Now there are social programs that appear to accommodate unprotected polygamy because religious institutions prefer abstinence only education, denial of access to contraceptives, and insurance coverage of Viagra but not birth control.

If we apply the logic of scientific findings in nature between procreating species, and extrapolate it toward human behavior, the value of marriage becomes obvious.

If we as atheists were to add to our platform the idea that marriage serves no real beneficial purpose, we would definitely be a threat to a multi-billion dollar business.

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Comment by NH Baritone on October 25, 2008 at 6:08pm
I think you've defined marriage in an incredibly rigid way that most folks would not recognize. I am a gay atheist who supports same-sex marriage because stability in relationships is beneficial to those involved and to society in general. Rather than being an establishment of religion, religion instead sucked marriage (that already existed in the culture) into the religious institution, interlaced it with dogma, and applied its stamp of respectability on it. You have minimized the strong, inherent desire of people who are neither religious nor even heterosexual to commit publicly to long-term relationships, ones that allow business and family entanglements that are beneficial to both parties.

I am not opposed to people eschewing marriage if that's their choice, but entirely discarding marriage is NOT an atheist issue, any more than civil marriage is a religious one.



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