Marriage and Other Social Constructs

Few people would be surprised to learn that the institution of marriage is under severe criticism (at least in the West). Divorces are common, regardless of religious affiliation. Celebrities often deride marriage as passé and prohibitive.

For example, here is an excerpt from a recent article of how divorce is really unnecessary if people would just stop getting married. Why is marriage so difficult or impossible? Because we humans evolved to live long lives. . .

Dr. Habib Sadeghi & Dr. Sherry Sami on Conscious Uncoupling

During the upper Paleolithic period of human history (roughly 50,000BC to 10,000BC) the average human life expectancy at birth was 33.[i] By 1900, U.S. life expectancy was only 46 for men, and 48 for women. Today, it’s 76 and 81 respectively.[ii] During the 52,000 years between our Paleolithic ancestors and the dawn of the 20th Century, life expectancy rose just 15 years. In the last 114 years, it’s increased by 43 years for men, and 48 years for women.

What does this have to do with divorce rates? For the vast majority of history, humans lived relatively short lives—and accordingly, they weren’t in relationships with the same person for 25 to 50 years. Modern society adheres to the concept that marriage should be lifelong; but when we’re living three lifetimes compared to early humans, perhaps we need to redefine the construct. Social research suggests that because we’re living so long, most people will have two or three significant long-term relationships in their lifetime.

To put in plainly, as divorce rates indicate, human beings haven’t been able to fully adapt to our skyrocketing life expectancy. Our biology and psychology aren’t set up to be with one person for four, five, or six decades. This is not to suggest that there aren’t couples who happily make these milestones—we all hope that we’re one of them. Everyone enters into a marriage with the good intention to go all the way, but this sort of longevity is the exception, rather than the rule. It’s important to remember too, that just because someone is still married doesn’t mean they’re happy or that the relationship is fulfilling. To that end, living happily ever after for the length of a 21st century lifetime should not be the yardstick by which we define a successful intimate relationship: This is an important consideration as we reform the concept of divorce.

You really ought to read the whole article. There are numerous things one might say in response. I just want to highlight one thing.

What underpins the entire article, of course, is a particular worldview called Naturalism. These two doctors use expressions like, “redefine the construct” and “reform the concept of divorce” deliberately. Their worldview demands it. Their beliefs are the natural, logical outworking of Naturalism.

What is the worldview? What is Naturalism? Simply put, Naturalism is the belief that the physical world is all that exists. The universe, and everything that occurs in it, is the product of blind, amoral forces at work.

Humans, including all their “thoughts,” are merely dancing to the tune of their own DNA (something evolutionist Richard Dawkins says). In such a worldview, we are simply evolved primates behaving according to socially-constructed “morals” and customs that can change at any time the group decides it's time to change. What is “right” is what the herd wants; what is “wrong” is what the herd doesn't want.

This point really needs to sink in: in Naturalism, the word “good” means, “what helps creatures/the species to survive”; the word “bad” means, “what hurts creatures/the species.” What they most certainly do not mean by “good and bad” is that which conforms to the objective Moral Law given by God.

Therefore, everything in life that humans do is up to the herd. Everything. Want to get married? Sure, just don’t hurt other creatures. Want to take drugs? Sure, just don’t hurt other creatures. This is why we hear over and over and over again the same dictum by any teenager, “But I’m not hurting anyone!”

See why this is so powerful to so many people? Because in that worldview, “not hurting anyone” is the only real thing that is “bad” (because it hurts the survival of creatures/the species.) If one assumes the Naturalistic worldview, there is nothing "wrong" with redefining anything whatsoever, just as long as it doesn’t hurt the species.

Now, assuming their worldview, fill in the blank:
·         Is divorce causing you pain? Then don’t get married.
·         Is marriage causing you pain? Then get divorced.
·         Is not being married to your love causing you pain? Then get married.
·         Is not marrying your gay lover causing you pain? Then get married.
·         Is not marrying all the people you want causing you pain? Then have multiple lovers and/or be polygamous.
·         What if my country doesn’t allow me to get married? Then fight to have your “rights” heard and accepted.
·         But, what if other crackpots and fundamentalists who worship an ancient book want to stop me? Then fight even harder. Educate them: they’re just ignorant. That’s all. They haven’t evolved yet. (Now do you see how really backwoods and stupid Christians come across; since, in their view, we still hold to beliefs that our very ancient superstitious ancestors believed?)

Remember, in Naturalism, everything humans do to one another is either acceptable or not acceptable based on subjective preferences. It’s no different than deciding which flavor of ice cream society should allow you to eat.

For the doctors in the article, their evidence for a longer human life span demonstrates (to them) that humans have changed, so their social constructs must change too.

“Get on board, people! You’re so backwards! Progress! Progress! Change! Don’t be caught in the history books as stupid and unenlightened!”

Marriage, social etiquette, pedophilia, polyamory, bestiality—whatever—it’s just a social construct. And social constructs can change, and should change, whenever that belief or practice impedes on the survival of the society.

In their worldview, everything I’ve just said is perfectly logical and natural.

The question to ask next is, of course. . .

“Is that worldview true?”