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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Fri May 23, 2014 10:29 am
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Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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I'd like to know if anyone here has read any of the works of Frank Schaeffer.

Frank Schaeffer is the son of the late theologian Francis Schaeffer (who is still quite popular with conservative Christians). He wrote several novels, as well as nonfiction, about his childhood.

In "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back" he repudiates pretty much every tenet of the conservative, evangelical Christianity he grew up with and once espoused. He also talks about his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy.

In his writing, he regularly takes potshots at both the "New Atheists" and "Christian fundamentalism", calling both "extremes". What I find interesting is that he actually seems to agree more with the criticisms of religion by the "New Atheists"; yet seems to feel almost instinctively that he can't be seen as "one of them".

Which is not at all an unusual tendency among the more intelligent Christian writers, I've noticed. They almost HAVE to acknowledge the truth and sense of the basic arguments of the "new atheists" - yet to continue to be perceived by their readers as "Christian" in any sense, they must find some way to "bash" them in order to keep from being identified with them.

Unfortunately, while Schaeffer is an evocative writer, and talks movingly about experiences with his family and his love for art, books and music, he tends to build "atheist strawmen" and proceed to resoundingly bash them.

Yet he seems anxious to self-identify as both an atheist and a Christian - here's a great article from Orthodoxy Today (http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2013/06/frank-schaeffer-is-a-christian-atheist/) in which he says:

Quote:
Why can’t you be an atheist some days and love God other days?” He attempted to explain this contradictory statement with an analogy: “There are days I’m married, there are days I’m not married. There are days I love my wife, there are days I fight with my wife … Why when it comes to theological questions, certainty is given a premium when nothing else in life works that way?”


Anyway, I have just started reading Frank's newest book, "Why I'm an Atheist Who Believes in God" (just from the title, you can see what I'm talking about in the last two paragraphs!). In spite of his flaws, I do enjoy his books, though, and thought I'd open up a thread to talk about him, and perhaps any other writers you can think of who, like Frank, seem to want to have their "foot in both camps".

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:03 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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Heretic Gal wrote:

I'd like to know if anyone here has read any of the works of Frank Schaeffer.

Frank Schaeffer is the son of the late theologian Francis Schaeffer (who is still quite popular with conservative Christians). He wrote several novels, as well as nonfiction, about his childhood.

In "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back" he repudiates pretty much every tenet of the conservative, evangelical Christianity he grew up with and once espoused. He also talks about his conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy.

In his writing, he regularly takes potshots at both the "New Atheists" and "Christian fundamentalism", calling both "extremes". What I find interesting is that he actually seems to agree more with the criticisms of religion by the "New Atheists"; yet seems to feel almost instinctively that he can't be seen as "one of them".

Which is not at all an unusual tendency among the more intelligent Christian writers, I've noticed. They almost HAVE to acknowledge the truth and sense of the basic arguments of the "new atheists" - yet to continue to be perceived by their readers as "Christian" in any sense, they must find some way to "bash" them in order to keep from being identified with them.

Unfortunately, while Schaeffer is an evocative writer, and talks movingly about experiences with his family and his love for art, books and music, he tends to build "atheist strawmen" and proceed to resoundingly bash them.

Yet he seems anxious to self-identify as both an atheist and a Christian - here's a great article from Orthodoxy Today (http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2013/06/frank-schaeffer-is-a-christian-atheist/) in which he says:

Quote:
Why can’t you be an atheist some days and love God other days?” He attempted to explain this contradictory statement with an analogy: “There are days I’m married, there are days I’m not married. There are days I love my wife, there are days I fight with my wife … Why when it comes to theological questions, certainty is given a premium when nothing else in life works that way?”


Anyway, I have just started reading Frank's newest book, "Why I'm an Atheist Who Believes in God" (just from the title, you can see what I'm talking about in the last two paragraphs!). In spite of his flaws, I do enjoy his books, though, and thought I'd open up a thread to talk about him, and perhaps any other writers you can think of who, like Frank, seem to want to have their "foot in both camps".


I haven't read any of Frank's books, but will keep an eye out for them in the future. I don't have a problem with the idea of an atheist believing in God because there are aspects of atheism that fit with a belief in God. For example, a transcendent deity is beyond all experience. There are no concepts that work; no awareness of God which fits quite well with atheism. The God who isn't there, which would be a direct contradiction to the position of Frank's father. However, it is also right in line with it as well, if one were to simply look at one's relationship with God as an empty awareness.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:03 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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shnarkle wrote:


Yet he seems anxious to self-identify as both an atheist and a Christian - here's a great article from Orthodoxy Today (http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2013/06/frank-schaeffer-is-a-christian-atheist/) in which he says:

Quote:
Why can’t you be an atheist some days and love God other days?” He attempted to explain this contradictory statement with an analogy: “There are days I’m married, there are days I’m not married. There are days I love my wife, there are days I fight with my wife … Why when it comes to theological questions, certainty is given a premium when nothing else in life works that way?”



I have not read his works and am not sure of the greater context of this passage. However, this appears to be an argument for not just subjective morality, but subjective states of being. Saying one is an atheist some days and love God other days is comparing a philosophical position with an activity or emotional state. He may not have his marriage in mind all of the time, or feel married. However, saying that he is or is not married based on that flies in the face the concept of a social contract. It is the same with philosophical discourse. The social contract in a philosophical discussion is that one identifies with a particular belief and one will main that position for the course of the discussion, unless one concedes a point, at which time that position is then held for the course of the discussion.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:52 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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bluethread wrote:

shnarkle wrote:


Yet he seems anxious to self-identify as both an atheist and a Christian - here's a great article from Orthodoxy Today (http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/blog/2013/06/frank-schaeffer-is-a-christian-atheist/) in which he says:

Quote:
Why can’t you be an atheist some days and love God other days?” He attempted to explain this contradictory statement with an analogy: “There are days I’m married, there are days I’m not married. There are days I love my wife, there are days I fight with my wife … Why when it comes to theological questions, certainty is given a premium when nothing else in life works that way?”



I have not read his works and am not sure of the greater context of this passage. However, this appears to be an argument for not just subjective morality, but subjective states of being. Saying one is an atheist some days and love God other days is comparing a philosophical position with an activity or emotional state. He may not have his marriage in mind all of the time, or feel married. However, saying that he is or is not married based on that flies in the face the concept of a social contract. It is the same with philosophical discourse. The social contract in a philosophical discussion is that one identifies with a particular belief and one will main that position for the course of the discussion, unless one concedes a point, at which time that position is then held for the course of the discussion.


Yes, subjective states of being in that one may begin with some precise idea of what or who God is, but as one grows they begin to see other aspects that change their ideas until perhaps one day they grow beyond ideas of God altogether. This is not a renunciation of God, but a completely different relationship to God. A relationship that once was an objective concept, to one of a subjective relationship where no ideas or concepts are necessary anymore.

We may have our ideas of what marriage is about. Two people may be married and remain, or retain their individuality throughout their marriage while two other people may see their relationship grow to a point where they no longer identify with themselves individually, but indivisibly. They have a new identity that is greater than the two of them separately.

What Frank may be pointing out is that we are not defined by certain objective symbols, but by our relationships to each other.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:24 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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shnarkle wrote:

What Frank may be pointing out is that we are not defined by certain objective symbols, but by our relationships to each other.


Well, that is a strange way to make that point. I do agree that marriage is a legal arrangement that recognizes a personal relationship and not the other way around. However, I disagree with the romantic notion that the relationship is the marriage. Marriage is not subject to how one feels about it. It is a contract. If one is to compare this to theism, one's views can change from day to day, but the person that vacillates between being a theist and not being a theist, is really not a theist. I understand that we are all changing our views to some extent all the time. But, saying that one who claims to believe something gets an out because of that.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:47 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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bluethread wrote:

shnarkle wrote:

What Frank may be pointing out is that we are not defined by certain objective symbols, but by our relationships to each other.


Well, that is a strange way to make that point. I do agree that marriage is a legal arrangement that recognizes a personal relationship and not the other way around. However, I disagree with the romantic notion that the relationship is the marriage. Marriage is not subject to how one feels about it. It is a contract. If one is to compare this to theism, one's views can change from day to day, but the person that vacillates between being a theist and not being a theist, is really not a theist. I understand that we are all changing our views to some extent all the time. But, saying that one who claims to believe something gets an out because of that.


In this post modern world some of us live in a theist can have a belief that is right in line with atheism. Atheism can be based on the fact that there is no evidence for God, and yet there are plenty of people who also know that a transcendent deity can never give evidence of his existence. Others will point out that whatever concept one can come up with for god is still just a concept; a creation of one's own imagination. Therefore the theist must go beyond all concepts or ideas or evidence. To believe in any ideas is to believe in a created god and be an idolater, so they find themselves in the same camp as the atheist.

You have your definition of marriage which is not subject to feelings. The reality is that your legal contracts are subject to the feelings of those who entered into these contracts and in many cases they base their divorce on how they feel about the contract.

I don't know where you got the idea that I view marriage as a legal contract. I couldn't care less what legalities are fabricated around marriages; these are for those who shouldn't be married in the first place. Usually it's those who are basing their relationship on some romantic notion, or some legal protection. I was referring to neither, but to an observation of marriages that are successful.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:59 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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shnarkle wrote:


In this post modern world some of us live in a theist can have a belief that is right in line with atheism. Atheism can be based on the fact that there is no evidence for God, and yet there are plenty of people who also know that a transcendent deity can never give evidence of his existence. Others will point out that whatever concept one can come up with for god is still just a concept; a creation of one's own imagination. Therefore the theist must go beyond all concepts or ideas or evidence. To believe in any ideas is to believe in a created god and be an idolater, so they find themselves in the same camp as the atheist.


All of this "post modern" stuff is little more than newspeak IMO. What you appear to be arguing is that one can not be a theist unless one has a complete understanding of one's deity. This makes a mockery of the terms theist and atheist. All the term theist means is that one believes that there is a deity or are deities, and that is all. Anything beyond that speaks of a particular kind of theist.

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You have your definition of marriage which is not subject to feelings. The reality is that your legal contracts are subject to the feelings of those who entered into these contracts and in many cases they base their divorce on how they feel about the contract.


This is not my definition. This is the historical definition. Whether people believe in honoring contracts or not does not change the nature of a contract. It is true that modern culture, and even worse theistic communities, do not see marriage as a binding contract, but simply a temporary voluntary agreement. However, that is no reason to rewrite history.

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I don't know where you got the idea that I view marriage as a legal contract. I couldn't care less what legalities are fabricated around marriages; these are for those who shouldn't be married in the first place. Usually it's those who are basing their relationship on some romantic notion, or some legal protection. I was referring to neither, but to an observation of marriages that are successful.


Well, please explain in detail how you would define "marriages that are successful". In that context, what does the word "marriage" mean and what constitutes "success"?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:34 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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In this post modern world some of us live in a theist can have a belief that is right in line with atheism. Atheism can be based on the fact that there is no evidence for God, and yet there are plenty of people who also know that a transcendent deity can never give evidence of his existence. Others will point out that whatever concept one can come up with for god is still just a concept; a creation of one's own imagination. Therefore the theist must go beyond all concepts or ideas or evidence. To believe in any ideas is to believe in a created god and be an idolater, so they find themselves in the same camp as the atheist.


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What you appear to be arguing is that one can not be a theist unless one has a complete understanding of one's deity.


I'm not arguing that at all. Please explain how you get that from what I posted?


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You have your definition of marriage which is not subject to feelings. The reality is that your legal contracts are subject to the feelings of those who entered into these contracts and in many cases they base their divorce on how they feel about the contract.


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This is not my definition. This is the historical definition.


The historical origin of the word means "to impregnate". That's what the purpose of marriage was historically up until our most recent post modern world redefined the meaning of the word to be a contract.

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I don't know where you got the idea that I view marriage as a legal contract. I couldn't care less what legalities are fabricated around marriages; these are for those who shouldn't be married in the first place. Usually it's those who are basing their relationship on some romantic notion, or some legal protection. I was referring to neither, but to an observation of marriages that are successful.


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Well, please explain in detail how you would define "marriages that are successful". In that context, what does the word "marriage" mean and what constitutes "success"?


Marriage means "to impregnate" and conception would constitute success. Some might take it to mean bringing the pregnancy to full term and delivery. In todays world the necessity for an abortion would be just as successful.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:44 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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shnarkle wrote:

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In this post modern world some of us live in a theist can have a belief that is right in line with atheism. Atheism can be based on the fact that there is no evidence for God, and yet there are plenty of people who also know that a transcendent deity can never give evidence of his existence. Others will point out that whatever concept one can come up with for god is still just a concept; a creation of one's own imagination. Therefore the theist must go beyond all concepts or ideas or evidence. To believe in any ideas is to believe in a created god and be an idolater, so they find themselves in the same camp as the atheist.


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What you appear to be arguing is that one can not be a theist unless one has a complete understanding of one's deity.


I'm not arguing that at all. Please explain how you get that from what I posted?


"To believe in any ideas is to believe in a created god and be an idolater, so they find themselves in the same camp as the atheist."

This is a convoluted mess. Just because people speculate on the nature of a deity does not make "any ideas" the same as believing in a deity of one's own making. That's like saying that having an idea of what constitutes a rock makes the rock in front of me a figment of my imagination. My limited understanding of a deity does not make what I do know about that deity wrong. Simplistic maybe, but idolatrous no.

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You have your definition of marriage which is not subject to feelings. The reality is that your legal contracts are subject to the feelings of those who entered into these contracts and in many cases they base their divorce on how they feel about the contract.


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This is not my definition. This is the historical definition.


The historical origin of the word means "to impregnate". That's what the purpose of marriage was historically up until our most recent post modern world redefined the meaning of the word to be a contract.


So, if we use that derivation as a working definition a John who impregnates a prostitute is marrying her and the same could be said of a rapist and a victim. When you speak of "post modern" in this sense, I would presume that you mean post Greco/Roman times. Since, the middle ages, even though people without property rights could take marriage as a simple coupling, the primary recognition of marriage was a combining of assets. Also, this latter view of marriage predates that in Torah law. The romantic view of marriage made a comeback in Renaissance literature and philosophy, but only gradually took hold as people without property gained the franchise.

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I don't know where you got the idea that I view marriage as a legal contract. I couldn't care less what legalities are fabricated around marriages; these are for those who shouldn't be married in the first place. Usually it's those who are basing their relationship on some romantic notion, or some legal protection. I was referring to neither, but to an observation of marriages that are successful.


Well, please explain in detail how you would define "marriages that are successful". In that context, what does the word "marriage" mean and what constitutes "success"?


Marriage means "to impregnate" and conception would constitute success. Some might take it to mean bringing the pregnancy to full term and delivery. In todays world the necessity for an abortion would be just as successful.[/quote]

That is a very narrow view of "marriage" and "success". Using that view, one night stand, or even a rape could be called a successful marriage. An extremely successful marriage would be one where the man hangs a round until the baby is born and then takes off. I personally do not think the first to are marriage at all and would not call the third successful.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Fri Feb 17, 2017 4:31 pm
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Re: Anyone familiar with Frank (not Francis) Schaeffer?

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bluethread wrote:


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In this post modern world some of us live in a theist can have a belief that is right in line with atheism. Atheism can be based on the fact that there is no evidence for God, and yet there are plenty of people who also know that a transcendent deity can never give evidence of his existence. Others will point out that whatever concept one can come up with for god is still just a concept; a creation of one's own imagination. Therefore the theist must go beyond all concepts or ideas or evidence. To believe in any ideas is to believe in a created god and be an idolater, so they find themselves in the same camp as the atheist.


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What you appear to be arguing is that one can not be a theist unless one has a complete understanding of one's deity.


I'm not arguing that at all. Please explain how you get that from what I posted?


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"To believe in any ideas is to believe in a created god and be an idolater, so they find themselves in the same camp as the atheist."


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This is a convoluted mess.


Your confusion doesn't refute what I've posted. Moreover, this statement: " one can not be a theist unless one has a complete understanding of one's deity."

does not follow from this statement:

"To believe in any ideas is to believe in a created god and be an idolater, so they find themselves in the same camp as the atheist"

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Just because people speculate on the nature of a deity does not make "any ideas" the same as believing in a deity of one's own making.


First off, you're introducing the idea of speculating which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with being a believer. These speculations are also just ideas. If one takes it a step further and decides to believe in these ideas they are still beliefs based on his own ideas. Ideas are not gods. Ideas are ideas.

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That's like saying that having an idea of what constitutes a rock makes the rock in front of me a figment of my imagination.


Bad example. You don't have any gods in front of you, unless they're made of stone or wood or your own imagination; then you're an idolater.

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My limited understanding of a deity does not make what I do know about that deity wrong.


Your limited understanding makes what you know about that deity limited to your understanding. In other words, your thoughts, ideas, concepts etc. None of which are deities. You can have an extremely accurate idea of the ground you are standing on, the fact is that that understanding is not the ground you are standing on. You can have an excellent understanding of water, but that understanding will never quench your thirst.

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Simplistic maybe, but idolatrous no.


Not simplistic, false. Definitely idolatrous.

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You have your definition of marriage which is not subject to feelings. The reality is that your legal contracts are subject to the feelings of those who entered into these contracts and in many cases they base their divorce on how they feel about the contract.


Quote:
This is not my definition. This is the historical definition.


The historical origin of the word means "to impregnate". That's what the purpose of marriage was historically up until our most recent post modern world redefined the meaning of the word to be a contract.


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So, if we use that derivation as a working definition...


Your first mistake is so claim that it is a derivation. Origins have no derivation.

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... a John who impregnates a prostitute is marrying her and the same could be said of a rapist and a victim.


Yep; in a post modern sense especially. Originally impregnating was within the context of people getting together for life. Anything outside of that was unsanctioned regardless of it being one day or the day before one of the parties died.

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When you speak of "post modern" in this sense, I would presume that you mean post Greco/Roman times.


Why? Post modern follows modern etc.

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Since, the middle ages, even though people without property rights could take marriage as a simple coupling, the primary recognition of marriage was a combining of assets.


A distinction with no effective difference. Just because the size of the assets varies from great to neglible doesn't negate the fact that the assets are being combined.

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Also, this latter view of marriage predates that in Torah law. The romantic view of marriage made a comeback in Renaissance literature and philosophy, but only gradually took hold as people without property gained the franchise.


Your point being what?

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Quote:
I don't know where you got the idea that I view marriage as a legal contract. I couldn't care less what legalities are fabricated around marriages; these are for those who shouldn't be married in the first place. Usually it's those who are basing their relationship on some romantic notion, or some legal protection. I was referring to neither, but to an observation of marriages that are successful.


Well, please explain in detail how you would define "marriages that are successful". In that context, what does the word "marriage" mean and what constitutes "success"?


Quote:
Marriage means "to impregnate" and conception would constitute success. Some might take it to mean bringing the pregnancy to full term and delivery. In todays world the necessity for an abortion would be just as successful.


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That is a very narrow view of "marriage" and "success". Using that view, one night stand, or even a rape could be called a successful marriage.


After walking down the aisle or simply getting the blessing of whatever authority figure was available, yep.

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An extremely successful marriage would be one where the man hangs a round until the baby is born and then takes off. I personally do not think the first to are marriage at all and would not call the third successful.


I wouldn't either, nor would I think any different for any of the myriad variations that are being introduced on an almost daily basis.

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