Hedonistic America and Marriage

In reading this article on CNN, I was struck by how our culture has completely forgotten what marriage and love are. In the article, one couple is interviewed where, though married, they live in separate homes. The reason is the father claims the kids don’t need a new mother and the wife claims that living separately helps the marriage and allows each partner to maintain their respective space. In reading the comments by CNN readers, most focus on the happiness of individuals within marriages, some going so far to say that if it makes you happy, then do it.

The idea of placing one’s happiness, so long as it brings no harm to others (but even here, we see a gray area), as the central theme to one’s morality has become quite popular in America. The above example is perfect; the obligation of husband to wife and of wife to husband, the obligation to be self-sacrificial, to be selfless, and to become one is viewed as immoral by the masses because such obligations supposedly prevent happiness. When happiness is prevented and said happiness wouldn’t necessarily bring harm to any other individual, our culture looks at the prevention and views it as wrong.

When this is applied to marriage, what we have are two individuals who come together in a legal sense, but who remain two individual. Though minimal sacrifices are made, each individual seeks to continue on in his or her independence and individuality. The idea that one can have a successful marriage that ends centers on the idea that happiness is humanity’s ultimate ethical end. Under the view that happiness is central, a marriage can be successful as long as both parties are happy. Once both parties have decided that the marriage makes them unhappy, they can peacefully obtain their divorce and be on their ways. Thus, the marriage was “successful” because both were happy for a time and amicably divorced.

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The Necessity of Hell

One of the most elusive and difficult beliefs that orthodox Christians must deal with is the belief in Hell. Hell is not a popular belief and for good reason; who wants to believe that God would send someone to an eternal, never-ended separation from Himself? What kind of loving God would do such a thing?

Christians have attempted to offer up arguments for why Hell is there (e.g. “God doesn’t send people to Hell, they choose to go”), but all of these arguments seem to be a bit weak. After all, even if people choose to go to Hell, why would God even create it in the first place, subsequently allowing such a choice? Likewise, it is just playing with words – God still condemns the people to Hell, He sends them there.

What, then, should Christians think about Hell? How should Christians approach this issue? Should we abandon this belief as a misreading of the New Testament, as something that was added on after the fact? Should we deemphasize Hell and act as though it’s not as important as we make it out to be? Or should we follow the orthodox belief that Hell is a real place and, regardless of how our culture views the belief, stick with it as an absolute? Continue reading