TALKING ABOUT MARRIAGE!
Marriage is old fashioned. If at all, it is just another excuse to shop and throw a party -- nothing more! Monogamy is passé! Is that what the world thinks? What will the church do?
"Monogamy as a state of mind does not exist. Earlier, one reconciled to the idea of monogamy because there were fewer outlets of expression in case one felt emotionally or sexually stifled. In today's urban scenario, our exposure to the outside world is immense and our levels of tolerance have come down, living as we do at a frighteningly frenetic pace. In such a scenario, it'd be foolhardy for anyone to think that everything’s hunky-dory in the space of marriage. In my reckoning, in 95% of the marriages there’s some degree of mental, emotion or sexual infidelity." -- Karan Johar.
"Nature and biological scripting did not intend man to be monogamous. Much like most of the animal kingdom, human beings are essentially polygamous. But religious orthodoxy, governmental and marriage laws all got in the way and made us monogamous beings. We may have gotten used to monogamy, but it still is a tightrope walk as we fight off our natural instincts to stay true to this cultural and social imposition." -- WHO sexual medicine expert Dr. Sudhakar Krishnamurti.
Out of Fashion?
"While marriage is not going to go out of fashion or business anytime soon, there's a need to reinvent it. Now that we've become far more accepting of same sex marriages, live-in relationships, polyamory, and open marriages, we need to perhaps make allowances for the fact that love and loyalty in a marriage can seldom be a given in the times we live in. But if we're talking of moving beyond the confines of the limited space that marriage offers, both the gander and the goose must be given equal leeway. Though men are more prone to adultery needing as they do raw sex, women are also not above cheating. Liberating marriage from the confines of monogamy does not mean encouraging or promoting promiscuity and recklessness. It's possible to love more than one person responsibly. I see many of my clients opting for open marriages these days. Whatever works best, I'd say!" -- again Dr. Sudhakar Krishnamurti.
"Chances are that in this seemingly blissful monogamous existence you’ve people of alternate sexual orientations trapped in conventional arrangements, or married incumbents who’re indifferent and apathetic to the sexual content of their marriage. These are all cases of accidental monogamy where the entire marital set-up is farcical. To my mind, the faithful man is a dinosaur, and his Jurassic Park is not in this universe!" -- again Karan Johar!
All the above quotes are from one single front-page article 'Make Room for More' in Times Life (3-July-2011), a supplement with Sunday Times. Millions of people in India and across the world would have read this article and many of them would have found a resonance within them on the arguments against monogamy. In four short paragraphs we find arguments for polygamy, homosexuality, pre and post-marital relationships, infidelity and what not.
These are not just the voices of people on the fringes, but of those on centre-stage who form popular opinion. Karan Johar is not just another celebrity, but on September 2006, became the first Indian filmmaker to be a jury member in the Miss World competition, in Warsaw, Poland. In 2007, Johar was chosen as one of 250 Global Young Leaders by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum 2006. Apart from acting is hits like ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, he is also the director of superhits like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) and My Name Is Khan (2010) . All these films deal with relationships and have heavily influenced the younger generation. Most of the now generation have developed perspectives on relationships based on these works.
Now the Bible provides a perspective that is so different from that of popular media and the artists. How do we preserve Biblianity in such a counter culture? How can we encourage our next generation to believe, from the heart, the message of Scripture; especially, when it runs so counter to pop-culture. Can we use topics like these to build bridges with our friends of other faiths?
The world is in a free fall as far as morality and values are concerned. The church responds either by ignoring the state-of-the-world or by being scornful. Neither of these responses is appropriate. Jesus calls us to be salt -- that which prevents decay. The church has an enormous responsibility at a time like this. We cannot afford to be complacent. We have to engage with people on topics of contemporary interest. We have to find the balance between being relevant to the culture while at the same time being faithful to the Word.
There are many who know at the bottom of their hearts that the spirit of the age is wrong. The Times Life article ended with a quote from Manisha Koirala (granddaughter of a former Prime Minister of Nepal and a well known actress at Bollywood) that it is "totally natural to stay monogamous as there are other important issues in a relationship besides sex."
The Word not only has sufficient relevance for our times, but we need to articulate the message of Scripture even more in times like these. In the darkest hour is the greatest need for light.