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poisonedantidote's avatar

Standards and Principals: Is it worth paying lipservice to a religion you don't believe in if it gets you what you want?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21611points) December 3rd, 2012

As some of you may know from past posts and questions of mine, I am currently trying to arrange my wedding.

I am an atheist, who is also some what of an anti-theist, and my girlfriend is an atheist who is a little superstitious about some things, and who comes from a Buddhist family, even though she does not believe any of it.

Because of this, we first looked at the registry office when we decided we wanted to get married.

However, the registry office path is a bit of a nightmare. Not only do we need to source 5 different papers each, from a total of 3 different countries, but we also need to have them all translated, notarized and legalized by lawyers and judges. On top of this, we need to do it all in a 3 month window, as some papers are only valid for 3 months before they expire.

Needless to say, it is all a bit of an expensive pain in the ass to pull off. You are talking $2000 just on flights, before you even get your first paper. Not forgetting all the legal fees and other hidden costs down the path.

However, there is an easier solution.

If we go to church, and let some old man put water on our heads, he can then bypass all the need for papers, by using his funky magic powers to tell god to make us married.

As this is officially a Catholic country, his word outranks the government in these matters.

The whole process would take an afternoon, and would be far cheaper.


As I feel it is my birthright to be able to marry whoever I like, without the need of approval of anyone else, I have no moral problem taking advantage of the system and using the church to get what I want.

But I do have a bit of a problem, in terms of associating with them in an official capacity. I know I will end up on some register, and will be counted as one of them in their eyes.

Now, as I think it is all a bunch of nonsense anyway, I don’t really mind them thinking I am one of them, except in the sense that it is kind of like voting for them.

If I add my name to them, it gives them another member, and they get to claim how many members they have as they go about their business.

I don’t like the idea, that in a sense it is like a vote for them, and permission to act in my name.

What would you do?

If you were a PETA member, would you allow KFC to use your name if it meant you could get married?

Is it worth paying lipservice to a religion you don’t believe in if it gets you what you want?

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18 Answers

jordym84's avatar

What’s more important to you here: your ego or the fact that you get to be married to the person you love? You’re already “sticking it to them” by using their services for your own personal gain even though you don’t believe in them. The way I see it, having your name on their register is a very small price to pay for getting what you want, and it sure beats the alternative for you. Nothing comes without a price.

dabbler's avatar

Do it.

People who are really not very religious at all get married in the church to which they are most closely associated all the time. Especially in a country where most people are of one faith, they mostly all get married in that church whether they care about the religion or not.

As for ‘a vote for them’ or ‘permission to act in my name’ forget about it. In a country that is “officially a Catholic country” your data point won’t make one bit of difference.

glacial's avatar

I don’t think it’s a question of ego; I think it’s a question of integrity. I could not abide the church service, and would pay more not to do it if it came to that. Silently going along with religious ceremonies in order not to “make waves” of whatever kind is exactly what allows religions to persist, long after we have outgrown our need for them.

gailcalled's avatar

Will a Catholic priest marry you, willy-nilly?

Is your lady a member of the RC church?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@glacial I think you put it better than I could.

It is not ego no, it is a matter of principals to me. To give my name, to an organization that uses how many members it has as boasting rights, as an excuse to keep existing and doing their will, influencing politics and so on.

The same organization that helped the Nazis, the same organization that molested 60.000 Irish children over the span of a few decades, the same organization that told Africans in and AIDS pandemic to not use condoms.

@gailcalled They would marry us no problem. They would do it in a flash just to get more members. All we would need to do is have our heads wet in a ceremony, and go to church 3 times over 3 weeks.

elbanditoroso's avatar

First off, the word is “principles”.

Second, as someone else observed, it’s a matter of personal integrity. if you’re comfortable with allowing the world to believe that you think something that you don’t actually believe, then that’s fine. It’s a personal values choice.

You’re really asking a different and more fundamental question: Do the ends justify the means?

That’s a personal decision based on your value system. I can’t answer it for you. For myself, I wouldn’t do it in the church, because it would be against my personal ethics. But that’s just me.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I should add, that money is not a big factor.

Just the registry office path is open to mistakes. If 1 paper is out of date, or not translated right or one stamp is missing, then we have to do-over.

glacial's avatar

@poisonedantidote Sounds like you know exactly what the costs will be, in terms of money, time, and effort. Make sure your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed.

gailcalled's avatar

@poisonedantidote: Do you have to be married in the RC country you are presently living in? Didn’t you work in the UK for a while, or is my memory failing me (very possible)? Could you go to a more tolerant part of the area like the Netherlands or Switzerland and have a civil ceremony? These may be really naive questions. If so, sorry.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@gailcalled I am looking in to it.

It will not be the UK for sure. While I hold a British passport, they are just too invasive, and require too many papers and have too many rules and regulations.

The Netherlands is a possibility, I have started to have a little look at it, as we plan to go there for vacation some time anyway.

The best I have found is the registry office here in Spain. While they do need a lot of papers, and translations and things, it is just 5 a piece, and still more simple than other places.

The problem is, my girlfriend has permission to be in Spain for just 90 days. If something goes wrong, she would be forced to leave the country for 90 days, over to the UK or some other place, before she can come back and try again.

If that happened, then is when I would consider perhaps the church. I do love her a lot, an insane amount, but I also have a fairly large problem with religion in general.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think your KFC analogy holds water unless you think the church is actively killing people.

I think going the easy route of the church isn’t a big deal since you seem to be fine with the idea that they think you are one of them. I understand you don’t want to give the church more power, and I am sure you think it is completely unfair and dark ages for the country to give the church such power, but fighting the system sounds like too much to deal with at this point and time.

In America I don’t think I could do it. I wouldn’t marry in a church I didn’t identify with, but if I lived in a country where the church was dominant and the system makes other routes very difficult, I would seriously consider complying with the easy way if I was short on time, because I would think the system is so screwed up who cares if it is a lie, they kind of force the people to lie.

I had a religious wedding, but I am not religious, although I do identify with my religion so to speak. So, in a way you are just going along with the traditions of your country, and although based in religion, it still is a basic wedding ceremony.

Another idea to pursue is getting married at sea. I don’t know the current laws, but back in the day I think the Captain of a ship could marry a couple in international waters. Maybe you can take a lovely cruise, get married, and have a bit of a honeymoon. If this is easily an option that is what I would probably do.

wundayatta's avatar

Good lord (he says, ironically), I can’t believe this is even a question. Efficiency and ease, my friend. That’s what we want. The rest is bullshit.

By even thinking about this, you are giving the church and the state far more power in this matter than they deserve. Use them. That’s what they are there for. If they make it hard, then go around them and use some other organization. Give them a tip on the way out the door.

But you are worrying about things that will never make a difference. These organizations will only learn to serve people when people use them to their own ends. Make them serve you, and that is a revolutionary act more powerful than all the thought you have put into it.

ragingloli's avatar

That depends on how much honour and integrity are worth to you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Only you know that. Most people would say just do whatever’s easiest, but you’re both compromising what you want and believe in for your joining/ wedding with Christian rules…seems wrong somehow (and I’m a Christian, go figure.)

gailcalled's avatar

Cruise ship weddings:

Symbolic Weddings at Sea or in Port

Another option, and the most hassle-free way to go, is to marry legally at home, prior to your cruise, and plan a symbolic ceremony during your trip. You can avoid the hassles and costs of foreign wedding permits and processing fees, yet still enjoy the romance of a traditional wedding ceremony.


Jaxk's avatar

Governments create rules and put up road blocks. That’s what they do and that’s what they’re good at. If you use another organization to bypass those roadblocks, it’s the smart thing to do. It sounds like you don’t like all the rules and roadblocks from the registry and don’t like the positions of the church. Whichever way you go, you are supporting something you don’t like. Learn to live with that. The rest of us have.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would totally abuse the hell out of it to make my life easier. You know what matters to you.

Rarebear's avatar


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