REPLY #1 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) I'm writing to not so much disagree with you as to ask for a definite statement of your view. Is it Yes it's OK or No never? I get the impression that under certain conditions it's OK. such as (to put it in the vernacular)your wife cuts you off.
(MB) My view is that adultery is a moral issue and should not be a legal one. To attach legal consequences to it is tantamount to state-sponsored support of a particular religion -- which is unconstitutional. As a moral issue, whether it is "right" or "wrong" is entirely dependent upon the circumstances surrounding it.
(R) Adultery is more black and white to me. No grey edges.
(MB) Does that mean "always right" or "always wrong"?
(R) To quote you:
When a man and woman are married in a religious ceremony, the common practice is for them to exchange vows **promising** (my emphasis) to remain "faithful" to one another and forsake all others for as long as they both shall live. marriage should be a **contract** where the "terms" are expressed in the wedding vows or in a pre-nuptial agreement. As with any other contract, if the terms are violated, the aggrieved party would have the right to terminate that contract.
So my opinion is that a deal is a deal. When it becomes unbearable for one or both parties to stay together, then handle it like a man and get a divorce.
(MB) It's not always so simple. If it was, there would be no issue here. Various complicating factors include the inability of one partner to live or support themselves on their own, financial considerations, children, etc. Sexual incompatibility, in and of itself, does not necessitate divorce.
(R) Your statement:
"In many cases, the spouse who has driven their partner into the arms of another through inattention, abuse, selfishness, etc. is actually considered to be the "victim" of their partner's "crime". The accused adulterer is said to have "broken their wedding vows".**Well didn't they?** How about the spouse who no longer "loves, honors, and cherishes" their partner?"
Very sad, but again, if you're miserable, get out of Dodge. Also, you fail to mention the case of the one loving and faithful spouse who is unfortunately married to a rat(male or female). The rat commits adultery because its fun or the thing to do. Is this OK?
(MB) In the case where one partner would otherwise be involved in a satisfying marriage, yet still chooses to engage in extramarital sex, I would consider that to be morally wrong. Yet, I would still maintain the opinion that it is not a legal issue.
(R) My thoughts on this run similar to those on class room cheating. Just because the prof. gives a really ripper of a test, it is not OK to cheat because you are miserable and don't think he was fair.
(MB) The situations are not analogous. When you take a class, you are responsible for making the requisite efforts to learn the material. A "tough test" is one for which you have prepared insufficiently. Cheating and placing blame on the professor is nothing more than a lame excuse for one's own failure. The professor and the student are not equal partners in a contractual relationship.
(R) Lastly, one must consider the impression on kids. Adultery teaches the kids that one's word can be broken at will.
(MB) If all the kids hear about is that "somebody cheated", that's leaving out a large chunk of the total situation. The parent telling that to the kids is more than likely conveniently ignoring their own contribution to the situation.
(R) I'm one of those whose spouse(I thought) exhibited "inattention, abuse, selfishness, etc." and more. I thought too much of my children and their opinion of me. I lived in the marriage for 25 years(don't ask me why, I don't really know) until they were grown and then got out. It never occurred to me that adultery was an option.--not for religious beliefs--It was just not the honorable thing to do.
(MB) That is certainly a worthy viewpoint. The fact that our opinions differ somewhat merely demonstrates that this issue is one of personal morality (see my "Morality" essay for my views here). I suspect that more people would do as you have done as that is one of our societal moralities.
(R) Hey--I like your site. I hope I have explained my view in a satisfactory manner. This was the first of your philosophies I came to. I'll go check the others out and comment on those too.
(MB) Thanks! You have spoken well. I'll look forward to hearing from you in response to some of my other essays. Debate is good!