Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Faith, Reason & Tradition

A wonderful quote from Professor Brian Cox: “I saw the fossil of a Creationist once in the British Museum.”

Hay and I have been talking about the arrangement for getting married. As a 55 year-old and a 45 year-old, there’s not much of a reason to get married in the first place; however, it certainly eliminates any of the legal problems associated with the early death of either of us, especially when I’m contributing heavily to the cost of building a house on what is her land and have a gaggle of assorted children from a variety of marriages who may decide to have a go at staking a claim once I’ve departed reality (Hay would maintain I already have).

We would like to get married in the village church; however, neither of is religious in the traditional sense. While we do each have a degree of spirituality and believe in the interconnectedness of all things, we certainly do not believe in an anthropomorphic and supernatural entity that responds to pleas for help, is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and omnibenevolent – that’s just too oppressive and Orwellian.

We both need to persuade the local vicar to marry us and our strategy will be to utilise the three pillars of Anglicanism – faith, reason and tradition.

Addressing reason first; if you have the choice between i) a municipal registry office in Yate with an interior redolent of a Premier Inn and a view of the local Morrison’s supermarket, and ii) a quaint, hilltop, Cotswold, country village church with beautiful views over South Gloucestershire, any sane individual would not dispute that the latter (right) is infinitely preferable to the former (left), despite the former looking quite beautiful from the front. That disposes of reason, if not logic, aesthetics and nice wedding photos too.

Yate Registry Office (left) & Old Sodbury Church (right)

Addressing tradition; all of Hay’s family are buried in the churchyard (not the living ones, obviously) and she has family connections with the village going back well over a hundred years. She also wants to become more involved in village life – and the church is (or was) central to the life of any village. Tradition is thus well catered for.

On the matter of faith; our vicar will have to have faith that we exist. In a rather solipsistic manner, we may just be a figment of her imagination and she cannot prove otherwise.

Been wondering whether I should have some abs sprayed onto my gut, like they did for the film 300.

Off to Barrow-in-Furness and a few other stops along the way – I may be away for some time.


  1. For the reasons you list and more, it makes a great deal of sense to get married or Civil Partnered - There is, as you obviously know, no such thing as a common law marriage in the UK - no matter how long you have lived together.

    You are fortunate to have the option of a church wedding which, of course, Gavin and I didn't have! Leaving that aside - even though you have a number of justifications for getting married in a church,it would be very hypocritical of you to do so. How do you feel about exchanging religious vows before God? Or do you see your local church as Disneyland?

    There are any number of wonderful a evocative and even romantic places you could get married in - it doesn't have to be the local Registry Office - so why not choose one of those and have a secular wedding.

    I have little time for the Conservatives but my local MP, Chloe Smith, affirms and does not swear her allegiance to the crown - this MUST loose her votes but she is true to herself and her beliefs and for that she has my respect.

    Richard x x x

  2. Phil,

    You could of course go the whole way and we would LOVE to take you to Las Vegas and then you could just about pick and choose who marries you. Pretty sure we could get some strange American to dress up as God or at least JC, Dolly Parton perhaps? Elvis ?

    Anyway, knowing you as we do funding will be an issue so perhaps some Druids at dawn on the 21st of June at Stonehenge... 6 quid should get you back and fore in petrol in that dilapidated piece of Scandinavian junk you call a car.

    That would be memorable for sure, The local police would no doubt cater your lunch for you and your attending flock !

  3. What's all this sole-searching about the location of the ceremony? It's the reception that is the important thing. (1) Where's that going to be, and (2) Am I invited?

  4. Where and how you get married is a very personal thing and not really anyone elses business in my opinion.

    When I got married earlier this year, we went to a registry office (for a very swift and hugely impresonal ceremony) and then took some photos in some very nice gardens nearby, just myself, husband and two witnesses. Then we all had lunch at a tapas bar! We wanted to be married (and not just for all the dull legal and financial reasons) but having both been married before, didn't want the aggravation of an actual "wedding". One or two people were disappointed not to be involved, but they got over it.

    Good luck with the plans and do it your way!

  5. Wishing you a wonderful wedding day at a beautiful place. There must be more options than the registry office or the church?

  6. When you said "the three pillars of Anglicanism" I thought you were going to say something like free booze, hard currency and promising the earth (but only after you're dead) :)

    I share your liking for Churches for this kind of thing, after all, her ancestors probably paid for the thing so you could see it as a "community resource" with nice architecture..

  7. wow. How did I miss the fact you were interesting?

    As my mudder says, I'm a stupid American.

    Why not go to Las Vegas in the states? A guy dressed as Elvis will marry you for $29.99 AND let you drive his convertible for...wedding shots I imagine.

  8. Have you considered the Morrisons as an option? You could get some great photos by the fresh produce!
    We got married in a church it just felt right for us and you should do whatever feels right for you, for whatever reason.x

  9. As Richard says - you don't have to get married in a church or a registry office. Many other places can now hold wedding ceremonies. We were in a wonderful pub in Somerset a couple of years ago which was 'licenced' for weddings. Have a scout around.

  10. A good reason for getting married? A great big piss-up thats what!

  11. The office certainly DOES look good from the front! Best of luck with the vicar!