A tricky and slippery question. God gives us many standards some of which involve marriage but none of which truly define it. I would say that marriage is a God regulated cultural construct. So I sought to do it like my culture does it. If my government wants to watch, fine. I don't really care. Marriage is Holy to God though, and there are clear indications about what properties a marriage should have.
Who do you consider marriage important for:
A good question. Marriage on one level is for anyone that wants to have a sex life and remain in God's good graces. However, Marriage is much more. Marriage provides a family base. Marriage fulfills love. Marriage is the reason we are gathered here today. :) Marriage for me is like gravity. You can deny its existence. You can deny its importance. You can attempt to defy it. It won't matter. However, different people describe it in different ways and that is fine. God provides the parameters in which you may play and the rest is mostly up to you.
If you have views of predestination that include the possibility that some people are destined not to ever 'believe', do you feel that even the '(pre-)lost souls' should follow these rules? (Ignoring the barrier of knowledge: you likely don't, and can't, know who these people are.)
How ever did you know? :) I am a four point Calvinist, so I do indeed believe that there are people who (sadly!!) don't have a snow ball's chance. The snowball won't last long in hell....and sadly people ..do. So, do I believe that they "should" follow the rules? Of course I do. The rules are for them to follow by definition. So, since this definition was so difficult to see, it worries me. This question seems to be much like asking "If a guy has done something that is worthy of a death sentence, and the police have gathered enough evidence to gain a conviction and a sentence of death, do you think that it would be wrong for him to go on a murder spree?" Duh! :)Naturally, the murderer has nothing left to lose. The murderer doesn't give a crap. The Law has standards that disagree with murder. Similarly, God has standards for everyone to follow and punishments for those that do not. Lastly, there are lots of verses in the Bible which indicate that a really sinful life makes for a really bad hell. I don't write the rules, I just try to follow them. At least I don't try to make "excuses" for a God who needs none.
How do you see your views affecting people outside of yourself:
A deep question. Let me try a metaphor that may help the reader understand my point of view. Imagine that two workers are picking fruit, standing on ladders. One worker is very cautious and never steps on the top step that says "This is not a step!" The other has work to do and doesn't want some stupid step to tell him how to run his life. That step has no authority over him! So he uses it all the time; it gets him more height which means he gets more fruit more quickly. At first, the cautious worker will want to caution the reckless worker about the danger involved, but eventually, he will realize there is nothing he can do to make the reckless worker obey the rule. We are all subject to the laws of physics. It is our job to figure out what those laws are and avoid injury accordingly.
Similarly, marriage rules come from God. Indeed, God's Moral Will is more fundamental than the laws of physics since he created the laws of physics, arguably, infinitely after his Nature was True. God's Law should be followed by everyone. So we have two big problems. Temporal (I love that word!) Law which has no moral backing is trivial. "Do not eat vanilla ice cream on Sunday" is very unlike "Don't murder people." Law which has moral backing begins to defy separation of Church and State: "It's all fun and games until you have a Theocracy!" However, there is a subtle solution. God set down the rules for certain reasons. One of the most obvious is that moral law corresponds directly with God's nature. That only helps for Wrath Avoidance. However, one of the more subtle truths is that moral law (if followed) frequently prevents people from damaging others, oftentimes without even knowing it. Many people advocate doing whatever feels good saying "It's my life." However, we sometimes do not see the effect we have on others.
Maybe it would be shorter to explain it like this: God holds governments (and individuals as well) responsible for making laws which are Just. I don't care what reason the government has for making just laws as long as they make just laws. God has revealed much about how to live in places other than the Bible, ways outside of religion. I'm not sure whether this is a good article to begin a debate on exactly how to seperate Church and State (Indeed, they are not seperate entirely, just seperate enough that to say our government is a theocracy would be ...very funny).
Let me note quickly that although there are laws which do not legislate morality directly, things like Tax laws, they do legislate morality indirectly, abstractly. If we raise taxes on the rich, we do so for many reasons...and if we talk about it for long enough, we'll find that it comes down to moral values every time. Some people believe that it is wrong to take what a man has earned to give it to a person who has not earned it. Some people believe that it is wrong to allow people who are too rich to go on being too rich when there are people in the world that need that money and can spend it...better. (Oddly enough, they don't send it to the people that really really need it, American citizens have a right to that money...that..they haven't...earned..) A few people like myself believe that the world sucks and that "economic justice" cannot be attained since "Talent Justice" does not exist. Anyway, some of the moral values behind certain laws will be immoral but....that's another topic. :) I would never judge another person.....