MODULE ONE: CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND
A LITTLE ABOUT MARRIAGE
These days a marriage can be a wonderful and beautiful act of love, and when it grows as a true partnership with commitment and compassion it can be quite inspiring. Importantly, it also legally binds people together in a family unit, with benefits and responsibilities. Keep in mind that when we solemnize a marriage, we are committing the betrothed into what is essentially a legal contract. They are forming a partnership for the purpose of maintaining familiar arrangements and duties. Marriage affects things such as next of kin, custody of children, and division of family assets. Be sure that both you and the hopefuls are aware of the responsibilities they are taking on.
Whether it be culture or our DNA, humans dig the idea of finding a romantic partner to journey through life and grow old with. As Dudeists we value friendship, marriage can be a type of intimate friendship that contains many of the benefits of the platonic, with the addition of some zesty affection. It is that inclusion of sex between friends that makes marriage so unique and at times challenging. This intimate and enduring friendship for lovers can be wonderful and it does help perpetuate the species.
Marriage has had many iterations through time and was not always the groovy pair bonding zesty enterprise we see today. Even now, in certain places marriage is still seen more as a financial and social obligation and is arranged around that idea instead of romance. Even more disturbing is that throughout most of history marriage was about the subjugation of women to their husbands. The Dude would not approve of many of the marriages of the past.
Dudeism has no interest in continuing any of the less enlightened versions of marriage from the past. If there is going to be an institution of marriage, we would prefer the newer affection-based type over the possessive iterations from humanity’s illustrious history. We suspect that there have been many happy pairs of people who have found true joy with each other in the past. However, those stories would be lost to time overshadowed by the machinations of the wealthy to whom marriage was more transactional. So we will cling to the modern concept of marriage, one based on affection and companionship that brings life long joy.
MARRIAGE, THE DUDEIST PERSPECTIVE
Like, isn’t Dudeism Anti-Marriage?
No. Thanks for attending my Dude-Talk.
People sometimes think that Dudeism is anti-marriage, and we get that. Afterall in the film the Dude seems to have resisted the trappings of marriage. His place certainly didn’t look like he was married. Still, he did end up helping a special lady friend try to conceive, and who knows where it went from there. It is also possible that the Dude had been married in the past, we just don’t know, man. What we do know is that there are lots of people who want to get married, including many Dudeists, and we’re here to help those who want to tie the matrimonial knot.
Whether your individual path has brought you to a place of solitude or you yourself find joy and comfort in partnering with another, a Dudeist wedding officiant must have at least some affections for the idea of marriage, even if it is not personally their thing. So, if you find that you have a firmly held aversion to marriage as a concept, then maybe wedding officiant is not the best career choice for you.
Dudeism is not about living the bachelor life, regardless of what we see the character the Dude doing. If one does a little investigation, they will quickly discover that the acter, Jeff Bridges, who plays the Dude in the movie has had a joyful and long-lasting marriage. By all accounts, Mr. Bridges closely resembles the character he plays. So, if it’s cool for the guy who like, played the Dude, then it can’t be all bad. Additionally, there is some cause to think that maybe Dudeism promotes marriage in its own way, just look at the iconography.
Dudeism being loosely based on the Tao brings up some interesting implications about duality and pairing. With philosophical elements sometimes being described in terms of masculine and feminine one may make the connection that perhaps the Tao, and Dudeism, promote marriage. Some might even say that the yin and yang iconography represent such unions. This may imply that our beloved Dude-Yang, is also matrimonially centric.
That all sounds rather groovy, but nah. Dudeism supports beneficial relationships of all kinds and not marriage specifically. There is a lot to be said for living an uncomplicated life free from entanglements that get too personal. That said, if one finds happiness and abiding affection in being married, we can, like, support that, man. Trying to tease out an answer to whether to get married based on simple interpretations of Dudeist iconography is myopic.
The whole yin-yang thing gets quite fuzzy the more you consider it. At times we may be looking at it wrong, the dark and light are not as distinct as they may appear. When we back up and focus on the whole, instead of the divisions, we see it as an ever-changing dance with swirling moments of yin and yang trading positions and values as cooperative forces. The hard lines blur and light and dark emerge from within each other. In this way people find their own meaning behind choosing solitude or bonding with others.
Sure, there is quite a bit of philosophical debate to be had around this issue, but in the end, it comes down to taking it easy and abiding in the Dudeist understanding of what that means. If we take it easy and listen to our inner-dude, we can find the right solution for ourselves. If we abide, we can appreciate and respect the choices of others who are either pursuing solitude or matrimonial pairing while causing no undue harm to any.
Finally, we want to stress that there is nothing in Dudeist philosophy that either promotes or prohibits marriage. We don’t make our priests take vows of celibacy, and certainly no one is barred from coupling and marriage within Dudeism. What matters here, from a Dudeist sense, is that everyone gets to live their authentic lives, freely, so long as they are not causing harm to others. So married or not, Dudeism is cool with it, so long as everyone involved is taking it easy and abiding.
THE DUDEIST OFFICIANT
We believe that Dudeist priests are particularly well suited to be wedding officiants in this modern era. Dudeism’s lack of divine command, or dogma in general, means we can bring our own brand of religious sensibilities to this ever more secular event. Dudeism exhibits a unique neutrality when it comes to other religions, Dudeism tends to eschew conflict even when interacting with competing worldviews. We are keenly prepared to officiate many types of unions, so long as the marriage is ethical and the parties share genuine affection for each other. Then we can officially solemnize that union, regardless of religion, orientation, or gender.
Without any archaic or arbitrary rules given from on high, Dudeism fits right in there. As Dudeist wedding officiants we offer a religious alternative that is non-theistic. One that is also based on a sound living philosophy, with a shared set of values and rituals. Dudeism is a religion, but a modern reason-based interpretation of what a religion can be. We embrace our own intentional absurdism while avoiding the establishment of uptight dogma.
Dudeism balances the yin and the yang, the connected but unattached, we are religious but not in a meta-physical way. Dudeism is philosophical without getting too hung up on any sort of thinking, especially when that thinking stops making sense. These traits make Dudeism the best choice to solemnize nearly any wedding ceremony. Our limber-minded approach to life makes us perfect for helping people from all walks of life get hitched.
For instance, our non-theistic stance is a non-stance when it comes to performing marriages for those who are part of another religion. There is no reason for us to decline our officiating duties based solely on a person’s declared faith in another religion. Jeff Bridges is not our God, cool Dude but no god, he wont be upset and send a plague after us if we officiate for other faiths.
Dudeists can easily navigate any wedding ceremony that involves people who hold other religious affiliations. Furthermore, we are perfect for occasions of inter-faith marriages. As Dudeists it is not an issue for us to help people get hitched to those of different faiths. We are like a neutral ground upon which any union, within reason, can be formed.
Dudeist priests are certainly allowed to officiate weddings for people of any faith, marry a Muslim to a Jew, a Christian to a Buddhist, an atheist to a Reiki healer, it’s all good, man. We are like a justice of the peace in this way, in that we are not beholden to any religious rules preventing us from joining people of differing faiths together. But, unlike a justice of the peace, we are guided by and hold an actual religiously philosophical position. While it can be difficult to explain Dudeist philosophy, Dudeism does have one. So, there is greater meaning applied to a Dudeist officiated wedding than one done by a judge or notary.
Dudeism faces the absurdities of existence and gives an abiding shrug towards the void, then turns around to take it easy in this sometimes-exhausting world. That is to say, we Dudeists can bring philosophical meaning to the matrimonial festivities, without laying it on heavy and being too uptight about our world view. One absurdity we do not abide by is telling adults who they are allowed to love and marry, or how they express themselves gender wise.
When it comes to so called non-traditional weddings, Dudeist practitioners are easily a good choice for officiating same sex weddings. There is absolutely nothing in Dudeist philosophy to prevent people of the same sex from getting hitched. Most religions have spent centuries or millennia suppressing homosexuality and gay marriage, not us, man. There is homosexuality and same sex pair bonding in other species, so why not humans? There is no sensible reason to be against people finding love and comfort with those of the same sex. Without a deity to claim otherwise, Dudeism is cool with it.
When people engage a Dudeist wedding officiant they do have some expectations. They will be expecting someone chill and easy going. Perhaps the betrothed are hoping for someone who is not hung up on archaic notions of marriage from the past. They are looking to the Dudeist practitioner to provide a hassle-free ceremony with a chill Dude-like vibe, man. If you take on this challenge, try to bring that sort of attitude with you, represent the best parts of Dudeism while you are acting as an officiant.
All this adds up to the fact that Dudeist priests are an excellent choice to officiate durned near any wedding ceremony.
CONTEMPLATING DUDEISM'S NON-THESIM
A WORD ABOUT CHARGING FEES
We are not going to get too deep into the how-to of running a business. There are plenty of other sources of information better suited for this than us, and we do not want to mislead anyone. What is important regarding being certified as a Dudeist wedding officiant is that you follow best practices for any business associated with your activities as a Dudeist officiant. To earn the certificate, you will need to affirm that you are not out to scam anyone. Feel free to set up your officiating business and charge a fair rate based on your labor and fair market pricing. As long as you keep it legal and ethical, we have no issue.
Just a few things to keep in mind. Do not misrepresent yourself or Dudeism. You can use the Dude-Yang for all legitimate purposes. You may also use the seal for the certificate course if you have successfully passed the assessment test. Do not use the church seal, as that is for church business exclusively, sorry, man.
If you chose to officiate weddings professionally as a Dudeist Priest, that’s cool. We wish you the best of luck. There may be opportunities in the future for you share what you have learned with us, so we can make this even better for future Dudeist officiants. We look forward to you becoming an achiever in this far out field, man.
KEY POINTS AND REVIEW
Marriage legally binds people together in a family unit, with benefits and responsibilities.
There is nothing in Dudeist philosophy that either promotes nor prohibits marriage, however, the Dudeist officiant should have at least some affection for the idea of marriage.
Dudeist wedding officiants offer a religious alternative that is non-theistic.
We are not here to scam anyone, you will have to abide local laws and best business practices.