Will You Marry Me?

When it comes to the marriage issue, Christians who oppose same-sex marriage will point to the Bible to act as the guideline for marriage. What is usually implied, and sometimes said is, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” or some other such slogan.  To this, many supporters of same-sex marriage will respond by saying to Christians, “If the Bible is the word of God how can you choose only pieces of it follow?  If they truly understood their religion or the bible what they really are supporting is…” and then a list is provided all the examples of what we would call non-traditional marriage in an effort to show inconsistency in the “traditionalist’s” position, and an ignorance of their own guideline.  If marriages have been redefined throughout even the Bible, why not now?  Do the different marriages found in the Bible really undermine the Christian’s message that the Bible teaches one man one woman?  Below is a summary of a graphic found on the blog from where the above quotation was found.

Anyone who has spent any time reading this blog knows how much a statement like, “If the Bible is the word of God how can you choose only pieces of it follow?” only serves to show the skeptic is theologically illiterate (Eeny Meeny Miny Moe; Laying Down the Law).  But even if this misguided allegation were true, do the above references to “marriages” represent Biblically encouraged scenarios for marriage?

Man + Brother’s Widow (Genesis 38:6-10)

Here is the first clue that the skeptic is biblically illiterate.  The passage cited is the account of Onan and Tamar.  Onan’s brother died and was supposed to take his brother’s wife, Tamar as his own.  But he didn’t want children with her so he “wasted his seed on the ground”.  I will help the skeptic by citing the actual law for taking your brother’s widow, (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).  The reason for the Levarite law was to ensure 1) that the family’s property stays in the family (Ruth 4), and 2) that the deceased brother has a lineage through his wife.  Theologically speaking, it was important to keep family lines “pure” and generations traceable.

Man + Wife/Wives + Concubines (Different examples of figures with wives and concubines)

A search of the word “concubine” from the NASB yields 38 instances of the word and its plural.  None of the citations give an endorsement by God or His Prophets of the taking of concubines.  What we have is a record of biblical figures taking and giving concubines of themselves.  But a mere recording is not the same as explicit endorsement any more than a newspaper reporting a murder or arson suggests the editor-in-chief wants the readers to kill others and burn down houses.  Even in the cases of major figures like David or Solomon.  They were blessed, they were called upright; but they were blessed, upright men going beyond “a husband shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one”.  All are sinners and God blesses some to a greater degree than others.  If God were to withhold His blessing only for the perfect, the world would be void of any blessing at all.

Rapist + His Victim (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

I can admit this sounds harsh.  The justification is a cultural one.  As the passage explains starting at verse 13, a woman who is not a virgin is unmarriageable, thus making her a financial dependent of her parents for the rest of their lives.  Culturally she would be an outcast.  By requiring the attacker to marry his victim, it assures her financial and familial stability.  Not that it sounds like a punishment, but the attacker is no longer free to marry someone else.  He is tied to his victim for the rest of his life too.  He is obliged to take care of her, provide food, shelter, and gives her inheritance rights (which were vitally important at the time) etc.  It absolutely sounds harsh and unsatisfying, especially through the lens of the 21st century western culture.

Man + Woman + Woman’s Property (Genesis 16)

Genesis 16 recounts Abram and his wife Sarai and her maid/servant, Hagar.  Sarai was infertile and eventually felt bad about not being able to provide Abram with a child.  She eventually gets Hagar to serve as a surrogate and conceives.  There is no mention that Hagar was forced.  The passage suggests it was an agreed upon arrangement, this is not the type of situation that comes to fruition with little planning.  Judging by the interaction between Hagar, Abram, and Sarai, there is no suggestion that Hagar was an unwilling piece of property.  This is a record of an arrangement between the participants and not normative.  As could be expected, jealousy and resentment was the result of this union, for obvious reasons.

Soldier + Prisoner of War (Numbers 31:1-18; Deuteronomy 21:11-14)

Both passages make allowances for women captives as a result of battles and wars where the men of the societies are killed.  As with the rapist and his victim, this is a cultural unpleasentry.  When there were wars to be fought, nearly all the men were sent into battle.  Those infirm or too old to fight stayed behind and — if their side lost — were killed.  If the women were not killed, they would have been left defenseless.  No protection from outsiders, no hunters, no builders, etc.  The Deuteronomy passage grants the woman a period of bereavement, and requires the man to treat her well.  He may not treat her like property or sell her if the marriage is disolved.  In fact, the soldier is required to treat her as a wife, and not a spoil of war.

Man + Woman + Woman + Woman…

As with Man + Woman + Concubines, the Bible records what some figures had done.  There is no command to take many wives.  It was a practice not commanded or endorsed.

Male Slave + Female Slave (Exodus 21:4)

This comes down to language.  The passage can imply that the male slave taking a wife is not obligatory.  “If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master…”.  The master was not being directed to compell marriages between slaves.  It can read like a quid pro quo.  The employer ends up with more workers, and the worker has companionship and a family.  The subject of slavery has been addressed elsewhere and nitpickery over the concept of slavery is not wholly relevant to the marriage discussion.  But the passage does not read like a forced marriage or forced breeding, but more of an arranged marriage.

Some of the above examples are of a descriptive nature (i.e., some figures had multiple wives and or concubines) and are not understood to be normative.  Others are means of regulating situations in which some people might find themselves.  But none of the passages suggest that the marriage situations described are considered the ideal.  They are the kinds of situations as Jesus described as recorded in Matthew 19 where the Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason.

Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? …

Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

Here Jesus is saying, husbands and wives were not meant to divorce.  Marriage was intended to be a lifetime committment, the two people are no longer considered separate, but rather, a single unit.  But because people are sinful, divorce was tolerated.  In the same way, God recognized that people are not morally perfect, and taking this into account, gave the Israelites guidelines to prevent even more immorality than there already is.

It is interesting to note that when Jesus is specifically talking about marriage, He addresses it as a one man one woman proposition, and it has been that way, and was intended that way from the beginning.  When it comes to biblical — traditional — marriage, we have to ask: Are these examples offered as the way it is supposed to be?  Are these examples endorsed?  Are we to understand these examples as normative?  Or are they departures from the original marriage design: Male and female, the two becomming one?

Comments

  1. The real problem is their poor logic. In none of these cases has the definition of marriage changed – it is still defined as the union of members of the opposite sex. Variations within that definition do not change the definition. This explanation eliminates the need to go into the theology behind all these issues, since they have nothing to do with the fundamental definition.

  2. Marshall Art says:

    Good post. It is tiresome to continually refute the goofy notion that multiple wives was in any way endorsed by God, instead of being tolerated. But then, when one contorts one example, it is then easy to twist others as well to suit one’s position.

    • Well I think there is a tendency to equate ‘allowing’ and ‘ok with’. But for some reason that reasoning is only applied to slavery and marriages and killings in the bible. But those are just recordings of people doing things. In other words people lie, adulter, steal, etc. But I don’t hear skeptics claiming that since we don’t see God acting to prevent it all that He is somehow ok with all the other sins people commit.

  3. I honest don’t think that the bible argument has any meaning in a secular society – and that’s what we’re dealing with – the law of secular lands.

    Under secular law, everyone is entitled to equal access to and protection under and responsibility for

    That means getting to form the family you want and having that family protected.

    for the purposes of secular law, marriage is 2 people exclusive of others, who may or may not decide to include children.

    Gay marriage does not alter marriage for the purposes of secular law. Polygamy does and it raises a number of issues that would need study and consideration.

    Gay marriage does not mean any changes to employer granted benefits to employees, nor inheritance, medical matters or any other aspect that marriage intersects.

    Further, gay marriage will impact the gay community far more than the mainstream, which is not at all impacted.

    It is a simple matter to allow any two consenting adults – and do we really need to say living human – to enter into marriage. and to provide protection from religious organizations who provide services to be protected from being sued for refusing to marry couples not in keeping with their beliefs.

    Much like the Catholic Church won’t marry a couple if one person was divorced previously. Well, unless you pay a bunch of money and get baptized so it doesn’t count.

    There are plenty of religious churches who do or are willing perform gay weddings

    so there’s something for everyone by following Canada’s lead.

    Gays can be married and churches who don’t want to can’t be sued.

    what’s more fair than that?

    • What does this have to do with anything I wrote?

      You are becomming a habitual off-topic commenter. I like having your perspective, but I’d prefer you post on topic. I have posts where this would be apropos.

  4. Let me get this straight. John Barron Jr, do you mean Jesus foresaw the cultural situation the western society is now facing and sort of excluded even the possibility of marriage between homosexuals? Why? There is nothing about gay marriage in the Bible. The Bible tells to kill homosexuals on sight, but that is there just for fun reading, and does not mean people should act thus – anymore, right?

    Cultural relativism may explain the many horrid laws for jews in the OT, but it does not redeem their god, if it indeed was him who gave those laws for the jews to follow. Further more, according to the Nürnberg agenda, the ancient jews could not appeal to the “command structure” or values of their society for acting out these horrible commands.

    Random Tryggs post is relevant to the topic, if you imply that secular society should be bent according to a set of values chosen from the Bible. Are you not?

    • This is so frustrating it’s actually funny.

      1) Jesus being God, yes He forsees everything. That is an attribute of God. You import your idea of Jesus not being God, but a normal person or non-existent character into this. But that doesn’t even work because this is a discussion about the BIble, and Jesus is a person in the Bible.

      2) When discussing marriage and divorce specifically, Jesus said from the beginning God made male and female for the purposes of lifelong marriage. So yes, when Jesus speaks of marriage He explicitly says one man one woman, the two become one unit. And that every time marriage is recorded in the BIble, there are no examples of same-sex marriage.

      3) What you mistake for cultural relativism is covenant theology. I don’t expect you to get it, you admit the bible is too complex for you to understand, even though you continually criticize it.

      4) No, Random Ntrygg’s comment was entirely off topic. This post is about the argument that some skeptics offer. Namely that when Some Christians claim to want marriage defined “the biblical way” they being selective with the standard they use. That there are many different kinds of marriages endorsed by the bible, and we are being selective by choosing one man, one woman. Her comment had absolutely nothing to do with that. Instead it went on and on about how same-sex marriage and marriage in general is a secular endeavor.

      5) I made no argument against same-sex marriage here at all. I didn’t even address whether the Bible is correct on the issue. My point was that the accusation of “convenient overlooking” was not valid. My point was that those who cite the different kinds of marriages recorded in the bible are mistaken in their conclusions about what the bible says about marriage.

      You are wrong on every point you made.

  5. Hmmm. Well, I guess the problem is that I take a broader view of what the topic is, and I hadn’t realized that the focus was so narrow that on the same topic could been deemed off topic.

    The post you wrote basically demonstrates that marriage is not limited to 1 man and 1 woman, and the tradition in many cultures is not 1 man and 1 woman.

    For the wealthy wives or wives and concubines were common – so the current idea of marriage as 1 man and 1 women being traditional is so patently false as to not be considered a legit argument.

    After all, marriage in the middle ages and even to recent times was more able concentrating wealth and political alliances and ensuring heirs for continuity.

    the idea of marriage being romantic love based is thoroughly modern and not at all traditional.

    so tradition can’t be used to prevent changes to marriage now.

    funny how we agree John, that the apparent religious objection to gay marriage isn’t valid.

    • Random Ntrygg:

      Marriage in the Bible, whether polygamous, abusive, etc, always is between male and female – never between members of the same sex.

      I don’t see where John agreed that a religious objection to same-sex faux marriage isn’t valid. The Judeo-Christian objection is that homosexual behavior is against God’s design, and God has specifically condemned it in both Old and New Testaments. Since the behavior itself is immoral and sinful, “marriage” would certainly be condemned since it includes the behavior.

    • Funny how you didn’t notice that examples on one man one woman was considered an aberration from what was designed according to the bible.

      What else you didn’t notice that whether it was a man and a woman or a man and many women, it has always been men marrying women.

  6. Jesus speakes explicitly of a marriage between a man and a woman, but not exclusively. He does not declare same sex marriages should be banned. Why? For the same reason he does not mention nuclear weapons, pollution or overpopulation (a lot more important problems). He has no idea about such things. Because he is a human being living in and addressing the jewish community. He does not even consider such options.

    When we speak of the Bible we should recognize the possibility that it has nothing to do whith any gods, and it is a historical and mythological story among others. From that perspective, Jesus could not know about our modern cultural situation. And even if he did, did the writers of the gospels understand what he was talking about? So, if Jesus (as a god) would have had anything particular against gay marriage, he surely would have had that included into the bible. So, either he did not know such a possibility would be possible among his followers (and hence was no god), or he had nothing especially against it.

    Third option is that Jesus (as a god) was a bit of trickster and just wanted to see how many people will fall into what camp about this. Maybe he deviced the whole sherade as a test of toleration and emphaty on his divine part.

    No theology can turn the horrible things the god of the Israelites asked of them, to be anything other than horrible injustices and atrocities. They tell of the nature of this alledged god. But also from a culural relativistic point of view, of the plausibility of said god, as it is an obvious creation of such a violent culture and era.

    • Rautakyy:

      Are you deliberately ignoring the previous comments? Jesus didn’t address same-sex faux marriage because homosexual behavior was already soundly condemned by God. If homosexual behavior is considered a sin worthy of capital punishment for the nation of Israel, and declared to be an abomination to God, then it is obvious to any fool that same-sex faux marriage would not have to be discussed.

  7. Glenn E. Chatfield, is the law about killing homosexuals in the OT to be followed by the christians? If not, what biblical law abides to homosexuals? There is no biblical law against gay marriage, is there? Did Jesus tell people to kill homosexuals, or did he deny their right to marry? I think he did neither, but of course, if he actually was a god, he could have been more clear on his message on this particular issue, so that there would not be such an array of opinions on what he meant about a subject he did not even address. So, that his opinion on the matter would not have to be extracted from something he said about something completely else. Alas, he was just a man and could not foresee that leaving this bit not actually considered, would lead into such disagreements in the far future.

    Is it OK to use chemical agents as weapons of war on civillians because Jesus or any other character in the Bible never told that it is wrong?

    The Bible is just a very old collection of stories. It tells us much about how one particular tribal nation viewed the world during the antiquity. What it is to be the conqueror or the conquered. It has historical parts and mythological parts and propably a lesson or two in it also, but what is right and wrong is not all decided there. That is something we have to figure out ourselves. I am sorry, it is not allways easy.

    • Rautakyy,

      The law for killing homophiles in the O.T. was only for Israel and no one else. What biblical “law” applies to homosexuality is that it is a sin, an abomination to God, and as Paul said in Romans 1, it is unnatural, impurity, degrading, indecent, and a perversion. It doesn’t get any clearer than that. God condemns homosexual behavior. It is against the design of the human body and against the design for human sexuality. In fact, all one needs to know is simple biology 101 to know that the human body was not designed for homosexual sex.

      Jesus didn’t have to address homosexuality any more than he had to address rape and child abuse; it was already addressed by God the Father in the O.T. as being an abominable sin, and Paul was later taught by Christ personally the things he wrote in his letters.

      Christ pointed out what marriage was when he said that in the beginning God made them male and female and the two of them would be one. Since He defined what marriage is, and God said homosexual behavior was wrong, why in the world would Christ even have to mention a fake marriage situation?!?

      Your question about chemical weapons against civilians is not even in the same realm. Just because something is not specifically mentioned in the Bible does not mean principles addressing said situations can’t be applied. But homosexuality IS specifically mentioned, and it couldn’t be any clearer what God has said about it. If it is an abomination, etc, it should be clear to anyone but a fool that this would automatically apply to the idea of “marrying” them.

      You want to dismiss the Bible as so much nonsense, yet you always appeal to it. If you do not believe it is what it claims to be, then why bother using it? You don’t even understand the things you do mention from Scripture, so why bother discussing something you even understand?

      It God does not exist, then what can you use a YOUR moral standard?

      Now, rather than continue taking this comment string off the topic of the post, how about dropping this and addressing ONLY the issue John wrote about!

  8. OK Glenn E Chatfield, Your sort of christianity defines homosexuality as a sin, but you do not run around killing them. I can appriciate that. Now, is sin not something between a person and a god? If that is so, why would anyone want to prevent gay people getting married? Is it not their own choise, for which there is supposedly a supernatural punishment? They are not causing any harm to others by getting married.

    How do these examples John gave reflect on your god? I mean, he sets one set of rules for the Israelites, but completely different one for the
    rest of us. How is that ever moral? The OT rules and commands for israelites in general are a rather poor show on morals, and the things you quoted form Paul are an example of a nother quite unethical ideology.

    If it is as John says, that the Bible does not support polygamy, then how does it work out for widowers in the afterlife, if they have remarried? They can not divorce from each other to avoid awkward situations there, because John claimed divorce is immoral (somehow???). And if polygamy is a sin, does that mean all the heroes of Bible who had several viwes, or concubines ended up in Hell? If not, why? What kind of relationship do they have in the afterlife with each other?

    Homosexuality is part of human biology as it is a part of the biology of so many other animals. It does not have to be your or my form of sexuality, but we have no ethical reasons to deny it from others. You know it has been barely 100 years from a time when people said flying is unnatural because human biology was not “designed” for it. But you know what? Human biology has not been designed at all.

    Even if god exists, my moral is defined by ethical process and emphaty. Try it. Religions do not have to offer very moral gods as standards.

    I am having these conversations with you all, so I could understand you. Is that wrong?

  9. Rautakyy,

    My “sort of Christianity” is true, biblical Christianity. And I have no problem letting sin be between the person and God until that person tries to force me to accept that sin as something I have to sanction! Which is what happens when the state sanctions perverse sexual behavior as a fake marriage.

    State sanctioning of same-sex faux marriage does indeed harm society as a whole, and many, many individuals have already suffered punishment, indoctrination classes, fines, loss of employment, etc for nothing more than refusal to give personal sanction to same-sex behavior. I provide numerous examples on my blog at;
http://sanityinanupsidedownworld.blogspot.com/search/label/Homosexual%20harm
    And these are just the tip of the iceberg. Around the world punishment is even worse!

    God had specific laws for the nation of Israel in order for them to be set apart as a special people who would provide the rest of the world with the knowledge of the true GOD, and through whom He would bring the Messiah.

    You make judgments about morals and ethics, yet without God these are just your opinions; what makes your opinions as to what is right or wrong worthy of consideration? You have no objective moral standard.

    According to Scripture, polygamy is nowhere noted as a sin. It was not God’s design for marriage but he permitted it. Divorce is not always wrong because scripture permits divorce for sexual immorality, abuse and neglect. But marriage does not continue into the afterlife – Jesus addressed that; there will be no marriages or marrying.

    Homosexuality is an abuse of biology. Human and animal biology uses sexual relations for procreation. You get no procreation from homosexual behavior. Animals do a lot of things, such as eating their young, which we do not do because we are not animals. We do not copy animal behavior because we are a higher form of life, created in the image of God.

    Flying does not affect the human body any more than driving a car does. Flying is not a moral issue; sexual behavior is.

  10. Glenn E. Chatfield, flying is a moral issue, if you fly a bomber. Society sanctions that, even though it is a “sin” to kill. And bombers kill innocents. Homosexuality does not cause harm in it self any more than flying, so it is no more a moral issue than that.

    Yes, morals are about opinions. As our gracious host John Barron Jr, likes so much of the original meanings of words, it would be a good idea to remember where does the word for morals derive from. The latin word “moralitas” refers to behaviour models accepted by a society.

    Ethics do not need to be based on a god. A god may provide an artificial way of going around good ethics. Especially if the holy books give double standards or when they harbour prejudice. When people ask themselves what kind of harm their action or inaction may cause, they often come up with the right answers on how to do the right thing. That is how ethics work. It is hard, but not so complicated. I suppose it is possible to ask one self “what would Jesus do”, and come to the same conclusions, but there is allways also the danger, that the religious book gives excuses of ancient prejudice to segragate people and then attack the some part of humanity. Like homosexuals.

    How does israelites being somewhat special in the eyes of a god, explain unethical rules, laws and orders given by your god to them, or anyone else for that matter?

    So, in the afterlife people do not have families? I suppose there is no sex either, sounds like a very, very long eternity indeed…

    Plants and plancton have sex only for procreation. For most of animal kingdom it has many other meanings as well. There are anomalies in every population and some anomalies are harmfull and others are not. At the present moment we are facing overpopulation so homosexuality is everything but harmfull. Attitudes towards homosexuality do cause a lot of harm.

    We are animals or 98% of us is as that is how much genes we share with chipanzees, but of course it is possible that the rest 2% is somehow divine. It does not manifest in any way, but maybe it is somehow hidden. Or maybe chimps were gods earlier attempt to make an image of itself.

  11. Rautakyy,

    Are you serious?!?! Flying is a moral issue?!?!? You illogically went from flying a plane to a use for a plane and then claimed that use made flying immoral! The plane is a tool which can be used for good or bad, just like a gun is a tool which can be used for good or bad. By your logic, driving a car is also a moral issue!

    Again you cite Scripture without understanding it. It is NOT a sin to “kill” – it is a sin to murder. KJV 1611 English says “Thou shalt not kill,” but the Hebrew word properly translated means “murder,” and all translations made in at least the past century translated it as such.

    No, morals are NOT about opinions if one has a standard on which morals are based. You have no standard except your own opinion, so how can you then claim someone else’s morals are wrong? How dare you say God is immoral or unethical when it is just YOUR opinion versus His? What makes your opinion more valid than anyone else’s?

    The origin of the word “moral” does not affect the origin of morals themselves. If you leave it to the society around you to determine proper morals, then you end up with the slavery of the Confederate States and the Holocaust of WWII.

    If ethics are based on personal opinion, then no one’s opinion is more valid than anyone else’s.

    Your comment about “holy books” has no basis in reality when it comes to the holy books of Jews and Christians, because there are no “double standards” or prejudice. And without any standard against which to judge the issue, by what authority can you say there are double standards or prejudice in ANYTHING!?!

    Israel was set apart by God for one purpose – to bring knowledge of God to the world, which is WHY he had special rules for them to make them ritually clean, etc. You say that God gave them “unethical rules, laws and orders,” yet you have no authority by which to make such statements since you have no standard of ethics except your personal beliefs.

    No, there is no sex in the afterlife, but we will indeed recognize family members (King David noted he was looking forward to seeing his son again). Sex is for procreation and the cementing together of husband and wife. Since there will no longer be procreation or marriage, sex will be unnecessary.

    You have accepted the blatant propaganda that the earth is in danger of overpopulation; it is not possible. Attrition will take care of that, and our population is older and older because fewer and fewer people are having children except in third world countries.

    SOME attitudes against homosexuality, such as those displayed by the cult known as Westboro Baptist church led by Fred Phelps, are indeed harmful to homophiles. But most attitudes against homosexuality are not harmful at all except to those who want to force-feed the homosexual agenda requiring everyone to sanction homosexuality or be punished. Those homosexualists are only harmed in that they are not getting their way.

    As to your claim of 98% DNA sharing with animals, I suggest you review the following:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2005/09/05/chimp-genome-sequence
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/tj/v17/n1/dna
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2003/04/07/apes-brothers-post-office

    Humans are NOT animals. Period.

  12. Glenn E. Chatfield, driving a car is a moral issue, if you are drunk driving, or driving otherwise recklessly. Morals is about how we choose to use our tools, and do we choose to do good or not. If we choose to act responsibly or not. How we cause harm or take risks of causing harm to others.

    Is bombing civillian targets not murder? Was the 9/11 attack not murder? Flying is a moral issue. Even the pollution caused by airtrafic or cars is a moral issue, but there is nothing about that in the Bible, right?

    Your examples of the Confederate States and Holocaust are perfect examples of horror humans are capable of, but they were also promoted by religion. How do they differ from the genosides your god told the Israelites to perform in ancient times? There are no excuses to any of those.

    Modern secular states have higher morals than any religiously lead society in history. That evaluation is based on my opinion of morals, but do you not agree? On the other hand one might claim that some of the Native American tribal hunter-gatherer societes had higher morals than many modern states.

    There are no absolute moral standards. But ethical process and emphaty (a skill that most mammals share whith us) defines what good or bad may result from our actions, or inaction. That is how morals should be defined. Hard? Yes, but not so complicated as endless interpretations of some old tomes. We, every and each one of us, can only judge what is right within our knowledge of the world.

    Humans are a speices of warmblooded mammals. We differ from most other such animals in
    that we are capable of destroying our envarioment and that we are, if we choose to, aware of that capability. That makes us responsible for our actions, not to any imaginary entity, but to the future generations of our speicies and life in general. We are not going to be punished for our misbehaviour, but that is what responsibility is all about. Doing the right thing regardless of reprecussions.

    You write as homosexuality is something people chose for themselves, but as you know that is not true. Regardless what caused it, that is their identity, and it is not causing them any harm. What is causing them harm is segragation from the society.

  13. Rautakyy,

    I don’t see how you can seriously claim driving a car is a moral issue. Again, you confuse what MAY be done with a tool compared to what IS done personally with a tool. Your discussion of morals and ethics is all nonsense because you have no moral standard to validate any charges against others’ values, morals, or ethics. If there are no absolute standards then it is nothing but one person’s opinion over another’s. This makes your responses nothing but foolishness.

    Yes, “religion” can promote many evils. But again, you confuse “religion” with truth. Christian truth would permit none of the evils you claim.

    And, NO, humans are not animals. We are a distinct life form. Only evolutionist, with their religion of evolutionism (it isn’t true and it isn’t science – it is only a faith) place humans within the realm of animals.

    Homosexual BEHAVIOR is always something people choose for themselves – no one forces them to live that lifestyle. A person’s sexual behavior is NOT their identity. And homosexual behavior does indeed cause the practitioner much physical and emotional harm. You can deny that all you wish, but it is 100% fact.

    Now, are you through with your rabbit trails and ready to get back to the subject of the post?

  14. Glen E. Chatfield, lets try once more. Are the biblical heroes engaged in polygamy not elligable to Heaven? If they are, does that not promote such relations? If there is just one moral standard, as you claim, how can it be different for the ancient Jews, in comparrison to everyone else?

    How can your christian truth justify the horrible laws mentioned in Johns original post? Clearly, a position of a messangerpeople for the existance of a god is no excuse, for the harsh ancient Jewish laws. They could easily have told their message even if they did not subjucate their womenfolk nor had slaves. If they actually had god on their side, why did they needed to do genoside on other people? Why would a moral god sanction that?

    Why was such a thing as a messanger people needed anyway? It makes no sense that the creator of universe would need human aides to convey any message to the people of the world. To use such irregular method speaks of malice, or perhaps just disinterrest, if one is actually allpowerfull.

    As for the sidenote, evolution is a theory accepted by the international science community and embraced by most christian churches and other religions of the world. It is only objected by very few religiously fanatical dissidents. It has none what so ever similarities with any religions, and it is not based on ancient myths like most of them. Hence, it is not a religion. You are a mammal right? You have nipples? Why?

    If sexual orientation is not part of a persons identity, then what is?

    Every time we choose between good and evil, between responsible and irrisponsible behaviour we are making moral decisions(even driving a car or flying an aeroplane). That is how we know wether we are acting ethically or not. When there is a risk we might harm a nother, we are responsible for the safety of that other in respect what harm we may cause.

    Trusting some old book in moral choises is placing the responsiblity on a nother person. Some person who has died centuries ago and who had a very limited amount of information about the surrounding universe, but it gives no proper excuse, because everyone is responsible for their own actions.

  15. Rautakyy,

    Polygamy is not noted as a sin in Scripture. What is stated plainly in Scripture is that God’s intent for marriage is one man and one woman. God permits things other than His ideal because of the hardness of the hearts of man, which is why He also permitted divorce. Divorce is only sin in some instances.

    Committing sins does not make one ineligible for heaven; we all sin on a daily basis. What makes on ineligible for heaven is not having that sin paid for, and since Christ came He is the only payment acceptable to God. If you do not have faith in Christ as savior, then you are ineligible for heaven.

    So, the answer to your question is that polygamy, even if it was sin, does not make one ineligible for heaven.

    There is no moral standard for Jews in the O.T. that is different from anyone else. They may have had different rules to follow, but the morals didn’t differ. If I don’t have a rule that you have, that doesn’t change morality. Where I worked I had to wear a tie, but other places the employees may wear shorts and T-shirts; there is no difference of morality due to different rules.

    IF the different rules applied to moral issues; i.e., if it was okay for you to murder and not okay for me, then that would be a different standard, which is not the case in Scripture.

    You again are making a judgment about laws being “horrible,” yet you have no standard by which to make such judgment except your own opinion. What makes them horrible?
    What laws did Israel have which were harsh? Is “subjugating” [this is the correct spelling] “womenfolk” harsh? What is “subjugating” anyway? Your idea of subjugating is different from my idea, so whose standard should hold sway?

    Slavery? Do you even understand what slavery was in the OT period of Israel? I would say you don’t, because you imply it is similar to the slavery in the USA or others of that nature, which was not the case. But is slavery morally wrong? By whose standards?

    Genocide? (again, you need to learn to spell). You demonstrate your ignorance of Scripture and your parroting of atheist/skeptic rhetoric with this claim. Might I suggest some good posts addressing this and other issues you probably think about, including the issue of slavery:
    http://birdsoftheair.blogspot.com/2011/09/thinking-it-through.html
    http://birdsoftheair.blogspot.com/2011/09/midianite-assault.html
    http://birdsoftheair.blogspot.com/2011/08/god-and-sex-slaves.html
    http://birdsoftheair.blogspot.com/2011/08/does-bible-teach_23.html
    http://birdsoftheair.blogspot.com/2011/09/more-on-biblical-slavery.html
    http://birdsoftheair.blogspot.com/2011/08/does-bible-teach.html

    It is not that God NEEDED human agency to teach about Himself, but that is how He chose to work. After all, we are His creation and that gives Him the right to do with us as He pleases.

    Evolution is NOT embraced by thousands of scientists. So we have “dueling scientists” – but numbers who agree or disagree do not make truth. There are no facts, no actual evidence to support evolution; just speculation and assumptions. Most Christian churches do NOT accept evolution – I have no idea where you picked up that lie. And those who do are usually very liberal on other doctrine and are often apostate anyway, having long ago left the true faith. It is a religion because it is supported only by faith and no factual evidence.

    Sexual orientation is not a person’s identity. My desires are not my identity. I would think you could understand that; one’s desires are not their identity.

    You discuss concepts of “good” and “evil” yet you have no standard by which to make such judgments. What is good? What YOU think is okay? What is evil? What YOU think is NOT okay? Just driving or piloting in and of itself is not a moral decision any more than walking is. Driving and flying are amoral. What you do during that time may have moral decisions to make, but the act itself is amoral.

    No one is trusting an “old book” for decisions, rather we trust God as the moral Lawgiver and obey the moral Law He established. You have nothing but arbitrary standards of whatever you like. Everyone is indeed responsible for their own actions, but choices must be made according to a standard of right and wrong.

  16. Thanks John, I was unaware. My apologies to Rautakyy! (I’m used to too many Americans who rely on spell-check and never learn how to spell!)

  17. Thanks John.

    Glenn E. Chatfield, no need to apologize. If I am to engage in conversation in english, I should learn your beautifull language better. But bear with me for now…

    Polygamy is not a sin, but homosexuality is? This is strange and illogical, as homosexuality is something people do not choose for themselves, but the number of spouces is (and was in the biblical times) a personal choise.

    So, you are not heterosexual by your identity. I am. I do not restrain myself from homosexual acts because it is a sin, but because I have no such desire.

    In science a supposed idea with any evidence is a hypothesis until it is validatd as a theory. To become a theory a hypothesis needs the acceptance of the international science community. Scientific theories are as close to truth science, or anything ever, may bring us, the humanity, apart of an exeptionally lucky guess. The so called “intelligent creation” has not even been recognized as a proper hypothesis by the international science community. There was enough evidence for evolution for the international science community to approve it, even when most societes and religions could not accept it for cultural reasons. Today both the Roman and Greek catholic churches have embraced it. And so have the more significant Lutheran and Anglican protestant churches. You may call all them “heretics” and “liberals” but they do represent by far most of christianity, both to their members and to the rest of the world.

    Slavery and subjucation are wrong from a very simple moral “standard” they abuse people. In that sense the OT slavery is just as bad as any other. It is just cultural relativism to claim some form of slavery is not evil, because a nother is even more foul.

    The links you provided do not give excuses for the biblical genocides, that would be elligable in a war crimes tribunal.

    • Rautakyy,

      Hey, I admire anyone who can do more than one language – takes more brains than I have!

      Polygamy still uses the human body as it was biologically designed by God, it is still male-female unions. While it is not what God designed for marriage, and there are always problems within polygamous unions (Scripture describes a lot, and hundreds of books have been written about the subject by women who have been in such relationships). But no where in Scripture does God specifically condemn it.

      Polygamy does not violate the human being – the image of God. Homosexuality does, just like murder does. It abuses the human body by using it against design.

      Homosexual behavior is indeed something people choose for themselves – no one has to have sexual relations, let alone with a member of the same sex.

      Heterosexuality is what God designed into to us, and what biology demonstrates is the normal sexual “orientation” of human beings. But it is not one’s identity, any more than having two arms is one’s identity – it is part of the human existence. Homosexual desires are the result of something amiss in the growing process – there has never been found any genetic or congenital origin (no one is “born that way”) for having sexual desires for someone of the same sex. Everyone has sinful desires, but no one has to act on said desires.

      The issue of creation vs evolution is not a debate we will settle on this blog, nor is it germane to the topic at hand. However, thousands of scientists have rejected Darwinism, thousands of scientists are creationists because the facts – the evidence – fits design. There has never been any evidence for evolution and people accept it only because they want to reject God. The same churches which accept evolution also throw out major parts of Scripture and are apostate from Christianity, so citing them as evidence for Christian acceptance of evolution counts as nothing. And while the leaders of Roman Catholicism, etc, may represent the largest following of so-called “Christians,” I think you will find the individual members of these organizations are not so much followers of evolution as the leaders are! Nevertheless, since when does majority dictate truth? Truth is truth regardless of how many people accept it.

      You again claim a moral standard, yet by what standard is slavery abuse of people? Some slave holders abuse the system, but that doesn’t make the system intrinsically wrong in your moral system is all you judge by is “abuse” – but then, what standard determines whether it IS abuse? What you call abuse may not be abuse to someone else. And what defines subjugation? A person you claim is subjugated may not feel personally so, and many other people would say that person is NOT subjugated. Your moral standards are all subjective.

      You deny that the links demonstrate against what you call “genocide” – yet again, you are judging God by YOUR subjective standards. You have no right to define right and wrong because you have no objective standard by which to measure against – all you have is your personal opinion.

  18. Glenn E. Chatfield, we share a frustration to people who do not learn how to spell right (at least their native tongue). In my country it is a growing problem that people loose their cultural identity and are too lazy to learn how to spell properly. Anglisms, borrowed idioms and even words from english slowly “eat out” our own language. The influence of your powerfull American culture is allmost frightening. People watch your TV series and know better the legal system of US than that of our own. But globalization is an ongoing process and has been for ages.

    Before the English influence we had a very stong German influence and before that as we were a grand dukedom in Imperial Russia, the Russian influence was overwhhelming. Before that we were for centuries a part of Swedish kingdom and the cultural influence was “abominable”. Even our own gods were lost during that time. But not all new things from outside are bad, and we have also learned a score of good things from outside influence. Language is a great part of identity and it is the mechanics that defines how we think. For example in our language there are no gender definitions to the third person. So we are not him or her but just “hän” regardless of our sex. This affects more on the way we see things than one would expect.

    You are right, we can not determine, or solve any or these disagreements in this space, but it has been interresting to learn about your view on matters. I think we have both represented our different opinions adequatly. Also if I continue, I think I will be just repeating something I have allready said (some of it even a number of times) here or elswhere on comments to Johns blog.

    I must apologizise John Barron Jr, my tangents to the subject of the original post. And to you both my (unitended) rendering of your language. You both have a way of igniting my interrest by views so different to mine. Some of your opinions are so strange and new to me. In my culture a conservative presents some things the same as you do, but also in a number of issues completely differently. For example a Finnish conservative thinks that a man who is not a soldier is not a man at all. I bet you in the modern US would not agree with this any more than I do?

    • Rautakyy,

      Being a soldier has nothing to do with manhood! That’s the first I ever heard of such a suggestion. I have found in my experience, including 5 years in the Army as a paratrooper, that most military personnel are conservative in their overall worldview.

  19. Glenn E. Chatfield, I thought so. Though, this was meant as a rhetorical question, not a new line of conversation further away from the topic. Rather just to show the difference of culture I am facing when observing your views. We do have a compulsory military training and a reserve of almost all able bodied male citizens here, though one can join the unarmed service where the conscripts are sent to work in hospitals, libraries, kindergardens and firestations. As a result it is a common idea among the Finnish conservatives (regardless of gender) that attending the military training and being part of the reserve is the true measure of manhood. And they are very conservative about it.

    I am getting a bit old for it, but I still am a lance corporal in the reconnaissance. Yes, most of our active officers also hold conservative values, though not all. Like couple of my friends who are officers, gentlemen and socialists. The actual point was just that even the conservative values vary greatly, and even between western cultures.

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