The Varieties of Biblical Marriage

by Vorjack

MarriageWe hear a lot about “biblical marriage” these days. Some of us might not be clear on what that means. The website Religious Tolerance has provided a helpful article on the types of marriage found in the pages of the bible.

Here’s a summary:

  1. Polygynous Marriage
  2. Probably the most common form of marriage in the bible, it is where a man has more than one wife.

  3. Levirate Marriage
  4. When a woman was widowed without a son, it became the responsibility of the brother-in-law or a close male relative to take her in and impregnate her. If the resulting child was a son, he would be considered the heir of her late husband. See Ruth, and the story of Onan (Gen. 38:6-10).

  5. A man, a woman and her property — a female slave
  6. The famous “handmaiden” sketch, as preformed by Abraham (Gen. 16:1-6) and Jacob (Gen. 30:4-5).

  7. A man, one or more wives, and some concubines
  8. The definition of a concubine varies from culture to culture, but they tended to be live-in mistresses. Concubines were tied to their “husband,” but had a lower status than a wife. Their children were not usually  heirs, so they were safe outlets for sex without risking the line of succession. To see how badly a concubine could be treated, see the famous story of the Levite and his concubine (Judges 19:1-30).

  9. A male soldier and a female prisoner of war
  10. Women could be taken as booty from a successful campaign and forced to become wives or concubines. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes the process.

  11. A male rapist and his victim
  12. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how an unmarried woman who had been raped must marry her attacker.

  13. A male and female slave
  14. A female slave could be married to a male slave without consent, presumably to produce more slaves.

    and of course …

  15. Monogamous, heterosexual marriage
  16. What you might think of as the standard form of marriage, provided you think of arranged marriages as the standard. Also remember that inter-faith or cross-ethnic marriage were forbidden for large chunks of biblical history.

The important thing to realize here is that none of these models are described as better than any other. All appear to have been accepted.

So there you go. The next time someone says that we need to stick with biblical marriage in this country, you can ask them which of the eight kinds they would prefer, and why.

  • http://www.thewrittenwordreviews.wordpress.com goldnsilver

    Clever summary. I’ve always been a fan of religious tolerance.org.

    I hope they never bring number 6 back.

    • Flea

      Your hopes are in vain. It will never be brought back just because it has never been gone. Just watch the news… a couple of examples here:
      http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/001729.html
      http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread184059/pg1

    • Tom

      The funny thing is that somewhere between 1 billion and 1.5 billion people are pushing 6. After all a certain prophet had marriages like that. In one of them he was 54 and the “woman” was 6.

      Don’t worry, he didn’t rape her (though the text is quite adamant : it was against her will), until she was 9.

      But oh-no no-one can criticize islam. That would require actual courage.

      An honest man, on the other hand, would say, there isn’t a single christian country where rape is an allowed form of marriage. And there is ONE muslim country, out of about 150, where rape is not allowed. Clearly one can see which is the bigger problem.

      An honest man would realize that it’s no use criticizing christians : it doesn’t accomplish anything, because everything IS ALREADY CHANGED, it was changed long, long before any of us were born. It just hurts people. Criticizing islam *might* change things for the better, for half a BILLION women, but it will obviously require the massive application of violence.

      So let’s see which kind of site this is “these guys are down and defenseless. Let’s kick em” or if this is a site with people actually prepared to change things. My money is on cowards. After all, asking a muslim why he follows the model of a massacring child-rapist is a very justified question, which is why the response will be violent.

      • J Dogg

        I’m going to guess you’re a christian of some sort, and thus are angry at this, so you’re trying to say, “But hey, look at Muslims, they’re worse!” You’re right, everything has already changed a long time ago, so then why are many religious people still quoting their bible when certain subjects like marriage are brought up, even though bible marriage is what is listed above. The entire concept of believing in a higher power is nuts. People believe in the same god that people centuries ago did, who thought that thunder was caused by god because he was angry. Who sacrificed, who burned witches, etc. Bottom line is somewhere around maybe 1850-1900, we should have realized it was all BS, and to still believe in it in the year 2009 is INSANE to me.

        • blake rogers

          J Dogg is right!. now This is my point of view i don’t not believe in any religion at all for the simple fact of shit like this. now i don’t press my views on to others like most do cause everyone has his/her point of view. i was born a christian but soon realized that what was said in the “great book” don’t seem right at all. but i have learned to not worry about some book telling me how to live my life in ways that didn’t make sense but instead live my life the way i wanted to. to me all religion does is cause problems it does nothing to help anyone or anything. just look at history. now i know i will piss a lot of people off with what i have said but this is MY point of view keep that in mined.

        • barb

          I so agree with you ! ! !

          • blake rogers

            thanks barb

        • bijou schmidt

          if you really want to know if God is real you have to pursue Him. It doesn’t take a few minutes of your time, it takes your entire lifetime. Seeing as how you don’t believe the Bible is for today, i will not quote it. Here is something that may help. If you had or have a child and you knew they were in another country being sold into slavery and used for sex every day, how would you feel? What would you do? You wouldn’t spend a few minutes here and there googling questions about if you should save them, or theories on saving them, watching interviews about people having been saved before. I doubt it would take more than a few seconds for you to find a plane ticket to that country and physically fight with your life to save your child. God gave his own son for you, would you give your son for someone? What about your life for someone else? I hope i am not being harsh and i hope you can see something encouraging here. God honestly takes more than a few discussions on the internet to find, he takes some real searching to find. Why would the creator of the universe make you search so hard? He doesn’t, you are just not used to searching.

          • Wolf

            schmidt: “I found Jesus! Now it’s my turn to hide.” No, really? God gave his son to save me? Um … gave his son to himself, basically, since the theory is that when people die they go to the same afterlife god supposedly lives in … and … hmm … apparently, since “god and the son are one,” he gave himself to be tortured to death so that he could be appeased for our “sins”, which he designed into our nature …

            You paint a picture of god as a schizophrenic masochist; a split-personality who deliberately inflicts pain on himself and then blames it on his “children” to induce them to live lives of GUILT, SHAME, PENITENCE, and, oh, wait, even if you overcome all that uselessly self-harming emotion (which does not, by the way, magically erase whatever issues you might have associated with “sin”) you still spend HOURS and DAYS and YEARS of your life in a completely pointless activity: PRAYER.

            PRAYER–the notion that you must beg your parent for something that “he” already knows you need, such as remission from cancer, or a really good parking spot at the mall. If prayer fails, you may have:
            Not prayed hard enough (it’s your fault)
            Prayed for the wrong thing (you’re not omniscient)
            (but since god is omniscient, why are you supposed to tell “him” what to do, again?)
            Not be worthy of the “blessings” you asked for (god thinks you suck)
            But then again, prayer CAN’T go wrong, because whatever happens “was meant to be.”

            In other words, prayer is a perfectly useless and confusing process that leaves people feeling elated when things go the way they want them to, guilty when things do not (more likely to be guilty, since people more often pray for things they really want but think will be difficult to get–usually because they ARE difficult to get), and making up all sorts of justifications for when their wishes to the sky people don’t come true.

            In science, we call this “non-falsifiable.” In other words, it’s about as useful as debating whether or not unicorns like it better when footballs dream of styrofoam.

            • Steven

              You just read Dawkins, Wolf? Sounds pretty verbatim

            • truth

              Wolf I feel so sorry for you.
              You have no idea that once you accept Jesus as your savior that your sins are gone. He willingly takes away your sin, you will never be judged by it ever again. So you have nothing to feel guilty about.

              Christians who know this truth don’t ever feel guilty when bad things happen to them. It’s not something they’ve done or failed to do. It has nothing to do with right or wrong prayers because in truth he does know our needs and he would rather have an honest ten second prayer/conversation with his children than someone going on and on monotonously for hours.

              You can’t explain the trinity because only God knows and understands his plans and what he has done. So I don’t know why you’re trying to figure it out. The only way to do that is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior and perhaps one day have the chance to.

            • Sunny Day

              The Chewbacca defense, seriously?

              You’re a fucking moron.

            • Troutbane

              “only God knows and understands his plans and what he has done”

              ……..except for the part where I claim I understand His plans and then force others to live by the rules I set for myself.

              I mean, except for that.

            • boobelah

              my only problem with your comment is that you don’t know what “schizophrenic” means… it’s not DID or MPD or “split personality”, whatever that is…

          • Alina Tamiko

            While I respect all other religions, I have heard this exact same statement before. Maybe not worded exactly the same, but it came from a man that held a gun to my head and told me I was the one that would burn in hell. This same man also murdered someone in prison, whom had found spiritual peace in another religion.

            It seems to me you intend a peaceful debate, and so I’ll keep it as such. However, as a Shintoist, I do find it hard to believe that a single being, not matter how powerful, can run an entire universe. Its baffling to me to understand how that could be possible. I was born, raised, and baptized in the South. I live in the heart of the Bible Belt, but for the life of me, It still makes no sense. When I ventured to Japan, I found something that made sense. And it brought me peace.

            I spent the first 5 years of my life blissfully unaware of God’s existence, because Sunday School taught me that Jona was swallowed by a whale. I spent the next 15 praying, seeking and reading, trying to find out why I was suddenly a sinner and going to hell when I had done nothing wrong. How did I inherit the sin of a man that lived so long ago? At 20, I went to Japan, looking to get away and free my mind for a bit, because the stress of constantly hearing how I will burn in the deepest part of hell because of the way I was born. It was there I found a place that did not offer hell, but simple peace. A place where the priests were quiet, spoke in slow words that were a little easier for me to understand, and where you didn’t go every week to get your slate wiped clean.

            It took me 20 years to realize, that Christianity is being abused for the thoughts and actions of people that have issues of fear and greed. While It can be a beautiful religion for people that understand it, it’s not right for me. Prayer works the same in any religion. YOU speak to the god(s), and wait for the answer. In some, you get a miracle/angel/voice in response. Others you have to wait, and see.

            But what I see in common, between all religions, is that you look for a spiritual peace, and you find it in the arms of the god(s) you choose to worship. The thing is, until people stop abusing religion and using it as a weapon, we have a constant war between all of humanity.

        • truth

          Jdogg your points make no sense. Just because the incidents above happened in the bible it does not in any sense have anything to do with God’s plan and what He wanted for His people and His children.

          What they failed to mention is the very first instruction Genesis 2:24
          This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to hise wife, and the two are united into one.

          Just because people in the bible got it wrong and distorted God’s plans and truth doesn’t mean that God said any of the above were HIS way. Man has been messing up the interpretations of the bible into their own will for years. That’s why we’re all sinners.

          • Sunny Day

            You know you are using the bible to dismiss other parts of the bible right?
            Sense, you make none.

            • http://www.cafepress.com/just_think TheDevian

              They have to do that, because the whole thing is one big contradiction. Every part of it contradicts other parts of it. That is why no one can interpret it correctly, well that and the fact that it is fiction. Might as well spend your time interpreting The Lord of the Rings, you will get more out of it, and it’s better written. Or better yet, read non-fiction, actual history, not fairy tales and fantasy, you might actually learn something. [Shock, Horror!]
              Because like all religions, it was written by people to incorrectly explain how things work in such a way as to give themselves authority over how others run their lives. Power, plain and simple. A tool used to control the ignorant masses, and it works very well.
              Fantasy is all well and good, and can be a lot of fun, when you don’t take it too seriously and and keep it’s fictional status firmly in mind. If you do, you can learn from that too, just like real history. But if you take it too seriously, you do real hard to yourself and the world around you.
              Everything has its benefits in moderation, but anything in excess is harmful, too much water can kill you, in more ways than one.

            • http://www.cafepress.com/just_think TheDevian

              *correction, I meant ‘harm’ not hard. sorry.

          • Troutbane

            “Man has been messing up the interpretations of the bible into their own will for years”

            So, are you claiming that it’s possible you could be messing up YOUR interpretation?

      • Heather

        Tom, you’re kind of an idiot. The article says that in the Christian bible (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) it IS okay for Christians to do that. Also, ever heard of the Mormons out west? No, our country doesn’t allow for it to happen, but it still does, and in the name of a God.

        I’m down for religion, especially if it brings YOU peace, however, recognize the hypocrisy that still goes on within ANY organized religion.

      • Leah Cepukas

        Tom, it takes more than an honest man, it takes an intelligent human. Tragically there have been honest fools who were sold religious law. Either because they were too naive to see the real agenda or they are too dependent on a father figure god to look after them. When you ask a believer who believes in the biblical traditional God what they need God for they almost always say: a moral guide, a protector, a judge, something to believe in. All of which are to say they wish to have something (God) tell them what and how to live. A father figure. These folks are declaring inadvertently that they are not strong or complete enough to trust their own morals, to protect their self, to love without being told to, to make judgments based on variables, to make their life count without the permission of a god.

      • Goober8008

        Ummm, can you site where in the Qu’ran the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) he sleeps with a 9 year old? I’m just curious.

        • Tom

          Sure one can quote it …

          http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/bukhari/058.sbt.html#005.058.234

          (the hadith of Bukhari, volume 5, #234)

          Note the clarity of the text : the 9-year old girl did not choose to do anything, she was forced into it. That is called paedophilic rape, forcing a minor to have sex with you, or “marriage” if you are a muslim.

          Muslims have different ethical standards than us, and those standards are defined, not by a person, but by a book. Therefore every muslim supports paedophilic rape, because one who doesn’t, isn’t a muslim. If a muslim denies supporting such a thing, you might want to see their response to the very justified “so your prophet is a paedophilic rapist, how could you possibly believe him ?” question.

          But there is no answer, so it will simply be met with violence.

        • Jabster

          There’s nothing better than a bit of sterotyping is there Tom. Oh and when you say “us” who exactly is us?

      • Grey

        I do not know if you realize that your argument is inherently a fallacy. By definition, it is known as a smokescreen fallacy (also called a Red Herring).

        You are angry that someone pointed out some of the inconsistencies in the ‘biblical marriage’ terminology put forth by anti-gays. This article was not specifically about rape or its approval or disapproval within Christian or other countries.

        You’ll also find, with research, that rape is NOT legal in nearly all Muslim countries. Though I do agree that the method for solution of the problem after it occurs is ridiculously flawed.

        Not that your argument would not be fair, though slightly inaccurate, if you had not targeted a specific group. But as this was not an attack on Christian values, but certain people trying to use them without knowing them, there is no justification for pointing out others. Also, because you targeted one group in a very anti-semitic fashion, it invalidates your point entirely.

        If you wish to create a valid argument against a point you do not agree with, make sure to bring valid information that that point is false or inaccurate. Do not try to devalue an argument by pointing a finger and stating that some other group is worse. It doesn’t prove the point.

        Remember, the list was acquired from religioustolerance.org, it certainly wasn’t design to make Christianity look any worse than any other faith.

      • Vaal

        These things are in the Bible. You cannot believe in part of the Bible your either all in not at all.

        • Matt

          Just like everyone believes every word in every science textbook? Saying you cannot believe part of something is absurd. I mean seriously you read something take what makes sense from a logical standpoint and work it into your mental framework and dump the rest. Sure many “christians” do leave their brains aside when it comes to the bible but heck thats more of a character flaw imo.

          • Siberia

            Well, not a lot of people base their entire lives and the lives of others in scientific textbooks, then proceed to terrorize those who don’t agree with them and try to change laws (or impede new laws from being made) based on it.

            Not a lot of people take scientific textbooks as inerrant, either.

            Though, if an engineer or doctor forgets a relevant bit of information and makes mistakes because of it, s/he usually ends in a lot of trouble.

            • JonJon

              I lol’d

      • daniel b57

        Tom, you cant have it both ways. Modern Christians constantly cite the Bible; this article is simply pointing out what’s actually in the Bible. If you then say “well, none of that happens anymore in Christian nations”, fine, but then stop quoting the Bible as a source of marriage guidance.

        • Tom

          So as I expected, with very few exceptions, this site is merely a den of cowards. But if you’re right about the violent nature of Christans, taking into account your response to very minimal muslim violence, you will change your standpoint once Christians realize that convincing Americans does not take reason … it takes mountains of American corpses.

          I really don’t like such thinking, but given your reaction and absolute refusal to criticize a barbaric faith, what other conclusion is there ? Terror works. Kill a few thousand Americans and you are declared victims of white racism, and given millions of dollars, protection from criticism and a taboo is placed on any objectionable act you have done.

          Great. Guess what the result will be ?

          • claidheamh mor

            Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

          • trj

            Great. Another Christian whining about how we’re not being as hard on Islam as we are on Christianity, all the while demonstrating both his bigotry and his Apocalyptic wet dreams.

          • http://www.cafepress.com/just_think TheDevian

            Anyone who takes their religion too seriously is bad, and personally I treat the Muslim religion with the same lack of respect I show all of them, on the same sliding scale, the more you push your garbage onto others, and the more seriously you take yourselves, the more I will make fun, and ridicule. This article is NOT about other religions though, it is about the Bible, thought I suppose you can say that since all of the occidental religions, the monotheistic ones, have the same origin, so they are pretty much the same thing, good to hear it from your side too. But all of the versions of the Bible itself came after that particular split. The only baring that has on this is in the general sense of how historically people were treated badly, especially the poor and women. Treated as possessions to be traded and used as objects. We as a species have a horrible history of abuse, it’s time learn from the mistakes of the past, move on and try looking to the future.
            If you want to believe in an invisible, magical friend, fine, but use it to inspire you to help people, not spread hate and harm others.
            The Dead Sea Scrolls state you should ignore the pagans, not associate, not buy your bread from them, nothing. It says nothing of trying to convert, nor forcing others to believe what you do.
            As a follower of the great prophet George Carlin on the other hand, I am required to ridicule anyone who takes magic men in the sky (or anywhere else) too seriously.

      • C

        It’s pathetic how people try to turn attention to Islam. For your information, I converted to Islam *because* I was raped, and the only people who were there for me were Muslims – particularly Muslim men – that I was very close to. All of my “Christian” friends blamed me.

        Nice try, though. I don’t know what “text” you are referring to seeing as Mohamed isn’t mentioned in the Qur’an except in passing, though if you mean the Hadith there are strong ones and weak ones – and his young wife is the person that passed most of the hadith down, and never said it was against her will.

        If you want to spread hate, please do so without “defending” my rights as a Muslim woman. I know them, and I don’t need your help. In fact, Islam specifically states the rights of Women, and did looong before Christianity did. Muslim women were allowed their own property from the beginning – women in Europe only had rights to own property within the last 200 years.

        I am glad that there are so many other enlightened individuals who see the hypocrisy of your words. They give me hope!

        • Daniel Florien

          And all the women who don’t have rights because of Islam? Do you just ignore them, pretend they don’t exist — or do you just not accept the reality of their existence?

      • Kevin Nickoson

        Why don’t you compare the technological advancement and poverty levels of those “Muslim” countries vs. your “Christian” countries. And plenty of Christian nations throughout history, actually proclaiming themselves defenders of Christendom, committed completely unacceptable atrocities. It is not religion which causes any of this, it is people who commit sin and USE religion to defend their actions. The same goes for you righteous western Christians that look down your nose at the rest of the world and fail to see the contexts which prevent their doing well and ensured your well being. You make me sick.

        If someone doesn’t want to practice logic strenuously and tediously, challenging their own beliefs at every corner and seeking Capital T- Truth, fine. But stop presenting your opinions to the world. Have a little humility and leave the thinking to those of us who think.

    • Ekant dilwalla

      This is clever? How so? The Bible does not condone any of the behaviors of the people it describes. The Bible merely tells all about them. The Bible is very specific about what type of marriage it approves of. These is no ambiguity there. The other point is that the Bible is extremely blunt in that it highlights all the faults of the heroes in the Bible. This is what makes it a unique book. It narrates exactly what happened and it does not analyze the events in its stories.

      Therefore, it is pretty stupid to take the stories in the Bible and then claim that it defines all these as marriage!!!!!!!

      The Bible clearly states that God has ordained marriage between one man and one woman. What the people in the Bible did was go against this and since the Bible does not hide what these heroes of the Bible did, it makes it more credible.

      Even the great king David committed adultery and murder. Does that mean that the Bible condones adultery and murder? Think a little before you make such stupid accusations.

      • trj

        The Bible clearly states that God has ordained marriage between one man and one woman.

        In that case you should have no problem pointing out where exactly it states that. Good luck.

        Also, the Bible states that David always did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, except for the Batsheba adultery episode. So clearly God didn’t have a problem with all his multiple wives and concubines.

        Incidentally, David commited many murders, not even counting the wars, and God was perfectly fine with that as well.

        • Ekant dilwalla

          I guess you are not familiar with the Bible. David paid heavily for his sins. He was not excused for them. God is infinitely just and infinitely wise. If you read the bible and study it, you will begin to get somethings of the wisdom of God and just how just God is. It takes a lifetime of getting to know God and His ways which will eventually make you wise. However, if you seek to discredit the Bible, then God will allow you to go in your way and be lost forever. Not a place I would like to be. If you read the stories in exodus and how God allowed pharaoh to be completely destroyed (foreknowing that pharaoh was a lost cause), then you may begin to understand how God works. Currently, as written in II Thessalonians 2, there is a very strong delusion being experienced by the majority of the population of the world, including many Christians, about what is going on in the world. This was predicted about 2000 years ago and written in the Bible. Wake up folks.

          • trj

            I’m quite familiar with the Bible, thanks. And you didn’t respond to anything I said. Lets take it again:

            1) Where does the Bible say that marriage is between one man and one woman? You claim the Bible clearly says that. If so, you should have no problem pointing out the verses.

            2) Everything David did, except for the Batsheba-Uriah episode was righteous in the eyes of God (1 Kings 15:5). How do you reconcile this with the fact that David had myriad wives and concubines, if, as you say, marriage is between one man and one woman?

            David paid heavily for his sins.

            Actually the ones who paid for David’s sin of adultery was his wives and in particular his infant son (2 Sam. 12). God killed David’s baby son to punish David. As a matter of fact, let’s add that to the points I’d like to see you address:

            3) How can killing an innocent baby for the sins of its father in any possible way be the actions of a just god?

      • Nox

        “The Bible does not condone any of the behaviors of the people it describes. The Bible merely tells all about them.”

        Not only condones. But the worst human behaviors it describes are described as directly ordered by yhvh. And the worst behaviors of any kind described in the bible are carried out directly by yhvh.

        “Even the great king David committed adultery and murder. Does that mean that the Bible condones adultery and murder?”

        No. That doesn’t mean the bible condones murder. The 100+ instances in the bible of god or his prophets commanding murder, might give that impression.

        “The Bible clearly states that God has ordained marriage between one man and one woman.”

        No. You assume that is in there, based on your assumption that the bible is god’s infallible guide to the Universe and must contain an answer on any topic that comes up. There is no part of the bible which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, or defines marriage at all.

        • Troutbane

          @ Ekant dilwalla
          I want to add a note before we get Wall O’ Bible Text: The question is where in the Bible does God say only one man and only one woman is a marriage? Please stick to that without going all ‘wife and husband’ and so forth.
          And I would like to also ask you to explain how Matthew 19:4-6 allows for ANY divorce.
          In other words, why is gay (or even polygamous) marriage such a big deal since nowhere in the Bible does it say marriage is ONLY between ONE man and ONE woman, yet somehow divorce is OK even though Jesus himself declared that divorce should never happen?

    • John Pekrins

      I believe with the American Taliban (aka The GOP) on the rise, hopes are on tenuous ground.

  • Francesc

    I’m trying to choose between 1 and 4, but I suppose I’m going to have to accept number 8. Booring…

  • Ro

    Ugh, it drives me crazy when people rant about protecting “traditional” value and “traditional” marriage. Thanks for putting up a clear article outlining exactly what this tradition really was.

  • Bissrok

    But, hey, it’s all God’s love that we’re sharing. And if He wants me to marry a woman and bring along a half dozen concubines, who am I to fight His plans?

    • Francesc

      Would you have to do sex with one at a time, or could be with more than one? There is any further explanation in the bible?

    • http://www.lswtf.com JackGonzo

      Francesc brings up a very valid point, is concubine on concubine action considered a sin in the bible? Is it only with each other and not when I’m involved? Inquiring minds want to know

      • Bissrok

        I’ll have to round up a priest and ask. That’s really a question you want answered ahead of time.

      • http://blogdebate.org/dubi Dubi

        The bible has no problem with lesbian sex. None whatsoever. Only male-on-male is forbidden.

        • Brettin

          Not so. Read Romans 1.

          • Tom

            One does wonder why all religions are against any form of same-sex sex. But I do think the answer is simple.

            Heterosexual sex is a necessity. It is absolutely required for the continuation of society, even if a society could probably remain in existence with a whole lot less. Same-sex sex, on the contrary, at best (when not involving rape, extortion, …) strictly a pleasure union. It’s like drugs. It’s non-functional pleasure (again … that’s a best-case scenario).

            Not that I’m implying there is more rape or force in same-sex sex. In fact my personal opinion is that there’s less of that in same-sex unions than in heterosexual sex.

            But the fact remains, from the perspective of society as a whole, same-sex sex is, in the very best possible case, an egoistical, completely useless pleasure activity. In addition to that, people tend to get addicted to it. So the effect of allowing same-sex sex on a society is probably similar to the effect of allowing drugs (and just ask a few “coffee shop” neighbors from Holland exactly what that effect is. Even with the extremely mild drugs that Holland allows, it’s not, at all, a positive effect. Even something as mild as cannabis brings crime, or at the very least constant public disturbances, wherever it goes).

            • Mikey

              I don’t see your point Tom. Between 1 and 10 percent of the population is gay, depending on which studies you want to believe, so there will always be 90–99 percent of people boffing away to continue society no matter how much or how little homosexual sex is tolerated.

              And don’t try to tell me that straight people are any less “addicted” to sex!

            • Dave030966

              Well, then, if the whole hubbub is over procreation, why is it that we don’t even blink when a post-menopausal lady marries some guy. Or when a man who has had a vasectomy/woman with tubal ligation gets married. Perhaps those procedures should be outlawed, eh? ‘Cuz we’re not quite the theocracy we want the country to be. Oh, and let’s bring back the 10% tithe, like I’m not broke enough without doling out 10% to some hypocritical entity that doesn’t even pay freakin’ taxes. Wanna raise beaucoup bucks? Tax these sumbitches. But that’s another matter.

              I’ve known personally and heard of even more gay couples that have been together much longer than the average heterosexual marriage, sometimes 20+ years. My first marriage lasted just over 3 years (amicable divorce; we’re still friends) and my current is 2+ and with a lot of work and a bit of luck it’ll last. Oh, and as far as the concubine thing goes, we have an open marriage and both of us can play (safely) as long as we’re honest with each other. Gotta love it! :)

            • Justin

              Tom, I fail to see your point entirely. Considering that even with the plethora of forms of easily available contraception nearly half (49%) of pregnancies are unintended, I would argue that the majority of heterosexual sex in this country is strictly a pleasure union, and an addictive one at that.

              As you mentioned in an earlier post, we have less of a problem with sex crimes in this country than in theocratic ones due to it’s legality, much as Amsterdam has a lower rate of cannabis use than in countries where it is illegal.

              If religions are promoting the elimination of all non-essential activities as you say, I cannot see how any religion could condone prayer.

            • Grey

              The statistics for pot being related to crime are actually quite low. Save for the crime of actually possessing and using the marijuana, most pot smokers are content to hang out wherever they smoked and just relax.

              As for the necessity point on hetero sexual relations, you are actually right on base with that. Though it likely stems from religious competition in more modern ages, the few older faiths that had any reference to the inappropriateness of same-sex relations would have been due to a simple need to maintain (not increase) numbers.

              Still, the reference even in many of the older faiths would be outdated in modern society. There is a problem of overpopulation now, not a concern for survival due to loss of numbers.

              One might point out that as many homosexuals have tried to state, one does not typically choose to be gay. It is simply who you are. It is also a form of survival mechanism programmed into a species to avoid overpopulation. So while love is involved, one cannot blame the lover, they were born that way. It’s a system of checks and balances if you want to get objective on the point.

              As to the sexual addiction comment, the variety of sex has little to do with that. As a matter of fact, the actual acquisition of sex has little to do with it as well. Sexual addiction occurs even in those who have never been able to form such a relationship. It it actually more likely to occur in people with eating disorders than most other subtypes.

            • http://www.BlueNine.info Blue Nine

              Tom’s comment raises an interesting question about the agenda of the anti-gay marriage movement: How far will they go? If marriage is about procreation, will straight couples be forced to have children? Some people do not want children. Who are you to tell them they should have them?

              Let me restate the question, just in case you did not get it: Who are you to tell people they should have children?

            • Francesc

              I think you all have missed Tom point’s here:
              “In addition to that, people tend to get addicted to it.”
              So what Tom is saying is “I fear I could get addicted to it”

              Also, Tom, you don’t have any problem stating things you don’t know for sure. I suppose that’s what faith is about. “One does wonder why all religions are against any form of same-sex sex” ALL religions? I don’t think many of the different religions in greece were against it.

              Things that drugs and same-sex sex have in common:
              1.- Pleasure
              2.- Useless
              So, he concludes:
              “So the effect of allowing same-sex sex on a society is probably similar to the effect of allowing drugs”

              A very strong argument….let’s try this:

              Things that drugs and opposite-sex sex, with contraception, have in common:
              1.- Pleasure
              2.- Useless
              So… should we forbid contraceptive methods because they raise up criminality?

              Things that drugs and soccer have in common:
              1.- Pleasure
              2.- Useless
              3.- Italian people “do” both of them and they have problems with mafia, camorra and berlusconi
              Ban Soccer!!

              Should I go on, applying your flawless arguments?

            • Elizabeth

              Let me just say that you’re all perverts. When I tell you I’m a lesbian, you think about ONE thing–MY SEX LIFE! Get your mind out of my bedroom! :) Tom, wow, major perversion if every time you meet a gay man, all you’re thinking about is his sex life.

              Also, my religion has no problem with gays and lesbians. The assumption that most religions have a need to dictate the sex-lives of their members is pretty ethnocentric, Tom. (Religio-centric? Christianity-centric? Help me out here.) You assume that because Islam, Judaism, and Christianity have issues that “most” religions do. Well, until about 1600 years ago, these three did not make up a significant percentage of the world’s religions, and even then, they took time to spread (in the case of Islam, to form in the first place). To this day, forms of Hinduism and Buddhism dominate the planet–many forms, and no consistency on what versions try to Big Brother their adherent’s sex-lives.

              The 10% of gays / lesbians / transexuals out there DO serve a very strong reproductive function for society as a whole. When you have children orphaned, find the nearest gay couple to care for them. When all the reproductive adults are too busy with their children to be leaders and artists and medicine-women, let the lesbians do it. When you need soldiers to go get themselves killed in defense of the village, take the gay men, then the straight men, then the lesbians–leaving those with the highest significance in reproduction covered behind a three-deep defensive line.

              Having non-reproducing adults in a population is very common in many species, from bees to prairie dogs, as a way of getting things done that can’t be done when you’re tending children, or as a supplement to the raising of those children. Hormones in the human mother’s womb change with the more male children she has, so that the odds of a 4th or 5th son being gay rise drastically. Why? Because one of those older sons is very likely to die–now the family has a spare hunting, defending male in the family to care for his brother’s wife’s children.

              As for sex, if sex wasn’t mostly about gratuitous pleasure and was only for reproduction, there’d be a lot more babies out there, or a lot less sex between married people of all types. However, Tom; lesbians have the least “sex” of any segment of the population. (By someone’s definition of sex.) If there’s anyone less “addicted” to sex than lesbians, they need to take over the ranks of the Catholic priesthood.

            • blake rogers

              u got a point a vary good point

            • ddblue

              Tom said: “One does wonder why all religions are against any form of same-sex sex. But I do think the answer is simple. Heterosexual sex is a necessity. It is absolutely required for the continuation of society…”

              I don’t think you intended to, but you really came close to hitting the nail on the head with that statement. The only word you need to change is the last one — from “society” to “religion”. (For now I’m overlooking the gross generalization that “all religions are against any form of same-sex sex.”)

              See, religions need followers. And most religions understand that the best way to get more followers is to have your existing followers live long, healthy lives and to procreate as much as possible. It’s why the Catholic church forbids contraception. It’s why there are so many dietary restrictions in Western religions. (Eastern religions are a different matter. Their dietary restrictions are primarily out of respect for other living creatures.)

              Wrap your beliefs up in whatever metaphysical rationalization you want, there’s always a practical reason behind them.

              (BTW, I have to give special thanks to my comparative religion professor — a Jesuit nonetheless — for opening my eyes to this insight.)

            • Vaal

              Heterosexual sex is a necessity for the proliferation of the human race. Granted. Since you are seeming to look at this in a semi-scientific sort of way it can also be claimed that because of the current overpopulation of the earth that homosexual relations are the natural solution. So in that sense homosexual relations are more useful than heterosexual ones.
              Also you cannot claim to know that ALL religions are against same sex marriages, only the ones that are based on the bible, which makes up a very small fraction of ALL religions.
              I think you would find that Holland’s crime rates are much less than the ‘drug free’ USA…

            • Siberia

              Somebody’s never read any classical history, now have they?

              Do tell me, Tom, does the Sacred Band of Thebes rings any bells? Spartans thought it was fundamental for a young man’s education to have an older lover. Athenians had a similar statute.

              Those were socities where same sex relationships were not only accepted, but encouraged. You say about religion, but: the Greek god Zeus had at least one homosexual relationship (Ganymede). Apollo was awful close to Hyacinthus and Cyparissus, both handsome mortal men (in fact, Hyacinthus died because of Zephyrus’ jealousy – Zephyrus also being a male entity). The Iliad tells us of the remarkable relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, which was almost surely sexual. It was even reenacted by Alexander the Great and his best friend (and assumed lover) Hephaestion; history tells us of their lifelong relationship. The god Set is said to have seduced and had intercourse with the god Horus. The emperor Hadrian was most likely gay. There are surviving paintings and artifacts in several cultures showing homosexual relationships.

              Yup, not accepted at all.

            • grigori

              Then enjoy having your boring, purely-for-reproductive-purposes sex – you puritanical weirdo.

            • http://jynxeddraca.deviantart.com Rebekah

              “One does wonder why all religions are against any form of same-sex sex.”

              No, they aren’t. Paganism I know doesn’t, hell many Pagans are gay/lesbian.

            • http://www.cafepress.com/just_think TheDevian

              No, it’s because if you control people’s sex lives then you can control almost every aspect of society.

            • John Pekrins

              “Heterosexual sex is a necessity. It is absolutely required for the continuation of society,”
              Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are 6 billion people on the planet now.

          • Question-I-thority

            Tom, thank you for calling my love completely useless and comparing it to addiction. You sound like you could be a nice guy but you are for sure a bigot.

            Further, social usefulness is more than pumping out babies, right?

            • claidheamh mor

              I’ll move it one step farther. WIth overpopulation, breeding is irresponsible. Social usefulness is not pumping out babies.

          • Mogg

            I don’t know about “in the very best possible case, an egoistical, completely useless pleasure activity.” Sexual activity produces vasopressin and oxytocin in humans and other pair-bonding animals, and it seems to help the partners to become more attached and faithful to each other. While the research in humans has a way to go, it seems that stable, happy pair relationships are probably so at least partially because of sex. Surely supporting good relationships is a useful outcome?

          • JonJon

            Thank you, I was going to have to mention that…

            • JonJon

              reply bar fail

      • http://www.cafepress.com/just_think TheDevian

        The Bible never says anything bad about girl on girl, only sodomy.

  • http://thebeattitude.com theBEattitude

    Whatever God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    Even if it is one of your many wives, a concubine, a slave, your sister-in-law, or your rapist. If God was brought you together “it is good”. Unless you are homosexual. Then you are going to hell.

    • http://Karlylarson.com Karly

      I like the spin on this quote from the movie Dangerous Beauty:
      “What God and Greed hath joined together, let no love put asunder.”

      • TS

        I like your style. ; )

        “If God was brought you together ‘it is good’. Unless you are homosexual” is just troll bait.

        I’m a fan of FSM humor myself.
        They have a graphic which reads: “HELL it sucks cuz its hot.”

    • DarkMatter

      “Even if it is one of your many wives, a concubine, a slave, your sister-in-law, or your rapist. If God was brought you together “it is good”

      So, 1 man and 1 wife forced by the law is not that good, obeying the law against that is good is also sin, worthy of hell.

      • Tom

        How exactly is marriage forced by law ? People still choose to get married. This isn’t a muslim country, you know.

        • DarkMatter

          Er… illegal for a man to have multiple wives or a woman to have multiple husbands in lawful marriage? But then, the argument is within the context of biblical marriage, not apart of it.

        • Heather

          Again, Tom. Muslims are not the only ones with forced marriages. Hindus and Mormons do it as well. Haha, you should travel some.

          • Grey

            Or perhaps he should just look around a bit.

            Shotgun weddings still occur in the ‘good Christian’ parts of the country.

            And as for this not being a Muslim country, Tom. What type of country is it precisely? Seeing as it was originally inhabited by atavists, then some pagans were added, then some protestant Christians and after that many other belief systems from just as many cultures.

            You’re not trying to tell us that America is a white, English-speaking, Protestant country and that anyone who doesn’t fall within all of those categories needs to ‘go back home’ are you?

            Just saying, because you’re kinda starting to sound like that.

          • Kat

            Couple points.
            1) Mormons don’t practice arranged marriage or polygamy and haven’t for over a hundred years. (you guys are thinking of the FLDS.)
            2) Muslims don’t condone rape.
            3) Homosexuality isn’t going to cause the human race to die out. Ever. There isn’t a large enough population skew.
            4) Judeo-Christian faiths are not the only religions out there.
            5) Admit that you have a problem with differences and stop using God to try and back you up.

            Thank you.

            • http://www.cafepress.com/just_think TheDevian

              1) Right, the Mormons who follow the religion the way the founder intended. A Rose by any other name…
              2) No, but they define it differently, like may religions and societies, for example, a man can not rape his wife, because she is his wife, and there for, must always be willing by definition. Also the legal age of marriage is puberty, so by our definition is statutory rape. Same for the above mention Mormons (and others), who marry off sometimes as early as 13.
              3) No, you are right, but Over Breeding WILL cause the Human Species to die out, and relatively speaking, soon.
              4) Correct, they are just the most forceful.
              “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” – Stephen Roberts

    • Grey

      Free will brought the rapist together with their victim, not God.

      And that’s as much a response as I’m going to give the troll bait.

  • vorjack

    Hmmm. Well, there’s Genesis 30:14-16, where Jacob’s wives barter for the right to sleep with him that night:

    In the days of wheat harvest Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them to his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, “Give me, I pray, some of your son’s mandrakes.” But she said to her, “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel said, “Then he may lie with you tonight for your son’s mandrakes.” When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him, and said, “You must come in to me; for I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he lay with her that night.

    This implies that they weren’t sleeping as a group. Using the usual method of fundamentalist biblical hermeneutics (where any example from the bible is treated as prescriptive), I guess we have to conclude that you’re only supposed to sleep with one at a time.

    • vorjack

      *sigh* That was a response to Francesc above: “Would you have to do sex with one at a time, or could be with more than one? There is any further explanation in the bible?”

      • Francesc

        Thanks. That answer my question. Of course I can be a true christian and forget that part of the bible :-)

        The bible here is prescripting too prostitution? I mean, come on, she can lay with him in exchange of some mandrakes…

        • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

          I wonder what happened to all of the mandrakes, perhaps they were destroyed in the flood?

          • RickP

            Rachel hid them somewhere and let Jacob try to find them.

          • LRA

            The mandrakes showed up in Harry Potter- as loud, screaming roots…

            ;)

          • http://Karlylarson.com Karly

            Mandrakes are still around. They are the generic name used to describe the root of the plants of the nightshade family, i.e. tomatoes, peppers, jimpson (sp?) weed.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandrake_(plant)

            They are/were used as medicines and in magic rituals, probably because they have hallucinogenic properties. Some of them are also highly poisonous. So in essence Leah traded Rachel drugs for sex with her husband. Nice.

            • http://progressatallcost.blogspot.com/ markbey

              Karly thanks for and explaination of mandrakes. I really had no Idea what they were, as Ive had absolutely no use for the bible for about 17 years now.

              Also I had no idea that mandrakes were hallucinagenitics does any one know were I can cop some good mandrakes from? :)

            • Kikipai

              You are going to have to trade sex for them. By the way, what about the multiple wives while the husband is away? If my big, strong, polygamy-loving man is on vacation, can I love on some of his other wives? ;)

            • rodneyAnonymous

              Can you?! You have to!

            • B-Girl

              “So in essence Leah traded Rachel drugs for sex with her husband.” Thanks for a great laugh.

            • Danno

              Lmao, isn’t the bible great?

  • Siler

    Somebody please explain these then:

    Lev 18:22-23 “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” Lev 20:13 “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.” 1 Cor 6:9 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals” 1 Tim 1:9-10 “realizing the fact that (civil) law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers” Rom 1:26-27 “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”

    Just wondering.

    • RickP

      I can explain those easily, they are as much bullshit as everything listed in the article. If you support those quotes you also support a woman being forced to marry her rapist, right? The bible was written by Bronze Age men, not a higher power. Why do you think that God always seems to agree with the most ignorant of people in the world?

      • Eric

        i lovingly say you’re wrong because your entire argument relies on the assumption that we are still subject to Old Testament law. Historically speaking, Jesus came to establish a new law which is basically “be excellent to each other” Who can say no to unconditional love? Love that says, “I don’t care what you do or don’t do… I still accept you and value you more than anything in this temporary life”

        every passage used in this article is taken out of Old Testament.. and is therefore irrelevant to us now as far as the law is concerned. The principles are still timeless.

        anyway that’s my two sense. i’ll probably be cyberburned at the stake by people who just can’t stand the idea of something higher than their selfish humanity. Any takers?

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Wow, that doesn’t sound like a rationalization at all.

          Isaiah 40:8 says God’s word stands forever. And God clearly thought slavery was a good idea. And Jesus didn’t seem to mind. I’m so confused.

          Matthew 5:17-18 — Do not think that I (Jesus) have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

          • rodneyAnonymous

            By the way, it is much more effective and convincing to act lovingly, than it is to declare your actions loving. Bro.

            • Eric

              I certainly do the best i can to act lovingly to those around me. Unfortunately, this is the internet and text… not much room for acting.

              Since when was Jesus okay with slavery? I’m pretty sure his whole agenda was to die for everyone equally. If everyone is equally imperfect and equally in need of a savior, then there’s no room for slavery. That’s the point…. haven’t you heard of the Golden Rule?

            • rodneyAnonymous

              Luke 7:2 — Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.

              Peter 2:18 — Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

              Ephesians 6:5 — Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ

              Colossians 3:22 — Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, work heartily…

              Titus 2:9 — Bid slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to be refractory, nor to pilfer, but to show entire and true fidelity.

              1 Cor 7:21-22 — Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.

            • Karzdan

              “haven’t you heard of the Golden Rule?”
              Really, do you think that was conjured up by JESUS? I gladly disappoint. But no. It’s a concept that has been around for ages before your, supposed, saviour showed up.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Rule

              Check it out. It’s a good read. So jump off your “My morality is superior, because my book says so.” high horse. The idea of, treating others as you’d like to be treated, is an effect of our social evolution. And not from some poorly written instruction manual.

            • rodneyAnonymous

              originality is totally overrated, but yeah, none of Jesus’s teachings were original

        • Andrew N.P.

          Historically speaking, Jesus came to establish a new law which is basically “be excellent to each other”

          No, I’m pretty sure that was Bill & Ted.

          • Eric

            yeah it was definitely “love one another” in a nutshell in case you couldn’t put 2 and 2 together.

            • lolhollaatchaboi

              Unless there are two penises

        • Karzdan

          If this is so, then Homosexuality is no longer a sin. Let them be. But oh wait. You think it’s all icky, and thus you still cling to the ‘old testament’ for your justification of bigotry towards them. Pick one, or the other.

          PS. Show me where Jesus reascended the old laws.

        • Rachel

          Dear everyone,

          Matthew 10:34 – I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword

          <3 Jesus

        • JonJon

          @ eric

          romans, timothy, corinthians…

          3 of 5 are from NT books. Unless I’m confused about when Corinth existed…

      • Silar

        I still find it interesting the phenomenon of “Taking the Lord’s name in vain”. People, angry or not will use goddamn, Jesus Christ and many variations of both that sort of take the edge off like gosh darn, cheese and rice or judas priest to name a few. Why is it just those names? I don’t seem to hear people say Oh, Adolph Hitler or Ted Fu*kin’ Bundy. No, they always use the Lord’s name. You know why? Because God’s name and Jesus Christ’s name carry POWER! Whether they are used negatively or positively, they have power. I have noticed so many times in a conversation, if you mention Jesus in a positive way to an unbeliever, it has an affect on them whether they admit it or not.
        This whole thread could go on to infinity. The truth is we will all find out what the truth is when we die and we will all die sometime. It could be in the next second or 100 years from now…but we will die. If we die and we go back to like before we were born…no consciousness of anything, well then all this augmenting going on is all for nothing. But the fact is none of us know that for sure. UNLESS….you take salvation by faith. Faith…you just know that you know that you know. That’s the tough one for many.
        The argument continues and you all will get nowhere with it.

        Just some more things I was wondering about.

        Silar

        PS. And RickP….you sound like you are really, really mad!! I hope you don’t go through your whole life like that.

        • DarkMatter

          Oh Hilter, what a crap!

        • Francesc

          Krishna! I can’t believe he really “thinks” that!

          • Silar

            Francesc, Yeah, I believe it. For once in your life just listen to people talk.
            Don’t you listen to people talk? When they are mad, they say goddamn it” or “Jesus Christ”.There is a reason those names are used. It’s a slam on God. He get’s credit for all the good things that happen and all the credit for all the bad things that happen.So He can’t win. He gave us “free will”. A lot of people don’t handle having “free will” very well. You have the power to go fuck a 9 year old boy up the ass and mess up his life forever or take a gun and shoot some old lady for the 16 dollars in her purse. Or you can hold a door for someone in a wheel chair or give money to a good charity. Quite a contrast but everyone has the power to do anything they want. But with free will He gave us (some of us) commone sense not to do these things because they are wrong. The trouble is you don’t know your ass from the hole in the ground you believe you crawled out of and then a billion years later evolved into what you are today. Give me a break. That makes no sense. Perhaps you did come from slime out of the sea and like you said to me “He really thinks that? You really think that?, I know I didn’t. All this is so pointless just rambling on anonymously on the Internet. It’s a complete waste of time. Nothing ever gets resolved. Ad infinitum.

            P.S.
            Even movies are rated by whether or not those word/names are used. A damn or hell can be used in a G rated movie. Jesus Christ or goddamn will give you PG. Used to be if just one gratuitous “fuck” was in there, it would change it to an R. Now over the years things have changed because of lost revenues in movies. They had to come up with something that because parents (responsible ones) with kids would avoid an R rated movie. So what did the movie moguls come up with so they wouldn’t loose more money or families……PG-13…..now you can have JC, GD, and fuck in the movie. However people have become desensitized to all of it. Even on TV. So all of it doesn’t really matter anymore. That why I see that a threat like this is pointless and no one really learns anything about anything. Just anonymous opinions flying around. The Internet is full of them. Mine included. What a waste of time. I just wasted 10 minutes typing this reply. If we are the only ones in the universe, well we are all a sorry lot. Some example to set if there was anyone looking in on us. Wars over money, land, and religion…fill in some more if you want to. Many human beings just can not get along. So we slam them in prison which is a good thing many times. Others just kill each other. Someone should just push that big red button and get things rolling. Then everyone could experience MAD. Mutual Assured Destruction. No more wars. No more threads like this that go on and on and on about nothing and never get anywhere. I think a better term is it’s all just so much bullshit. This is all like less than spitting in the ocean. In fact, it’s less than one molecule of my saliva spit into the universe. Good luck in life. I hope we all have a good ending. Th-th-th-that’s all folks! Silar T.

            • DarkMatter

              “For once in your life just listen to people talk.”

              Hope you are feeling better now.

            • Silar

              Yes, I do feel better. Actually, an impatient lady blew her horn at me this morning and it got me quite upset. But take comfort, I begin my new medicine in 3 weeks. I will be fine. Thanks for asking DK. :-)

            • Francesc

              Lithium, I hope, you must be really depressed! If you accept an advice from an stranger: talk to those people who love you.

              I have an alternative theory about why people says “Jesus”: because its banned and it piss off your parents.

              Moreover, you are thinking as if english would be the only language in the world. In my country is not so common the use of those words. We use a lot more what we could translate as “fuck” or “shit”, though. Maybe the “power” of God’s words can’t travel to the other side of the atlantic

            • Siberia

              Actually, Silar, perhaps we use your God/Jesus’ name because of a couple centuries of religious indocrination. I don’t think they’re very popular expletives in, say, India. Or China, Japan, the Middle East, and other not-traditionally-Christian places.

              Me, I’ve taken it upon myself to only use ‘gods’ (plural), ‘Olympian gods’, ‘Hel’ (the Norse goddess/thing) and ‘Loki’ for my expletives. It’s a hard task, but I will one day break the conditioning. You just watch.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Almighty Zeus!

          “I’m not afraid of my fear. It’s folly, the Christian argument that you shuold live always in view of your death. The only way to live is to forget that you’re going to die. [...] I regret nothing.”
          – W. Somerset Maugham, “Cronshaw”, Of Human Bondage

        • rodneyAnonymous

          By the way… isn’t it weird that the power of words seem so divorced from their meaning? Poo is a baby word, shit is vulgar, but they mean the same thing. Sex and fuck. The most vulgar word in Japanese translates literally to “beast”. For evaluating the vulgarity or power of a word, it’s almost like its meaning is subordinate to something else.

        • Elizabeth

          Pascal’s Wager:
          If I don’t believe in god and I die and go to hell for not believing, that’s bad.
          If I do believe in god and I die and god didn’t exist, “it cost me nothing.”
          If I do believe in god and I die and go to heaven, that’s good.
          So I’ll believe in god just in case.

          That’s what you’re saying, basically, right? One BIG GAPING HOLE in that theory. If your God is in your head all the time like the Xians tend to say It is, then It gets to see the self-deception required on the part of someone like me, who simply cannot believe in something so unbelievable as your Xian god. If God saw me trying to believe, It would know I was lying my ass off, and It would summarily send me to hell for that.

          Then, It made me the way I am, if It exists, and that means It made me incapable of belief. (Because believe me, I spent a part of my life trying VERY hard, but ultimately, self-deception doesn’t hold.) Which means that your God made me incapable of believing in It, thus doubly screwing me over, once for not believing in It and again for making me unable to do so in the first place.

          Do you people actually THINK that everyone who doesn’t believe the way you do just decided to be “wrong” one day? Wait … you do, never mind the question.

        • Mary

          Actually, the argument is getting somewhere. I find it rather enlightening and persuasive. Kudos to all those who logic this stuff out and engage in discussion about it.

    • vorjack

      What’s to explain? The ancient Jews and their 1st century descendants didn’t care for male homosexuality. There could be any number of reasons. They tended to be patriarchal , and so the notion of a male taking the passive, penetrated role during sex may have seemed a violation of the natural order for them. They were also very interested in seeing their numbers increase, and so anyone engaging in a type of sex that didn’t result in offspring wasn’t going to go over well.

      There are people who have examined these passages and declared that they don’t refer to homosexuality as we understand it. For example, the New Testament passages might refer to the pederasty sometimes practiced in the Greek world. I haven’t formed an opinion of this yet.

      Regardless, my response is: so what? The biblical model(s) of male/female “marriage” are not ones we’re likely to accept. We’ve even redefined the view of monogamous marriage. We’ve tossed out arranged marriage and decided that one should have to consent to being married. We’ve discarded (mostly) the extremely patriarchal model that leaves the woman as a type of property.

      If we’re going to throw out everything else that the bible says about marriage, what justification can there be to hanging on to this one aspect?

      • LRA

        “We’ve discarded (mostly) the extremely patriarchal model that leaves the woman as a type of property.”

        When you say “we” you mean the more liberal elements of society. Conservative elements still treat women as second class citizens– a treatment that has its roots in the whole “women are property” thing.

        • Margaret

          The only reason that ‘conservative elements’ are still able to treat women as second class citizens is because of the cultural roots that lead women to believe that that’s what they are. Any woman with enough intelligence to look around her can discover that she can be as much in control of her life as a man is of his. In our society, women don’t have to take being treated as second class citizens, we have the power to be treated as human beings with the same rights as men.

          So can we please try to set an example and be a little forward looking? We know that women are no less than men, to even mention anything about women being treated as second class citizens in this day and age is demeaning, frankly.

          • NorCal

            Let me address the “women as property” fallacy. This is widely assumed because there was a bride price, and medieval Europe misunderstood and used it as an excuse to treat women that way, as that region had been accustomed to doing before. It’s true that women were treated differently in Biblical times in not *usually* being able to inherit land. But the bride price was considered a rectification of this. It was given *to* the bride, so that like a son, she had a source of investment that could be used to help take care of her parents in their old age. That way, all children, male and female, participated.

            There were women who were referred to as property, but then there were men who were as well. As I have said in my post at the bottom of this page, though, *all* of these types of situations were *allowances* that were made as the first steps of rectifying the condition of relationships that had developed into also sorts of tangled webs from the original simple, committed, monogamous marriage, for example, and the original state of freely sharing resources so that no one need be in debt. As I said, both ancient Judaism and ancient Christianity represent these things as statutes “added because of disobedience, until the time of reformation would come”. Both came to this conclusion independently because of study of the Scriptures–namely the *manner* in which the commandments were worded and placed within the framework of the other commandments in the original language, and not because of the influences around them, which would have been very favorable to the women-as-property idea.

            The Christian scriptures, in fact, refer frequently to prominent women of independently successful means being among its greatest early proponents.

            • Timmmeeeyyy

              Even in Christian weddings today, the father “gives away the bride” to the other family. The father doesn’t give away the son. You can’t give something away that isn’t your property. Your rewriting of history doesn’t make it so.

      • IfIbelieved

        HEY – I’m always on the ‘penetrated’ role, but never, ever passive.

    • Audrey

      I can. Yaweh hates fags. Now, please explain this, Lev: 10-12 10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
      11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
      12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you

      Personally, I enjoy the taste of a man more than shrimp or lobster. But, that’s just me… Which “abomination” do you tend to prefer???

      • http://iwant2knowyourstory.blogspot.com/ Niva Tuvia

        How many times is the whole shellfish abomination thing going to be brought up? Lol. This is amusing. And I like how it’s always brought up like this: shellfish and/or wool+cotton clothing vs. homosexuality. And what’s even wierder, it makes sense.

        • LRA

          Well, conservatives like to point to the fact that the word “abomination” is used to describe homosexuality without considering its contextual use elsewhere in the OT. Hence, abomination doesn’t really seem so bad a term since it refers to things that are pretty benign elsewhere.

          • http://iwant2knowyourstory.blogspot.com/ Niva Tuvia

            I’m pretty sure it’s an abomination, in the Biblical context, to pick and choose. Aka idolatry (a form of).

        • Joe B

          and that people pick and choose what they take literally, what they take symbolically and what they write off as the superstitions of bronze age society.

        • Question-I-thority

          The early biblical uses of tovah (abomination) are specific in that they refer to ritualistic taboos, things that should keep observants from worshiping until the taboo is ritually cleansed. They are not primarily concerned with morality, hence shellfish, mixed threads, don’t-worship-during-menstruation, etc. It is thought by many scholars that these tovah were in place primarily to set the Jewish people apart from their neighbors and to fight assimilation.

          Homosexuality and teen-age rebellion are special cases since they carry the death penalty. Homosexuality breaks patriarchy in a very strong manner and does not increase the tribe’s offspring. It is plausible to understand rebellion that seriously breaks the dominant social order as a serious threat to survival for a historically nomadic people living in a harsh environment. Further, the ban may have had something to do with protecting young men from culturally close religions that used male temple prostitutes in worship.

          Understanding social rules within the context of the life people live is extremely important. For instance, when scholars say that the core problem in Sodom was inhospitality, it doesn’t make any sense until one considers how hostile a desert environment can be and how cruel it would be to refuse access to one’s caravan or enclosure. So without careful consideration we get the irony of people basing modern constructs of “inhospitality” on the Sodom story or completely, woefully misinterpreting abominations.

          • NorCal

            This is incorrect. To’evah was not used for the dietary restrictions or the resulting contamination. The word translated “abomination” concerning the dietary restriction is “shakatz”. It has a connotation of “distance yourself”, “get it out of the house” if you will, and the resulting contamination requiring a ritual cleanse is called “tamei”, or impurity.

            Toe’vah was a word used for things like idols, it means literally “turning away”, with the connotation that it was something that would cause a person to turn to disbelief, to lose their moral compass. I don’t think it is correct to ascribe it all to simple survival strategy either, though it would be wrong to totally eliminate that as part of it, since it all was meant to teach the spiritual *through* physical principles related to survival.

            The rebellious son, on examination of the words used in the original language, describes a type of extreme rebellion, in every way unjustified (it could not be punished if any fault–or any inequality, in fact–was actually found with the parents, for instance) that is simply never seen. Ancient Jewish commentary records that no one was ever stoned for being a rebellious son. It is simply there because it was the duty of the Scripture to cover every possibility and provide warning duly.

            They also comment that a Sanhedrin (council of judges) that condemned 1 person to be stoned every 7 years was a tyrannical Sanhedrin, only to provide greater emphasis to the statement following it–that for that matter, a Sanhedrin that condemned 1 person to be stoned every *70* years was also a tyrannical Sanhedrin. If the reverberating voice from the pillar of fire that all 2 million people could hear had to be consulted to be certain whether or not the Sabbath-violator in question should be stoned, then most definitely in the absence of that such a conclusion should be almost infinitely less certain.

        • Audrey

          I intend to keep bringing up the shellfish, mixed fabric repertoire as long as xians keep promoting the bible as the inerrent word of god and using it’s convoluted morality to justify their POV and subsequent treatment of gays.

      • Me-Mo

        A large lipped (both sets), juicy Woman :)

    • Francesc

      So the bible is against homosexuality and in favour of slavery and concubines. What’s your point?
      Leviticus: there are not enought stones for all the people who should be put to death, according to the OT.
      N.T. You are forgetting that paul also says in Corinthians:
      “1:10 I urge you, brothers and sisters, 10 by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree together, 11 to end your divisions, 12 and to be united by the same mind and purpose. 13 1:11 For members of Chloe’s household have made it clear to me, my brothers and sisters, 14 that there are quarrels 15 among you.”
      So protestantism -including all his branches in america- shouldn’t exist, as paul wanted his church to keep together. Are you forgeting that?

      1 Cor 4: Speaking about catholic church…
      “5:9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people”

      1 Cor 5: you shouldn’t go to the court
      “6:4 So if you have ordinary lawsuits, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church? 1 6:5 I say this to your shame! Is there no one among you wise enough to settle disputes between fellow Christians? 2 ”

      1 Cor 7: You can’t divorce
      “7:10 To the married I give this command – not I, but the Lord 8 – a wife should not divorce a husband 7:11 (but if she does, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband), and a husband should not divorce his wife.”

      But of course, god revelated paul that the end was close. So close that he recommends his followers not to change his situation in 1 Cor 7:
      “: 23 The time is short. So then those who have wives should be as those who have none, 7:30 those with tears like those not weeping, those who rejoice like those not rejoicing, those who buy like those without possessions, 7:31 those who use the world as though they were not using it to the full. For the present shape of this world is passing away.”

      You know, paul also says that women can’t teach a man, they should remain quiet.

      1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:9-10 use the greek word arsenokortai, that seems not have been used before Paul, so the translation is not sure. some of the translators have used the word homosexuals here. But…

      “Some theologians are fairly certain that this is not the meaning that Paul wanted to convey, since the idea of a homosexual sexual orientation only surfaced in the 19th century after the start of the scientific study of human sexuality. Also, “arsen” in Greek means “man.” Thus, it is most unlikely that “arsenokoitai” could refer to both male gays and lesbians.

      Various commentators have suggested that “arsenokoitai” means masturbators, pimps, prostitutes, boy sex slaves, male prostitutes, or abusive pedophiles”
      (http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibc7.htm)

      “realizing the fact that (civil) law is not made for a righteous man…”
      Where comes “civil” from??? I’ve always understanded that as the LAW, not civil law

    • Francesc

      Too long… sumarizing:

      1.- According to Paul, God has revelated to him that the end is real close. He or some of his followers is going to see before dyeing the new coming of Christ. That was 2000 years ago and that had never happened. So we have to deduce one of the next options:
      1.1 – God is a liar.
      1.2 – Paul is a liar.
      1.3 – Paul is a moron that couldn’t understand the revelation -> God is a moron for revelate to him
      Any of this possibilities has a consecuence: Paul’s teachings can’t be thrusted.

      2.- According to Paul, you can’t:
      2.1 – Be an “arsenokontai” -of course
      2.2 – Divide the Church -they are lots of denomiantions now, including yours, they should not exist
      2.3 – Divorce – only if your partner is an unbeliever
      2.4 – Associate with sexually inmorally -still waiting for catholic church to cast out the pederasts
      2.5 – Go to the court, if the offender and the victime are both christian
      2.6 – If you are a woman, your place is at home doing what your husband wants
      2.7 (there may be a lot of things more, i stopped reading)
      So, between all those things that they don’t agree with, why are christians only picking homosexuality?

    • Roger

      I’ve got the perfect explanation: it’s a bunch of nonsense scribbled down by a bunch of first-century goat herders who would call you a practicer of magic if you showed them an iPhone.

      • rodneyAnonymous

        “…for whom a wheelbarrow would be a breathtaking example of emergent technology.”

        Sam Harris is awesome :)

    • mstria

      Lev 18:22-23 “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

      Maybe your god just doesn’t like two men spooning?

      • mstria

        Arg don’t know how this ended up here. Was supposed to be in response to Siler

      • Francesc

        Of course not, he means no pajama if you are lying with a male

      • Ed

        I take that passage to mean that god wants you to treat your male lover better than you treat your female lover, because females are property, but men are important, so you need to be respectful about it.

        • Elizabeth

          Or because men just totally get it wrong with women, so shape up with men, because guys, you know how you like it, and we women, we know how we like it. So same-sex sex is just fine–just do it right when you’re with your own kind!

    • Tim

      Ancient Jews were being persecuted by many different groups when these prohibitions were put in place. Most of these prohibitions were intended to increase the number of Jews in order to combat persecution. At the time, medical practitioners believed that men had a set number of sperm from birth, and once you used all your sperm, you could no longer reproduce. This is why Leviticus also says that “spilling seed upon the earth” is a sin. The intention wasn’t to prevent homosexual behavior, but to prevent wasting sperm, thus lowering the chances of reproduction.

      Many of the other prohibitions in Leviticus do exactly the same things, attempt to produce more Jews and make them live longer. Some of the prohibitions warn against shellfish because of allergies and food contamination, and most of the laws against ingesting certain types of food at certain times were because there was no easy way to preserve food back then.

      • Tim

        This is the same reason Leviticus says that women should be isolated from the rest of society around the time of their period. It was to remove the temptation of “wasting sperm” on women during the time of the month they were least likely to successfully become pregnant.

      • vorjack

        “This is why Leviticus also says that “spilling seed upon the earth” is a sin.”

        “Spilling the seed,” comes from the story of Onan in Genesis, not Leviticus. Onan is struck dead because he refused his duty in the Levirate Marriage system (see #2) by engaging in “coitus interruptus”. It has nothing to do with masturbation or fertility.

        BTW, ‘persecution’ is probably the wrong word to use. Israel spent it’s pre-Exile existence sitting square between the worlds two greatest superpowers: Egypt and the Mesopotamian cities. The Israelites were afraid that they’d be conquered, not that their rights would be taken away.

        • Tim

          My bad. You’re correct that Levirate Marriage originally appears in Genesis. But once again, this form of marriage was intended to increase, not fertility, but the number of people in a specific ethnic group by providing a widow with an heir.

        • Elizabeth

          More like they were afraid they’d be assimilated, or rather, that their patriarchal construct would. The Hebrews were CONSTANTLY getting chewed out by God in the OT for going back to other gods–now, why would that be? Well, first because before the Levites gained power, the “tribes” really were different tribes–with many different gods and goddesses, and a matriarchal or at least non-patriarchal governmental system. The women especially weren’t interested in picking up this monotheistic, patriarchal crap when their own historical religions held that they should have equal power with men. You see many times the women worshiping their goddesses and the goddesses of their neighboring nations–how many times have they been chewed out for worshiping Ishtar or going to the Ashtera, where they worshiped Ashteroth? Female gods.

      • Korny

        We got a completely different explanation from that in Anthro 101. I think it’s Mary Douglas whose theory was most of Leviticus is a reaction against mixing things and using things that are not completely one kind of thing. So shellfish – they’re not COMPLETELY fish, and they’re not COMPLTELY… ur… rocks? Likewise pigs are not completely stock animals as these people understood them because although they have cloven hooves, they don’t chew cud (like cattle, goats, sheep etc that they’re more familiar with).
        While my mother always said our Jewish friends avoided mixing meat and milk together because of the preservation and food poisoning issues, when I ask my Jewish friends about it they’ve got a completely different story. It’s to avoid consuming the milk and the mother together. Or something. But it was a Bahmitzvah party and I wasn’t about to grill them on their beliefs.
        Also, the menstruation thing. I’ve been reading up on this myself for thesisHell, and apparently it wasn’t until about the 50′s that Western science decided that pregnancy was least likely to happen during menstruation. I can get a ref if anyone cares that much. Which is kinda weird to me, considering the prevalence of menstrual tabboos and the like.

  • http://thisisallyouhave.blogspot.com/ Michael

    Wow, didn’t realize that there were this many forms of ‘marriage’ outlined in the bible. It is totally like Christians to pick and choose the parts that apply to their lives and societal standards.

    • RickP

      ROFLMAO

      Well done, sir, well done.

  • Pingback: MY LIFE » Blog Archive » SSM: Challenging religionists “moral standing”

  • xian-x

    In The New American Family, Jerry Falwell explicitly identifies 1950s television as his model for the family. In short, the so-called “Biblical” model of marriage comes from Ozzie & Harriet, not the ancient texts. Falwell frequently looked to 1950s America (as portrayed on television) for his cultural norms. Thus, he also asserted that capitalism was the only “Biblical” economic system–despite the obvious anachronism of the biblical texts pre-dating capitalism by at least a millennium.

    • Audrey

      I read that in Ozzie 2:10, chapter and verse. Or was that about biting the head off a chicken??? Perhaps it was Mather 3:2…

  • Len

    Looking at the list of biblical marriage styles, and then looking through the bible, I was struck by how many of the bible’s writers appear to be women. Or rather, how many don’t. Anyone see a pattern here?

  • Muppet

    I think your completely missing the point. They aren’t all ‘models’ for marriage. It just shows how totally depraved people are, the past is as screwed up as we are. The Bible records wrong doing but doesn’t advocate it. God made man, but man needed a partner. That my friend, is the model of marriage.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      Er, the Bible does in fact advocate most or all of those. For some it provides instructions.

      • Muppet

        Quote. Please enlighten me :)

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Genesis 29:20-24: And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid (KJV)

          Genesis 30:1-4: And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. (KJV)

          Jacob had a deal with his uncle Laban: Jacob would work for him seven years, and in return receive Laban’s daughter Rachel as a wife. After seven years, he got two: a wife and a slave. Leah had four sons by Jacob. Rachel remained childless, so she offered her female slave Bilhah to Jacob. Leah also “gives” Jacob her slave Zilpah (Genesis 30:9-13). Leah is rewarded by God for giving up her slave by bearing a fifth son (Genesis 30:14-20).

          Genesis 16 describes a similar situation: Sarah and Abram were infertile. Sarah owned Hagar, a female slave who apparently had been purchased earlier in Egypt. Sarah gave Hagar to Abram as a type of wife, so that Abram would have an heir.

          Deuteronomy 22:28-29 requires that a female virgin who is not engaged to be married and who has been raped must marry her attacker.

          Numbers 31:1-18 describes how the army of the ancient Israelites killed every adult Midianite male in battle, slaughtered all the male children, and took 32,000 virgin females as prisoners. Most of these prisoners were taken by the Israeli soldiers as captives of war. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes how each captive woman would shave her head, pare her nails, be left alone to mourn the loss of her families, friends, and freedom. After a full month had passed, they would be required to submit to their owners sexually, as a wife

          Exodus 21:4 indicates that a slave owner could assign one of his female slaves to one of his male slaves as a wife.

          Solomon, David, Jacob, Gideon, Esau, Ashur, Elkanah, Rehaboam, Abijah, Jehoram, Joash, Ahab, Jeholachin, and Belshazzar had multiple wives.

          Solomon, David, Jacob, Gideon, Nahor, Eliphaz, Caleb, Manassah, Saul, Rehoboam, and Belshazzar had one or more concubines.

          There are many more, but this is tiresome.

          Also, in places where the Bible does not specifically advocate “unusual” marriages, it does not condemn them, either. Given that lots of things are condemned in the Bible, I think it is kind of a stretch to say these kinds of marriage were “recorded but not advocated” just because they aren’t specifically condemned. In a book full of condemnations, recording without condemning is advocating.

          • Muppet

            The short answer is those practices were not acceptable. The Biblical marriage model is one man and one women as shown in Adam and Eve, and as taught in the New Testament.

            Read Mark 10:1-9. Jesus is talking about divorce in this case, and why Moses said what he did.

            Verse 5 ““..Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment”

            and then in Verse 6 ” But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and i the two shall become one flesh.’”

            You can claim that too hold the one women/one man marriage view you have to only read the verses you want to read in the Bible. But too look at the practices of sinful men in history as your model for marriage over actual teaching by Jesus is nonsensical.

            Granted, lots of craziness happened during Old Testament times, and the Israelites were actually punished and screwed over for it (and to be fair, how can you make some of that stuff up?!).

            But, we like them do wrong, and God hates that. So we deserve punishment. Christianity isn’t about religion, it’s about knowing we have rebelled against God. If the Bibles true, if the God exists..do you really want to stand in front of the God you read about in the Old Testament, and all that anger against sin directed at you? God didn’t want that for people so thats why we have Jesus who took all that wrath you and I deserved on the cross. Thats what its all about in the end.

            Romans 3:10-18 – Why we need Jesus

            Believing on Jesus is the main thing.

            Romans 8:1-5 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

            • Francesc

              Solomon, David, Saul… are example in the bible of people who followed the law God gave to him. You can forget that, and say that they were sinning. You can say that Jesus changed all this, but then, why the OT?. You can pick up the creation myth -wasn’t that in the OT?- as an example.

              You can then pick too romans, writen by Paul, and forget that you don’t believe all that Paul said, only those things that you find are correct. You can pick Mark, written years after the death of Jesus, and filtered by greek and roman morals as christianisms grew up; you can pick that as the unchanged word of god.

              What you are doing, sumarizing, is applying your morals to the bible. You are choosing your morals upon gods written word. It’s logic, but then don’t say “god condemns that” because it’s not god, it’s you.

            • Dave030966

              So, more or less, the New Testament supercedes the Old Testament. Like the jump from Windows 98 to XP. Like Arlen Spector switching parties (woohoo!!).

              A few guys got together and agreed that the old book was a bit harsh, so they convened in some room, smoked a few cigars and cranked out the new book with “Please disregard that other book. THAT God was a dick! Ours is nicer. Seriously. And he has a son (awwww), by a virgin, even.” on the dustcover.

              Now everybody feels better. Yay! Still waiting for the next sequel.

            • Francesc

              “still waiting for the next sequel”
              You mean Quran? Or the book of Mormon?

            • rodneyAnonymous

              The Holy Bible II: Electric Boogaloo

      • Flea

        Don’t waste your time with The Muppet rodneyAnonymous. It’s clear he is one of those christians who have never read the Bible.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Thank you, but it’s not a waste :) I figure other people are reading.

      • Muppet

        “..each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. ” – 1 Corinthians 7:2

        Haha Flea, we want him wasting his time providing evidence to back up his statement now would we?

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Yes, there are several passages in the Bible that endorse “marriage = man + woman”. The existence of these passages does not demonstrate the lack of passages endorsing other equations.

          Also, this is somewhat academic, as the gay-marriage movement seeks to redefine the legal definition of marriage, not the religious definition.

          • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

            Also, this is somewhat academic, as the gay-marriage movement seeks to redefine the legal definition of marriage, not the religious definition.

            That’s not accurate. There are plenty of religious gay people who are doing both.

            • Question-I-thority

              Only people within a religious community can redefine traditions within that community unless the group is being oppressed which is not the case with this issue. How Christians, including communities with gay Christians, work this out in their community is not a matter of civil concern. Denying gay partners the thousands of legal benefits accrued to married couples is plain civil discrimination.

            • Dave030966

              I agree completely. It is a legal issue. Equal protection under the law. It’s just a matter of getting the law in line with the times.

              It harkens back to George Orwell’s (damn, we’ve heard that name way too much recently) “Animal Farm,” where the declaration that ‘All Animals Are Equal’ is later amended to ‘All Animals Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others.’

            • Elizabeth

              “We” (I’m in here against my will on this issue) in the gay community have been snookered by the Religious Right into using the phrase “gay marriage.” If we had pressed for Separation of Church and State, and requested that ALL marriages be religious and ALL civil unions be State-level, it would have been a damned sight more effective. Each religious leader and group can pick their own standards–they already do. But separate out the legal from the religious and give the joined-couple of any type the same rights.

              I’ve been to a lesbian wedding in a state where they weren’t “legal.” Ninjas didn’t drop out of the sky from helicopters and shoot the minister and the wedding guests. The only difference is that this couple has to pay lawyers to draw up documents securing the same rights for their joined lives that straight married couples receive automatically–even if both are married by the same minister.

              Marriage carries baggage for the Religious Right. Whether by our own foolishness or (in my opinion) by being baited into using the word, it automatically raised the hackles of the Christians, who took it to mean that gays are trying to force THEIR god to accept us. If you separate it out into a legal arena and a religious arena, each Christian or other religious group has their chance to make their own statement about what “god” has to say about it.

              Using the politically-charged word “marriage” hides the fact that the Christians against gay marriage are really opposed to “letting” us have the same legal status they have; they know we already have the same marriage-relationships, they just want to punish us for being, by making us second-class citizens with fewer rights.

        • http://www.atheistnexus.org/profile/RosemaryLYNDALLWEMM49 Rosemary Lyndall Wemm

          Adam and Eve are the perfect godly couple? Who were the wives of Cain and Able? Their mother? Their unmentioned sisters? Ape-like creatures? Some special creations of Yahweh (or El or the Elohim) which the Bible does not bother to mention?

          Explain to me how any of these alternatives fits with your idea of the godly model of marriage?

          • rodneyAnonymous

            “Who were the wives of Cain and Abel?”

            LOL

          • blake rogers

            Ape-like creatures!!!! i think there so wicked

        • Elizabeth

          … and each woman her own wife, and each man his own husband …

    • Francesc

      That’s the model? I imagine you are referring to Adam’s and Eve creation… interesting… what happened with Lilith??

    • trj

      I agree with Rodney here. The Bible gives specific instructions for several of the cases, while other cases reflect the customs of the time.

      Furthermore, according to Paul (see Corinthians 7) it’s best not to marry at all. What are we to believe?

      It’s very confusing. If one didn’t know better, one could get the idea that the Bible is simply a bunch of opinions from different people, rather than a God-given template for marriage.

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

        You’re misreading 1 Cor. 7:1-2. Check out a modern translation like NRSV.

        “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: ‘It is well for a man not to touch a woman.’ ”

        In 7:1-2 Paul is quoting from a letter written to him by the people in Corinth. They said/asked him if it was better not to marry, and he didn’t answer with an easy yes or no.

        In short, Paul says that if you’re married, you should have sex. If you’re a widow, and you want to get re-married: In his opinion (and he says as much), it’s better for a widow to stay single, but if she wants to get married and have sex, then go for it.

        To married people: stay married, enjoy sex.

        To unmarried people: (again in his opinion, by his own admission) A single person does well by staying single, because that person can focus on other important things in life. But, if s/he wants to get married, then that’s fine as well.

        It’s very confusing. If one didn’t know better, one could get the idea that the Bible is simply a bunch of opinions from different people, rather than a God-given template for marriage.

        And the best way to make your case would be to use 1 Cor 7. But I don’t think a thorough reading of Paul makes the former case, namely, that Paul says it’s “best” to not marry.

        • trj

          In short, Paul says that if you’re married, you should have sex.

          More like the other way around. He prefers that you do not have sex and do not marry, but if you must have sex, you should do it in a marriage, as you’ll otherwise be commiting fornication (7:7-9).

          I don’t think a thorough reading of Paul makes the former case, namely, that Paul says it’s “best” to not marry.

          Then I think you should re-read 7:32-35:

          “32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.”

          I would think that above all else, Paul thinks devotion to the Lord should take precedence over any earthly matters (although he seems to be realistic about it). Therefore, according to his logic in the aforementioned verses 7:32-35, it is best to not marry.

    • claidheamh mor

      @ muppet
      God made man, but man needed a partner. That my friend, is the model of marriage.

      That, my friends, is the model of an example of some sexist dudes’ mythology, and suckers who believe it.

      • Karleigh

        Thank you for that =)

  • Sunny Day

    Sorry I’m all about # 4 as long as my Rich Wife #1 will not divorce me.

    • dr.R.

      Let’s not forget god reserves for himself the right to impregnate a woman even if she’s already engaged to be married to another man.

      • Andrew N.P.

        It’s good to be the King of Kings.

  • claidheamh mor

    Excellent article!

    Also, it is the first time I have heard or read anyone refer to the levirate law since my introductory anthropology class a few decades ago. AND the first time someone used it as the proper explanation of the punishment of Onan.

    I heard it as Onan breaking the trulevirate law, the obligation of a man to impregnate his deceased brother’s wife, vs. the levirate law of marrying her to make her his wife.

    Why this is so little known, I’m not sure. I have trouble believing that it was deliberately hidden, to scare children out of masturbating, but who knows?

  • Susie Q

    (raises hand) if a woman is forced to marry her rapist and she puts rat poison in his coffee ON ACCIDENT, is she still subject to honor killing?

    • trj

      Rat poison is not all that effective on humans. If she accidentally poisons him she should use a better poison, such as cyanide.

    • Francesc

      Nope, you can’t. According to god, you can rape a virgin, but you can’t kill -neither steal.

      But if your husband works -or light a fire, a BBQ?- on sabbath, or he sodomize you, or he disobbey his parents, then he has to be stoned to death by christians. That’s the law…

      • Sunny Day

        I knew it. God is a gamer! He doesn’t like kill stealing anymore than I do!

    • blake rogers

      or use a shot gun to the face? much more easy but more of a mess

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  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    You raise some really good points.

    I can’t help but notice two shortcomings, however.

    1) It’s obviously all Old Testament passages cited here, so it’s not a complete representation.

    2) Because it’s not a complete representation, it’s not quite fair to say that any of these examples are “the most common” (as you do in #1). Undoubtedly, polygamy occurs most frequently in the OT, especially early on during the narratives of the patristics and even into the Israelite Kindgom period.

    But to use those stories as the most common forms of Christian marriage is a bit of a stretch — not that you necessarily do that (you use ‘biblical marriage’), but it would be an easy inference to make.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      I neglected to note one thing as well.

      Many of the examples you just gave are not held up as examples to be followed (even within the OT). For example, Solomon’s desire for women (polygamy and concubines) is explicitly condemned and noted as the main reason for his downfall.

      That doesn’t explain everything, but I think that in order to be fair, needs to be pointed out.

      • vorjack

        “For example, Solomon’s desire for women (polygamy and concubines) is explicitly condemned and noted as the main reason for his downfall.”

        Not quite. I don’t believe that God ever condemns Solomon for marrying so many women. It was the fact that Solomon’s wives turned him away from the exclusive worship of YHWH that prompted his downfall, and the breakup of Israel:

        “And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD commanded.” (1Kgs.11:9-10)

      • Daniel Florien

        So what does the Bible give as examples of good, “biblical” marriages?

        Also I agree with Vorjack about Solomon. God never condemned Solomon’s (or David’s or anyone else’s) polygamy — he was upset they were foreign and encouraged him to create altars to other gods. The polygamy was never condemned — that was normal.

        • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

          Daniel and vorjack,

          First, you’re both right — YHWH doesn’t condemn the polygamy but rather the effect of idolatrous women upon Sol’s heart. My point was that the OT itself passes judgment — not YHWHW or God necessarily — on many of the examples you just gave. In this case, the primary concern is idolatry — you’re right about that — but the indirect judgment is also passed on Solomon’s lust for women, and as I’ll explain below, that judgment is probably the result of a later period, rather than from Solomon’s period. Moreover, you would be correct if you pointed out that lust for women is not the same as polygamy or having concubines.

          Second, I’m not sure about the normalcy of polygamy during the Kingdom period … I would have to check, and I don’t have the time.

          I suspect that while it may have been normal and acceptable for kings of the day, it was probably not normal in common life. But perhaps more importantly (from my perspective, anyway), by the time these stories would have been written down, polygamy would have been frowned upon strongly if not completely prohibited. In that sense, the the indirect condemnation of Solomon’s lust is anachronistic but still important (at least from my perspective), because it demonstrates that the theology of Israel developed over time.

          It’s a bit of a tangent, but from my perspective, it’s important that theology developed from Creation to Fall to Early Israel to Kingdom Period to Exile to post-exile to Jesus to NT to early church …. etc …. and continues in the present.

          /aside

          The bigger point that I was trying to raise but didn’t do well is this: the OT narratives don’t always include praise or criticism of the narratives themselves or the actions of the characters in them.. Kings and Chronicles often do, and so does Judges, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, and usually the main focus is fidelity to YHWH over against idols — not marriage and sex.

          But in most narratives, the stories are just presented. They’re not praised as good examples, and they’re not condemned as bad examples. So from one perspective, yes, they’re common ‘biblical examples of marriage.’ But from another perspective, that claim would have to be qualified by the fact that those examples aren’t necessarily meant to convey that they are examples to be emulated.

          And I think vorjack’s #s 1, 3, 7(?), and 8 seem to fall in that type of passage.

          All that said, I think it’s a good post. You rightly observe that ‘biblical marriage’ is a messy matter, and Christians who tout biblical marriage as the standard that should be used for legislation don’t often think through what they are saying – we mostly agree about that, I suspect.

          I did want to raise two points of qualification that would explain why Christians who have thought it through don’t use them when they talk about Christian marriage and that there are, I think, good reasons for that.

      • claidheamh mor

        @brgulker Many of the examples you just gave are not held up as examples to be followed (even within the OT).

        Well, duh!
        Since the christians’ chosen mythological writing, the bible, is not worth being held up as examples to be followed, it “follows” that specific parts of it aren’t either.

    • vorjack

      The NT makes up a small portion of the overall text of the Bible, and only a few passing sections of the NT even mention marriage. The two major characters, Jesus and Paul, were presumably never married. A secondary character, Peter Cephas, may have been married, but we never meet his wife.

      So when I say that polygamous marriage is common in the bible, I mean that of the marriages we see depicted, polygamy is perhaps the most common. The patriarchs after Abraham, and the Kings of Israel – all prominent characters – are depicted as having multiple wives.

      • Daniel Florien

        And look what God did to Ananias and Sapphira… :)

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

        I don’t disagree with that.

        I don’t think there’s an agreement about Paul’s marital status. Some passages seem to suggest that he may have been married before (and maybe shortly after) his conversion, but there’s certainly nothing explicit either way.

        So when I say that polygamous marriage is common in the bible, I mean that of the marriages we see depicted, polygamy is perhaps the most common

        Yes, you’re right. And the comments I made about theology developing would apply here. Yes, the examples you cited are common. My point, however, is that such examples are not necessarily normative just because they are common. I don’t think you’re trying to claim they are; it seems you’re attempting to (rightly) complicate the issue of what ‘biblical marriage’ is.

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  • timmy the dying boy

    Polygamy: having too many wives

    Monogamy: pretty well the same thing

    • Elizabeth

      Polyandry; having too many husbands.
      Monoandry; pretty much the same thing.
      Lesbianism; Ah! Just right!

  • anti-supernaturalist

    ** homophobia just another ugly facet of three dead religions

    Homophobia is common to all of the Big-3 monotheisms — they condemn any form of sex not directed to reproduction. Heterosexual intercourse during infertile periods, anal sex, and the ever dicey coitus interruptus are forbidden.

    Here we have a rigidly enforced pro-birth custom, an androcentric, completely misogynistic, demand that no impediment whatsoever on births be permitted by law.

    No chemical contraception: no pill, no spermicides. No barriers to conception: no IUD, no condoms. No abortions, not even in cases of rape, incest.

    Homosexual sexuality simply fails to be reproductive. On this basis alone, it is forbidden. The special puritanical horror associated with it is common to paternalistic groups struggling to grow through reproduction as well as conversion, during the hard, early days of the sect.

    That xianity and islam are now enormous cultural cancers should not overshadow their beginnings as small bands of fanatics drawn from the dregs of their originating cultures. In the US Mormonism with its original custom of polygamy presents just such a growth totally within well documented world history.

    The so-called pro-life view — really just pro-birth — exalts paternalism, prudery, and pro-natalism. There’s nothing moral about sexual morality demanded by jews, xians, or moslems.

    • Margaret

      Woah there, hang on. Christianity and Islam are not ‘cultural cancers.’ Religion in and of itself is a beautiful thing, about loving God (whatever that means to you) and each other. The only cultural problem with religion is the people who take the teachings of books literally, books that were written hundreds of years ago by people who have no perspective on the problems of society now. It’s PEOPLE who are the problem here, people who are so obsessed with their own interpretation of whatever book that they have no more room for other opinions. Moreover, these religions are not dead! How pessimistic! They are still alive in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people. It’s only the books that are outdated (and therefore, as you mentioned, the sexual morality). The love of God will never die as long as people see the beauty in the world around them.

      • Elizabeth

        How on earth is religion a “beautiful thing”? Crusades, aka slaughters. Inquisition. Witch-burning. Serfdom. State-sponsored incest, child-slavery, and murder. The OT has a few bits of pretty writing in it–and a LOT of conquest, rape, and bloodshed. Pretty much every single war of conquest had someone’s god held up as the shining reason for it. Unless you think one tribe destroying another is “beautiful.”

        The beauty of loving “god” and loving other people is all social-reciprocity instinct. People come pre-programmed to get along with others of our own species, to interact helpfully. It has no need for religion to help it along, unless the religious people are all going to tell me that it takes their God to make them safe from their impulses to rape, kill, and steal. (Personally, I haven’t ever had those impulses … us non-religious people are the least represented group in the American prison system … what about non-religion as a form of “beauty”?)

        “It’s PEOPLE who are the problem here …” Exactly. People ARE religion. Religion is not some separate art-form. It’s a way of thinking and maintaining social norms, and it’s usually full of “Us-versus-them” philosophies; tribalism and group-identity, with a bit of survival-superstitions wrapped up in the lot.

  • Leah Cepukas

    Some great comments here. Recently a male acquaintance shared that he adamantly believed in a man asking a woman’s father for her hand in marriage. My first response was to laugh and ask how old he was, then reminded him he appeared to be at least 50 so the chances of his would-be bride’s father being alive are lessening quickly so he had better get on with it. And what woman old enough to marry a 50′ish year old would delegate approval to her aging father? What if father said no? At that point my acquaintance admitted it was mere formality. So I asked, “oh, you mean like a ritual?” He told me he thought it was chivalrous. I really think he thought I would admire his notion of what he thought was romance and chivalry. He had no idea the “ask father” practice had to do with property exchange, economic gain, and to participate in such negotiations would really mean assuming ownership of a woman from her previous owner.

    It’s amazing how property management has been passed along through the centuries via religious institutions but with an appeal to tradition so that we don’t even question the practice. (Tradition offers security appeal for people and is easily sold to the masses) In fact many believe these are social manners and have no idea they have been groomed to perpetuate the strategy to keep social order; gender order. Young women are still dizzied with flattery when they hear of their boyfriends asking for her father’s permission. There are still parts of the world where the young man may be asked to give father 2 goats for his daughters release. Hmmm…I wouldn’t like to think I could be bartered for a few goats that will surely be slaughtered as soon as the marriage is consummated.

    Well, weddings are often lovely but truly, marriage was designed by men to leverage their holdings. It’s unclear when the first marriage arrangements were drafted and made into law. We can be fairly sure it was prior to the Jewish or old testament or it wouldn’t have appeared in scripture. What is ridiculous is that we look to ancient scripture still, this many thousands of years later, to make judgments and assessments on the institution for use in 2009.

    So ridiculous that I don’t know which is worse: my acquaintance who doesn’t know these ancient ideas have nothing to do with romance,(I’m not sure he understands romance either based on how he uses the term) or theists, (accredited or self-declared) who should know better, but still examine scripture for guidance.

  • Leah Cepukas

    Oooops, I meant, Some great comments or posts here. Posts I enjoyed reading, especially the wit. I didn’t mean I was submitting some great comments. Yikes, I shall suspend blah now…it must be late

  • mstria

    What I find interesting is the blatant misogyny that runs through all these different types of marriage. What if a woman wants more than one husband? I’d like to have a couple. One who to do the lawn, one to do the construction around here, one to…I could make a whole list.
    And if a woman rapes a man does he have to marry her? Or even better, if a man rapes another man then they have to get married. There! Gay marriage solved.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      Heh, reminds me of the old joke-

      A woman needs is very easy to please. She needs very little: a man who can cook, one who earns a lot of money, one who is awesome in bed.

      It is absolutely imperative that these three men never meet.

      • lawn

        Or, she can have one man and pick any two of these.

  • Giselle

    you need to put quotes for all of them….site your sources sweetie

  • Panda Bear

    I’d just like to point out that if you go to the Biblical verses referenced in #4 they read:

    1 In those days Israel had no king.
    Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her father’s house in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there four months, 3 her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant and two donkeys. She took him into her father’s house, and when her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. 4 His father-in-law, the girl’s father, prevailed upon him to stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking, and sleeping there.

    5 On the fourth day they got up early and he prepared to leave, but the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourself with something to eat; then you can go.” 6 So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Afterward the girl’s father said, “Please stay tonight and enjoy yourself.” 7 And when the man got up to go, his father-in-law persuaded him, so he stayed there that night. 8 On the morning of the fifth day, when he rose to go, the girl’s father said, “Refresh yourself. Wait till afternoon!” So the two of them ate together.

    9 Then when the man, with his concubine and his servant, got up to leave, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said, “Now look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night here; the day is nearly over. Stay and enjoy yourself. Early tomorrow morning you can get up and be on your way home.” 10 But, unwilling to stay another night, the man left and went toward Jebus (that is, Jerusalem), with his two saddled donkeys and his concubine.

    11 When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites and spend the night.”

    12 His master replied, “No. We won’t go into an alien city, whose people are not Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah.” 13 He added, “Come, let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night in one of those places.” 14 So they went on, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin. 15 There they stopped to spend the night. They went and sat in the city square, but no one took them into his home for the night.

    16 That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the men of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. 17 When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, “Where are you going? Where did you come from?”

    18 He answered, “We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the LORD. No one has taken me into his house. 19 We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves your servants—me, your maidservant, and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”

    20 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.

    22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

    23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this disgraceful thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don’t do such a disgraceful thing.”

    25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.

    27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

    29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!”

    Which if you go only by what our darling Vorjack has written would be interpreted as meaning that raping and killing a prostitute is a humdrum activity that no one has a problem with. But if you read the next 10 verses or so you’ll see that this was considered heinous and the rest of the tribes of Israel exacted vengeance upon the city (Gibeah) where the crime was committed, as well as against the rest of the Benjamites:

    1 Then all the Israelites from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead came out as one man and assembled before the LORD in Mizpah. 2 The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand soldiers armed with swords. 3 (The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, “Tell us how this awful thing happened.”

    4 So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, “I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. 5 During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died. 6 I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece to each region of Israel’s inheritance, because they committed this lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 Now, all you Israelites, speak up and give your verdict.”

    8 All the people rose as one man, saying, “None of us will go home. No, not one of us will return to his house. 9 But now this is what we’ll do to Gibeah: We’ll go up against it as the lot directs. 10 We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah [a] in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for all this vileness done in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel got together and united as one man against the city.

    12 The tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What about this awful crime that was committed among you? 13 Now surrender those wicked men of Gibeah so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel.”
    But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites. 14 From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites. 15 At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred chosen men from those living in Gibeah. 16 Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

    17 Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fighting men.

    18 The Israelites went up to Bethel [b] and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites?”
    The LORD replied, “Judah shall go first.”

    19 The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. 21 The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day. 22 But the men of Israel encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. 23 The Israelites went up and wept before the LORD until evening, and they inquired of the LORD. They said, “Shall we go up again to battle against the Benjamites, our brothers?”
    The LORD answered, “Go up against them.”

    24 Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day. 25 This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords.

    26 Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings [c] to the LORD. 27 And the Israelites inquired of the LORD. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28 with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to battle with Benjamin our brother, or not?”
    The LORD responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”

    29 Then Israel set an ambush around Gibeah. 30 They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before. 31 The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away from the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads—the one leading to Bethel and the other to Gibeah.

    32 While the Benjamites were saying, “We are defeating them as before,” the Israelites were saying, “Let’s retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads.”

    33 All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place on the west [d] of Gibeah. [e] 34 Then ten thousand of Israel’s finest men made a frontal attack on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize how near disaster was. 35 The LORD defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords. 36 Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten.
    Now the men of Israel had given way before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush they had set near Gibeah. 37 The men who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword. 38 The men of Israel had arranged with the ambush that they should send up a great cloud of smoke from the city, 39 and then the men of Israel would turn in the battle.
    The Benjamites had begun to inflict casualties on the men of Israel (about thirty), and they said, “We are defeating them as in the first battle.” 40 But when the column of smoke began to rise from the city, the Benjamites turned and saw the smoke of the whole city going up into the sky. 41 Then the men of Israel turned on them, and the men of Benjamin were terrified, because they realized that disaster had come upon them. 42 So they fled before the Israelites in the direction of the desert, but they could not escape the battle. And the men of Israel who came out of the towns cut them down there. 43 They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easily [f] overran them in the vicinity of Gibeah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand Benjamites fell, all of them valiant fighters. 45 As they turned and fled toward the desert to the rock of Rimmon, the Israelites cut down five thousand men along the roads. They kept pressing after the Benjamites as far as Gidom and struck down two thousand more.

    46 On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite swordsmen fell, all of them valiant fighters. 47 But six hundred men turned and fled into the desert to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months. 48 The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the towns they came across they set on fire.

    Now, I don’t really care that much about the whole issue of a nuclear/biblical family or whatever, but you really shouldn’t be misrepresenting facts. This kind of thing just breeds the kind of prejudice that people always accuse religious people of.

    • vorjack

      Oh for …

      There’s no need to cut and paste the entire bloody thing. That’s what sites like Bible Gateway are for. Hypertext is your friend, use it.

      The act I was speaking of was not the gang rape of the concubine – and it is concubine, not prostitute. No, that part of the story is just an obvious way of condemning the Benjaminites for violating the hospitality code, in exactly the same way that the citizens of Sodom were condemned. Instead, I was referring to the way that the Levite treated his concubine:

      1. The Levite, knowing what the crowd wanted, threw his concubine to them.
      2. After shoving her out the door to be gangraped, his sole response to her in the morning is “come on, hop up, let’s go.”
      3. Finding that she’s was, in fact, dead, he sheds not one tear, but hacks her corpse to pieces. He uses those pieces as calling cards, in order to rally the troops to commit (almost) genocide against the Benjaminites.

      And for all that, he is not condemned by his fellows or punished by God.

      Now, I’ll admit that Judges is a work written in the period of the monarchy about a time that came before the monarchy. The court scribes obviously thought that there was anarchy and immorality before the kings took control. But the fact that the Levite can behave in such a callus fashion to his concubine without any reprisal points to the incredibly low status of the woman in the relationship. It seems that she’s a piece of property, to be used and disposed of as he sees fit.

      • Panda Bear

        i suddenly see your point. forgive my transgressions, i take it all back, great post lol

        love panda

      • Mogg

        I think it’s worth pointing out that the result of the scene you quoted, as chronicled in the next chapter, was a fairly gruesome example of genocide and mass “marriage” by force, apparently at least tacitly approved by God as he didn’t want the rest of the Israelites to break a vow. Nice.

    • blake rogers

      boring…………………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • cypressgreen

      Uh, problem here:
      Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don’t do such a disgraceful thing.”
      25So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night.

      then:
      So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, “I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. 5 During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died.

      He makes NO MENTION of the fact it was HE WHO SENT HER OUT. By his account, it appears he had no part in the wrongdoing.

      …and his lie helped contribute to the murder and rape of thousands…

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  • http://www.houseofzot.com Zotmaster

    I absolutely love this post, vorjack…enough so that I linked to it not once but twice. Just by trying to dig through that list, I can only imagine trying to define one as “biblical” or “traditional”.

    I can also only imagine how awful it must be to be the woman in such a relationship. I just don’t see how that can be worth it.

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  • Dominique

    First, only three of your examples would be considered “marriage.”

    Second, God (the Bible) doesn’t ordain any marriage except number 2 and 8. The other examples are of what men chose to do. That needs to be clarified.

    Third, Jesus’ arrival changes many of these choices in the Old Testament and now number 8 is the gold standard.

    Fourth, those of you who argue like this doesn’t understand the reason for marriage. It is the symbolic representation of Christ relationship with the Church.

    Fifth, it is NOT Biblical marriage we stick to but God’s laws that we abide by. He deems marriage to be between a man and a woman and to be monogamous. End of story. All the other examples are examples of man’s flesh and sinful nature.

    • http://blogdebate.org/dubi Dubi

      How do you know?

    • Daniel Florien

      #1: Like Dubi said, you’ll have to defend that instead of just asserting that.
      #2: Again, how do you know? There are laws about these marraiges. And where does it say God “ordains” any kinds of marriage in the bible?
      #3: Jesus said he didn’t come to abolish the law. So how did that change these laws?
      #4: Says Paul. So?

      Please give us some biblical examples of marriages you would say is the “biblical” marriage. There are many examples of marriages in this post. Where are your counter examples?

    • Dave030966

      Unless you’re Moses or anyone else that has supposedly spoken to ‘God’ personally, then you are relying on what you’ve been TOLD, and having nothing but faith to ‘prove’ it over the course of your lifetime.

      “Fifth, it is NOT Biblical marriage we stick to but God’s laws that we abide by. He deems marriage to be between a man and a woman and to be monogamous. End of story.”

      God’s laws? Yeah, I have an autographed copy right here. Worth a fortune!

      “END. OF. STORY.” Hmmm I appreciate the incontrovertible evidence you’ve presented. “Case Closed” (slapping my hand against my forehead). “Duh!!”

      How do you know what he deems marriage to be? From a book? From some guy in a robe that seems nice? From being brainwashed since the age of 3 (“Get ‘em early, ya know.”)? Or did He (I capitalized it just for you) speak to you personally and tell you so?

      Perhaps you missed all those passages that consider you nothing but property. I’m sure you’re fine with that, also.

    • Elizabeth

      Okay. Here’s an experiment:

      I’m a lesbian. I concede–your definition of marriage stands. Now; I want to get a legal contract from the government that says that my girlfriend can inherit my property when I die, sit by my side at the hospital and make legal decisions about my medical care if I’m unconscious, and has a tax write-off because the two of us share our financial and social responsibilities. I’ll call this … well, the word “marriage” is silly, I don’t want YOUR god to condone MY relationship … so we’ll call it “civil union.”

      So; you going to let me have it? The government, remember, is NOT going to tell your god whether or not It condones anything we may do behind closed doors (and if you’re thinking about me behind my closed doors, get your mind out of my bedroom, pervert!). ALL the government is doing is awarding the same tax-status to me and my girlfriend that it does to other couples who choose to create joint-property estates.

      And before you say that the government can’t condone something “immoral,” ask what else it might regulate that’s considered to be “immoral.” Many people think drinking alcohol is immoral. The government regulates alcohol and the amount of profit (taxes) to be taken from the sale of alcohol. Same thing with tobacco. And the government, unlike many Churches, isn’t trying to pry into my bedroom or anyone else’s. It isn’t checking to see if I’m living with my sister or my best friend. It doesn’t check to see if a married straight couple is having sex; or a gay one not having sex. ALL the government should be concerned about is the legal and social concerns that affect the public as a whole.

      Well?

      • blake rogers

        Elizabeth u hit the mark girl i love it!!!!

      • http://www.cafepress.com/just_think TheDevian

        Wrong on one point, the government IS trying to push its way into our bedrooms in many places, especially in the south. There are still laws on the books in places like Georgia that makes any form of sex illegal other than missionary position with your spouse. On the other hand the age of consent is also like 16. But that is all being pushed by the religions that are supposed to be separate from the state.

  • Daniel

    this has been on of the best reads i have had in a long time. i’ve enjoyed it all, even the xians attempts to defend their bigotry. i think it’s about time i blow the dust off my bible and remind myself why i’m not religious.

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  • Arsenard

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
    — William Shakespeare 116 Sonnet

  • http://www.mgroves.com mgroves

    “We hear a lot about “biblical marriage” these days”

    Do we? A Google news search returns about 7 search results for “biblical marriage”. Now “traditional marriage” returns about 1500+ results, and “gay marriage” returns 14000+. I don’t think 7 counts as a lot.

  • sal

    5 would make for great porn.

    • blake rogers

      it would

  • zach

    1. Polygynous Marriage. Relatively uncommon in the Old Testament and post-Biblical times. The ban on polygamy by Rabbeinu Gershom more than 1000 years ago has been almost universally accepted (except for a few communities that had no contact with mainstream rabbinic Judaism).

    2. Levirate Marriage. Many restrictions on this, there was also rights of refusal by either bro-in-law or woman via the halitzah procedure. Again, to my knowledge halitzah is always done today.

    6. A male rapist and his victim. The Jewish oral tradition says that the unmarried woman can refuse to marry the attacker who then has to pay a fine. Rape was a civil infraction in Biblical times, unless the woman was married/betrothed and then the death penalty applied to both (if consensual) or just the man (rape.)

    5) A male soldier and a female prisoner of war. This law required a soldier NOT to rape the woman and take her as wife if he desired her, but only after an extensive waiting period in which his passions could cool off. This was unheard of in the ancient world and even today would be a far cry preferable to what goes on in wartime where woman are often the victims of brutal rape.

    Yep, our ethical standards have evolved over the last few thousand years and rape is now widely considered to be a criminal act of violence. Nevertheless, it is important to look at many of these laws in context with the society of 2500 years ago and acknowledge that they were revolutionary in that they served to protect a woman’s rights relative to the almost non-existent rights of other cultures of the time.

    • Leah Cepukas

      A male rapist and his victim. What a consolation that she doesn’t have to marry him. I am curious to know how much the cost of the fine is for such a violation and to whom does he pay it to, her father?

      • http://www.cafepress.com/just_think TheDevian

        I believe it was 35-6 shekels of silver.

  • Mark

    It looks like many of the other commenters have already brought up points similar to this, but:

    1. These forms of marriage were considered “normal” in their specific culture and in that area of the world. This has been exhaustively documented using historical texts from other sources.

    2. These types of marriage were not invented by the people described in the Bible (or by “God”) and when the majority of these situations are mentioned it is not in a tone that could possibly be considered as recommending of this type of behavior.

    3. I’m just as interested in the marriage debate as anyone, but the fact that you mention these passages completely out of context is anything but a feat of journalistic integrity.

    • vorjack

      “These forms of marriage were considered “normal” in their specific culture and in that area of the world.”

      Correct. I never claimed otherwise. Counter to Zach’s claim above, the ancient Israelites were not particularly better – or worse – that their Ancient Near Eastern neighbors.

      “the majority of these situations are mentioned it is not in a tone that could possibly be considered as recommending of this type of behavior.”

      Excuse me? Poor Onan get killed for not preforming his duty, and you think it’s not a “recommendation” of levarite marriage? The twelve sacred tribes of Israel came from Jacob’s polygamy with his two wives and their two handmaidens, and this isn’t acceptance? Deuteronomy give specific instructions for how much a rapist has to pay the father before marrying his victim (fifty shekels), and how long a captive of war should be allowed to mourn for her slaughtered family before her captor may take her as a wife (one month). These are not simply recommendations, they are actual law, supposedly straight from the mouth of Moses.

      What context strips this away? What context could make Onan less dead? What interpretation can you provide that make Moses a reluctant lawgiver? Are you going to go back to St. Augustine and suggest that Jacob didn’t really want to have sex with four different women, but God made him?

      • Mark

        Thanks for your reply!

        I’m simply trying to point out your thesis involves placing blame on the bible for the many types of marriages it describes, while the (mostly corrupt) culture of the time dictated almost all of these forms of marriage. This, to me, is the fundamental flaw in your argument, and one that cannot be overlooked.

        There are other comments addressing the specific factual points of concern. I will be watching your responses to some of these.

        I’ve read some of your other posts also and I would encourage you to read the book Is God To Blame by Gregory Boyd. It addresses God’s omniscience and the problem of evil. Not sure if this applies to you but I can tell you my problem with completely accepting that a good God existed lied in the whole idea of Him knowing everything there is to know and yet allowing things like the Holocaust to happen. This book completely blew me out of the water. I have to go for now but I should say thank you for expressing your opinion on all of this – it takes guts to put it out there. God bless you and your family. Thanks!

        • Nzo

          I’ve read some of your other posts also and I would encourage you to read the book Is God To Blame by Gregory Boyd.

          I’ll read that with an open mind if you’ll read a book of my choosing.

          • Mark

            What would you recommend? Just try and keep it under a thousand pages or so! ; )

        • vorjack

          “I’m simply trying to point out your thesis involves placing blame on the bible for the many types of marriages it describes,”

          I have many flaws, but blaming inanimate texts for the problems of the past is not among them. Obviously, the culture that created the bible also created the problems. The bible is not the problem; it is the evidence of the problem.

          The purpose of this post is not to diminish the bible. The bible is what it is. It’s purpose is to point out the flaw in the argument from tradition that many people engage in when arguing about marriage. Rick Warren is fond of saying that marriage hasn’t changed in 5,000 years. Well, he’s wrong. Others are fond of using the story of Adam and Eve as if it were a prescriptive story about marriage. It’s not, but there are a lot of prescriptive sections about marriage in the bible that they ignore. I’m just helpfully pointing them out.

          Or rather, ReligiousTolerance.Org is pointing them out, and I’m summarizing them. Credit where it’s due.

          • Mark

            I think at least both of us can agree on this – Rick Warren is anything but some deep philosophical mind to be reckoned with. His books are childlike and include nothing of substance. The Dr. Phil of Christianity is what I prefer to call him.

          • Leah Cepukas

            Re: “the culture that created the bible also created the problems. The bible is not the problem; it is the evidence of the problem.” is the most intelligent thing I’ve read all evening.

            • Dave030966

              Only having read your posts on this topic (but not others yet), I’ve already come to like and respect you, Leah.

              You post eloquently and succinctly. No, I’m not flirting. Just giving props.

  • Korny

    Looky: http://www.jinxiboo.com/blog/2009/5/3/when-same-sex-marriage-was-a-christian-rite.html

    Like the HTML says – old (aka Traditional) same sex marriage in the Christian Church. Referenced lightly enough to be bogus, I’ll admit, but interestig nonetheless. Gay marriage in the Vatican records? It’s more likely than you think…

  • Rehan

    Why dont u all have a look at what Islam says, Bible, according to Islam is the Word of God alright, but it has been diluted over the years by leaders and others to get benefits out of it. (i.e. changing the text over the years according to one’s discretion). Quran is the sequel of Gospel (Torah) and Bible, and it confirms what was sent in these books. Please go have a look at the Quran and what Islam says about marriages, and then read a good article or listen to a good lecture by Imam Anwar Awlaki (in English) or Dr. Zakir Naik (also in English) on youtube or soemthing and u will all come to realize that Islam is the true religion of God aka Allah.

    • Dave030966

      As a preface, I do not seek to denigrate anyone’s religious beliefs, be it Catholic (I was baptized Catholic – not like I had a choice), Methodist, Shinto, Hindu, or Islam.

      I just think that it’s interesting that where and which family one is born into dictates which religion will be forced into that child’s head before he/she has the capacity for reason.

      Many in the US are Christian (one denomination or another); many in what we call the Middle East are either Muslim or Jewish. And in other areas across the globe certain religions reign supreme.

      Does what you believe absolutely depend on where you were born and to which family? And how early on does the indoctrination begin?

      Even though I didn’t know it at the time (put it clearly into words mentally), I renounced all religion (but not the basic tenets) many years ago. And even a rough study of history shows that most wars (the ones that aren’t obviously just over stealing land) are over religion.

      It’s a rather primitive mindset, usually: “They’re not like us, so they should die!” Because ‘US’ is always right!! (Cue the chest-pounding, dick-waving show of supremacy).

      I honestly don’t need a book (with all respect to you, I won’t read the Quran, or even the Talmud), or a weekly beat-down to know that hate is not only wrong but counterproductive. I don’t need parables or fables to help me be kind to others.

      I was actually taken aback when someone recently praised me just for being polite. That’s sad. That speaks volumes about our society. But I don’t think that an extra dose of religion (on top of whatever the impolite people already get) will fix the problem.

      I think that many people just need to reboot their consciences. How that might come about, I really don’t know, but I’m not entirely optimistic. But it’s not going to happen via a misogynist, violent, intolerant book that preaches hate alongside love.

  • Philip Laureano

    You forgot about #9–Homosexual marriage:

    http://www.jinxiboo.com/blog/2009/5/3/when-same-sex-marriage-was-a-christian-rite.html

    It turns out that early Christianity supported same-sex marriages. It’s funny how Christianity tends to have a selective memory. :)

    • vorjack

      Well, for what it’s worth, this is about marriage in the bible. Christian marriage is a different thing, bound up in greco-roman tradition and evolving interpretations of the NT.

      I suppose I could write about the Secret Gospel of Mark, but I follow the consensus and take that to be a forgery.

      • Dave030966

        Well, aren’t we at a disadvantage from the get-go, since Emperor Constantine decided what would stay in the bible and what wouldn’t? And there’s also the issue of ‘versions.’ King James apparently felt he had the authority to rewrite the bible to his liking, even if it’s supposedly the ‘word of god.’ Hmmm That takes a bit of chutzpah (ooh, I spelled it correctly) and a lot of self-importance.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=69601250&re Mike Young

    This is an absolutely ridiculous, inaccurate, perverted and out-of-context translation of Scripture. You really think that just because all of those happened and were recorded in the Bible that God condoned them? That’s absolutely wrong. And sorry if this is a little strongly worded, but I had to take a minute to get over a spell of nausea after reading that.

    1. POLYGAMOUS marriage does happen quite often in the Bible with God’s people. However, if you actually read any of those passages, you’ll see that every time there is an instance of polygamy, there is also a lot of turmoil. This is one of the many many many times that God’s people (Israel) are doing something that He never once said they should do. One great example of this that comes to mind is in 1 Samuel 1. The priest Elkanah (go figure–a lot of priests were messed up even back then) shows great favoritism toward his one wife, Hannah, over his other wife, Penninah. And Penninah is often jeering and ridiculing Hannah because she is barren. It is an absolute mess and makes it obvious that polygamy is not natural. King Solomon is another great example.

    2. Sure, Moses tells Israel that a man should take his brother’s widow. This is still a monogamous marriage, assuming that the brother is still single. He is carrying for a woman who no longer has anyone to care for her. Obviously this is not necessary today because women can care for themselves.

    3. Here is another example of man taking God’s plan into his own hands and causing a huge mess. You will never find anywhere in the Bible that God commands His people to choose a slave woman over his wife.

    4. Again…same thing as 1 & 3. God never commands once that any man should have concubines or multiple wives. And yes, Judges 19:1-30 is a great example of the kind of mess that stuff creates. It was a cultural tradition that has no Biblical roots.

    5. This one is completely misinterpreted. If you simply read the passage (Deut. 21:11-14), you will see that the woman is NOT to be FORCED. She is indeed a POW, but she is not to be forced into marrying anyone. In fact, if it turns out that things are not working with the woman who is taken as a wife, “then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her” (verse 14).

    6. Again, like #5, completely misinterpreted and misquoted. This verse is not commanding that a woman who is raped has to marry her victim and be tied to him for the rest of her life. It is saying that a rapist who is caught in the act should take full responsibility for his actions and take care of the girl that he has already violated. In their culture, a girl who has is not a virgin is considered unclean, and that is why HE should marry her. She has NO obligation to him whatsoever. Just read the passage correctly.

    7. I have no idea where he came up with #7…

    8. Monogamous, heterosexual marriage is the only type of marriage commanded by God in the Bible. Arranged marriages were only part of the culture of the time, and are still part of some cultures today. Inter-faith and cross-ethnic marriages were forbidden because God’s people were set apart from everyone else, and every time an Israelite married some of a different religion, they were always turned to idol worship or some sort of pagan tradtion. Again, King Solomon is a great example of this sinfulness.

    • LRA

      “translation”? No- translation involves foreign languages. It’s interpretation. And it’s what YOU are doing. Why, exactly is your *interpretation* right? What authority do you have? Are you a biblical scholar or are you just regurgitating what some pastor told you?

      You think you have the market on how to read the bible. I’ll bet you don’t (and so will thousands of denominations in addition to non-believers).

      • Jabster

        In never ceases to amaze me how believers can twist their chosen holy texts to suit what they think is right and in addition be so certain that they are actually right. Oh and yes I’m sure he does believe that he has ‘the market’ oh how to read the Bible correctly.

      • Mike

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to use the word translation. I meant to say it’s an awful INTREPRETATION of Scripture. So there you are right. You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to see this stuff, but I have read the Bible virtually my whole life so I’m not taking these passages out of context or twisting them like this guy is. And no, I don’t claim to have the “market” on how to read the Bible correctly, whatever that means. But if you actually read the passages for what they are, you’ll see that the guy that wrote this article is the one twisting words. Which brings me to my next point–have you actually read any of them yourselves?

    • trj

      Your main argument seems to be that whenever somebody in the Bible marries in a non-modern, non-monogamous way it creates a lot of problems.

      Well, when has trouble NOT occured to the characters in the Bible, no matter what their marital status is?

      Besides, you provide no argument for causality. It’s often not known whether the trouble stems from God’s disapproval of someone’s marriage or a dozen other possible factors. Until you provide specific examples of where the Bible says explicitly that God disapproves of a marriage arrangement, you are using a non-sequitur argument. I don’t think such a specific case is made anywhere in the Bible, but I might be wrong. So please enlighten me with examples.

    • DarkMatter

      “Monogamous, heterosexual marriage is the only type of marriage commanded by God in the Bible.”

      2Sa 12:8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.

      Who is doing that ?- “This is an absolutely ridiculous, inaccurate, perverted and out-of-context translation of Scripture.”

    • rodneyAnonymous

      This verse is not commanding that a woman who is raped has to marry her victim and be tied to him for the rest of her life. It is saying that a rapist who is caught in the act should take full responsibility for his actions and take care of the girl that he has already violated. In their culture, a girl who has is not a virgin is considered unclean, and that is why HE should marry her. She has NO obligation to him whatsoever.

      Oh, well, that’s okay then.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=69601250&re Mike Young

        I never said rape was right, buddy.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Yes, I totally made that claim, and you completely refuted it.

    • Elizabeth

      “He is carrying for a woman who no longer has anyone to care for her. Obviously this is not necessary today because women can care for themselves.”

      Whoa–that assumes that women couldn’t care for themselves back then, automatically, which wasn’t true in every culture. In fact, a lot of the marriage laws of the Old Testament had to do with taking religious, political, and legal power away from women. In other cultures in the area, women had inheritance rights; they retained their own property through both marriage and widowing, so if their husband died they had the ability to care for themselves. It’s only when women’s powers were stripped by the Hebrew patriarchy that they were put in a position of helplessness, their property and even their children at times stolen from them, requiring that some “man” come and take care of them.

    • Elizabeth

      “Inter-faith and cross-ethnic marriages were forbidden because God’s people were set apart from everyone else, and every time an Israelite married some of a different religion, they were always turned to idol worship or some sort of pagan tradtion.”

      Yep, every time. Logic wins! Cream rises to the top! Every time they had a chance to get away from the monotheistic patriarchal insanity–they went for it!

  • Todd Molloy

    I would have to say that the article does not make a very good arguement. Here is why.

    First, this article is inaccurate on multiple points. Deut 21:11-14 says a man MAY (not have to) take a female captive as his wife after giving her time to mourn loss of relatives. Would you really say a woman wasn’t doing better as a wife of a victor in war than as a captive enemy?

    Deut 22:28-29 was a way of providing for a raped virgin. Back then, nobody wanted to marry a woman who wasn’t a virgin, whether it was from rape or not. That left her with no way to marry (at least not much of one) which gave her no good means of survival and no way of having children to provide for her when she was old.(Remember, no nursing homes or Social Security) This forced a man to care for a woman he violated for the rest of his life. As seen in the rape of Tamar, 2 Sam. 13, this was at least sometimes preferred by a woman to living a lonely, childless existance. Try to remember that not every culture in history has thought exactly like ours. Also, Ex 22:16-17 would imply that the father had a right to refuse such a marriage.

    As to polygamy, the female slave in example 3, and concubines, keep in mind that things occuring in the Bible are not necessarily put there as acceptable examples. Oftentimes, there are behaviors in the Bible that are explicitly condemned (such as this article’s citing of Judges 19). Sometimes the action is shown to have terrible consequences (Abraham’s using of his servant to have a child had repurcussions). Other times, God allows certain behaviors because of the hardness of the people’s hearts (Matthew 19 7-9).

    Overall, these examples provided by the article are “straw-men”, easily knocked down because they are not relevant to the arguement at hand, defining the term “Biblical Marriage”. The term Biblical marriage is the type of marriage that is created, sanctioned, and even encouraged by the God of the Bible. From when He created Eve as a wife for Adam, up until Jesus (Matt. 19:4-9), and His disciples (1 Cor 7:2-4), God’s purpose for marriage in the Bible is between one man and one woman. Because He made provisions to cover cases of people’s sins, such as rape, does not re-define marriage.

    • LRA

      I can’t believe you are defending this morally reprehensible sh*t. This is the god you worship. How disgusting.

    • Mike

      Yeah, that’s what I was saying. If anything, these other “examples” of marriage that can be found in the Bible are examples of what marriage should NOT be like.

      • Francesc

        You are only stating that because it doesn’t agrre to your morals -and our modern society morals. Those are examples of how these people lived. Those are examples of what they saw as “normal” marriages. Even in some polygamic marriages, God “open the wombs” of one of the wives. If that’s not acceptance…

        Keep in mind that working on sabbath will deserve you the capital punishment -stoning to death- while raping a virgin is not a sin. You have to take care of her as a wife (her will has nothing to say; a woman that is not virgin loses an important part of her value as a wife).

        All those things where rejected by our society; they are morally wrong. but in the god’s book they aren’t. We don’t accept them, because we choose our moral upon bible’s moral. so, when you are opposing gay marriage -wich was the point of the post- you can’t blame god for it.

        You are picking a part of the bible and saying: “I agree with that part, so it’s the word of God”. When the part of the bible doesn’t fit with your moral standards -like raping a young girl- you are denying all evidence and saying “that’s how it shouldn’t be”. Sorry. In a book who enjoys condemning and stoning people, raping a young girl is sanctioned with a “what-should-i-do-after-that”.
        Are you grown up enough to say that’s wrong? So are you to say that modern marriage is more than a way to have childs.

        • Siberia

          You’d think that, rather than providing for the raped woman to be cared by her rapist, God could have said something like “rape is a sin” or “virginity isn’t a big deal, get over it” (but then, it was for him – it was absolutely necessary Mary to be a virgin, right?). Obviously, God doesn’t much care about women.

    • Elizabeth

      “… keep in mind that things occuring in the Bible are not necessarily put there as acceptable examples. … Because He made provisions to cover cases of people’s sins, such as rape, does not re-define marriage.”

      GREAT! Finally! God made loopholes for the morays of the time, so we can have some loopholes now, right? Okay, so back then a woman who was raped might actually want to get married just so she could have children to take care of her when she’s old; the equivalent now might be that a woman who really doesn’t like any of the men around her can get artificially inseminated to have children, and furthermore, she might decide to shack up with another cute woman who wants to raise kids but prefers to work to support the whole family. Ta-da! Lesbian marriage! Not only that, but it’s “traditional” in the sense that the mother stays home and raises the kids–and the other mother, well, she’s a modern girl who works for a living.

      • Francesc

        I haven’t never thought of it that way… it sounds like something a christian could say -yeah, with a logic a bit twisted.

        Can I ask you a question? I was wondering if it’s so uncommon for a lesbian couple to be both “modern girl” and work both of them. Well, I was wondering the same about all americans too; a wife usually stays at home?

        • Elizabeth

          Ach, no, I was just joking around with the “traditional marriage” bit. Wife stays home is likely even more rare in the US, as there’s so much less support for families here.

          • Francesc

            I must have seen too much US series with a typical householder wife

            • Elizabeth

              Nah, TV here is all designed to brainwash us to think that we’re supposed to feel, act, look, and think a specific way. All of us must be skinny to be attractive; but McDonald’s is real food and eating a burger 5X as big as your stomach is considered to be a “deal.” On TV, women stay at home with the kids, but the only government support of either parent staying home is a mandatory “right” to 3 months of UNPAID leave with a newborn baby. And having a sufficient income to cover something like living in a decent home, based on only one person’s salary, requires a college degree which you can get if you spend a lot of money getting an education, so you start out your working life in debt; or you can live off a two-parent income, in which case one parent’s income goes almost entirely to pay for daycare, so someone else can raise their child.

              This is the society that the Christian Right wants to preserve.

    • cypressgreen

      Really?
      “”Deut 22:28-29 was a way of providing for a raped virgin. Back then, nobody wanted to marry a woman who wasn’t a virgin…That left her with no way to marry (at least not much of one) which gave her no good means of survival and no way of having children to provide for her when she was old…. This forced a man to care for a woman he violated for the rest of his life.””

      I thought ‘old maids’ just stayed in their fathers’ household? They don’t get dumped out on the road when their parents die. I’m sure they become the ‘property’ of another male relative. You really think a woman would prefer to be stuck serving a rapist the rest of her life than to stay unmarried at home??!!

  • Douglas Edwin Greene

    This has been beyond interesting.

    I am a born-again Christian for about a year now. I spent about 10 years renouncing the faith that I was brought up into, Catholicism. (Many people end up rebelling against this doctrine, a higher percentage than most I think.) I have dabbled for a while, through philosophies and trends and I have come to learn everything, and nothing.

    I have come to an understanding that we all create false God’s. It is where we place our faith that determines what we will become. We can place our energy in women or men (relationships), we can place it in science or art, debate or peace. I can place anything at the forefront of my lives.

    The only truth that we can ever know is that we will never know. Decisions about marriage are neither for you to decide about me nor for me to decide about you. I will decide when I am good and ready as well as who, where, and why. Her name is Amy. You may have a Brock or a Sally or a Jo and you know what? I won’t care either way about your orientation. We get so caught up in what other people say about what is right and wrong. What the Bible, or the Qaran, or Richard Dawkins says is right that we forget that we are perfect and we will always make the perfect decision.

    Some will say that the Bible says no. Some will say that the Bible is insane. Some of you seem to really care what the Bible says, but refuse accept that you really care what the Bible has to say. For those of you, I recommend relaxing and living your life. Enjoy the ride and read that book leisurely, even if you prove everything false, maybe you will find one thing that is true, and then you will have gained something.

    You call the book irrelevant, or outdated, or outlandish. Maybe your experience says so. I am content with simply loving.

    Maybe you fall in love, and then fall out of love, and then get divorced. It will hurt but it will have been worth it.

    We look around and see everyone else’s mistakes. We look around knowing that we all make mistakes. We assume that we know why other people make the mistakes that they do. We glance across the surface and we think we know what is below. We get glanced at and others think they know what is below. They think they know why I make my decisions the way I do. They will never know, and I will never know why you do what you do.

    We make a mistake and we rationalize. We say, “That wasn’t as bad as what he did.” Or we make a mistake and then pout about it. We say, “Why did it have to happen to me?” Or we make a mistake, and we say, “I know what I did wrong.” but we harbor it. We need to share our mistakes, especially with whomever we hurt or whoever hurt us. We ask them to let it go. And when they say yes, we accept it.

    So what do you do if you come across someone slandering you? What do you do if you come across someone judging you? What do we do if we realize we are slandering someone? What do we do if we are wrongly judging someone?

    The only thing we can do. Ask them for forgiveness. We are weak beings and the thing we know best is harmful actions… or so it will always appear. Until you realize that even those things that we do wrong, and do wrong day after day, can be stopped. Can be changed.

    I am a 21-year-old man and I think I know everything, or I thought I knew everything, last week. There will be a day when my theories will be proven wrong and I will hang my head. But as certain as I am of that, I know there will be a day when all of my theories come to a head, and create an epiphany.

    We can scour the Bible or any book for the correct answers but at the end of the day, all truth is malleable. It is like art in that it is completely subjective. Anyone who thinks they know does not. So don’t listen to me. You can find a verse to soothe your troubled mind anywhere if only you are thinking in the proper context and state-of-mind.

    If I may recommend something, choosing to do this is completely up to you, but if you do something, and afterward you feel like an emptier person that you did before you went into it, don’t do it again. You probably did something wrong. So what do you do? Confront it.

    On a positive note, if you do something that uplifts you or even the people around you, that may be a worthy thing for you to do again.

    To return to the topic at hand, have sex with men, have sex with women, have sex with animals, children, or the elderly… I am nowhere near the position of judge. This life is the only one I hold in my hands, and I have tried enough experiments in these 21 years, to know what I want and do not want to do again… at least for now.

    God only exists if you allow Him/Her to be prevalent in your life, hell only exists if you believe in it at death. If you go through life seeing and believing in hell, torment is your destiny. If you see the glory of this life that we have, whether given to you by an omnipotent God or a rare mathematical chance, you have unlocked the door to everlasting life, my friend.

    If you see the glory, share it, so that others may come to see life for what it is. With the way the masses see the world right now, everyone needs it and more people need to share it.

    I love you

    • Francesc

      21 years old and you have learned that:
      “I have come to an understanding that we all create false God’s”

      Maybe in some more years you can learn too that there is not any way for us to distinguish between a false god and a true god; so all present, past and future gods are equally probable, equally true and equally false from a logic point of view.

      “To return to the topic at hand, have sex with men, have sex with women, have sex with animals, children, or the elderly… I am nowhere near the position of judge.”
      Yes you are. We all are, as members of our society. Particularly I don’t have any problem if the sex is within two adult-minded people who consent it. I have a problem when one of this people is forced against his/her will as I think we have to protect him/her. I also have a problem when one of this people is being abused by the other one.

      Hail all to the FSM!

    • atheist love

      21 year old eh? im 27, i remember being a young adult who had a scrap of imagination left,, i was raised catholic also, but let me say one thing, the truth is NOT malleable,
      understand that the sky is not blue or black, but just the atmosphere.
      it may be percieved as blue in a search for better understanding, but in reality the TRUTH is that nothing is Any particular colour, its perspective.
      all religions are colours of the rainbow,but rainbows are an illusion, looks like its realy there, yea?. wait for the rain to stop.

      • blake rogers

        nicely put

    • Joey

      So, basically, live your life as you want. That’s what’s you are saying minus all the God talk. So, live in the now. Why does there have to be everlasting life? Wouldn’t knowing that you only have a limited time make reality that much more poignant? Living forever would lead to eventual boredom and lack of wonder. And since there is no after life, we should especially revile the way most people in the world are living. they spend their whole existence suffering and then die. To say they are “in a better place” robs them of the respect and dignity they deserve. They suffered and you did nothing about it. Only having this existence makes each of us more responsible and accountable for the existence of others. Religion and fairy tales about the afterlife are childish and are the ethical equivalent of putting one’s head in the sand.

  • billy

    I’m not really sure why anybody cares. Why try to find ways in the Bible to make any kind of marriage work? Nearly everybody who practices any other type of marriage isn’t really interested in the Bible anyway. And everybody who does really care is just kidding themselves.

    Just ignore it. Any argument that anybody comes up with to try to say only one-man-one-woman marriage is the only kind of marriage will only get knocked down by anyone reading this blog. That’s why I’ve never understood why everybody makes such a hubub about “marriage.” Why does anyone care? Just live together and get benefits for pete’s sake. People should be rioting about getting the government out of the marriage business instead of trying to define/redefine.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      I totally agree that the government “shouldn’t” be involved in marriage, but my cousin pointed out to me that governments have a strong practical interest in participating: among other things, a married couple is much easier to trace than two individuals.

      • Elizabeth

        Yep, pretty much. It’s all about money–estates, inheritance, and the accompanying taxes. “Traditionally,” it was more lucrative to pair two folks up when they were raising children; two incomes go further than one. Building wealth through marriage; therefore building a larger tax-base. If we’d change the wording and make everyone do civil unions to get the legal rights and keep their marriages for the church-houses, it would render all this absurdity moot.

  • Cotowar

    First, Christians are silly. Their book contradicts itself because it was written by MEN, and is not the word of a god.

    In response to someone above who said they’ve had no use for the bible for 17 years, you must use drapes for doors, because of you rip one of the little buggers in half, it makes an EXCELLENT door stop. It also stops the door to door bible bangers from hitting your room in the dorm building. =)

    As for Gay’s being allowed to marry, marriage is a complete joke. The only reason you need to get married at all is for the tax incentives. Other than that, keep doing what you’re doing dudes and dudettes! I couldn’t care less if a dude wants to get with a dude, its not my personal thing, but whatever floats their boats is fine with me.

    Oh, and as for sex being largely a pleasurable experience and not primarily used for conception, I’ve spent 3 years in college, I’ve slept with dozens of women, and have yet to have a kid. Does that mean I’ve broken the law? I hope I broke god’s law, because then me and Lucifer can chillax in hell. =)

    Basically we need to outlaw religion. It’s a hindrance on modern society, and good morals can be taught without a magical sky bastard.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      You’re undermining your point when you write that “good morals can be taught without a magical sky bastard.” yet also write “I’ve spent 3 years in college, I’ve slept with dozens of women, and have yet to have a kid.”

      Sorry. I just calls ‘em like I see ‘em.

      • Siberia

        Well, that only happens if you think morals and chastity coincide, don’t you think?

        • Elizabeth

          Exactly. I have one friend who decided that she wanted to “lose her virginity” at age 18. So she did. No complex, no stress, just a choice. I’ve discussed it with my daughter with that model in mind, but a recommendation that she wait until she’s over 20, because her biological development will be more supportive of pleasurable sex at that age. All the real ethical constrictions about sex really revolve around three things, in my mind:
          1. Not getting a disease or passing one to someone else,
          2. Choosing when or when not to conceive, bear, and raise a child (and only doing so if you’re in a good position to do right by that child)
          3. Only having sex in an emotional environment of respect and caring.
          So I told my daughter to always use protection, and that I’d support her in paying for that if she needed help; not to have kids until she’s at least 26 because in our society that’s a much better age, financially and emotionally, to do so; and to NEVER have sex with any man who will think the less of her for having done so (because he had sex, too, so why should any man look down on my kid for doing what he himself did?).

          I decided when I left Christianity that I needed to be very deliberate about my morals: to think through what, exactly, they needed to be based on. And I concluded that all of our morals and ethics as they currently stand are based on TWO things; Empathy–not hurting other people emotionally, and Biology–not hurting our species. Calling people names is wrong; it hurts feelings and does nothing constructive. Running away in battle is “cowardice” because it undermines the protection of the “village” that our mindset is based upon. Murder is wrong on both counts, because it emotionally hurts many people, and because it does not help our own species to survive.

          So why does sex need to have all of these rules around it that have nothing to do with those things? Consensual sex between my daughter and a respectful, caring male, that does not result in pregnancy or disease, is a choice she has due to modern technology (aka condoms and birth control) and society (where she can choose when and with whom to have sex). No biological harm done; no emotional harm done; completely moral and ethical.

          Whereas in a repressive environment such as with Catholic priests, all of the rules forbidding sex cause some massive damage, biologically and emotionally, to all persons concerned. Sex is a NEED (Maslow’s Heirarchy), it’s a biological program designed to create social bonding (which is necessary for survival) and children. Humins, in general and yes, with a few exceptions, can no more have a healthy life without sex than they can without food or water.

    • Kodie

      I don’t think you want to infringe on the 1st amendment. That’d be a pretty solid precedent.

  • http://none spoonman

    The real shit is that we still have to argument about this and there is people that really believes in the freaking bible just because, well I think, they are ignorant, I mean they have degrees and everything but they do not think by herself, I mean the only think I have is the education of my parents and a little of common sense and I don’t need the bible to behave. I have a degree in computing. Sorry about my bad English and I’m a little drunk but I hope i made my point.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Only if you were trying to prove you are ignorant. Sorry, but try again when you’re sober. I’m sure it’s mostly just the alcohol talking.

    • Elizabeth

      Well, though drunk, your point about not needing the bible to behave is a good one. When I say I’m an atheist or a pagan (I’m not really either), people make assumptions about my morality that are often absurd. Do these Christians really think that, stripped of their godd, they would decide to rape and murder and steal? Are they that fk’d up?

  • Rory McKnight

    Unbelievable!!!!!!!! Every one of you TOTALY!!!! missed the point on this one!!!!! You all took off in half a dozen different directions about rape, Christianity, quoting the bible, quoting the number of which marriages should stay, have stayed or need to go. Homosexuals, Mormons almost every subject except this very simple thing, of exposing the truth, sometimes very hard to except.
    Please everyone stop take 5 minutes and start over. Go to the top of page DON’T SCAN IT!!!!!! REALLY READ IT !!! Now don’t you feel kinda silly?

    • atheist love

      sorry rory, but as you might see, most input has came from rebuttal of other peoples ill-directed views, and there are a few gems among the rubble.
      you say everyone missed the point, but you give no understanding of the point itself in your post, thats the vaguidity of a preacher there.
      no offence but do you see yourself above all superstitious monkeys on this earth?
      the point is simple: this knowlage is a weapon against ghosts, given to be as sutch,
      god is love? god is forced, god is slavery, god is rape.
      this is a weapon, wield it as sutch.

  • billdave

    Maybe you forgot one marriage in the Bible…

    Jonathan’s Feelings for David
    18:1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
    18:2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.

    18:3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
    18:4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

  • David

    How about Modern Day Marriage? You know … where women file the divorces 70% of the time (CDC data), and yet men pay for the alimony 96% of the time (IRS data). The kind where the dependent-spouse’s obligations to sexual fidelity is terminated the moment the divorce is filed, and yet somehow the breadwinner-spouse’s financial obligations persist until death, long after the divorce. What is the Bilblical name for this type of One Way Marriage again?

    • Elizabeth

      “What is the Bilblical name for this type of One Way Marriage again?”

      That kind of marriage is usually called “devaluation of women’s contributions” and usually occurs when she’s put in all of the “invisible” work such as putting food on the table while he earns the degree to make lots of money, raising the children, cleaning the house, etc.

      When reversed it is equally valid: should he work as a waiter, father, and housekeeper while she gets a degree in business and goes on to make millions due to his support, while he remains untrained/uneducated and unable to attain a higher standard of living due to the time he put in supporting her ambitions, he is entitled to some of those millions if they get divorced.

  • Rory McKnight

    Subject “The Varieties of Biblical Marriages” which Vorjack gave eight examples of “Biblical Marriages as written in the Bible”. None better than the others and all were known to have been accepted. Then he closed with this simple statement “the next time someone ask you about Biblical Marriage. Ask them which one of the eight are they referring to and why? My marriage is a #8 simply because were heterosexual and monogamous. I am an devout Atheist and my husband is a devout Catholic. We weren’t married in a church but can still have what seen to qualify as a “Biblical Marriage”

  • Bobbertsan

    And what’s the one thing all 8 types of marriage have in common? A man and a woman. Just like in every culture on earth for thousands of years.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      There are a lot of holes in that argument pointed out in the conversation above, but here’s a new one: saying something has always been done in a certain way does not address the challenge that it is wrong.

    • Francesc

      I would have said a man and an indetermined number of women.

      BTW, do you know every culture on earth? You have any proof to support your assessment?

  • batty007

    I reject any biblical argument designed to deprive me of my civil rights. I was with a man for 19 years, and when he died unexpectedly of a heart attack at 38, that ended it. I wasn’t allowed at the funeral ( I went anyway). Our house was robbed by his family while I was gone. A prostitute with whom he had recently had a dalliance was listed as a survivor. The indignities I suffered at the hands of his “religious” family were many. The next relationship I’m in will be protected by law. Anyone trying to deprive anyone else of this basic legal protection is a hater, purely and simply.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      AMEN

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    One observation that seems to have eluded most posters is the fact that the Bible writers were actually wrestling with society as it is, and issues that often nomadic, rather barbaric people were involved in. All of the ridiculous religion bashers who claim that the Scriptures have been changed by a well-organized and evil church cannot have it both ways. These passages would have been excised since they are so difficult to understand. These and other passages were not excised, or edited and, like the rest of the Bible they represent an accurate history of what transpired.
    The writers don’t necessarily prescribe what they describe, but, given the realities of what society was like, many of these passages represent an outline of principles that were protective and caring for women.
    The Bible is a book that requires more than a cursory glance with a cynical eye. Those of us who stand up for monogamy and marriage between a man and a woman have, for the most part, indeed read it, but we actually discern it’s meaning through a proper hermeneutical approach to the text. I doubt if such bashers are interested in real explanations and a point by point rebuttal of each list item, but to assume that those who love and respect the Bible don’t know what it says is an ignorant position to espouse.

    • Francesc

      I agree that “Bible writers were actually wrestling with society as it is”. In fact I’m pretty sure that this is all what the OT is: a book of laws from an ancient nomade civilization. So, please, don’t try to force those old laws into our modern society. They doesn’t apply anymore. (That IS the point)

      “who claim that the Scriptures have been changed by a well-organized and evil church cannot have it both ways. These passages would have been excised since they are so difficult to understand.”
      You are assuming a lot here. first, that those people consider church “well-organized”. Second, you are forgetting that the OT is not only in christian bible, but too in the Talmud. So it was out of his possibilities to “excise” those parts. You are assuming too that those parts where “bad” for the church of the moment. Slavery? Of course, Romans did have slaves. Concubines? Checked. Rapery? even in medieval times, by the lords. Killing lots of people for religion? What were the crusades for…
      And you are forgetting that, for hundreds of years, only the priest could interpret the Bible. They could read only the parts they wanted, normal people was not ready to understand neither the language -latin- nor the meaning

      “Those of us who stand up for monogamy and marriage between a man and a woman have, for the most part, indeed read it”
      That’s an “ignorant position to espouse”. I can believe you have read it. Have you made a poll between your co-haters?

    • atheistlove

      ” These and other passages were not excised, or edited and, like the rest of the Bible they represent an accurate history of what transpired.”
      HMMMMMMM… ok ,you want to know a acurate history? let me STATE some from the old hebrew version…
      GEN 3:16 Unto the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.’ {S} HMMM WOMEN ARE LESSER….. REALY?…… u believe that?
      GEN 4:16-17 ,16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. 17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son Enoch.
      I THOUGHT ADAM AND EVE WHERE THE FIRST HUMANS?
      THEY HAD 3 sons, poor abel, lol
      WHERE DID CAINS WIFE COME FROM AGAIN? oh, the land of NOD, hmmm, hmmm
      adam, eve, sons, WHERE DID THIS WIFE COME FROM IF THEY WHERE THE ONLY HUMANS? was she a monkey? lol
      no, she came from the land of nod, in other words ,ADAM AND EVE WHERE NOT THE FIRST HUMANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      ok, that is only a few pages, indescrepency’s CONTROL the bible, ALL THROUGH IT.

      now, is that a ACCURATE HISTORY???

      • atheistlove

        P.S if ANY ONE can tell me where the funk these magical, biblical wives came from, i
        WILL, WILL try to see it from your view, but since the bible is the only evidence of god,
        i realy think you are going to have to find another “long lost book of the bible” like they have done often in the past. because i DONT see them ANYWHERE!!!!

    • VorJack

      “The writers don’t necessarily prescribe what they describe, but, given the realities of what society was like, many of these passages represent an outline of principles that were protective and caring for women.”

      I’m sorry, but I think you’re projecting. I see no evidence that the compilers of the OT were any more advanced in their view of women than the rest of the Ancient Near East. Women remained property, and could be killed for committing infidelity. They could be divorced, but could not divorce.

      As one historian put it, “… in antiquity, the differences between men and women–or rather, the differentness of women–was viewed as a problem to be solved, or at least endured.” I see nothing to suggest that the authors of the Hebrew Testament were any different.

      “Those of us who stand up for monogamy and marriage between a man and a woman”

      You can sit down now. No one is trying to take that away. We’re just trying to provide an addition option.

  • Rory McKnight

    The Bible a history book? Then we should consider Grimes Fairy Tales as one also. Now before everyone gets there nickers in a twist let me explain. We have all played the telephone game while sitting in a small circle and we all know when the conversation comes back around it’s nothing like the one that was started and everyone gets a big laugh. The Bible is over thousands of years old, written in several different languages, translated by hundreds of people, over hundreds of years, in several different interpretations. The Bible is only as actuate as the man who interprets it. The worst ” The Bible says this the Bible says that ” Even if it does what worked back then doesn’t always work now!!!! People have to learn to be more flexible.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Rory,

      You are guilty of either misrepresentation, or a complete lack of knowledge concerning the history of the Bible. Scribes considered their copying to be so sacred that they counted letters in each paragraph, and page. If that count didn’t correspond to the one from which they were copying they did not merely destroy that page, but the entire scroll which the contaminated version was a portion of. So much so that most scholars agree that no major variations appear (the type that would call into question even a single doctrine) among any of the thousands of extant manuscripts. Being more “flexible” as you put it, would imply that God changes, and He explicitly states that He does not. He also says that, “He esteems his Word as more highly than Himself” which is the only stamp of approval needed for a mentality that continues to look to the holy Scriptures for daily instructions for living.

      • Elizabeth

        God doesn’t change.
        Every word God said is true.
        The Old Testament is God’s Law.
        But we don’t really believe that stuff about slaves and rape and polygamy and stoning our neighbors or kids for minor infractions.
        It’s all okay that it’s in there, though, because The New Testament changes everything.

        …huh?

      • Francesc

        “would imply that God changes, and He explicitly states that He does not”
        He also states that snakes eat dust. Senility. You know, He’s so old…

  • Rory McKnight

    Yes Jeff being Human we are perfect and could not possibly make any mistakes ! Uneducated, flexible maybe you need to look closer to home. The Bible was give to us as a guide line because frankly at the time “man was going to hell in a hand basket “. Written law I don’t think so ! Most of the laws in the Bible are common sense and densest morals that most people should just know and do without being told to do so. If one needs a book for this then I feel sorry for those that do. There is a right and a wrong and I don’t need a God to tell me which one is the path to choose. I choose the path because it is the right thing to do and not because God told me to it or because I will walk with Jesus in Heaven but because it is the right thing to do!!! I answer only to my conscience because I have to live with myself and answer only to myself and not to God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Rory,

      Who on earth suggested otherwise. Certainly not me. I, for one, am grateful that you follow your conscience. I would only suggest that you consider that the conscience you are following may be more correctly identified as the Holy Spirit, and there are many people who try diligently to do the right thing and to respond in ways that quiet the convicting voice of God. I too follow that prompting, although imperfectly, not for the future promise of heaven, but for the peace of living righteously now. I don’t behave to earn a place in heaven with Jesus. He behaved to earn that place for all who would receive Him as Savior.

      I am thrilled to someday walk with Him face to face and side by side, but I am led daily, just as you are, by the inner prompting of His Spirit. The Bible is here to help us check that prompting to see that we are truly hearing and not being misled by our own imagination and/or the enemies of our souls. There have been far too many people who were “led” by conscience to commit despicable, even horrifying acts of violence and mayhem. “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.”

      Even you are fighting your conscience on the issue of Who will be God in your life, as that conscience, which I call the Holy Spirit, primarily leads us to faith in Christ. You may have been hurt by religion, or Christians, but there is a baby in the bath water of Christianity that you must be careful not only not to throw out, but to fully embrace. He loves you Rory.

      • Cerridwyn

        Please enjoy yourself there. You will be very very alone.

        I’ll walk the summerland until I am reborn anew into life on this earth…

        either that or I will just rot in the ground.

        Why do christians embalm anyway? just to be sure you are dead?

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Cerridwyn,

          Actually you are free to join me. In fact it’s such a large place that if, for some reason I offend you, you can probably avoid seeing me for eternity. I know you can avoid me if you persist in your folly and unbelief, as I definitely have no reservations where you’re currently booked.

          Embalming is not a Christian custom per se’, but, as I understand it, it became preferred where possible, to beat the sometimes frightening alternative of being buried alive.

          We’re both pretty “off topic” here though, don’t you think?

          Cheers!

        • Elizabeth

          Christians embalm for the same reason that people insist on the concept of “resurrection,” and for the same reason that they think that humans are different than “animals.” They’re afraid. The deer dies and rots and turns into worm food. The mightt lion who eats the deer dies and rots and ends up as dust. Oh, no! What if I, the humin, die and rot and mean nothing more than dirt?

          So pretty much every Creation mythology I’ve ever read, including Genesis, involves huminkind being created last, after the “animals.” (As if we were not animals? What are we then, fungus?). Why are we created last? So that we can be somehow set apart from those worm-food animals, so that there’s some assuaging of the fear that, after death, we might really be Dead.

      • Elizabeth

        “… but I am led daily, just as you are, by the inner prompting of His Spirit.”

        Jeff, what a piece of crap-assumption-imposition on Rory. Telling him what he’s led by, what the hell!

        What I noticed when I was trying to buy the Christian baloney was this:
        If I received the inner prompting of the “Spirit” and did something good, it was all God’s bragging rights. If I received a prompting and things went wrong, I was deceived by “satan.” So basically, I was left to believe that I had to scour each thought and drift of ideas for which parts were “the Spirit” and which parts might have been something else.

        You know, when people hear multiple voices in their heads, it’s called schizophrenia. And that’s what your religion is asking people to do–become schizophrenic. It’s exhausting trying to constantly listen for some make-believe Being to tell you what to do. Just trust that your own internal voice works just fine–especially if you stop trying to chop it up into pieces and call one part “Spirit.”

        Just so you know, the most under-represented population in American prisons is Atheists. They make up less than 1% of the people who commit crime; Christians make up nearly 96%. Maybe you ought to reconsider the consequences of being led by some Spirit you can’t see or prove the existence of, or at least reconsider the idea of recommending this “Spirit” to other people who might go on to commit some “godly” act, such as the torture of prisoners that most Christian church-goers said they approved of (in a recent poll).

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          I am in prisons quite regularly and have met many former and current atheists there. I know that’s anecdotal and not evidential, but I’d be curious to know if the study you site took into account the fact that people tend to strongly turn to God when in trouble and/or dire circumstances. Oh wait, you didn’t site a study. Do you have any actual statistics or is this just your general feeling? In any event I am there quite regularly and I have some issues with the control mechanisms that would achieve such a numerical result.

          Peace, love and kisses.

          • atheist love

            JEFF ,i can account for the fact why people turn to bhudda, jesus, thor, zeus
            or what-ever when there in trouble or not, the fact is when a animal is scared and injured (so to speak)they will either get angry, OR GET DESPERATE, hopeing everything is going to be all-right is a defense mechanisim, so you dont give up -same as fighting-,if a animal is in despair it wont eat, frets becomes weak and dies.
            NATURAL SELECTION in action ,yes?
            your GOD is just a by-product of this process, accept it.
            p.s if you hear god in your head or have multi-layered scrambled thought patterns,
            GO SEE YOUR PSYCHOLOGIST

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Ha ha. You are so funny. Touche’ Is that spelled correctly?

              Anyway, you really got me with that one.

            • atheist love

              ????? RE-READ IT, DID I SAY TOUCH?? i dont think so, plus picking on someones spelling is quite a sign you have nothing left to argue with,
              now, accept the truth and may you believe that we are monkeys?

          • Elizabeth

            Quick and dirty search turned up these two. Don’t want to clutter up the board any more than it already will, but “atheists in prison” will Google you out plenty of studies. Christians debate these figures, and the first link here is a great example of a scientist doing a very critical review of his own work: demonstrates that the statistician himself was not above questioning the potential errors and biases. However, no matter how you pull the numbers, the data still supports the lack of atheists in prisons. Unlike many Xians on this board, I’m not inclined to say “And God said so, so I’ve proved it.” (I am, however, lazy, thus the initial lack of citation.)

            http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/atheist_vs_theist/4149

            2001 ARIS data ( http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/research_briefs/aris/key_findings.htm ):

            76.6% – Christian
            19.1% – No Religion/Refused to Answer
            1.3% – Jewish
            0.7% – Other/Not Specified
            0.5% – Muslim/Islamic
            0.5% – Buddhist
            0.4% – Atheist
            0.3% – Hindu
            0.05% – Native American
            0.04% – Bahai
            0.027% – Sikh
            0.026% – Scientology
            0.01% – Santeria
            0.005% – Rastafarian

            http://www.skepticfiles.org/american/prison.htm

            In “The New Criminology”, Max D. Schlapp and Edward E. Smith say that two
            generations of statisticians found that the ratio of convicts without
            religious training is about 1/10 of 1%. W. T. Root, professor of
            psychology at the Univ. of Pittsburgh, examined 1,916 prisoners and said
            “Indifference to religion, due to thought, strengthens character,” adding
            that Unitarians, Agnostics, Atheists and Free-Thinkers are absent from
            penitentiariers or nearly so.

            During 10 years in Sing-Sing, those executed for murder were 65% Catholics,
            26% Protestants, 6% Hebrew, 2% Pagan, and less than 1/3 of 1% non-religious.

            Steiner and Swancara surveyed Canadian prisons and found 1,294 Catholics,
            435 Anglicans, 241 Methodists, 135 Baptists, and 1 Unitarian.

            Dr. Christian, Superintendant of the NY State Reformatories, checked
            22,000 prison inmates and found only 4 college graduates. In “Who’s Who”
            91% were college graduates, and he commented that “intelligence and
            knowledge produce right living” and that “crime is the offspring of
            superstition and ignorance.”

            Surveyed Massachusetts reformatories found every inmate religious, carefully
            herded by chaplins.

            In Joliet, there were 2,888 Catholics, 1,020 Baptists, 617 Methodists and
            0 non-religious.

            Michigan had 82,000 Baptists and 83,000 Jews in their state population.
            But in the prisons, there were 22 times as many Baptists as Jews, and 18 times
            as many Methodists as Jews. In Sing-Sing, there were 1,553 total inmates with
            855 of them Catholics (over half), 518 Protestants, 177 Jews and 8 non-
            religious. There’s a very interesting qualified statistic.

            Steiner first surveyed 27 states, and found 19,400 Christians, 5,000 with
            no preference, and only 3 Agnostics (one each in Connecticut, New Hampshire,
            and Illinois). A later, more complete survey found 60,605 Christians, 5,000
            Jews, 131 Pagans, 4,000 no preference, and only 3 Agnostics.

            In one 29-state survey, Steiner found 15 unbelievers, Spirtualists,
            Theosophists, Deists, Pantheists and 1 Agnostic among nearly 83,000 inmates.
            Calling all 15 “anti-christians” made it one half person to each state.
            Elmira reformatory overshadowed all, with nearly 31,000 inmates, including
            15,694 Catholics (half), and 10,968 Protestants, 4,000 Jews, 325 refusing
            to answer, and 0 unbelievers.

            In the East, over 64% of inmates are Catholics. In the national prison
            population they average 50%. A national census found Catholics 15%. They
            count from the diaper up. Hardly 12% are old enough to commit a crime.
            Half of these are women. That leaves an adult Catholic population of 6%
            supplying 50% of the prison population.

            Liverpool, England produces three percent as many young criminals as
            Birmingham, a larger city, 28% coming from Catholic schools.

          • Elizabeth

            Okay, Jeff, I’ll take the bait.

            If you attempted to kiss me I would likely bite your lip off. The assumption of “love” between Xians and the entire humin race is bogus. I don’t know you. If you were my neighbor, I might like you or even love you as a friend–I have Xian friends that I love dearly, it isn’t an impossibility.

            To say “kisses” is rude in its implication that you have a right to decide to touch an unknown person. If you invaded my personal space like that in-person, I would bite you, just like a cat who doesn’t want the advances of a humin and decides to protect their space. See, I have very carefully thought-out ethics that come from a strong sense of empathy and caring toward other living beings, dictating that I do no harm except in dire need, such as in the protection of me and mine.

            Unlike Xian-indoctrinated women who think they have to put up with the sexual advances of males, I believe in the protection of my sacred self. And no; it doesn’t have to be sexual–just as you wouldn’t want some strange man coming up to you on the street and giving you a kiss, I wouldn’t either.

            If the lady doth protest, it’s because men’s assumptions (not all of you, pardon) really piss me off. I waive my certificate of rationality for this post. :)

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              No offense. It’s an expression, like the waitress who calls everyone “sweety,” or “hon.” It was my (obviously) terribly misunderstood way of saying these are my arguments for the sake of truth (as I understand it) and nothing personal. Didn’t at all mean to touch a nerve or offend, in fact I was attempting precisely the opposite.

              I’m still not certain though that these figures represent how people categorized themselves BEFORE incarceration. I have little doubt that it would be difficult to stay in God-denial WHILE incarcerated. it’s like the old argument about finding few, if any atheists in foxholes.

              I’ll just say peace, no touching. Ha ha

            • Elizabeth

              Appreciate the willingness to listen to my position.

              Of course you don’t believe the hard data, even though you asked for it. If it doesn’t support your position, it’s in doubt. If you think if does support your position, it’s solid. That’s how all religious programming works, and that’s one reason I left–I couldn’t keep judging things on such and arbitrary basis as the random writings of some 3000 year old goat-herder conquest-bent patriarchal madMEN.

              There are atheists in foxholes, by the way. I’m not sure where the idea came from that atheists suddenly “convert” when they’re afraid, and I’m not sure you ought to be proud about what it says of your god if people find It so unappealing that it takes the threat of death to consider it. People who are on the verge of death also consider and even yield to the comfort of narcotic drugs; I see no difference between the two.

              There are likely people who had been raised religious, never bothered to think about it after they grew up, and then returned to the “narcotic” when in danger–old habits die hard. However, an atheist with considered morals who has given thorough thought to what they believe is not going to be as vulnerable to that sort of under-the-gun fear-based conversion. One thing is; when you think that death really means death, you have far more time to deal with your impending inevitable end and cope with it.

              I’ve experienced the “foxhole” a number of times myself. Most recently an incredible roll-over accident in which I nearly died. Sorry, Xians! I didn’t think, say, or feel the need to go “Oh, God! Save me!” That response wasn’t programmed into me and I didn’t need to manufacture a spiritual “blankie” to comfort myself. Instead I thought about how to survive and get help in a developing blizzard 30 miles from the nearest town. I have to say, that sort of thought was a LOT more productive than sitting there with my head bowed begging the Sky People to come save me. The Sky People happened to be throwing cold, wet snow at me at the time.

  • laura

    amen !!

  • Rory McKnight

    Back at you girl!!

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Rory,

    I have nothing against you, but we do not have the right to just make up some story about how we think the Bible has been changed, ignoring the fact that it’s the most well-attested document in all of Antiquity. It clearly passes the tests placed on historical documents to test their historicity and to suggest otherwise you need to provide some fairly compelling evidence, not a theory based not on history and what we know of the practice of Biblical Scribes, but on the “telephone game.”

    Those tests, when applied to Scripture, do not prove its historicity but they place it squarely head and shoulders above every would be contender to it. That’s why, throughout the world, every religion compares its sacred text(s) to the Bible. It’s the “gold standard.”

    • vorjack

      Excuse me? If the bible has never changed, why do we have so many differing variations of the Christian Testament gospels and letters? Why do the versions of the books of the Hebrew Testament found in the Dead Sea Scrolls differ from our current versions? Why are there variations between the Septuagint and the Masoretic texts?

      And where on earth do you get the idea that the bible is the “gold standard”? Many Muslims insist that the apostles got everything wrong, and that Jesus escaped the crucifixion. It that really the “gold standard” of historicity?

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        I don’t mind defending what I said, but to misquote me and then beat me with it is just rude. I said “most scholars agree that no major variations appear (the type that would call into question even a single doctrine) among any of the thousands of extant manuscripts.” That’s not the same as admitting minor variations do exist and got through the rigorous rules set up to avoid them.

        Truth is not relative and Jesus made and defended some serious truth claims. He is either a liar or the only hope for mankind. I choose the latter, though I respect and will give my blood and treasure, for your belief in the former. For me, however, the “jury is not out.” I know Him. He is the voice of sanity and reason in a world that’s often haywire.

        My “gold standard” statement merely refers to the fact that all other groups recognize that the Bible is the book that must be dealt with when comparing the sacredness of their own texts. For example, Vorjack, you reference the Koran and the Koran is a perfect example. While rejecting many of its major doctrines the Koran repeatedly points to the Bible and even tells where (in Mohamed’s opinion) the Bible gets it wrong.

        Rory, by definition, since you are an Atheist YOU ARE missing God in your life. That’s what Atheism means. Now you may not mind, or even have any conscious concern about that lack, but He is not an acknowledged integral part of your life. That’s not a put down. That’s by your own admission and is something I assume you’re happy about and proud of.

        I respectfully disagree with your premise (see above) and suggest that Jesus claims include and embrace everyone. He’s not shocked by Atheism or Atheists. He receives them into His fold every day. He loves you in a way that is mind boggling, complete and incredible. If you move towards that love, instead of away from it, you will find it wonderfully fulfilling – yes, even for you.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Sorry I mistyped. I AM admitting minor variations and never meant to imply otherwise. When I wrote, “That’s not the same. . .” it should have read “That’s the same. . .”

          My bad. Love to all.

        • VorJack

          “That’s not the same as admitting minor variations do exist and got through the rigorous rules set up to avoid them.”

          Okay. So the late addition of the of the adulteress story in Gos.John is a “minor variation”? The famous “long ending” to Gos.Mark is just a piddling little detail? I’m sorry, but Bart Ehrman published a book about his; surely you’ve heard of his Misquoting Jesus by now. Like him or not, Ehrman is attempting to provide an accessible explanation of the scholarly consensus. His views are anything but radical. You don’t have to agree with him, but he puts lie to the notion that “most scholars agree that no major variations appear.”

          As for your statement, “the type that would call into question even a single doctrine”, I would agree. But that’s because I agree with Hector Avalos, that modern Christianity is entering its “post-biblical” phase. If the scholars who think that 1 John 5:7-8 – the clearest depiction of the trinity in the NT – are correct, it’s a later addition to the text. It’s not in the early greek manuscripts. But if this were somehow proven true and the passage was stricken from the text, Christianity is not going to rethink itself. Christian scholars would find another, less clear passage to hang the tradition on.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Vorjack,

            My understanding was that we were talking about the OT, not the NT. There are a different set of rules that apply to the doctrine of the preservation of that text, but it has still been preserved. An addition is only an adulteration if it changes the basic teaching of who God is and how we relate to that revelation. The fact that we can tell what to include in a basic unadulterated text proves the preservation. That unadulterated text can still be discerned and is therefore, by definition, preserved.

            I’m sorry of you can’t understand that. It helps dramatically to know the actual, not the human, Author.

            James White has dealt more substantially with the Ehrman book than I have time to here. Such criticisms have come and gone for centuries and do nothing much more than to demonstrate the great lengths we will go to to escape accountability to God.

        • cypressgreen

          “”My “gold standard” statement merely refers to the fact that all other groups recognize that the Bible is the book that must be dealt with when comparing the sacredness of their own texts.””

          My, isn’t that self centered and unsubstantiated? I’m sure my Hindu friend would agree.

        • Siberia

          But the Quran is heavily affected by the Bible. It’s come from a region heavily affected by it.

          I don’t see a lot of Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists, pagans, etc., comparing the sacredness of their texts, when they exist, to the Bible. In fact, I don’t think a lot of them even care about the Bible at all. I’m pretty sure you don’t spend your time reading and comparing the sacredness of the Vedas to the sacredness of the Bible. The followers of Wicca – which has no sacred text – and the Native Americans, both from North and South, which don’t have sacred texts either, don’t seem to care a whole lot about the sacredness of the Bible.

          To believe the Bible’s some sort of golden standard for the sacredness of anything – whether it’s right or not – is simply silly. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but everyone else? Unless they’re somehow related to it (as in Judaism and Islam), they probably couldn’t care less.

  • Cerridwyn

    Personally? I want your basic group marriage, gender is not important. What is important is that their is affection between all. After all, it takes a village to raise a child :)

  • Rory McKnight

    Jeff, Please do not delude yourself into thinking I am missing God in my life and one day I shall find him. Do you not understand the meaning of Atheist? Because I understand the meaning of Christianity. This is the United States of America and we believe in religious freedom! I don’t criticize you for believing in God therefor you should allow me the same courtesy and not criticize me for not believing in God! I am glad God and the Bible is meaningful to you but that does not mean that it means the same to everyone else. And like you ever one is entitled to there own opinion. Yours is only right for you!!!!

    • blake rogers

      thank you some one understands me

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Rory, by definition, since you are an Atheist YOU ARE missing God in your life. That’s what Atheism means. Now you may not mind, or even have any conscious concern about that lack, but He is not an acknowledged integral part of your life. That’s not a put down. That’s by your own admission and is something I assume you’re happy about and proud of.

      Peace.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        And furthermore, I love your name. I’ll bet you are a lovely person. You are obviously bright and thoughtful too.

        Love and kisses.

        • Elizabeth

          I no more “miss” God than I miss having a penis or octopus-like tentacles. Unlike the bacteria at the bottom of the ocean, I don’t need sulfur to perform the synthesis of chemical food-energy for the operation of my body. I need oxygen, though–if the bacteria missed their sulfur, they’d starve, and if I missed my oxygen, I’d croak. I don’t miss jazz music; I don’t like jazz.

          Can’t miss what you didn’t want or need in the first place. Really: we aren’t missing anything, I’ve never felt better since I left Xianity-insanity. It’s freed up SO much energy, both emotional and mental, that I was wasting in constantly trying to battle the rational thought that was so innate and right for me.

          See above post about your “kisses” signature thing.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            He misses you though. See my answer to your post about kisses.

            • Elizabeth

              Whoo … okay, my snide response would not be constructive. Thanks again for your response to the signature post, though.

      • batty007

        Jeff,
        Your continuing to insist that Atheists are missing something in their lives leads me to point out that you are missing something in yours.
        Rational thought.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Ahh batty007, your screen name fits you. Just kidding. That’s a tiresome argument. Your naturalistic world view is no more “rational” than my supernaturalistic one. He’s not just the god of the gaps. He’s Lord of all, from the Big Bang to the smallest molecule, and even quarks and whatever may still be left to postulate or prove.

          “From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.” King David

          And my “insistence” is that Atheists are telling the truth. They claim to have NO GOD. Why is this so hard for you to accept? I haven’t insisted they are missing anything. They insist it themselves. If you are an Atheist, I assume you are proud of not having a god. For you, in your life, God is missing. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say, “there is no God,” and yet say, “He is not missing.” You may not miss Him, but He is missing from your life. That’s all I’ve written – nothing more was ever implied, other than that, with Him, it’s seldom too late. He’s accepting former Atheists every day, just as former Deists are converting to non-belief in alarming numbers.

          As to the actual topic – One beautiful wife has been enough for this man for over 30 years.

          • Daniel Florien

            Is it just as “rational” to believe the earth moves around the sun because of physical forces, and that the sun moves around by a god in a chariot? I don’t think so. The naturalism is based on reason — supernaturalism is based on faith and making stuff up that can’t be proven or disproven.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Daniel,

              What a silly straw man that is.

              QUOTE

              Is it just as “rational” to believe the earth moves around the sun because of physical forces, and that the sun moves around by a god in a chariot? I don’t think so.

              Neither do I and it therefore has nothing to do with it. In fact it’s funny that you would choose Astronomy since that science has led many practitioners to a belief in the Biblical God.

              You might want to get a more firm grip on what the Bible actually teaches (in context) before trying to dismiss it.

              But to answer your question, No that would not be rational, nor is your argument, since it’s a classic straw man.

              Cheers

            • Daniel Florien

              So explain what’s rational about supernaturalism. I’m not aware of any claims that are more rational than the one I gave. They are all variations of “godditit” without any evidence.

              But feel free to give one that isn’t a “straw man” (though it isn’t, because people actually believed it).

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Here’s my definition of a straw man argument. It involves attributing and refuting an argument to someone who is not making it. The fact that someone who also is a supernaturalist believes something, does not mean that all supernaturalists believe that too.

              I know of no one who believes that God being in a chariot has anything to do with making the sun move. Modern meteorologist, who certainly know that the earth revolves around the sun, nevertheless speak in common vernacular and say, “The sun will rise at 6:35 tomorrow morning.” Such speech does not prove them ignorant, but if someone tries to use such speech to impugn their knowledge it’s fairly convincing evidence for a lack of solid evidence on the part of the one arguing against them.

              Wow that was awkwardly stated. ha ha.

              To say “God did it,” is not, in essence, irrational unless He didn’t. If He did, then it’s more irrational to say He didn’t. Your fallacy is in making rationalism a synonym for atheism. It is not, no matter how much you wish it to be.

              Finally, your argument was a straw man because you imputed it to me, not because someone, somewhere may have made it, although I’ve never heard or read it before. You were engaging me, not this mythical (or even historical) person who “actually believed it.”

              Peace to you Daniel Florien.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Why does this always happen to me? Invariably the arguments dry up and blow away and those who are arguing against truth just peter out and move on. I’ve seen it hundreds of times over the past 30 (or so) years. Since this thread is apparently over, I just want to thank all of those with whom I’ve been privileged to discuss these vital truths.

              Elizabeth, God completely and radically loves you, lesbian and all.
              Rory, you are a joy and a deep and introspective thinker. Never stop.
              Vorjack, Cerridwyn, Daniel and batty007 thanks for not resorting to name calling and mean-spirited personal attacks. It was a joy engaging in such spirited debate with you.

              batty007, I think the worst I got was when I said your screen name fit. I was just kidding and I apologize if that was in the least offensive. I’m sure you are a wonderful person.

              Love to all

            • rodneyAnonymous

              Why does this always happen to me?

              Possibility n: You are right. Your opponents run out of arguments and give up.
              Possibility n1: You are repeating arguments that have been addressed. Rather than continue to repeat themselves, your opponents give up.
              Possibility n2: You don’t understand your opponents arguments; they feel a particular point has been refuted, you don’t. Rather than repeating themselves, your opponents give up.

              Example: I believe no gods exist. Something can only be “missing” if it exists; so gods are not missing from my life (absent, perhaps, but not missed). To say I am both right (former) and wrong (latter) is a contradiction. In other words, to a theist God is missing from an atheist’s life; to an atheist, that is nonsense. A successful rebuttal is frequently based on an evaluation of an argument from the opponent’s perspective.

              Example: “To say ‘God did it,’ is not, in essence, irrational unless He didn’t.” It is irrational because you are claiming to know something you can’t possibly know. You disagree that you can’t know it, and conclude that supernatualism and naturalism are both rational. Repeat ad give-up-um.

      • Jessie Bear

        Just reading through all these comments on a lazy Sunday afternoon with no intention to add to them when I had to stop and say that Jeff’s condescension really turns me off. (“Love and kisses”? EWWWWWWWWW! Even after he’d already been called on this for being offensive.)

        Jeff, if you really are a Christian, then, for the love of God, just stop and think about what you are doing here. You are making Christians look like jerks. No doubt, there are some fence-sitters reading these comments and you might actually be leading them away from Christ because you are giving the atheists a lot of good ammunition. Is that your real purpose?

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Perhaps you missed my response. I know tone is hard to read on these forums and if you assume I’m condescending then it’s my own fault for not being more clear. But you couldn’t be more wrong about me. I’m sometimes chuckling along with the people I’m writing to I hope, sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes ribbing you, but I hope never condescending, even though that’s the tone that’s pretty much always used on me to begin with.

          Here, again, for the record is my explanation – cut and pasted from the post where I explained it.

          No offense. It’s an expression, like the waitress who calls everyone “sweety,” or “hon.” It was my (obviously) terribly misunderstood way of saying these are my arguments for the sake of truth (as I understand it) and nothing personal. Didn’t at all mean to touch a nerve or offend, in fact I was attempting precisely the opposite.

          [made another unrelated argument here – them closed with

          I’ll just say peace, no touching. Ha ha

          Jessie, if that offends you AFTER reading my explanation then you are way too touchy to be posting on a public forum. I hope it does not. I realize that as a believer I am somewhat of a guest in your home (actually Daniel’s) and I appreciate the courteous treatment I have received from a clear majority of the residents.

  • atheist love

    jeff, people are sick of you not listening to anyting you dont like. thats why they stopped.
    listen to this:

    The majority of the literary evidence for Germanic paganism was likely intentionally destroyed when Christianity slowly gained dominant political power in Anglo-Saxon England, then Germania and later Scandinavia throughout the Middle Ages. Although perhaps singularly most responsible for the destruction of pagan sites, including purported massacres such as the Massacre of Verden and the subsequent dismantling of ancient tribal ruling systems, the Frankish emperor Charlemagne of The Holy Roman Empire is said to have acquired a substantial collection of Germanic pre-Christian writings, which was deliberately destroyed after his death.

    now, we all-ready know paganisim is WAY older than christianity, but why destroy the whole written history of a ancient religion? WHERE THEY SCARED THAT THERE FLOCK MIGHT CONVERT TO PAGANISIM? no offence to you, but your religion just keeps showing itself to
    be single-minded, violent and very,very unforgiveing,,, unless you are a christian yourself.

    • atheist love

      P.S in 325 ad emporor constitine saw his people loosing faith in their old gods because of incoming information about mid-east, asian religions confusing them, so he created the council of nicaea for the intention of “weighing up” different gods and religions to create a new consolidation of religion.
      2 yrs later there short-list was krishna, horus, caesar,mithra and zeus,
      to involve brittish colonys he ruled that the druid god HESUS be in the list.
      so it came to be that hesus will be integrated with krishna, the eastern god of salvation,
      the official name of the new god is HESUS KRISHNA,…. BUT krishna is SANSKRIT for CHRIST!! so.. there u have it the origins of your god…

      ARE YOU READING THIS JEFF???????????????????????? lol, some people realy need to understand ALL history, not believe that the ONE book they hold is it, without looking at EVERYTHING ELSE IN THIS WORLD.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Atheist Love,

        Oh my goodness, I wasn’t prepared to have to teach remedial ancient history but your rewrite, although I’m sure not original with you, is very far from the truth of the First Council of Nicaea. Other than being called by Constantine and held in 325 A.D., you got just about every other fact wrong. What you espouse is not held by a single reputable scholar, Christian or otherwise, including probably every atheist also reading this blog, which is why they’re not jumping on your bandwagon here.

        I’m sorry but these kinds of outlandish historical revisionism do nothing to further your cause, at least not with me. I happen to be educated in the field, so you’ll need to find something more credible. I assume you also think the U.S. government is responsible for 911. Ha ha. Just kidding there. That is the same kind of conspiritorial thinking that goes with your silly post though.

        No hard feelings, but your information is laughably, demonstratively wrong.

        Please stay out of this if you have nothing but shoddy nonsense to contribute.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          He did in fact get some (most? heh) of the details wrong, but you just said his knowledge of history is wrong and yours is right, without giving yours. You also assert that “probably every atheist” agrees with your understanding, without stating what that understanding is. I am guessing from your attitude about other topics that your knowledge of history does not, in fact, agree with mine.

          To my knowledge: the early cult of Christianity preached intolerance of pagan religions in Rome, a forgein concept in a country with a history of extreme tolerance toward different faiths. The first few hundred years of the Roman Empire saw emperors reacting to this by persecuting Christians. The emperor Constantine saw it differently: this unrest could only be solved by embracing Christianity rather than fighting it. Thus he “converted” (which is funny, his unfamiliarity with Christianity is evident in the fact that he claims his conversion was inspired by seeing a vision of Christ before a battle; Christ is not a god of war) and made Christianity the official religion of Rome. Constantine sought to consolidate Christianity (thus Nicaea) and thereby exactly define what a church must do and believe in order to be state-sponsored. He incorporated elements of pagan religions (such as the trinity/polytheism, the halo which used to be a sign of imperial power and became a sign of divine power, and much more) to make it more attractive to the pagans. Christ went from being a criminal executed by the state to being depicted as an agent of the state.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            As I wrote, I am just not going to engage in remedial ancient history, neither the time nor the inclination. I think it’s truly wasted on someone who could swallow the load of horse shit he was peddling.

            However, you may be surprised to know that I agree that you do have an essentially correct understanding of the Council in A. D. 325. It’s also all but immaterial to me, except for the fact that his gross misunderstanding, revisionism, or both apparently led him to some radically errant conclusions.

            He’s much like Christians I’ve met who are so convinced already that they’re willing to simply distort and pervert facts that don’t necessarily fit.

            • rodneyAnonymous

              It is not remedial. I think that if you carefully studied the early Church, you would find the evidence that Christianity is almost completely made-up to be crushing.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Rodney,

              That’s actually one of my widely acknowledged areas of expertise. I am referring to your statement, “I think that if you carefully studied the early Church, you would find the evidence that Christianity is almost completely made-up to be crushing.”

              I have a Masters degree in theology with a specialty in comparative religions, plus another 15 years working in the field. What, specifically, do you think constitutes such evidence? I am researching the same history and find God’s establishment of, and preservation of the church to be remarkable.

            • rodneyAnonymous

              Theology is explicitly study of religion from the inside. I am suggesting you study it from the outside.

              (Also, an aside, I think theology is a non-subject, it is expertise of fiction with some fact unavoidably mixed in. I would be equally impressed with a degree in how to worship Zeus. My intention is not to insult, although that may be a side effect, but to point out that myself and most atheists will laugh at a theological education, not defer to it, so it might be a good idea to leave it unmentioned.)

        • Elizabeth

          Jeff, would you agree that in order to make a decision about a debated subject, one must listen to both sides of the argument? You listed your Xian-education “credentials,” but you present no evidence that you’ve read any of the archaeology that demonstrates the counter-arguments to your version of history.

          So, tell me, what have you read, what sites have you visited, how many of the pre-xian mythologies have you studied to see their similarities to the story of the Xian god? What was the name of Attis’s mother? How many days was he tied to a tree, and what happened when he came back to life? How do you explain the discrepancy between the dates claimed in the NT for Jesus’ parents traveling to Bethlehem for a taxation census with the fact that no such tax census was called within 8 years of jesus’ supposed birth?

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Do you mind? Adults are trying to have a conversation here. Just kidding you, but you do know you could sack that stuff and sell it for fertilizer right?

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Sorry. That fertilizer comment was only in answer to atheist love.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Saying something offensive and then following it with “just kidding” does not make it seem inoffensive.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            rodneyAmonmymous,

            Really? Are people here that touchy? I had no idea. Seriously. I am not kidding. I did not speak even mildly offensively. I was using humor to make a point. In fact I am working very hard to be inoffensive. Thanks for the heads up,

            • rodneyAnonymous

              My comment was not meant to apply only to this blog, or even only to the Internet. It is true that in general, no matter where you are or what language you’re speaking, saying something offensive and then following it with “just kidding” does not make it seem inoffensive.

            • Elizabeth

              Not to say that you ought to be rude, but your “working very hard to be inoffensive” is wearing because of its insincerity. (Though I would be unsurprised if you think you’re actually being sincere–from the outside it doesn’t float.) That “turn the other cheek” bit hits a point where you’re not being genuine. “Turn the other cheek” only works when teamed with “walk a mile in my shoes.” I can be non-hostile, polite, absorb the slings of others when I see what’s going on inside their heads–in other words, when I listen to their position.

              You choose to accept only that “evidence” that you have already decided is valid, and call the rest invalid, not based on any weakness in the data / evidence, but purely on your own Xian-programmed biases. I mean it, man–you are PROGRAMMED. It’s an If-Then sequence.

              Put yourself in my shoes and see how revolting it is to be told that your delusion “loves me,” (lesbian and all implying that there is somehow a reason for me to think there’s a reason I ought not be loved?). My pet Smurf when I was a child loves you, Jeff … allow me to point out the absurdity. Better yet, how about this, an attempt to point out why it is, in fact, offensive:

              My sexist, man-hating, Xian-slaughtering, goat-sex-advocating delusionary Omnicient Pet Frog LOVES you, Jeff. The Omniscient Pet Frog, who, by the way, has guided me to write “scriptures” advocating boy-sodomy for all, loves you. You are missing Her from your life.

              How does that statement sit with you? About as well as you saying that your misogynistic, murderous, homophobic, racist god “loves” me. IT IS OFFENSIVE. Your god is OFFENSIVE to me, Jeff, as is your obstinacy.

              However, I CAN put myself in your shoes. My fun here is to have a chance to write (because I love to write) the thoughts and refutations that I’ve had the opportunity to discuss in this board debate. However, I don’t expect you to change any of your strongly held views, because I HAVE been in your shoes–one of the brainwashed Xians who came up with excuses to believe only one way, even in the face of clear evidence contrary to what I’d been taught as a child. So even as I’m using the most offensive thoughts and images I can to TRY to give you an idea of why “God loves me” is a harmful and offensive statement–I rather wish it didn’t have to be so forcefully rude just to get the concept across. But having been on that side of the argument, I also know how much of a blow to the foundation it can take to shake loose a calcified position.

              Huh … so it’s hard to write this just right, because I get the sense that you are in some ways “open-minded”–you are no rabid dog like so many other Xian debaters. But I use the harshness in an attempt to illustrate a point I doubt you’d otherwise get. I think that you’re still unlikely to really get how offensive it is—but I see you as being capable of getting it at the superficial level of manners in a conversation. “No offense intended, Jeff.” Just trying to make my point.

    • NorCal

      “atheist love”, the evidence from within the “Christianity” that was being practiced as the dominant form at the time (and fulfilling in quite a lot of detail the Biblical prophecies concerning ruling empires that must come in the process of the power-mongers of humanity exhausting every possible tactic of evading the truth before the end that were given in vision to Daniel and to John the Revelator–the symbolism of these prophecies was so patent that the original Christians near the end of the Roman empire are documented as praying that the Roman empire would not end in their lifetimes, for fear of the awful and deceitful false religious power with hidden mystery beliefs concealed behind a Scripture-believing exterior that they knew was prophesied would uproot kingdoms, plant itself in Rome, and commence with worse and more insidious persecution of true believers than any before), is that the most probable reason for the massacres and destruction of the documents of Germanic paganism was so that it would not be publicized how much they had in common with Holy Rome, to eliminate competing claims to the same spiritual heritage. I recall someone has discounted Hitler as an atheist because of his affiliation with Rome; however, it is well-documented that he also wished to resurrect Germanic paganism, and to bring the undercurrents of Roman paganism out of the shadows and blend it all together as the revived religion of an empire. He did use atheistic ideas as a tool to try to destroy all other faith, much as he may have planned to use religious ideas as tools for ruling his empire as well, though there is some evidence that his use of astrology and attempts to achieve magickal numbers in his endeavors point to certain genuine spiritual beliefs.

      I think here is where I think Jeff needs to learn a few things, in order to be able to convey more accurate understanding to people who have been traumatically touched by that power’s corrupting influence and turned against their Creator by its deceitful representations. I believe there have been many people within it who have in their innocence been unscathed and have lived beautiful, beneficent lives by focusing on the important things more than on the ritual things and power-structure things. But it seems, applying the prophecy to today, that Biblically the time would now be coming when “knowledge shall increase, with people speeding to and fro”, that people can no longer be innocent and ignorant of these things with so much information coming to light that was formerly hidden by the difficulties of travel and communication, and people who believe that the Bible is true would be called in prophecy to “Come out of her My people, lest you share in her sins…”

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Rodney,

    Please go back and read what I’ve written. The thread is there. You are making the same logical fallacy I pointed to. Of course that makes your argument the irrational one. How ironic is that? For you to say I am “claiming to know something I can’t possibly know,” is to assume you can know what I do and do not know. You do not. Indeed you cannot.

    Beyond that, I am merely claiming for God what He has claimed for Himself. I have not claimed to know the truly unanswerable such as the methods he used, the nature of His power, where matter came from, etc., yet for men called scientists to postulate answers to these is considered rational, even when they are at odds with one another’s postulations, so long as they make no appeal to a god of any sort. When rationalism is a synonym for naturalism the dialogue is impoverished and a majority of the world with it’s various views is unfairly marginalized.

    I am merely pointing out that this stacks the deck so that a supernaturalist is ruled out from the beginning, despite the strength of his arguments. Indeed such shallow thinking may be designed for that very purpose, so that those arguments can be more easily diminished and dismissed.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      You have failed to consider the possibility that you might be wrong.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        QUOTE

        You have failed to consider the possibility that you might be wrong.

        Of course that’s a given. I assume that’s why we have these back and forths. What frightens me is not that I might be wrong, but that I’m probably right. I truly feel compassion and empathy for everyone I am in dialogue with. One reason I am not at the mercy of their arguments though, is that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s not all just thrills and chills, peace, health and prosperity. As you probably know, it’s also incumbent on those of us who know Him to share His life and help to make Him further known.

        I continue to be encouraged by the trickle of people who turn to Him, but I long for a landslide. Knowing Him is of the utmost value.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          No, you must always ask yourself “What if I’m wrong?”, especially when you are most sure.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Again, as I’ve said, that’s a given. I do ask myself that question repeatedly. I like to think that’s one reason my arguments are so logical and coherent. I’ve been thinking them through for over 30 years. I’m 50. I don’t rely on IQ, education, upbringing, or dogma. My motto is “Question everything.” I hope you also follow your own advice.

            Thanks for the interaction.

            • rodneyAnonymous

              I think your arguments are unreasonable, illogical, and incoherent.

              Which of us is wrong?

              Are you sure?

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Without specific citations I couldn’t possibly say, but knowing me and not knowing you I assume that, for the most part, you are wrong. How about a refutation instead of an ad hoc dismissal?

              That might make for a much less sophomoric exchange.

            • rodneyAnonymous

              Everything I’d like you to consider is contained in that comment, without recourse to previous comments.

            • rodneyAnonymous

              It might also be useful to pretend for a moment that you might have been wrong for many years.

            • Elizabeth

              Jeff, how can you count your arguments as logical and coherent, and say that you’re listening to both sides, when you did this?

              Elizabeth: There are fewer Atheists in prison.
              Jeff: Cite me studies that say this.
              Elizabeth: Cites multiple studies.
              Jeff: I question those figures.

              Based on what? Nothing. You just question them because you don’t like what they imply. How is this “logical”? How is this “coherent”?

            • NorCal

              I’d just like to add, what, pray tell, does it prove that there are fewer atheists in prison? There are fewer atheists out of prison, as well. Someone here, and if I recall correctly it was you, made a similar point about what sort of regimes have massacred more, concerning proportions of population available.

              There are so many possible explanations, including that many people convert in prison, or that people who desire to promote an unpopular view as an acceptable alternative might tend to better-behaved in order to further their ends, that the statistic is rendered meaningless.

            • Siberia

              NorCal: methinks the argument stems from the fact people seem to regard religious people as inherently more moral than atheists, which is obviously not true. If religious people are all that moral, why are there so many religious people in prison? Why are there so many crimes of religion? Etc. I suppose that’s the crux of the argument.

            • NorCal

              As you may see from a response I made yesterday above, I believe that something in the Bible that everyone here seems unaware of points to the main reason that so many have lost faith, and at the same time provides evidence in favor of seriously considering it as a supernatural document.

              Namely, that the Bible by symbolic prophecy predicted that its last, greatest enemy would be a religio-political power that would disguise itself as representing the Bible, and perpetrate the vilest persecutions, and most insidious deceptions, the world had ever seen. The ancient prediction, already almost a thousand years old, was so accurate that before it happened, people who ardently believed and studied these Scriptures were able to predict more explicitly exactly where, and in what circumstances this power would arise and be set up.

              So many people have been deceived by this power about what the Bible represents. It is no wonder that this particular faction is more well-represented than any other in the ranks of prisoners, and that other organizations that still retain significant parts of its unbiblical tenets follow not far behind. It is also no surprise to me that most if not all of the atheists in this forum experienced their alienation from belief under the instruction of this religious power; I have seen the pattern repeated so often (And shouldn’t that be considered an oxymoron, at least in Christian terms–”religious power”? Christ said “My kingdom is not of this world”, and “If my kingdom were of this world, my disciples would fight.” And yet this organization still retains an entire earthly state, a kingdom at its disposal, with embassies to other nations and everything.)

              I only hope that when I relate this information, someone reading it might grasp the full import of this fulfilled prediction, and will be able to see beyond the anger and hurt that such a thing was allowed to happen, to see that it was predicted in order to give us the strength to endure it and not be deceived, as the latter vision concerning it said, “This calls for great patience on the part of the devoted”. That it is in the same spirit as Christ predicting His own death and its manner, explaining why it must happen to fulfill all righteousness (i.e. fairness to everyone’s opportunity to believe voluntarily), namely that before He can be revealed as heavenly ruler, so that people’s acceptance of His rulership will still be purely voluntary, people must be permitted to try every possible permutation of ruling themselves, including that of the entire populace being governed in His name in a way that seems to answer people’s desires like those expressed during His life on earth after the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, of wanting to make Him an earthly king, trying to mix His supernatural attributes with the trappings of earthly power structure, that each will understand that it is only through the ways we each individually have failed to not elevate or desire to elevate self over others that we have also failed to see beyond the deceptions and the threats and the oppressions we have experienced in life to the real nature of the supernatural that sets us free from them.

          • rodneyAnonymous

            Consider the possibility that God may or may not exist. You don’t even have to presume that God does not exist, just the possibility.

            Your arguments are all based on God’s existence. Replace the premise “God exists” with “God may or may not exist”, and they all crumble.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              I am, for the most part, making that assumption, only because it’s based on a lifelong pursuit of truth that has left me with a firm confidence in that worldview.

              Wouldn’t your arguments crumble if your supposedly well-founded assumptions were wrong too? I believe very strongly in the reems of evidence that suggest the existence of the God of Scripture. Perhaps you do not. I don’t recall whether you’ve indicated your label.

              I also assume gravity, and that I would weigh less if walking on the moon. I assume you make such assumptions every day, as do I. Assumptions are the basis, grounding, or framework from which we make further interpretations of life’s data.

              It’s silly to imply that I should ignore evidence that, at least to me, is overwhelming, as to do so would keep me forever on the starting blocks and never running the race.

            • rodneyAnonymous

              I do not base any arguments on the premise that God does not exist. I base some arguments on the premise that God’s existence is extraordinarily improbable, but that premise itself is a conclusion based on other premises.

              You are beginning an argument with “God exists” and ultimately drawing the conclusion that “God exists”. This is — by the definition of logic — illogical.

            • NorCal

              I agree that the subject of the existence of a Creator is outside the realm of logic. After all, *if* there is a Creator, such a being would be at least in some respects, necessarily beyond the comprehension of human logic. I have in other places here criticized someone’s apparent overwhelming of their logic by emotion. But, I believe emotion definitely has its place in the decision-making process on what to believe. I do believe that belief itself is properly a decision made in the culmination of a process that begins with emotion–namely, hopefully the desire to promote the good, the desire to derive one’s satisfaction from making sure that in whatever one does, it helps to promote a world in which the greatest amount of people possible feel loved. Then, though, logic must be applied, drawing on all the resources one has and the time one has to spare when that desire to promote this experience of love runs up against challenges, to discern what can overcome those challenges. At some point, in each person’s life, this has to include, yes, an experience by that person that they cannot but believe is intervention by a Creator, if they are going believe in a Creator.

              In this area of inquiry, logic can, at best, organize and explain what makes up our subjective experience, but you are correct, it still all comes down to subjective experience. Therefore, it is also not logical to fault someone or consider their thought process inferior if they begin with an assumption, based on subjective experience, that a Creator exists. It is, by logical definition, impossible to disprove. And logically, one must acknowledge the possibility that someone has experienced true evidence that you didn’t experience. I do think it is easy to distinguish between disruptive hallucinations that do not produce the focus on beneficence and love, organizational brainwashings that likewise fail to produce it, and someone’s experience that was real to them in every sense that gave them a focus beyond themselves such that they were able to give of themselves to all around them beyond normal measure without damage to their own sense of love, without running out of patience or endurance and without cynicism. People make so much of FSM & other facetious allegories for belief in a Creator, and it is amusing, but the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes.
              Religious organizations and scientific organizations can both accomplish great things that benefit many people, in many ways, but both can also be equally suspect, and can exact steep prices for what they provide, that cause us to question whether they really weigh in favor of promoting the fulfillment of that basic desire for love, if on the whole they help more than hurt one’s chances of attaining that elusive completeness–in the case of scientific organizations, that only purport to present as objective of information as possible, not to promote any particular feeling, the question is whether they are faithfully fulfilling that promise or not–which, if we are in any way relying on their information, does weigh in on the issue of love/completeness, because it is axiomatic that the more people act in good faith in whatever endeavor, the better environment is created for feelings of love and satisfaction, yet ironically at the same time, paradoxically, the more faithful a person or organization is *habitually* to stated aims, the more devastating are the consequences of any deviation from that path, many times without even the awareness of the people who are hurt in the more insidious cases (resulting in yet greater damage), their alienation becoming directed at something or someone else other than its true source.

              That’s why I’m not here to promote a religious organization, or argue about science, or even to propose what should or should not be legislated about marriage. I’m just here to explain how unfair this particular defamation of the Biblical text is, in this case, and hopefully familiarize a few people with the anatomy of its ripping of words from their original context enough that they will be able to recognize the signs of it in other cases and not automatically believe something is an accurate representation just because it seems verifiable at its surface and plays to their fears.

              No matter which way is the right way to address the marriage issue as a society at this point, unwarrantedly inflammatory statements such as this article, if people genuinely subscribe to them, only serve to do long-lasting damage to whatever solution is reached.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Rodney,

    Re: Paragraph two of your post (above). I concede and take your point. I have a very hard time seeing things from the perspective of my opponent, although I very much want to. That is a shortcoming that I must continue to work on. Thank you for that constructive criticism, and for otherwise engaging me. The Scripture teaches that “iron sharpens iron,” and I am certainly sharper for having visited with you today.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Rodney,

    Actually I have not been arguing here for the existence of God. That is an entirely different exercise that I have engaged in from time to time, but that is not the thrust of these arguments. To argue that I would, however, take you to the evidence that suggests to me that it’s extraordinarily improbable that He does not. That is the framework upon which I’ve hung some of these arguments just as your framework is influenced by your assumption that it’s extraordinarily improbable that He does.

    That, my consistent argument has been, makes me no less logical than you.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      I did not say that is what you are arguing, I said that is what you’re ultimately arguing. You also never claimed that one of your premises is that God exists; I claim the premise is unstated. You want to discuss B, but my problem is with A and C.

      The frameworks are not the same. Your premise is drawn ex nihilo. Mine is drawn from evidence.

      You are perfectly happy to argue about details, but if someone claims your problem is systemic, that’s off limits? Heh.

      If you honestly want to learn more about such arguments, I recommend reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Be mindful of what arguments mean and less so of how you’d argue back. He is kind of a jerk, but that doesn’t make him wrong.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Your opinion that my premise is ex nihilo is in error. I have read Dawkins. He is basically required reading for a person in my business, as are Hitchens, Dennet and Harris. They are wrong. I have also heard Dawkins annihilated by Dinesh D’Sousa. My opinion about God is based initially upon knowing Him, but finally upon many divergent but converging lines of evidence. The fact that you don’t even realize this basic truth about Christian Apologetics makes you more ignorant of my field than I am of yours. I am at least acquainted with your authors and their weak arguments.

        These men are not compelling and their arguments are rather handily defeated. Among intelligent, thinking Christians they are considered to be somewhat sloppy and shabby scholars. I’m surprised to see you citing Dawkins’ book as any sort of example of a coherent argument.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Oh no, I am ignorant of how to properly worship Zeus :)

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Is this non sequiter (sp.?) one of the offensive statements you warned me about? And does the little smiley face make it less offensive?

            • rodneyAnonymous

              does the little smiley face make it less offensive?

              It does not. My statement was intended to be offensive. :) Just saying it with a smile.

              Also if we could continue to pretend that I have advice you might find worthwhile for just one more: be careful of assuming that someone who is arguing with you is trying to convince you of something. You might accidentally help him make a case to the audience.

              Enjoy.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          How are you getting italics when writing? I am highlighting text and then pushing CTRL i, but that’s not working.

          • rodneyAnonymous

            HTML tags, instructions below the comment box, syntax [TAG]stuff[/TAG] but with angle brackets instead of square brackets.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          I already said I think your arguments are unreasonable (etc). I don’t know why you think your opinion of Dawkins (etc) will hurt my feelings or convince me he’s wrong.

        • Elizabeth

          Among intelligent, thinking Atheists, your “evidence” for a godd is shoddy, sloppy scholarship. Richard Dawkins is an incredible scholar. Have you read “The Ancestor’s Tale”? Simply amazing–huge quantities of research involved. I am acquainted with your authors and their weak arguments.

          Name-calling does not provide evidence of reality. It only shows that you are entrenched in your position.

          What constitutes “proof” that something is true, Jeff? Start from that premise. Because your version of proof, to me, seems an awfully lot like looking up into the sky, deciding that there is a godd, and then calling it done.

        • DarkMatter

          “My opinion about God is based initially upon knowing Him, but finally upon many divergent but converging lines of evidence. The fact that you don’t even realize this basic truth about Christian Apologetics makes you more ignorant of my field than I am of yours.”

          The fact that you say you know god even made the writers of the book ashamed if you have not realised that.

        • BrightonRocks

          Jeff, this comment is just full of bluster and empty claims:

          They are wrong.

          About what? and how? You do not say.

          I have also heard Dawkins annihilated by Dinesh D’Sousa.

          Entirely subjective and again you omit to tell us the important bit which is how.

          I am at least acquainted with your authors and their weak arguments.

          Why not give an example of one of their weak arguments then?

          These men are not compelling and their arguments are rather handily defeated.

          Again, please give an example of one of their weak arguments and show how they are ‘rather handily defeated’. Why bother writing this if you aren’t going top back it up with some actual content.

          Among intelligent, thinking Christians they are considered to be somewhat sloppy and shabby scholars.

          I’m getting the picture that you aren’t impressed with them but please, please show me why. Otherwise this is merely empty rhetoric.

          I’m surprised to see you citing Dawkins’ book as any sort of example of a coherent argument.

          Please just stop the bluster and show me the argument!

          Oh, your comment has ended without backing up any of your claims.

  • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

    Rodney,

    Taking my sweet wife out tonight. Gotta jet.

    Thanks for the conversation.

  • Rory McKnight

    Jeff,
    I am back!!! Please get a dictionary! Atheism- a noun, the theory or belief that God does not exist. I am not mad at God. And this is not a decision I made lightly. It was made after years of studying religion and deep thought combined with many years of soul searching, I came to this very serious decision. I’ve been asked, if I was on my death bed, which by the way I have been, but they were unaware. Would I accept God into my heart. I said “NO!!” He said “well even if you don’t believe wouldn’t you accept God with your dying breath?” I said “why just to hedge my bet?” And he said “well yes” and I said “No! I do not believe in God even with my dying breath” So Jeff just as you are serious in your belief I am just as serious in mine and I believe there isn’t a God. So please don’t insult me by telling me God loves me and so on. These are your beliefs not mine! I respect all religions and their artifacts. I enjoy the study of theology. Most of all I respect the individual person for their own belief and their right to believe and worship whatever they choose! No matter What that is!!!! That what we call religious freedom !!! Always Remember!!! that is what are soldiers are fighting and dying for right Now Today. For us to have that right that other people in the world don’t have that We take for granted!!! The right for you and I to even have this public open discussion and not be arrested or beheaded!!!!! Oh Jeff thanks for the compliments! Rory in latin short for aurora which means red. I am by the way a true red head so I guess the name fits but, has a kid I always hated it.

  • atheist love

    jeff, if anyone read through everything that you have written down here they would
    see someone who is insultive when they get proven wrong, someone who worms and morphs the conversation so they can’t get backed into a corner, someone who is scared their wrong.
    you are not sane . i REALY feel sorry for you.

    • Elizabeth

      Religion is, by definition, a form of insanity. Belief in things that don’t exist is considered to be insane, but if enough people declare the Emperor to have clothes, then people actually start to SEE the clothes as a way to feel sane in an insane environment.

      AtheistLove, I would contradict you on Jeff’s being afraid or insultive–he’s just programmed, and within his cultural context (which I’ve lived within) he is being surprisingly rational. See other threads to understand the value of an Xian who doesn’t start saying “you’re all going to hell!” in multiple repetitive ways until they start swearing and threatening your life. No, he’ll never listen, yes the “trying not to offend” is stretched thin and completely bogus–but in the context of his culture, he isn’t that bad.

      Wait, don’t gut me for that. I’m having fun here, as you can see if you read some of my more flippant lesbianism remarks! :)

      • John C

        Religion (external behavior midification, rule-keeping dogma) is, by definition a form of insanity as you say…so true and not at all related to the true offer of Christ.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Elizabeth, Rory and Rodney,

        It’s too late for me. You might as well try to convince me that my wife doesn’t exist. I can be (and am) sorry that you were offended, but whether I say it or not, whether you believe it or not HE DOES love you. What wears thin with me is people being offended by (my) truth. I am not offended when told that religion is a form of insanity, thus being labeled personally insane. Should I be? I guess if I thought you meant it to be insulting I might be mildly miffed, but I see it as a necessary corollary to your belief system, just as everything I’ve written springs from my own.

        To be honest, the fact that you are offended by such writing gives me hope for you. Perhaps I am misinterpreting, but I see that it must mean you are not that sure of your own statements. Now, I could be dead wrong, because I filter it through the prism of my own experiences with Atheists who have converted, but, if I am wrong it’s a pleasant delusion because it encourages me that you may someday know Him too.

        I accept the label you seem to place on me of being religious, although I see myself as a follower of Christ, which, to me is not even remotely the same. I am not surprised that you disdain what, to me, is a caricature of God. I would disdain and not follow such a beast too. Jesus came to “set the record straight,” among other things. If you want to know who the Father really is, consider Christ who said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.”

        In this forum it is indeed the believers who are the maligned and verbally abused, but I am not in the least offended and, frankly I don’t understand people who are really sure of their respective positions caring one iota what someone, who they will probably never truly know or interact with, thinks about them, one way or another. My only concern is that you will make fun of my grammar, or notice that I was writing “site” when it should have been “cite,” or some such other nonsense.

        I reject the notion that one is supposed to spend all of life being tentative about what, if true, is its greatest issue. To me it’s like telling me I should always doubt the existence of my wife and/or children. I know them and I believe in them. And please don’t retort that that is only so because I have evidence for their existence but none for His. That is an insult (not one I take personally, but nevertheless an insult) to millions of people who critically evaluated the evidence but simply came to a different conclusion than you did.

        I am in substantial agreement with Rory, at least on the point I was initially making, which is that sane, intelligent, literate, and (Rodney) learned people can disagree on this issue without labeling one another as idiots. I am ignorant of some of your data just as you must be of mine, but very few on this forum are intellectually challenged.

        When someone is so stirred up over these issues that it makes them resort to name calling or insults I think they might not really be steady in their own beliefs. I think it was Rodney (too lazy to go back and check) who made it seem like we should always question even the basic assumptions, yet I doubt he has continued to do so. At some point you see that the evidence (for you) is fairly compelling, convincing, astounding and you settle on some foundational principles. I’m quite sure Rodney has done that, as he should.

        I’m not sure what was meant when told I studied Theology from the outside, but I fear it means that the usual interactions with believers have been full of vitriol on the part of the believers. I find that sad and pathetic, but I don’t apologize for them because I don’t represent them. I am endeavoring, in my flawed human way, to represent Christ, who wants me to remind you that He sent much more than a Hallmark card to demonstrate His love. . . kind of corny and trite, but still true.

        Like it or not, though I don’t know you well, I love you too. So does the Dali Lama by the way, so this is not unique with believers in the Bible God. For those who are offended by that love, please understand, or at least try to, that for me it’s like telling you that grass is green and you complaining that such a statement offends you. It’s a true statement. I’m baffled how such a statement can offend.

        Love (but no kisses Elizabeth) to all

        • Elizabeth

          Jeff said: “… HE DOES love you. What wears thin with me is people being offended by (my) truth. I am not offended …”

          Jeff, my imaginary “God” wants to copulate with your boy-children in the back-door. That’s how my “God” expresses how much “HE DOES love you.” Are you offended yet? This IS your premise; that I should not be offended by being told that your Patriarchal murdering raping imaginary friend “loves” me. How could I possibly be pleased by you insisting that Charles Manson loves me? It is the same thing. Your god is a murderer on a grand scale, having killed millions in the biblios of the Hebrews. The ultimate serial killer.

          Keep your truth to yourself. Enjoy your truth. But don’t pull that ugly misogynistic dominant-submissive garbage on anyone who doesn’t ask for it. Save it for the other Christians around you.

          Jeff: “… the fact that you are offended by such writing gives me hope for you. Perhaps I am misinterpreting, but I see that it must mean you are not that sure of your own statements …”

          Where do you get that bull? I thought you earlier were trying to call yourself “logical.” You say that since we call the sky blue on a sunny day that we must doubt our color perception, somewhere deep down suspecting that it must be bright green?

          ALL I see from you is delusions and “rebutals” that consist of saying that A must equal Z, it must it must it must it must. If A is not Z, then it must because the figures are wrong. If A is not Z, then it still is because you have (unstated) proof. If A is not Z, then, well, Elizabeth, you must really actually believe that they are the same because you said that the opposite is true.

          Why do we argue with you? Here’s the honest truth, though stated in ugly terms that aren’t true in my real life. Because it’s fun to go after the gimpy kid who’s easy to beat up.

          What do you consider to be “evidence”? What do you consider to be “proof”? I perceive this keyboard to be a real object because I can see it, hear the clack of keys, and touch it. I have these as evidence that the keyboard is real. The other keyboard, the one hanging in the air next to my left ear, humming a little hum, is imaginary, and if I didn’t realize this fact, I’d be mental. Your “proof” consists, ultimately, in a belief in something you can’t see, hear, touch, taste, or smell. It is a “feeling” inside of you.

          Well, I have a “feeling” that I can talk to my car and it’ll behave itself better. I talk to my car all the time. I’m not going to ask anyone else to believe that notion of car-communion, nor am I silly enough to really believe it myself; it serves to comfort me in times of financial stress when I worry about car-repairs.

          Tell me; what is proof, what is evidence? Why do you think anyone would believe any statement of yours when you drop the word “proof” and expect the word alone to back you up? You present nothing tangible–I can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, touch it, or see it as anything but bull.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Atheistlove,

      When addressing my replies I have not intentionally left you out. Please reiterate anything you would like a response to, or, should you feel we’ve covered that ground just accept my apology if you felt left out in any way.

      Cheers

  • Elizabeth

    OOOH! Neat! My girlfriend is reading a neat book called “Did God Have a Wife?” She’s reading me excerpts, and one of them (Chapter 3) mentions the fact that if the writers of the biblios hadn’t spent so much time [i]refuting[/i] the pagan faiths around them, they wouldn’t have seeded the biblios with so many references and so much evidence of the existence of those contemporary gods such as Tamuz and Ashtoreth!

    Neat!

    Okay, way off topic from the original, forms of marriage; Jeff became his own topic. They often do. At the same time, I think it means that all the arguments on the “gay marriage” topic may have been exhausted.

  • Rory McKnight

    Rodney A.,
    I as an Atheist and as a learned person take great offense to statement that you made regarding the study Theology being a non subject and the study of Zeus, which by the way is Mythology. Please in the future when you make these statements you should include the words “in my opinion”. Only an uneducated person would make such a statement as to say that Atheist would laugh at an education in Theology. Wrong!!! Just because I am an Atheist this is my belief doesn’t make it right for everyone! It’s only right for me!!! And those that have chosen to believe the same as I do. I exposed my daughter to religion and she choose to be a Christian which is her right. Life is a journey and a learning experience. One needs to take in as much as we can about everything not just the things we like or agree with. I do agree with you that if Jeff got a degree in Theology he got it from the outside looking in, his views of Christianity lean toward being on the far end of the meter but, Rodney so are yours as far as Atheistism is concerned. You must learn to be more learned and flexible in your thinking. Your must also remember as an Atheist in a mostly Christian society we are the minority. Which to most people mean we are wrong! Right or wrong? That’s almost one that can’t be won. Christians feel they have a personal relationship with God and they have Faith and that should not be dissuaded or discouraged. Why we as Atheist have chosen not to believe I hope it was after careful thought and consideration and deep commitment and not because of bitterness or some fly by night issue! Everyone needs to remember their opinion is only important to them and alway be respectful of everyone else opinion. That doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t have a great debate!!!

    • Elizabeth

      “Must”?

      There’s good reason to discourage the crap the Xians foist off on anyone they can, including their own poor innocent children. You’ve got to have seen the study lately that showed that the more a person attends church the more they condone the use of torture. Being respectful of “everyone else opinion” as you say would mean respecting the abuse of people who have not even have the benefit of trail–to the point that a doctor was on hand to revive them should they die. That’s so beyond the pale–and I’m supposed to respect that?

      Xians condone the causing of pain to others in so many ways, not just this one. Sorry; “in my opinion” the behavior of atheists and educated people (often but not always one and the same) is better than that of the radical religious by far. Who fosters the radical religious? The “moderate” religious. Again “in my opinion,” children exposed to Xianity or any other cruelty-fostering insanity ought to be required to take courses in logical thinking, ethics, biology, geology, and archaeology at the same time. That way they won’t have to simply put up with the crap they’re fed in Sunday school–they’ll be able to fight back with a heavy dose of reality.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Wow Elizabeth, are you sure you want to go there? Hasn’t it been documented to your satisfaction that Atheist regimes have caused more deaths and done more torture, imprisonment, etc. just in the last century than all such acts performed by so-called Christians in every previous century?

        Have you read, “What’s So Great About Christianity” by Dinesh D’Sousa? he established these facts beyond refutation by serious scholars (in my opinion).

        • rodneyAnonymous

          Some wars have been influenced by atheism. None, to my knowledge, have been motivated by atheism. Many, many wars — perhaps most wars in human history — have been motivated by religion.

          Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao were vicious, but they were not vicious because they were atheists.

          Your criteria for coherence, logic, and serious scholars falls far short of mine. Dinesh D’Souza is a Christian apologist. That is his career. Dawkins, for instance, is a biologist. Dennet is a philosopher. Hitchens is a literary critic. Freeman is a historian. Everyone is biased, but do you see the difference? I do not expect this to change your mind about what sources to consider, but to give you my reason for rejecting them.

          • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

            Rodney,

            Dawkins, Dennet, Harris et al, are Athesist Apologists first and foremost, just as D’Sousa is a Christian Apologist, besides being a research scholar at the Hoover institute at Stanford University. Since that’s his full-time gig you really cannot have it both ways.

            The only difference is that you seem to think you have the ability to decide whose bias (no surprise, it’s the ones with which you substantially agree) is allowed and whose is not.

            Your thoughts are logical from the framework of someone whose mind is made up, and that’s fine, but don’t kid yourself that you are the least bit open to new or contrary input.

            The only historians, philosophers, experts you apparently are willing to accept are those that agree with your biases, which is fine, but it is absolutely no different than my position, which you seem to find abhorrent. If that is logical than the term has been redefined by you as to in fact have no meaning.

            The point you must concede, if intellectually honest, is that some people (maybe not even many, but some) who disagree with you, don’t do so because they are ignorant, but because they are intelligent, thoughtful, and well learned, yet are coming to different conclusions. Perhaps they have seen or researched evidence you have not. Perhaps they have a different set of philosophical assumptions through which to filter their data. For myriad reasons they can be both bright and deists. They can be deists and running toward and embracing evidence. I believe all of these things are true about Atheists, other than the occasional hard heads, Yet despite the fact that many of the world’s greatest minds are indeed encased in the skulls of believers, you seem unwilling to concede even this basic point, which renders much of the rest of your argument illogical as a poisonous tributary of the same stream.

            Sorry, but on this one, you lose. In fact, it’s axiomatic, just as the same applies to me in reverse, that many of those who disagree with you are much brighter than you are and have studied the evidence far more.

            Since you have been handing out so much free advice to me I’ll give you one piece. You seemed much brighter when you were leaving your strange, brief, cryptic remarks. Brevity often seems wise, even if only because the more we talk the more obvious it becomes that we don’t really know that much.

            I recognize I am at your party, so to speak (on your turf) and that the hordes are anything other than fair and unbiased, but as you’ve advised, I’m not writing just to you, nor for the hordes, but for the one, or two who may be open to a loving, living God.

            • rodneyAnonymous

              Now I know why you always win arguments.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              rodney,

              I suspect you’re being a tad facetious. I never expect a “win,” where my hands are raised in universally acknowledged victory. I just pray that someone reading, kicking the tires, and deciding which way they will turn, will give more thorough consideration to a loving, faithful, gracious God. He really is who He says He is, and anyone at any time may turn to Him in repentance and faith. Regardless of how far they feel they’ve strayed, He’s been waiting anxiously for their return, not to punish, but to embrace.

              I wrote what I did about the argument dying down, not because I thought I had won, and in fact I never wrote that I had, but because I wanted to add fuel to it, so we could all air more opinions and, perhaps, draw in more bystanders.

              I’ve witnessed plenty of debates where Atheists whipped the tar out of Theists, and several the other way around too. Most of the ones I’ve seen, probably like this one, could be reasonably labeled a “draw,” but that’s never the point. Truth is not determined by a 2/3 majority vote.

              His Word is truth. I’m sorry that some have felt so slighted by Him, or hurt by His supposed followers. I’m sorry that many have represented Him reprehensibly. I wish the Bible was simpler to understand because many of the wrong impressions people have seem to be justified by reading what’s supposed to be His Word.

              I used to think that I would give Him a real piece of my mind someday if I could get a personal meeting with Him in heaven. I question His fairness and why it seems that equally sincere and seeking people can come to such radically different conclusions.

              For various reasons I won’t probably go into, even if prompted, I no longer feel that way. Most of what I blamed Him for I have realized I was wrong about, and I’m now willing to trust Him for the remainder.

          • cypressgreen

            Agreement, Rodaney, plus “”Hasn’t it been documented to your satisfaction that Atheist regimes have caused more deaths and done more torture, imprisonment, etc. just in the last century than all such acts performed by so-called Christians in every previous century?””

            Human ability to kill in large numbers is a matter of technology, not religious or non-religious point of view.
            If the Early popes had nuclear bombs, the Crusades would have been over pretty quickly, with more fatalities, for example.

            Also one could say by your reasoning, that “”Atheist regimes”” are really *so-called atheist regimes.* Ya know, if “”so-called Christians”” are to blame for christianity’s crimes.

            Damn Scotsman…

        • Elizabeth

          No, actually, Atheist regimes have not done more damage than Religious ones. Currently people are being slaughtered on the excuse of religion in Burma, Afghanistan, the Sudan. Womyn by the millions were burned to death on suspicion–suspicion alone–of being witches. The Crusades, of course. Stalin was an atheist; Hitler was a Catholic. People kill each other for resources and dress it up in the guise of godd. They want more food to feed their kids, more land, more wealth; so they hold up this stick-figure and say “Godd called these people (who have what I want) abominations! Let’s kill them in the name of godd (and steal their stuff)!” They have a new technology of war, like the bow-and-arrow, the gun, the crossbow. The victors write the history books; their godd is bad, ours is good, or in the case of Stalin, his lack of godd was bad, our godd is good. History repeats itself.

          Indeed, the only reason that Christian slaughters were not greater than anything done in the 20th century (and surely the 21st, though just begun) is that humin population was much smaller in the past. It’s hard to kill 20 million people when that happens to be the same number as the entire population of Europe: when you have 2 billion people on the planet, it’s more conceivable. When you have the machinery of warfare, the theory, the military history to understand the mechanism by which you can kill many, many people, it’s easier to accomplish, no matter what your beliefs.

          “The last time people combined religion and politics, people were burned at the stake.” People always combine religion and politics in their Death Machines, and if Stalin made an exception, he does not make the rule.

    • Jabster

      In future can you add “in my opinion” when you’re telling RodneyAnonymous how he can and cannot act and that he is “Wrong!!!” — three exclamations marks, he must be really, really wrong.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      Mythology is study of religion (etc) from the outside. Theology is study of religion from the inside. That is, the former is the study of fiction, the latter is the study of “fact”. I likened theology to studying the way to worship Zeus, not to studying the way people used to worship Zeus. Very different.

      Classes on Shakespeare do not start with a prayer to the Bard, or treat The Merchant of Venice as accurate history.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      Rory: I am sorry you are offended but not sorry I offended you. I spoke for myself and also said “most atheists”; certainly not all, but you are one of the few (among those who even have an opinion) who disagree.

      If the world is completely natural, theology is not useful expertise. It doesn’t make sense to argue about theology with someone who says theology is fiction.

  • Rory McKnight

    Elizabeth,
    Please help me out and explain the meaning of Xians. I can’t seen to locate this word anywhere.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      In the first century, the Greek letter “chi” which resembles our X, was used by believers to represent Christ, since it also resembles the cross, etc. i.e it is a kind of shorthand for Christ.

      On another note, please see my rather lengthy new post addressed to you, Rodney and Elizabeth (above). First heard your name on The Gilmore Girls, did you ever watch it?

  • Blind Nigga Samurai

    Number six is one of the many reasons that religion in general is FUCING RETARDED.
    There’s no “god” like no god.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Yeah that would be freakin’ ridiculous if that was what it actually said. The actual Hebrew here is most accurately translated that if a person a) has consensual intercourse with a virgin, and b) it is discovered, then that man must marry the woman rather than have her be a societal outcast for the rest of her life.

      This isn’t popular today, but God is saying if you love one another enough to have sexual intercourse and it is discovered, so that the woman will be considered unfit for marriage for anyone else, then that man must do the right thing by her.

      There is nothing in the Hebrew to suggest that the sex was forced, or “rape,” and many translators treat this passage as I have.

      Like most of these examples, if you’ve come to the Scriptures looking to pick a fight you won’t be disappointed. All you have to do is read it through the prism of your bias, just as I read it through the prism of mine.

  • atheist love

    hi jeff remember this?
    ” My only concern is that you will make fun of my grammar, or notice that I was writing “site” when it should have been “cite,” or some such other nonsense.”
    BUT ,diddnt u say earlyer…
    “Ha ha. You are so funny. Touche’ Is that spelled correctly?

    Anyway, you really got me with that one.”
    hmmm….. pick and choose.!

    and if you think im wrong about most of my facts, ,,most books are written by people passionate about there subjects, aka ,potterer writing a book on pottery.
    most litterature on godly things and people are written by believers, its called the ROSE COLOURED GLASSES SYNDROME, dig deep, you will find where i got my information.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      atheist love,

      QUOTE

      “hi jeff remember this?
      ” My only concern is that you will make fun of my grammar, or notice that I was writing “site” when it should have been “cite,” or some such other nonsense.”
      BUT ,diddnt u say earlyer…
      “Ha ha. You are so funny. Touche’ Is that spelled correctly?”

      If you cannot see how this proves I was consistent than you really are in over your head here. That’s why I asked if the word was spelled correctly, because I am hung up about what people think of my grammar. I’m thin skinned about that. It might not hurt you to pay some attention to that area too, even though you are doing fairly well since English is obviously not your native tongue.

      Cheers

  • atheist love

    ” The actual Hebrew here is most accurately translated that if a person a) has consensual intercourse with a virgin, and b) it is discovered, then that man must marry the woman rather than have her be a societal outcast for the rest of her life.”
    YOU JUST SAID THAT!!!!???
    OMG! so if u get caught molesting a child, you have to marry her so SHE ISNT THE OUTCAST??
    POOR GIRL… you just proved how SICK your religion is!!
    jeff, jeff, jeff!

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Actually it was an attempt to deal with a society that you may consider quite backward, as do I. With or without the encouragement this culture made this girl a pariah, because, like the Islamic world today, only virgins were considered eligible marriage material. Again, it was most likely consensual sex they were referencing here, not molestation. It also, obviously, didn’t apply unless the sin came to public light. So your example is errant, but yes, the principles laid out in the Mosaic law tried to offer some relief and remedy for what had previously been a very harsh treatment of women, even a double standard. That double standard continued to exist, but it was mitigated to a degree by these types of higher standards.

      It is unfortunate that you are looking to dominate me and not seeking honest, thoughtful dialogue. You might be shedding more heat than light. As for your skewed history I did not say I didn’t know where you got it did I? If so I mis-wrote. I should have said it is an extreme and errant view that is held by not one single solitary historian.

      • atheist love

        i never said molestation was allways forced,
        and let me remind you that before the new testament and jesus, the suscribers to the”old” belief that gave birth to christianity said the same things you are saying now about the form of religion before them, ” OH THERE OLD WAYS OF MANY GODS,what with the slaughtering and eating of babies fresh from the mother,GLAD WE GOT RID OF THAT LINE OF THINKING, EH? ” now their ‘old testament’ is distanced by christians, EXEPT FOR A FEW CHOICE PARTS mind you, if it is the word of god, it would be perfect and undisputed, EXPECIALY by those who hold it dear.
        1 day your ‘new testament’ will not suit the the people in control of the church, and yes,
        YET ANOTHER book will be added!!! it happened to them, and they before.

        p.s many religions adamantly fought for the flat- earth theory, for a long time.
        but had to give in to science, the abundant natural evidence that said other-wise overwhelmed them eventualy. 1 day YOUR church will be forced to integrate evoloution,
        well… already some.. BELIEVE GOD TOOK SPECIAL DESIGN UPON A PRIMATE HE ADMIRED over the span of the 5th day, and created him at the end of the day, and there time span is 1 day = 1 billion yrs OR SOME OTHER HASTEY ILL-TRUTH!!
        lol… your god WILL CHANGE, again, u cant stop it, if there is a god, man has NEVER known him, and to think that we could is VERY arrogant.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Whoever left you with the impression that Christians distance themselves from the Old Testament certainly doesn’t speak for me. I embrace the Old Testament. I was only suggesting that you misunderstood the writer’s intent, not that the writer was in error.

          • Elizabeth

            If you embrace the Old Testament, can I come visit when you stone one of your neighbors to death when he works on a Sunday? I want to see how it’s done.

            • NorCal

              Elizabeth, if Jeff reverences Sunday as the weekly holy day of rest, you actually might have to stone Jeff for idolatry. But you could only do it if you had conclusively proved to Jeff that it was idolatry *and* only if in the midst of your dwellings was a place where supernatural manifestations of cloud and pillars of fire evidenced the presence of the Creator, and only after these manifestations themselves had been proven by very specific and miraculous carriages of justice that had been performed in association with them, personally witnessed by millions of people, preferably Jeff among them. This proof would have to take place in person, in the presence of at least two other witnesses, and the witnesses would have to have an immaculate record of impartiality. Jeff would then have to refuse to reform his ways, and would basically have to, of his own free will, state the equivalent of, “I know that the reverence of Sunday honors sun-idols, and I know that sun-idol-worship requires this, this, and this nasty brutal practice on a routine basis, and I know that we have here a supernatural entity who has saved our lives and set us free from slavery, and in the process shown enough power over all the elements to make the claim as Creator very, very believable, but screw that, I still don’t trust that (and I like those nasty practices, anyway). Go ahead and try to stone me because the sun-god is going to save me and I will have my way with you all in the end.”

              To explain it more simply the New Testament way, you could do it only if you had absolutely no faults of even the subtlest nature, of your own.

              This is the problem with so many of these discussions. Bible believers are accused of “picking and choosing”. But what are they to do, if the text explicitly states that things that *it says* are to be done under certain circumstances, and certain circumstances only? That if they were actually done once, this is meant to stand for all time as an object lesson, not as a desirable and routine practice? But this always gets flatly ignored. So who’s picking and choosing?

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          By definition molestation is always forced.

          Your history is still seen through a rather narrow prism and is incredibly errant.

          And besides, I am not in the habit of defending things I do not believe, which applies to nearly 100% of your most recent rant. (May 9, 9:07 pm). You are trying to paint me with a broad brush, or put me under a tent I have not implied or stated in any way that I belong in.

          You would do much better picking on someone who has not studied and may be more inclined to believe your wacky historical views, or at least try to find someone with an anti-scientific bias with which to argue.

          I am a Christian, not an imbecile. Those are usually only considered synonyms by blind, embittered, unthinking, uninformed people.

          Christians can be found in all professions and disciplines, including archeology, biology, engineering, geology, etc.

          I am educated, literate, and reasonably well-informed, but I’m not infallible nor smug enough to just dismiss, diminish and ridicule those who have disagreements with me.

          You seem to have little real understanding of the wealth of really good data that supports the basic principles you are espousing, and instead resort to a great deal of amateurish, even childish historical revisionism. As academically anemic as most of your arguments are you might as well answer, “Oh yeah? Well so’s your old man.”

          Please consider that this may not be the right forum for you, as most of the participants seem to be better informed. Of course you could also consider just “auditing” the forum, learning as much as you can from others.

          Cheers

          • Elizabeth

            “… wealth of really good data …”

            You planning on sharing any of that any time soon? Because saying something exists doesn’t make it so. Also, what do you define as being “data”?

            • NorCal

              Elizabeth, your comment here is a great example of the knee-jerk level of purported “dialogue” that Jeff is remonstrating with. When he said that “atheist love” seemed unaware of a wealth of really good data, the data he was speaking of was the data that supports the principles that “atheist love” is promoting. He was saying that “atheist love” seems unaware of this good data, because “atheist love” is resorting to other arguments that are based far less in verified facts.

              So in view of this, how can you expect someone to give any credence to your views on what the Bible says or what the existence of a Creator means if you are not willing to even examine what someone in a written discussion you are involved in is saying closely enough to respond accurately to what they are saying? And yes, I’ve thought of the possibility that you might have understood correctly and that you *were* demanding he produce this data for views opposed to his that he was speaking of, and questioning its existence, but that would not make any more sense to say, either.

              I see that further down, you are definitely capable of thought-out, cogent arguments, but lapses like this, as well as the subject matter of your more thoughtful premises, make it seem that you are acting and speaking more out of emotion than knowledge, even as considerable as that knowledge may be, the human tendency to discard what is uncomfortable out of hand regardless of evidence can trump the logic of even the most capable minds, especially when the emotional stakes are higher.

  • atheistlove

    hi! jeff,
    so….. you dont distance yourself from the old testament??
    OK heres only two of the many twisted thoughts in there, and if you follow this line, YOU ARE SICK.
    JUDJES 1:12-13
    12 And Caleb said: ‘He that smiteth Kiriath-sepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Achsah my daughter to wife.’
    13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; and he gave him Achsah his daughter to wife.
    All this passage is that someone wanted someone killed, GAVE HIS DAUGHTER AWAY LIKE SOME SORT OF ASSET…. to her UNCLE mind you! …..poor girl.
    hosea 14:1
    “Samaria shall bear her guilt, for she hath rebelled against her god; they shall fall by the sword; their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”
    That is a true cut, word for word. A WOMAN who does wrong by god (ie. dosnt believe,or follow GODS law) shall be killed and her children. AND THEIR WOMEN WITH CHILD SHALL BE RIPPED UP?? O.M.G!! babys are torn from their DYING mothers WOMB????????????
    do you even know what you are suscribing too? i do, i was raised and schooled catholic,
    so do not take me as a fool.

    we atheists and freethinkers are extremely caring and understanding, AS LONG AS YOU DONT LIE, MANIPULATE OR SHADOW THE REAL TRUTH.
    you are on a computer, science’s theorys make them possible, science (biology and genetic technologys)made the MEDICINES people take to live, BOTH and more- EXACTING technologies.
    YOU USE THESE THINGS EVERY DAY… YOU CANNOT DISSMISS SOMETHING THAT IS REAL…SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN TOUCH, the evidence of science we use day to day to build cars-lazers-robotics-nuclear fission….. god only exists in a book,nothing is palletable to see.

    P.S if you look up the word PARANTHROPUS you might learn a little something, dont ignore
    what it shows you, follow the information, you will learn…

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Atheists love,

      I’m not sure what you are arguing here. The difference between something recorded in the Bible and something advocated by the God of the Bible is not subtle, but such nuance seems to be lost on you, perhaps because your native language isn’t English.

      I’m also not sure where your second passage comes from. It doesn’t appear to be Hosea 14:1. While I’m not inclined to enter a fruitless point by point discussion of each passage you misunderstand, I will entertain explaining that one if you can provide the appropriate reference.

      As for my so-called rejection of science, it is only in your imagination that such a rejection exists. There is no dichotomy between knowing and loving God and embracing science and the scientific method.

      Your arguments, to me, seem bitter and even somewhat crazed, but much of that is probably due to the frustration you have trying to communicate in English.

      Probably because of your frustrations with the language barriers much of what you’ve written just doesn’t seem to rise to the level of meriting a serious response. It makes you appear to reside, quite firmly, on the “lunatic fringe” of atheism. Does that phrase (lunatic fringe) mean anything to you? Is there an equivalent in your language?

      Finally, please check the spelling of the word (paranthropus) you asked me to look up. I’m not sure what you are wanting me to learn by researching the definition, but the only definitions I can find for the word, as you spelled it, refer to a distant evolutionary relative of man. If that’s the right word, then I’m definitely missing something. Are you under the impression that believers reject the fossil record? To use an American phrase I hope isn’t lost on you, I’m “scratching my head” over that one. Please look up the spelling and try again if you want to.

      Love to all

      • Francesc

        “The difference between something recorded in the Bible and something advocated by the God of the Bible is not subtle”
        Agree. I will train to explain that to Atheist Love. Let’s see…

        - Something written in the Bible is advocated by the god of the Bible if, and only if, Jeff’s morals can label it as “good”.

        -In the same way, something written in the Bible is “recorded”, but never advocated, if Jeff thinks it is barbaric, naughty or inmoral.

        Change “Jeff” with the name of any christian -well, most of the christians- you are speaking to and you will understand how they read the bible.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Then by your definition, every historian who records the crusades and the inquisition is advocating the reprehensible behavior practiced by the Roman Catholic church.

          Also, I fear your explanation to atheist love is not helpful to him/her since it continues to promote ignorance, non-scholarship and a cartoonish approach to some pretty serious subject matter. It’s already fairly obvious that atheist love has not been well nurtured by the most rational, reasonable, critical thinkers in the atheist community, and that’s putting it charitably. What possible reason could you have for reinforcing his/her ignorance?

          • Siberia

            Then by your definition the Bible is not the inerrant word of God, written down as the True Facts(tm) given by God Himself to his prophets et al., and should not be given any more credence than the writings of Plutarch or any work supposedly chronicling the events of an era, correct? If it does not mean that God endorses it (even though, supposedly, God Himself ordered such things done – as is written), then it’s not inerrant, since it does make pretty clear that God does indeed endorse it: he told them to, according to the text! Just like he murdered every firstborn of Egypt to set his people free (after He hardened the Pharaoh’s heart so he wouldn’t set them free, mind).

            If it’s not inerrant and not the Official Guide to God’s Mind, then we should not use it for deriving a moral basis any more than we should use the aforementioned words of Plutarch, correct? We should not believe that God told his chosen people to “dash the little ones to pieces”; so we should not believe that homosexual relationships are an abomination either – after all, it is merely recording the thoughts prevalent at the time. Only because it’s written there it’s not actively endorsed by God, is that not so? Then how do we know what is endorsed and what isn’t? Does God endorse the genocide of an entire people’s children for a situation he caused?

            Can we draw the conclusion that the Bible as a moral guide is no more relevant in today’s society than any other ancient document? Just like the Quran, the epic of Gilgamesh, the Vedas, the Iliad, the writings of Plutarch, of Siddharta? They, each, present the views, facts, mores of their time and people, do they not? We draw whatever is good from it as a moral guide in the context of our society – just like the writers themselves did with older traditions – and discard the rest?

            Where do we draw the line? Shall we accept only the “good” aspects of God and ignore the “evil” as merely factual observations? Accept God is love but not that he ordered the death of every firstborn in Egypt? But where did it come from, if God did not, in fact, tell his chosen people to decimate foreign nations? Did the authors invent it? If they did invent it, how do we know they did not invent the stories about Jesus’ miracles? What makes one bit of the Bible more trustworthy than the other as an insight to God’s mind?

            That is why I can value the Bible as a historical document, but not as having any say in my life. Not any more than the Vedas or the Quran or the Epic of Gilgamesh or any other. It’s a book from an ancient society, retelling its myths. We evolve.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Again, your error, which seems all too common, is proposing that because the Bible records something it also supports it. No serious proponent of inerrancy sees it the way you are characterizing it.

              The Bible is not written simplistically so that, for example, when it accurately records aberrant behavior there is always the need to reiterate, “Now lest you forget, the Lord God concurs that this is detestable.” That’s silly. I don’t think the New York Times is inerrant, but I do basically trust its fact checkers, etc. I don’t suppose that it is in any way advocating for the various crimes it reports. Inerrancy only means that people who hold that view believe the information was recorded accurately. One has to dig deeper than the surface to also make determinations about what God approves, or disapproves of.

              It’s a little frustrating, frankly, that people who can so easily trust the Times, even though it has written the occasional false story, can’t even understand the basic concept of trusting holy Scripture. You may think it’s all myth, but you damage your own argument when you lampoon a cartoon version of what inerrancy means for those who believe in it.

              Is that clear yet? Helpful at all?

            • LRA

              So you think the bible records a worldwide flood and that the earth was created in 6 days– that is what you’re stating here about inerrancy, right?

            • Siberia

              I think I didn’t make myself quite clear. I don’t think the Bible is inerrant – that would be absurd; it says unicorns exist and rabbits chew the cud, things we know are not true.

              The question is whether or not, when the Bible says, for example, that God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart and then proceeded to kill every firstborn in the country, whether or not God (not the Bible, God – the one whose acts the Bible is merely chronicling) did such a thing.

              (we’ll assume God exists for this post, by the way, for the sake of the argument.)

              Let’s see:

              If the NYT says that Hitler endorsed the murder of Jews, it does not mean that the NYT approves of it, but it does mean that Hitler did. It’s quite easy to verify whether or not he did (and thus, whether our hipothetical NYT article is telling the truth): we’ve historical sources, we’ve writing with Hitler’s signature in it, we have Mein Kampft, we have war survivors. If that wasn’t true, we could ascertain with a moderate accuracy that it isn’t true. Agreed?

              When Plutarch chronicles that Alexander the Great razed Persepolis in a fit of temper, it does not mean that Plutarch endorses the razing of cities in a fit of temper, but it does tell that Alexander found that acceptable (or was mentally unstable). We can deduce quite reasonably whether or not what Plutarch says really happened: there are other sources (which, ironically, include the Bible and the Quran, both believed to mention Alexander in their texts), there is archaelogical evidence, etc. We may never know the full truth or the quibbles (whether he did it as the result of a temper tantrum or because of some other motivation), but we can reasonably believe that Alexander did indeed raze Persepolis.

              Then we have the Bible. The Bible says God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart so he wouldn’t release the hebrews; it’s written in Exodus. How do we know whether or not that is true? How can we know?

              I understand what you say that just because the Bible chronicles it does not mean it endorses it. It says David had X wives; that doesn’t mean having X wives is OK (unless there was something written like “And God said, David, go forth and marry a small army of women”, in which case we could reasonably assume that the God’s Bible thinks having a small army of wives is OK – He wouldn’t order it if he didn’t approve, correct?), only that David had X wives.

              But it does say that God ordered His chosen people to decimate foreign tribes, sometimes several times. It doesn’t mean the person writing the Bible believes it is OK, but it does imply God thinks it is.

              Now: how do we know whether or not that is an accurate insight of God’s mind? We can’t ask God – He doesn’t tend to answer questions – at least, not to me. We don’t have evidence that could attest God’s motivations and feelings outside of what the Bible says.

              Facts, yes – we can believe the crusaders thought they were doing God’s work, fighting with full permission of God – but we can’t know what God thinks if when His supposed word says He orders something to be done it is dismissed as something that merely happened and not necessarily an endorsement by God. Even when he ordered it, or did it himself.

              In essence: how do we do know what God’s opinion is on any such subject is?

              I’m genuinely trying to know, here. I may not believe, but I know many people do, and I want to understand.

            • cypressgreen

              “”The Bible is not written simplistically…””
              …but if it’s the real Word of God, why is it NOT easy to understand??!! It’s supposedly the ONLY guide to God’s love and everlasting light? Is your God trying to trick us?

            • cypressgreen

              Off subject, how do I substitute an avatar for the default teal doily?

            • rodneyAnonymous
            • cypressgreen

              @Rodney -you’re the best! Thanks!

            • NorCal

              cypressgreen– good point about why the Bible was “not written simplistically”, not necessarily easy to understand. Firstly, the Bible was written as a supplement to human experience, and as such, will always contain some things that people won’t understand until at some point, experience in life gives them the “aha” moment. That is part of how it reveals itself as a higher wisdom. Secondly, if it was written in such a way as to say something like, “OK, here is what you do. Draw a circle with a six-pointed star in it, sit in the middle and say these words, and an angel will appear and give you further instructions”, and this is what always would happen, then that would in effect be a manner of forcing people to believe.
              If all it said was, “Love others as you love yourself, and treat them how you would like to be treated”, that would go a long way, but there would be no explanation as to why the objects of that love have to be torn away by death, and no way to verify whether it isn’t true that if you have to die, maybe a better way isn’t in the midst of excitement and adrenalin, battling, raping, and pillaging.
              The whole Bible is best understood in the context that a Creator that wants a real, loving relationship with the created beings has a certain problem to solve: namely, if I believe you, cypressgreen, exist, for example, that doesn’t force me to acknowledge you as my master, or to express love for you. But if a person believes they and the entire universe were created, that forces them to acknowledge that Creator as their master. Therefore, to have a relationship involving real love, which is the kind a person freely chooses to give, people have to be free to choose to believe that the Creator doesn’t exist. Therefore the Bible is framed very carefully to provide a whole lotta evidence once a person has chosen to believe it, but to also ensure that it is equally easy to believe or not to believe it, and that a person honestly believing all of it will have to be motivated by unconditional love.

          • Francesc

            Then by your definition, every historian who records the crusades and the inquisition is advocating the reprehensible behavior practiced by the Roman Catholic church.

            Also, I fear your explanation to atheist love is not helpful to him/her since it continues to promote ignorance, non-scholarship and a cartoonish approach to some pretty serious subject matter. It’s already fairly obvious that atheist love has not been well nurtured by the most rational, reasonable, critical thinkers in the atheist community, and that’s putting it charitably. What possible reason could you have for reinforcing his/her ignorance?

            Ya know, sense of humor may be one of those things that makes a difference between we and other animals. I have expressed the common approach to the Bible that I have seen in christians. Maybe it’s not your case, but then you are not being very clear.

            “Then by your definition, every historian who records the crusades and the inquisition is advocating the reprehensible behavior practiced by the Roman Catholic church.”

            Nope, straw man. I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that any part of the Bible are things advocated for the writers. Take as an example the following:
            In the Bible God orders the genocide of an entire population, with every wife, kid and farm animal included. Did Him?
            – You can read once and again the Bible and think: according to the bible He did so.
            – You can think, tough: a jewish king wanted to justify a war against his neighbours, and so he explained it as “God’s will”.
            If, as you are saying, the Holy Spirit inspired the Bible, we are forced to believe that God -in case such a thing exists- is cruel and sadistich, unnecessarily thursty of blood. If you pick the second option, I mean, that that versicle is not an expression of God’s will, how can you be sure that other parts of the bible -like the marriage one- are?

            So basically what you are saying is… parts of the bible I agree with are god’s will. The parts of the Bible I disagree with are either expression of a local habit, either a illustrating parable.

            “…approach to some pretty serious subject matter”
            You know, It would be serious if we were speaking about an existing god -like, let’s say, the FSM- but you have still to prove any of your assertions

            • Francesc

              sorry, the first part is Jeff’s message, I didn’t intend to reproduce it again

          • Elizabeth

            Indeed, there is a difference between a recorded incident and an advocated stance in the biblios. However, most of what I see being debated is within the context of “God’s Law.” When a prophet says go kill all those people, including their infant children, and rape their virgins, he’s speaking the mind of god, because he’s the prophet, right? Same prophet who said “The British are coming!” Oh, wait, wrong quote: “The Messiah is coming!”

            Exactly how are we to distinguish between the two?

  • Dan Kunks

    There’s just one mistake with this I want to clear up, I’m Jewish, and I recently studied the rapist/victim thing.

    The victim does not have to marry the attacker, the attacker must marry the victim. This is important. The attacker cannot file for divorce, only his victim can, and when the victim does so, they get the attackers property, not the other way around.

    This keeps things fair, he attacks her, gets caught, married, and loses half of his money.

    • Francesc

      What a crappy definition of “fair” have we here!

      • Daniel Florien

        God is a tyrant — you either agree with his crappy definitions of “fair,” or he tortures you forever.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Daniel,

          To a great degree that is true. He is a King. Of course by virtue of Who He is, He’s also always correct, which sometimes irks me to no end too, nevertheless my arms are far too short to box with Him. I assume, from this comment, that you consider yourself a God-hater, and not an agnostic or atheist. Is that a correct assumption?

          I can certainly see why you would be. I have a very hard time with tyrants too.

          • Daniel Florien

            No, silly. I don’t really think he exists or is a tyrant. I talk like he exists sometimes because people believe he exists. Just like I say, “Santa this and that” but I don’t actually believe he exists.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Okay, I’m laughing at me here. My bad.

  • atheistlove

    jeff yet again you are insulting me and realy, wow…
    ” I’m also not sure where your second passage comes from. It doesn’t appear to be Hosea 14:1. While I’m not inclined to enter a fruitless point by point discussion of each passage you misunderstand, I will entertain explaining that one if you can provide the appropriate reference.”
    you say you have STUDIED this??? sad, READ THE JPS 1917 edition, this is where your traslation CAME FROM! ,king james, NEW age and the rest.
    DONT TELL ME ITS NOT IN THERE!!

    “As for my so-called rejection of science, it is only in your imagination that such a rejection exists. There is no dichotomy between knowing and loving God and embracing science and the scientific method.”
    SOOOOO,,,,…. NOW YOU BELIEVE IN EVOLOUTION? THE REAL AGE OF THE STARS?
    if you did, it would go against what 90 percent of christians believe!
    THAT IS SCIENCE, you question the age of the stars you question all that science has given you.

    and how dare you insult my language of choice, THAT IS A SAD DESPERATE ATTACK
    you are blinded, i hope you grow.
    P.S DID YOU READ UP ON PARANTHROPUS?? did you learn ANYTHING??????
    this is my last post, you keep cycleing the same mis-information,
    i cannot help one as blind and ignorant as you.
    all you have done is attack people when you have no real come-back, and never realy answered anyones questions. I AM GONE. may the sirens of the sea guide you home!

  • atheistlove

    “”””a little frustrating, frankly, that people who can so easily trust the Times, even though it has written the occasional false story, can’t even understand the basic concept of trusting holy Scripture.”””””
    P.S you said the bible was the gold standard, gods word wich is perfect…….
    YET AGAIN YOU SAY ONE THING, THEN MODIFY IT LATER TO SUIT YOUR OWN LINE OF THOUGHT IN THE MOMENT, do you even realise you do that?
    lol

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      I did not write that the Scriptures were untrustworthy. I said that most of us probably basically trust the Times, even though IT is not 100% trustworthy, and that inerrancy was redefined by the participant who was trying to pin me down to something I am not aware that any holder of that position believes. Incidentally I am not, and never claimed to be, a holder of the inerrantist position.

  • atheistlove

    who is right? muslims, christians, or judisim??? you all sorce from the same religion,,
    but you have all translated and modifyed your versions of the book to suit your individual wants and needs, BUT YOU SAY THAT YOU CANT FIND HOSEA 14:1 (you obviously know NOTHING about the bible exept what it says in YOUR version, GO READ THEM ALL!!
    NOW this is my last!!!!!!

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      First a response to atheist love (his/her last) then a response to Siberia:

      No matter what translation you are reading or when it was published, the gist of that verse reads as follows, ” Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God.
      Your sins have been your downfall! ”

      Of course I can find it. I was simply saying that you were not citing it.

      I value and support atheism, and honest dissent from what I hold to be true, but I value it in the spirit of intellectual/rational thought and discussion. I love an honest debate about these vitally important issues. I think, in fact, that such a debate is crucial to each generation’s attempt to lay hold of faith with true conviction. What I don’t appreciate is being misrepresented, caricatured and then lampooned for believing something I do not subscribe to. I have been, and continue to be, transparent and consistent in the espousal on this forum of those beliefs.

      FYI – The truthful answer for all of science is that we do not know how hold the stars are, but we can make a reasonable guess that they are at least a certain age based upon the speed of light, and other inferential data that we DO know. I also believe that science has all but proven (and scripture has no problem with) the Darwinian concept of modification over time, or the survival of the fittest. I’m not sure why you keep trying to lump me in with those who do not, or what, if anything my belief or unbelief would do to support your hypotheses. Please explain if you like. I’ll read, but I’m finished trying to have an adult conversation with you. Sorry.

      Siberian,

      Thanks for seeing and taking my point. I’m not dismissing those things the Bible says have a clear connection to God’s mind and heart, just the silly concept that atheist love has, that simply because the Bible records or reports something means God said, “Go do it.”

      As for warfare. When God did order slaughter, genocide, etc., we must remember that He is God. He’s not subject to behave in ways we find socially acceptable. Before you dismiss this as a “cop out,” please consider that He is unique in His perspective (eternal, righteous, perfect), His position (Creator) and therefore in His prerogatives.

      Anthropomorphically, it’s unacceptable for one of your children to punish their fellow sibling, but perfectly acceptable for you, as a parent, to administer discipline. We err, at times, when we forget Who the Master is. We think of death as the ultimate and final atrocity, and we should behave accordingly, but God knows very well, from His superior perspective, that it’s far from final.

      Thanks for jumping in here.

      • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

        Atheist love,

        I know I said I was finished responding to you, but I just noticed you felt “attacked” by me in some way. I apologize for your perception. I was allowing for the fact that English is (obviously) a second language for you and trying, in earnest, to make allowance for that fact and not treat you too harshly. That’s my complete and total intention – not an attack on your language of choice – you are doing fairly well under the circumstances. I would hate to have to debate you in your mother tongue. So again, I apologize.

      • Siberia

        (Again, assuming that God exists for the sake of the argument.)
        OK. I can see that. We can’t understand God because we’re so tiny in comparison. That makes perfect sense; it makes as much sense as how we will likely never fully understand the universe around us.

        You say God knows life isn’t all that important, since he knows what comes after. So to him, it’s really irrelevant for a bunch of people to be murdered (often barbarously – “dash the little ones” and all), because he knows that’s not the end-all. I can understand that. It’d be a bit like a grown man caring for the ants in his path (though I am horrified when people deliberately torture ants, spiders, etc., but I digress).

        But (and here we go more on the side of my opinion than anything). Those people were unbelievers; they were worshippers of other gods. By ordering his chosen people to kill them, he’s effectively ruined their chance to repent and believe him – they’re dead. According to the Bible itself, those who do not believe, are punished forever. There’s no escape. There’s no way but through Jesus. You lose.

        So God deliberately sends his chosen people to murder, effectively ruining those people’s chance of redemption, then sends them to Hell – is that the work of a perfect creature? Perhaps a perfectly cruel one. That doesn’t fit well with the “just” and “loving” bits, does it? Not by human definition, at least. Even most of us, humans, fallible, infinitesimal, know murder is wrong. God has no such compunction. He gets the free pass to torture whoever he likes (from the tribes he smote to the human born homosexual, which is his own making, to people who’ve never even heard of Christianism at all) forever – mind forever – for something that, compared to his enormity, is infinitely small – for no particular reason other than he says so.

        Maybe your God exists. Maybe I’ll be tortured forever and ever for not believing him (something, may I add, it’s his fault – he makes everything, doesn’t he? He knows all my thoughts, doesn’t he? He knows why I don’t believe in him and he’s never tried to tell me otherwise. Maybe he doesn’t care, but, as I am me, I do). I know I’m fallible and I’ve erred in numerous ways.

        But even if I could believe the Biblical God exists, I don’t think I could worship him. I don’t think I could bow and scrape before such a tyrant and believe every word, honestly, completely, absolutely – I’d do it, I might even do the lip service, but I don’t think I’d be able to love someone out of sheer terror. I can’t forget all the bad things he does for the sake of the good things.

        Maybe the Hebrews could (the Aztecs could believe in human sacrifices, after all – the Bible isn’t very far from that), maybe you can, a lot of people can (or think they can – I’ve found a lot of Christians around me happen to have a very selective memory about what’s in the Bible and what isn’t), but… I have yet to see a reason to do so. Maybe someday I will.

        Personally, I hope I don’t.

        • rodneyAnonymous

          The mind of God is totally incomprehensible. Except on some subjects; we know God’s mind on what kind of underwear is appropriate perfectly.

          • Francesc

            Underwear is a very important thing. Let’s all praise God for telling us!

            Seriously, Jeff, you are not only believing in a god without any proof. When you say that God’s purposes and willing are too complex for us to comprehend, your God’s hypotheses become a useless assumption for any practical matter.

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          Siberia,

          I concede this point. I have a very hard time, the way you put it and understand it, defending it, and I’m not sure you are wrong. I personally feel that Jesus saves people who didn’t even know or acknowledge His presence, that’s a complicated explanation and is far from an orthodoxed position. Inside the bounds of orthodoxy I will just have to concede this point.

          It’s one of many things I fail to comprehend about God and one reason His press is so bad, in my opinion. I think it does nothing to diminish the evidence that He is and that He is loving, etc., but it sure makes one scratch his head, at best, and scream “hell no,” at worst.

          • LRA

            You know Jeff, if you’d shut the hell up about Jesus (and likewise all Christians for that matter), God would be forced to take us all, since none of us had heard…

            What hate you spread by spreading the “Word”.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Well that’s got some symmetry in it’s own way doesn’t it? I’m not sure about your choice of the word “hate” though. Although it does indicate that you must have read my whole post, so I’m assuming you caught the part about it being “complicated,” and along that same line your suggestion is really not an option for me.

              Let me know if you come up with something more viable that you think we can all live with.

              Cheers

          • Siberia

            I hope you’re right, y’know, if your God exists, that he’s as benevolent and understanding as most Christians believe him to be.

            For all that I don’t believe, I’d respect a fair, just, omnibenevolent god a lot more than the one described in the Bible. I don’t mind faith, but it isn’t for me. At least, it hasn’t in these last twenty four years…

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              Siberia,

              I’m under the impression that the Bible God is the one I’m describing, but He’s not just a one dimensional Guy. Even the best fictional characters are more complex than many Christians may describe God. That being said, and even in spite of the concession I do know that He loves us, loves you.

            • Siberia

              I know. What I meant is, I hope your interpretation of God (if He exists), which is better than mine – of a spiteful sociopath – is the correct one. Of course he’s complex (could’ve explained himself better, too – perhaps not very literate), but for a God, those complexities can be quite lethal for us down here – cf. war, disease, smitings, etc.

              And He may love me, but He’s sure never called back ;p just kiddin’.

        • NorCal

          Siberia– that punishment *forever* thing really is a problem, but this is what I believe will help a great deal with it, that has Jeff scratching his head as far as being within the bounds of “orthodoxy” is concerned, and here it is:

          The whole doctrine of hell as a place where people are tortured forever and ever throughout the endless ages of eternity is based 10% on highly questionable interpretations of 2–count’em, 2–verses in the New Testament, and 90% borrowed from Eastern religions. Far, far more passages describe the final fate of the unrepentant wicked as utter destruction, yes by fire, and it will no doubt hurt more and longer for some of the worst offenders who have caused the most pain for others, but definitely an annihilation accomplished and ended in a short amount of time, in the “Day of Wrath”, on all accounts. If you go and read it, it describes the Judgment as a day when everyone is brought to account, it doesn’t happen for each individual to their consciousness as a soul that departs from their body upon their death, but it explicitly states that everyone who has died will be truly dead in all senses until that Day when they are resurrected, and that Judgment occurs.

          So you see that the main problem is an orthodoxy that is simply a tradition that has existed for centuries, but did not have any valid basis in the Scriptures it purports to believe.

          As for dashing the little ones, the places that phrase was used were not commandments. They were prophecies of what evil nations would do to other evil nations, as natural results of both of their disregard for human life. One passage sounds especially terrible because it pronounces a blessing on one doing the dashing, until you realize that the act is performed on the “daughter of Babylon”, which it has already represented as an allegorical symbol of a nation, and therefore the infants in question are also symbols of the ideas that this nation births or brings into the world. And the only reason it even uses that metaphor is as a comfort to those to whom that nation had done those things *literally*.

          There *were* commandments for the driving out of the inhabitants of Canaan, saying that they were to be “smitten with the edge of the sword”, and that they should not spare man, woman, child, infant, or animal. But you have to remember, Solomon also said to cut a little one in half, and the Creator also said to Moses that he should “let Me alone, and I will consume this nation in a moment, and make of you a greater nation than they.” In both cases it was obvious that this was not their intent, but the statements were intended to outline the motivations of the people involved in stark relief and determine the truth. It is apparently true that the Creator teaches many things by shocking us with these stark life-or-death presentations, but it is repeatedly shown that the intent is not to promote a bloodthirsty mindset. As it says, the Word is “living and powerful, sharper than any 2-edged sword, & is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, piercing even to the division of joints & marrow, and of soul & spirit.
          In fact, as the text explicitly explains, the only reason that the fate of utter genocide was even *suggested* for the Canaanites was because of the practices that had become ingrained in them that I’m sure would horrify every single person in this forum (I’d hope anyway), including what *they were doing to their children* of a nature that many testify causes one to lose the desire for life anyhow. In other words, this was to rectify a situation that would be horribly cruel for the Creator to allow to persist. One might argue that the Creator allows other equally or more horrible situations to persist, but the difference in those cases, is that there is always a point where people are assisted to gain access to an eternal life that makes the misery of the short temporal life as nothing, testifying even during their lifetimes that their joy has already exceeded the former misery. And this is not an excuse for people to not alleviate suffering either, because we are repeatedly warned that there is punishment for those who stand by and wait for the Creator to intervene alone, too.
          Even so, Jewish sources maintain that this is another threat that was not to be carried out as it appeared if you took that statement alone in isolation, because the procedure was thus: Cities were always surrounded on 3 sides only, to allow the people within opportunity to escape. This fulfilled the seemingly contradictory commandments to “smite with the edge of the sword”, and to “drive out”. You cannot very well drive out someone who is dead. If any inhabitants who were physically able to leave nevertheless defiantly stayed behind, it was only because they were so committed to the horrific practices they committed in service to their idols that they believed these demonic entities would assist them to be victorious.

          Now you may call this simply slanderous propaganda of the type in which all warmongers engage (though there is archeological evidence of the practices in question), but the point is moot because since we cannot ourselves directly interact with this situation in the distant past, we are simply left with the principle it outlines that this is something that cannot even begin to be contemplated, unless you have been living with a miraculous pillar of fire and pillar of cloud in the midst of your people, witnessed by 2 million + people simultaneously, executing impossible acts of power over the elements that effect finely detailed, perfect responses of judgment and justice also witnessed by all. As Ecclesiastes says, there is a time and a purpose for everything under the sun, and therefore everything under the sun is in the Scriptures. It reveals the true will of the Creator that the time and place for something like that was so limited to a very strict set of extreme conditions, never to be seen in the world since. Interestingly, Revelation says that there *will* be a final test before the end, where a power claiming to represent Christ will arise that *will* perform such miraculous acts and will issue such merciless death decrees, but since we have been forewarned, we will know that the Creator’s will is not in it–just as when the people refused to go into the land, but changed their mind when they were called on it and punished with 40 more years in the wilderness, and they attempted to go into the land when it was too late, but the Creator’s will was no longer in it–and we will be free to not follow the will of that power, but to be obedient to the Creator instead even to death as Christ was, or experience miraculous deliverances ourselves, whatever is called for in each situation to effectively vindicate the truth.

          I hope this has helped to explain how the more difficult passages of Scripture are that way only because they have been made difficult by those who wished to distort them to their own earthly advantage. I believe that they are those from among whom the final power claiming to represent Christ will be brought to the world, that in various forms has already been working to deceive and wreak havoc and greed and violence since very soon after Christ left the earth, as the apostles themselves testify and prophesy, that has been allowed to try the patience of the true followers of the Biblical Creator, to challenge them to live up to the example of Christ and continue to realize their inadequacy in it and so to reach out to experience the true power of the Creator directly for themselves since only that can stand in the face of such deceptive power.

          I realize that all this may sound like a lot of apologistic, acrobatic antics, but I am simply pointing out I am not making it up, that all of it comes right from the Bible and directly, prophetically addresses this issue of how to determine what is considered “Biblical” or not, like marriage. As I watch how the whole debate over that is playing out politically, I’m definitely more convinced that it is yet another ploy to deceive people into demonstrating unbelief by either relying too much on the methods of human governmental power to achieve the ends of the supernatural, or openly abandoning faith because of seeing how that is done, instead of following Christ’s admonition to “render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s but unto God that which is God’s”.

          • Siberia

            The whole doctrine of hell as a place where people are tortured forever and ever throughout the endless ages of eternity is based 10% on highly questionable interpretations of 2–count’em, 2–verses in the New Testament, and 90% borrowed from Eastern religions. Far, far more passages describe the final fate of the unrepentant wicked as utter destruction, yes by fire, and it will no doubt hurt more and longer for some of the worst offenders who have caused the most pain for others, but definitely an annihilation accomplished and ended in a short amount of time, in the “Day of Wrath”, on all accounts. If you go and read it, it describes the Judgment as a day when everyone is brought to account, it doesn’t happen for each individual to their consciousness as a soul that departs from their body upon their death, but it explicitly states that everyone who has died will be truly dead in all senses until that Day when they are resurrected, and that Judgment occurs.
            OK. I can see that. It’s not unlike Buddhist doctrines on Hell – wherein the wicked get to suffer for a ridiculously long but finite amount of time and then move along through the samsara (though I don’t think mainstream Buddhism teaches that anymore, if at all – it felt more folkloric than anything else). I suppose it’s better than the whole forever and ever thing.

            But that’s the crux of my matter with religion. We don’t know. We can’t know (that’s the whole point) except through faith and faith is such an unreliable thing to settle your life (and, supposedly, eternity) on. I could have faith in this, I could have faith in that and I could be wrong anyway. The stakes are a bit high for such a gamble, don’t you think?

            You interprete the Scripture in a way. Jeff and others interprete it another way. Who’s right? I don’t know. I can’t know. I know what I’d like to believe but what I’d *like* has no effect in reality. I surely would prefer to believe that it’s all allegorical or that those people won’t suffer forever and ever and ever for things they had no say or no fault in commiting, but my belief doesn’t make it true. Neither do yours, nor anyone’s. You see where I’m coming from?

            God isn’t forthcoming with explanations either, otherwise I’d assume there wouldn’t be so many flavors and interpretations of His holy word about. As people often say, he’s a piss-poor communicator if we have to bend and twist his (supposedly holy) book so much that it contradicts the literal word itself.

            You say those to be smiten were doing horrible things to their own – but wasn’t there a better way to help them than simply kill everyone who stayed behind? Such as, say, come forth and put a show as He did to His chosen people? Then what you’re saying is that God isn’t commanding genocide nilly-willy, OK, fine, but it implies he did see genocide as the only solution to a problem.

            Much like a certain German dictator and his chosen people, or a certain overpowered North American nation and the Japanese, or the Japanese themselves and the Chinese, or… I could go on forever.

            The difference is, we’re human. We’re fallible. We’re animals. Some of us are wicked, some of us are not, some of us see no problem eliminating a helluva lot of people because the deity du jour says so. Some of us even feel justified about it.

            God has no such excuse. He could bring the whole bloody universe into being. Obviously He has powers we do not and, I’d hope, more understanding than our puny human minds, yet he reacts… exact the same way as humans would.

            Sounds a bit like God’s more human than even humans themselves (which, I suppose, makes sense if we were made after his image – that God would be as fallible as we are). His reactions certainly are human enough: we have a threat, this group of people is doing horrible things, they deserve to be eliminated.

            As you said yourself, it sounds like slanderous propaganda from warmongers throughout the time. As you said yourself, we can’t know. Maybe you’re right, but there’s always a chance you’re wrong, too. What makes you so sure it wasn’t propaganda by an ancient tribe justifying the holiness of their actions (much like the smiten tribes did their own)?

            Like I said before, belief truth does not make. Everybody’s belief does not make it true. The wicked, smiten people felt justified in their actions and, horrific though they were, felt no reason to believe otherwise. So did the Aztecs. So do Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, atheists, German dictators, Russian dictators, et al.

            My rambly point is thus: maybe you are correct and there was a reason for the whole thing to happen. OK. But maybe you are wrong. Maybe it is propaganda and you’ve bought it much like the German people did, or so many other people throughout the centuries. We can’t know. God could tell us in a more unambiguous way (I hope) and yet does not. Whether from malice, from laziness or whatever – I don’t know and frankly, I don’t care. If He’s out there, He ain’t affecting the world in any way that would lead me to believe His awesomeness and kiss His ephemeral feet in thanks. In fact, He seems to be acting as if He wasn’t there at all. All He left was a highly questionable book nobody but someone well-schooled in ancient history can make sense of (and even so interpreting the hell out of it) and a handful of believers that contradict even each other in their interpretations.

            Just out of curiosity, do you believe the Spaniard massacre of the Aztecs was justified? Their practices surely could be seen as ‘wicked’ by many… and they were pretty convinced they were doing the right thing. Just like the Spaniards and the Hebrews and the Jews and…

            • NorCal

              You seem to have skimmed over a couple of my points: Were the Spaniards accompanied by a fiery, visible and audible supernatural presence, performing patently supernatural acts that were notable not just for grandeur but also for omnisciently, finely-detailed justice, witnessed by millions of people simultaneously? And did they not profess to follow Christ, who said “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My disciples would fight.”? Again, you may not believe that said supernatural events occurred in ancient times, but if you read the text and follow its logic, then you have to believe that it is in fact demonstrating that one should not even *begin* to think about such “solutions” to problem human behavior unless that type of supernatural confirmation for it is happening here & now before not just your eyes, but *everyone’s*. So whether or not you believe such events happened, you are still left with the principle that if they’re not happening, don’t even think about trying this at home, or elsewhere. And particularly, believers in Christ are explicitly taught to understand that all of that in the past was a one-time thing meant to show us the *limits* and the *inefficacy* of physical power as a means to set things right, and that we only need to look at Christ Himself to see how we were really intended to conduct ourselves.

              Also, again, it is so often ignored that the Scriptures in question have been regarded, for millennia, by the people who transmitted them, as both a very tightly, sparely-worded legal document and a test of the human soul, very like the test of Solomon saying to cut the baby in half, to reveal the intent of the parties in question. Christ did something very similar when He said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.” He thereby tested the intents of the heart, because if one hearing this *thought* to take it “literally”, they would reveal themselves as someone not willing to give Him a fair hearing (even if in doing this they professed to be siding with Him), because if their intent were to *really* understand, they would have noticed that word “if”, and understood from everything else He said that one’s *eye* does not cause one to sin. In fact, the heart causes one to sin. And the process of “cutting out the heart” had already been described, both by Him and by the previous prophecies, as the simple act of repentance and ceasing to be devoted to one’s own earthly profit. The physical description simply served to illustrate more thoroughly how dramatic a change this involves in a person.
              He lays out this principle explicitly, as well, when He echos previous prophets and says that He speaks in parables so that “hearing they will hear, but not understand” if they are already closed off in their mind and not willing to make an effort to understand, not seeing that when He makes a statement that is obviously ridiculous-sounding on the surface, He is challenging the hearer to decide whether to pronounce Him ridiculous then & there, or whether to recognize an apparent departure from the pattern as a very obvious cue to examine it closer to see how it fits in.

              Back to the more ancient stuff, again: we might form our own beliefs, based on what we see in the present day, about what was going on back then. With some of these beliefs, such as that there was a better way for the Creator to accomplish communicating with human beings who, as a group, had wished for the Creator to be concealed from them, you have to assume that the text is simply lying, propagandizing.
              My point in saying that we have no way, from this late in history, of absolutely scientifically verifying whether it was or not, is that now, that is not the point. I’m talking about examining its *message* based on the assumption that it is as true as it represents itself. If you are basing your thoughts about what it is trying to say on the assumption that it is false, then you have no hope of discerning what it’s trying to say. I’m saying you don’t necessarily, on first examination, have to *believe* it is true, I’m saying just examine it with the thought in mind, “If it *were* true, what would it really mean?”
              For example, the nations that were expelled were described in the terms that “their cup of iniquity was full”. This is in answer to your question about couldn’t they have been turned from their wickedness by having a show put on for them like the chosen people, instead of being expelled on pain of death? The answer, according to both the explicit text and the earliest commentaries, is that they *did* have such shows put on for them and rejected them, preferring the other supernatural forces they subjected themselves to. And the text makes it clear that one of its main premises is that there *are* other supernatural forces in the world, placed there specifically to preserve people’s capability to choose whether to love the true Creator or not, by allowing the possibility of alternate visions of Creation. It makes it clear that the Creator wants love, which is a mighty tall order, because that has to be freely given.
              If we are given absolute, unquestionable evidence of a Creator, we are automatically forced into servitude, and that is not love.

              You said that the Creator is depicted as acting just like human beings. There’s an important distinction, though. If I let someone into my house and I step out a moment and he takes my keys, locks me out and proceeds to do lots of things I do, including eat my food, drive my car, impersonate me at my job and take my paycheck, etc., leaving me out on the street to starve, but then when he happens to leave the door unlocked one time, I come back into my house and begin to eat my food, drive my car, go to my workplace, etc., wouldn’t you say that the other person acted wickedly? Now, when I return, am I acting wickedly because I am acting in so many ways just like he was while in my house? In fact, Biblically if that were the end, if I proceeded to continue to act exactly like him and let *him* starve, I would certainly not be acting like the Creator, who is portrayed as only *conditionally* asserting rights over the land, who upholds self-sacrificing generosity as the ideal, and in the end manifests a personal demonstration of this ideal by simply giving it all up. The earlier assertion of rights over land was only to demonstrate that it *could* be done–otherwise no one would understand that anything was given up, but would have no reason at all to believe that any of it ever belonged to the One giving it up in the first place.

              That’s what I’m saying. The Scriptures depict a Creator who, at one time and place in history, asserted the right to tell people where to go, and even to marshal human forces to that end. And they emphasize that the Creator would not have ordered people expelled unless they *needed* to go elsewhere. Only their Creator would know them that well, to be able to know their needs that well, only one whose very essence animated them and gave them life. By Biblical logic, only one who can make alive can have the authority to remove life, because from that one’s perspective, it is not necessarily a permanent end. Any human being assuming the position of the Creator and purporting to truly know the needs of fellow created beings to that degree is indeed a bottomlessly wicked and evil person.
              Not only that, but the most ancient commentaries point out, based on the logic of the passages themselves, from examples of events related in them, that the only reason that the threat of human violence was commanded to be instrumental in these expulsions, is because the chosen people had demonstrated lack of faith themselves, in wanting to spy out the land as if to prepare for a military campaign, when the whole episode was intended to be purely miraculous. They would have been excused from a military-style campaign even then, if they had not then been completely cowed by the spies’ report that the inhabitants of the land were too numerous and too physically and technologically superior to conquer, ignoring the fact that they were *not* there to conquer through numbers, strength, or technology.
              *That* is right there in the text. Now how does *that* compare to all the human-led conquests you know about? Were they not about numbers, strength, and technology?
              So the commands to smite were again, only a test of spiritual will, as is made obvious by simply continuing to read and apply logic. In fact, all the greatest victories in the conquest are described as cases where the people demonstrated faith to the extent that not a sword had to be lifted, but the people and their armies of the land fled because of supernatural intervention.

              So here’s the case I’m making for there being a truly correct way to interpret these scriptures: just simply let them interpret themselves, follow the trails laid right out in the words, with the assistance, if needed, of explanation by the earliest people we know of who applied the ink to parchment in their own language to transmit it to us today. No bending and twisting, no contradiction. It’s not that explanations aren’t forthcoming—the explanations from what should be the most obvious sources have simply been ignored and swept under the carpet!

              But even this prominence of willful ignorance (through–as I’ve been saying–forces in the world, I might add, that claim to support the Biblical Creator–and yet whose existence as enemies by deceit has been demonstrably prophesied in its pages) has all come about through the Creator’s will that we have the freedom to choose to love or not, necessarily including the freedom to believe or not, to notice those big lumps in the carpet or not. We may wish at times that it were made more unambiguous, as you say, but that would rather quickly have the effect of making it universally unquestionable, and thus our ability to have a will of our own would be completely nullified, through no choice of our own, and render our existence meaningless.
              The role of Christ, as prophesied, was to more thoroughly, tangibly demonstrate how this ability of will is worth all of the difficulties we face, worth doing the hard thing, the uncomfortable thing, even to the extreme extent of that very Creator tangibly experiencing every feeling of the human form including the worst type of death. Again, just like the Exodus, we can question and say “well, that wasn’t really the Creator, or it just plain didn’t happen, or lots of people were crucified, what makes that one so unique”, etc. But that is simply a way to not address the message–to not consider, if it really were true as written, what would it mean? That is key, because only by understanding the *meaning* that the text is wanting to convey do we get the clues to what can provide support for its truth to us.

            • Siberia

              You seem to have skimmed over a couple of my points: Were the Spaniards accompanied by a fiery, visible and audible supernatural presence, performing patently supernatural acts that were notable not just for grandeur but also for omnisciently, finely-detailed justice, witnessed by millions of people simultaneously? And did they not profess to follow Christ, who said “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My disciples would fight.”? Again, you may not believe that said supernatural events occurred in ancient times, but if you read the text and follow its logic, then you have to believe that it is in fact demonstrating that one should not even *begin* to think about such “solutions” to problem human behavior unless that type of supernatural confirmation for it is happening here & now before not just your eyes, but *everyone’s*. So whether or not you believe such events happened, you are still left with the principle that if they’re not happening, don’t even think about trying this at home, or elsewhere. And particularly, believers in Christ are explicitly taught to understand that all of that in the past was a one-time thing meant to show us the *limits* and the *inefficacy* of physical power as a means to set things right, and that we only need to look at Christ Himself to see how we were really intended to conduct ourselves.

              They’re also taught to give all their money to the poor and abandon (when not actively hate) their families, to spread the gospel, to treat their slaves nicely (but not that slavery is wrong), to oppress women, among other things. Funny how those things always get overlooked by the religious, eh? I don’t see a lot of Christians – who claim to loooooooooove Christ so much – actually doing what he’s said they should do.

              He also says the old laws were not overturned. I suppose shrimp-eaters and people wearing mixed fabrics are f-d, eh?

              I recall the Crusaders claimed to see crosses of light in the sky, which they thought to be a sign they should massacre the Muslims and reconquer Jerusalem. Therefore they were doing the right thing, correct? Doing the right thing by killing everyone so that the streets were, in the words of a contemporary author, washed in blood? Pillaging and raping (hey, it’s Biblically sanctioned – “take the virgins, kill the men”). I suppose that by your logic that was a right thing to do. It was, after all, witnessed by hundreds (not millions, as populations didn’t go that high back then).

              Much like it was the right thing for Lot to give his virgin daughters to Sodom’s populace and the Black Plague was thought to be Divine punishment. Or for God to harden the Pharaoh’s heart (no free will for filthy Egyptians!) and then proceed to torture his populace. Even if the Pharaoh was in the wrong, I highly doubt every family who lost their firstborn (not to mention the plagues) was in the wrong. For the Pharaoh’s stubborness (which was helped and induced by God himself, mind – why, isn’t stated), everyone suffers. Yeah, real just.

              God also commanded, rather explicitly, that witches should be put to death. I suppose that justifies the Inquisition, mm? No conditional there. Pity he didn’t include rules on how to actually identify the witches.

              And what makes you think the Aztecs did not have equally powerful motives to sacrifice people to the sun? What makes you think those other tribes – the “iniquitous” ones – weren’t as convinced as the Hebrews of their own righteousness? Who is right? The winners, I guess.

              The Greeks were smarter. They had the gods have their own affairs and did their own thing – only calling for help when needed, much like judges. Though it sucks for Troy that Eris was a jealous bitch.

              For example, the nations that were expelled were described in the terms that “their cup of iniquity was full”. This is in answer to your question about couldn’t they have been turned from their wickedness by having a show put on for them like the chosen people, instead of being expelled on pain of death? The answer, according to both the explicit text and the earliest commentaries, is that they *did* have such shows put on for them and rejected them, preferring the other supernatural forces they subjected themselves to. And the text makes it clear that one of its main premises is that there *are* other supernatural forces in the world, placed there specifically to preserve people’s capability to choose whether to love the true Creator or not, by allowing the possibility of alternate visions of Creation. It makes it clear that the Creator wants love, which is a mighty tall order, because that has to be freely given.

              Yeah, much like, I suppose, the Jews had to be smiten for their wickedness. Same rationale, different times. The main difference is that the supertitious old tribes had a more magical thinking, where burning bushes and talking snakes were real.

              The Creator is a mighty narcissistic child if being unloved results in epic temper tantrums – the flood, Sodom & Gomorrah, Loki knows how many others smiten for “not loving him enough”.

              If we are given absolute, unquestionable evidence of a Creator, we are automatically forced into servitude, and that is not love.

              And if we don’t, we’re smiten (as in the Flood). Great choice, that.

              Love forced out of sheer fear of inescapable conditions is Stockholm syndrome. God wants love the way an abusive husband wants love: do as I say, don’t question me, don’t look away, do nothing but obey me, me, me. He’s jealous, after all. He even says so himself.

              You said that the Creator is depicted as acting just like human beings. There’s an important distinction, though. If I let someone into my house and I step out a moment and he takes my keys, locks me out and proceeds to do lots of things I do, including eat my food, drive my car, impersonate me at my job and take my paycheck, etc., leaving me out on the street to starve, but then when he happens to leave the door unlocked one time, I come back into my house and begin to eat my food, drive my car, go to my workplace, etc., wouldn’t you say that the other person acted wickedly? Now, when I return, am I acting wickedly because I am acting in so many ways just like he was while in my house? In fact, Biblically if that were the end, if I proceeded to continue to act exactly like him and let *him* starve, I would certainly not be acting like the Creator, who is portrayed as only *conditionally* asserting rights over the land, who upholds self-sacrificing generosity as the ideal, and in the end manifests a personal demonstration of this ideal by simply giving it all up. The earlier assertion of rights over land was only to demonstrate that it *could* be done–otherwise no one would understand that anything was given up, but would have no reason at all to believe that any of it ever belonged to the One giving it up in the first place.

              Like the Flood, correct? We’re all told the wishy washy stuff about Noah so we forget everyone else died. That includes children and animals, mind.

              As I said, love me – or else. That makes God no better than the humans he allegedly created. Which makes sense, since we created him.

              Not only that, but the most ancient commentaries point out, based on the logic of the passages themselves, from examples of events related in them, that the only reason that the threat of human violence was commanded to be instrumental in these expulsions, is because the chosen people had demonstrated lack of faith themselves, in wanting to spy out the land as if to prepare for a military campaign, when the whole episode was intended to be purely miraculous. They would have been excused from a military-style campaign even then, if they had not then been completely cowed by the spies’ report that the inhabitants of the land were too numerous and too physically and technologically superior to conquer, ignoring the fact that they were *not* there to conquer through numbers, strength, or technology.

              Oh right, so because the believers were timid God ordered them to ‘kill ‘em all’? Sweet.

              *That* is right there in the text. Now how does *that* compare to all the human-led conquests you know about? Were they not about numbers, strength, and technology?

              Actually, not necessarily. Alexander the Great comes to mind – he was greatly outnumbered in most of his battles and he wasn’t technologically any better than his peers (when not downright inferior – they had frickin’ elephants in India). The Persians were considered to have the best army in the world by then – until some upstart from an insignificant kingdom trampled them, that is. Strategy and military thinking matters a great deal more than you claim – Alexander won because he was a brilliant strategist and military leader, not because he had God’s Will by his side. It’s a far cry from today when a single push of a button can smite a city (insta-God, I guess).

              Then again, he did claim to be son of Zeus…

              So the commands to smite were again, only a test of spiritual will, as is made obvious by simply continuing to read and apply logic. In fact, all the greatest victories in the conquest are described as cases where the people demonstrated faith to the extent that not a sword had to be lifted, but the people and their armies of the land fled because of supernatural intervention.

              Much like Troy was conquered with the aid of a wooden horse. Not god, though, only human intelligence at work.

              The role of Christ, as prophesied, was to more thoroughly, tangibly demonstrate how this ability of will is worth all of the difficulties we face, worth doing the hard thing, the uncomfortable thing, even to the extreme extent of that very Creator tangibly experiencing every feeling of the human form including the worst type of death. Again, just like the Exodus, we can question and say “well, that wasn’t really the Creator, or it just plain didn’t happen, or lots of people were crucified, what makes that one so unique”, etc. But that is simply a way to not address the message–to not consider, if it really were true as written, what would it mean? That is key, because only by understanding the *meaning* that the text is wanting to convey do we get the clues to what can provide support for its truth to us.

              Frankly? That God is a schizophrenic, oppressive bastard who has no qualms in playing favorites – such as leading his chosen precious ones to smite others for the sake of their own failing faith, demanding love at gunpoint, killing people for making fun of a prophet and smiting nations he himself created and permitted to grow wicked.

              That Jesus was a nice guy, though an inconsistent one, with cool powers, who thought he could save us all from the supreme megalomaniac that was his “father”. That even people from his time thought he was a bit funny in the head. That Egyptians have no free will. That other gods exist but this particular one just happens to have royal temper tantrums if you actually listen to them.

              In the end, that the Christian God differs in nothing but one mellow (and tardy) tale from every other god under the sun.

            • NorCal

              Let me try to make it a little clearer, that I do not subscribe to a Christian interpretation of the ancient Scriptures that ignores the earliest Jewish interpretations. Much of what you are responding to is not the actual things I said that you are quoting, but apparently to the reasoning of people you have heard who superficially believe the Bible but do not make the effort to study it for themselves.

              Let me answer a few things: Yes, free will for the Egyptians. The Hebrew word that is translated “hardened” is actually the verb that is used everywhere else to mean “strengthened”. It was actually a measure the Creator took to *preserve* Pharaoh’s free will. The commentary says that the strengthening in question was to make it so the plagues did not induce fear in Pharaoh, so that he made his decisions based on his true desires, not based on fear. Egyptians were also free to apply the blood to the doorposts of their homes and wait within and be spared the plague of the firstborn–and by then, they had fair enough warning so that only an overwhelming desire to continue to profit from the oppression of the Hebrew slaves, telling themselves that their gods would support them in this (probably including heavy involvement in the decree to kill so many Hebrew children–the rule of all this finely-detailed justice is “measure for measure”), would have prevented them from taking that precaution. A huge multitude of them went out of the land with the Israelites. Yes, it totally represents the Egyptians has having free will.

              Again, as I thought I made clear, the text represents the thrust of the Israelites’ mandate as *anti*-military strategy–I guess I should have specifically mentioned military strategy and thinking separately from technology, as I was intending them to be understood as included in the superior technology part.

              The behavior and beliefs of medieval Europe have nothing to do with correct interpretation of Scripture. Why else do you think the Christians near the end of the Roman Empire, who lived by the correct, peaceful interpretation of the Scripture, would be praying that the Roman Empire would not fall, so that they would not have to endure the worse persecution of the terrible, deceitful power that was prophesied would arise out of the ashes of that empire, at the location of its seat of government? Yes, this is documented. And “crosses of light” (when you squint at the sun-god just right) do not even begin to touch the level of lengthy, persuasive and instructive supernatural engagement that is described in the Exodus. Had the Crusaders been people willing to really understand Scripture, they would have noticed that distinction and not been deceived.
              And the people in Exodus are represented as being continually skeptical of these supernatural events, because of being *used* to seeing supernatural things unfold from other sources. But each time, the tests of veracity revealed in which ways their skepticism did not arise out of genuine truth-seeking, but out of simple desire to not be so different from the world around them, to fit in and elevate themselves materially through the *tangible* systems of the world.

              Thought I explained the whole dynamic to you, showing the parallels of how these events played out with the sayings of Solomon and Christ, where something shocking was said as a challenge to *think* or as a way to reveal motives, not to assume that the first impression you get from hearing/reading is correct, when being human, you might have missed something. By the way you are apparently understanding them, you would have Solomon actually slicing the baby in half, and Christ intending that most if not all of His followers indeed be walking around with empty sockets where they had gouged out their own eyes.

              When I talked about conditionally asserting right over land, then giving it all up, I wasn’t talking about the Flood, I am talking about the land of Israel as a demonstration, carefully worked out in a way that still preserved the free will of everyone involved, of the Creator’s ability to operate in the physical world. By giving it all up, I am talking about the Creator in the form of Christ, renouncing it all and giving the demonstration of what it means to truly abandon all interest in this world for the sake of the next.

              The commandments you refer to as if they are still to be observed today: Yes, He said that they were not done away with. But they were specifically placed in categories of things that were to be done *in that Land*, with the patently evident supernatural Presence operating and emanating from the Temple. In the absence of those conditions, all such commandments are suspended indefinitely. Indeed, the Temple was destroyed twice explicitly because of people not applying commandments in the spirit they were intended. Christ came to show exactly in what spirit they were intended (“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…”), and also made sure that the conditions for which those commandments are prescribed are indeed absent indefinitely, this time until everyone truly gets it, which according to the writings’ words, will not be until Christ actually returns and transforms the entire nature of Creation anyhow. Even then, it goes on, there will be, in the end, no Temple, for there will be no need since Christ will be the visible dwelling place of the Presence and none who have entered that next world will need the protection from that Presence that the Temple in this world afforded. Both Christian and Jewish sources agree that the Temple of Christ’s time, too, was desolated of the Presence long before its destruction.

              As for the Flood, again, we have never seen the like of the circumstances. The text refers to people before the Flood reaching such a height of wicked collusion with the evil supernatural, that superhuman beings were roaming the earth–basically the whole earth was like a mashup of WoW & GTA, if those games were allowed to be as violently pornographic as possible. In fact, ancient stories from many cultures relate the same stories as the Greek legends you were talking about, where the Greeks had simply transferred the location of the events from Mount Ararat to Mount Olympus, and the legends of the Greek gods’ wretched behavior were in fact echos of the stories of what had actually happened among these superhuman beings before the Flood.
              Again, if you don’t believe such things can exist, fine. But so much evidence makes the case that this is how the text is representing the circumstances, that it would only make sense to apply the text’s own context consistently, and interpret what it means by what it says according to that context. A document that explores the quest for creations to love their Creator out of free will, would never be complete unless it included every way that free will could possibly play out, every type of environment it could produce. And it would not be believable if most of those environments did not turn out to be undesirable through the wrong choices of the people involved, including at least one so irrevocably so that it all had to be reset before it was too late for everyone.

              You can characterize it as fits of childishness, temper tantrums etc., but that does not make it so, and it completely ignores how the people who understood it and wrote it in its original language described the story as the intricate, delicate dance of a Creator being revealed to the created beings while preserving their free will. The fact that a fractal-like pattern on the frost on a window and in the leaves of a fern plant look nearly identical does not make them one and the same thing. All it shows is that the forces that shaped the two events are analogous in some single respect in the way they balanced against each other, but they still have otherwise entirely different structures, functions and dramatically different effects.

              I understand that you are concerned about how humans misinterpret and misapply what they read in these texts, and place the blame on the texts. But like so many of the tests portrayed in those pages, we are not lacking in well-known witnesses (such as Jewish writings) to how much this is based on willful ignorance in the material pursuit of perceived self-interest, rather than on the message of the text itself. But the witnesses themselves are ignored and deemed inconsequential, though they logically should be considered quite central to understanding the text.

              And slavery? Different definition than we commonly understand it now. As a person working to pay off a debt, Biblically I am a slave, and it is highly likely you are too. I am grateful that the Biblical ideals about these things have finally filtered into society toward their natural conclusion to the extent that despite my debt, I can live so much like one who is free.

            • Siberia

              Let me try to make it a little clearer, that I do not subscribe to a Christian interpretation of the ancient Scriptures that ignores the earliest Jewish interpretations. Much of what you are responding to is not the actual things I said that you are quoting, but apparently to the reasoning of people you have heard who superficially believe the Bible but do not make the effort to study it for themselves.

              I always found it highly ironic that the supposedly simple scriptures need to be studied to be understood. It’s almost… malicious.

              Let me answer a few things: Yes, free will for the Egyptians. The Hebrew word that is translated “hardened” is actually the verb that is used everywhere else to mean “strengthened”. It was actually a measure the Creator took to *preserve* Pharaoh’s free will. The commentary says that the strengthening in question was to make it so the plagues did not induce fear in Pharaoh, so that he made his decisions based on his true desires, not based on fear.

              Why even cause them in the first place, then? It’s like God, alright – he goes and causes plague to cow the Egyptians and, at the same time, makes him fear-less (while, at the same time, requiring others fear him – ironic). Downright malicious.

              Egyptians were also free to apply the blood to the doorposts of their homes and wait within and be spared the plague of the firstborn–and by then, they had fair enough warning so that only an overwhelming desire to continue to profit from the oppression of the Hebrew slaves, telling themselves that their gods would support them in this (probably including heavy involvement in the decree to kill so many Hebrew children–the rule of all this finely-detailed justice is “measure for measure”), would have prevented them from taking that precaution. A huge multitude of them went out of the land with the Israelites. Yes, it totally represents the Egyptians has having free will.

              Not if they didn’t even know they were supposed to – and why would they believe anyway? They had their own gods, with their own capacity. They didn’t know any better. Yet there we have God and his Holy Temper Tantrum, demanding they do completely absurd things they had no reason whatever to believe in.

              Also, I’d love to see the source for this assertion of yours that the Egyptians went with the Israelites (even though there’s no sign whatever of the Hebrews ever being slaves in Egypt and thus needing to leave it, but let’s forget this for the moment).

              Again, as I thought I made clear, the text represents the thrust of the Israelites’ mandate as *anti*-military strategy–I guess I should have specifically mentioned military strategy and thinking separately from technology, as I was intending them to be understood as included in the superior technology part.

              That is, they wouldn’t have won if their God wasn’t with them. Gotcha. Evidence?

              The behavior and beliefs of medieval Europe have nothing to do with correct interpretation of Scripture. Why else do you think the Christians near the end of the Roman Empire, who lived by the correct, peaceful interpretation of the Scripture, would be praying that the Roman Empire would not fall, so that they would not have to endure the worse persecution of the terrible, deceitful power that was prophesied would arise out of the ashes of that empire, at the location of its seat of government? Yes, this is documented.

              Yet the Roman empire fell anyway, conveniently after it converted to Christianity. Ironic, because the Romans before Christianity were known for their acceptance of other people’s creeds – it was one of their strengths, much as military discipline. Yes, I know, they weren’t so tolerant of Christianity, but other people? Pretty much so.

              I’d like to know that documentation, too.

              And “crosses of light” (when you squint at the sun-god just right) do not even begin to touch the level of lengthy, persuasive and instructive supernatural engagement that is described in the Exodus. Had the Crusaders been people willing to really understand Scripture, they would have noticed that distinction and not been deceived.

              And yet they couldn’t, because most of them were not literate and the Scripture wasn’t in their hands as easily as you’d like me to believe it was for the ancient Hebrews. God obviously didn’t care enough either to stop them or show them the truth, like he did to the Hebrews. Who cares about some few Muslims, mm? Why would he even care to start a new revelation? He must know those people didn’t know any better. I have no doubt they believed just as much as the ancient Hebrews did, or the Aztecs. Yet God is silent, either on approval or disapproval. Almost… like he wasn’t there.

              And the people in Exodus are represented as being continually skeptical of these supernatural events, because of being *used* to seeing supernatural things unfold from other sources. But each time, the tests of veracity revealed in which ways their skepticism did not arise out of genuine truth-seeking, but out of simple desire to not be so different from the world around them, to fit in and elevate themselves materially through the *tangible* systems of the world.

              That’s humans being humans. God made us this way. It’s not our problem – it’s his design.

              Thought I explained the whole dynamic to you, showing the parallels of how these events played out with the sayings of Solomon and Christ, where something shocking was said as a challenge to *think* or as a way to reveal motives, not to assume that the first impression you get from hearing/reading is correct, when being human, you might have missed something. By the way you are apparently understanding them, you would have Solomon actually slicing the baby in half, and Christ intending that most if not all of His followers indeed be walking around with empty sockets where they had gouged out their own eyes.

              And yet, while I do not, I’m sure lots of people might think so and take things at face-value. Is it their fault? Not really. Again, God is a helluva lousy communicator (and incapable of updating his Holy Writ. Sucks to be us and have to rely on extensive study of the past to actually get what it’s all about, eh?). This is one of the situations where clarity is important, yet there is no clarity. Maliciousness or incompetence, I don’t know.

              When I talked about conditionally asserting right over land, then giving it all up, I wasn’t talking about the Flood, I am talking about the land of Israel as a demonstration, carefully worked out in a way that still preserved the free will of everyone involved, of the Creator’s ability to operate in the physical world. By giving it all up, I am talking about the Creator in the form of Christ, renouncing it all and giving the demonstration of what it means to truly abandon all interest in this world for the sake of the next.

              While, of course, protecting Israel’s interests. Some are more equal than others, I guess.

              The commandments you refer to as if they are still to be observed today: Yes, He said that they were not done away with. But they were specifically placed in categories of things that were to be done *in that Land*, with the patently evident supernatural Presence operating and emanating from the Temple. In the absence of those conditions, all such commandments are suspended indefinitely.

              Says who? How can you be so sure of this?

              Indeed, the Temple was destroyed twice explicitly because of people not applying commandments in the spirit they were intended. Christ came to show exactly in what spirit they were intended (“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…”), and also made sure that the conditions for which those commandments are prescribed are indeed absent indefinitely, this time until everyone truly gets it, which according to the writings’ words, will not be until Christ actually returns and transforms the entire nature of Creation anyhow.

              Again, says who? Jesus was pretty clear on that everyone sins. OK. Cool. I grok that. He wasn’t so clear about what are the sins, though. Paul gives a big rant about abominations and all evil things, but not Jesus.

              Even then, it goes on, there will be, in the end, no Temple, for there will be no need since Christ will be the visible dwelling place of the Presence and none who have entered that next world will need the protection from that Presence that the Temple in this world afforded. Both Christian and Jewish sources agree that the Temple of Christ’s time, too, was desolated of the Presence long before its destruction.

              Quaint. References?

              As for the Flood, again, we have never seen the like of the circumstances. The text refers to people before the Flood reaching such a height of wicked collusion with the evil supernatural, that superhuman beings were roaming the earth–basically the whole earth was like a mashup of WoW & GTA, if those games were allowed to be as violently pornographic as possible. In fact, ancient stories from many cultures relate the same stories as the Greek legends you were talking about, where the Greeks had simply transferred the location of the events from Mount Ararat to Mount Olympus, and the legends of the Greek gods’ wretched behavior were in fact echos of the stories of what had actually happened among these superhuman beings before the Flood.

              Says you. The Greeks were the Greeks; Mr. Olympus bears no semblance whatever with Mt. Ararat. There is nothing whatsoever similar between the two stories – much less about the Greek gods’ lecherousness and the alleged “superhumans” from the pre-Flood (which, once again, mysteriously leave no traces they ever existed at all). Seriously, I’ve no idea from where you’d even draw such a comparison.

              Then again, we know the Flood didn’t happen simply because we know it’s impossible for it to have even happened at all (unless God’s fucking with our brains, naturally – hiding the evidence from us so well that it’s like it’s never existed at all). Also, I’d love to see where it says that the earth was that wicked. Even if it was, the animals surely didn’t get compassion, nor the children.

              Again, if you don’t believe such things can exist, fine. But so much evidence makes the case that this is how the text is representing the circumstances, that it would only make sense to apply the text’s own context consistently, and interpret what it means by what it says according to that context. A document that explores the quest for creations to love their Creator out of free will, would never be complete unless it included every way that free will could possibly play out, every type of environment it could produce. And it would not be believable if most of those environments did not turn out to be undesirable through the wrong choices of the people involved, including at least one so irrevocably so that it all had to be reset before it was too late for everyone.

              I’d love to see this evidence. Even if it was so, I repeat, there’s no difference whatsoever from so many other books.

              You can characterize it as fits of childishness, temper tantrums etc., but that does not make it so, and it completely ignores how the people who understood it and wrote it in its original language described the story as the intricate, delicate dance of a Creator being revealed to the created beings while preserving their free will. The fact that a fractal-like pattern on the frost on a window and in the leaves of a fern plant look nearly identical does not make them one and the same thing. All it shows is that the forces that shaped the two events are analogous in some single respect in the way they balanced against each other, but they still have otherwise entirely different structures, functions and dramatically different effects.

              Because you want to believe it’s a delicate dance between Creator and Creation. I am just saddened that you even feel the need to see such a thing.

              I understand that you are concerned about how humans misinterpret and misapply what they read in these texts, and place the blame on the texts. But like so many of the tests portrayed in those pages, we are not lacking in well-known witnesses (such as Jewish writings) to how much this is based on willful ignorance in the material pursuit of perceived self-interest, rather than on the message of the text itself. But the witnesses themselves are ignored and deemed inconsequential, though they logically should be considered quite central to understanding the text.

              Oh please. Old stories by old people, unreliable witnesses, texts written in dead languages and obscure metaphors upon metaphors… it’s no more realistic or compelling than the Sutras or the Vedas or the Iliad and you want me to take yours seriously? Puh-lease. If your God exists, he’s just playing with us. There’s no delicate dance. There’s no pattern of free will. There’s you making apologetics, like so many people do, because you want to believe oh-so-bad. There’s your Stockholm syndrome.

              And slavery? Different definition than we commonly understand it now. As a person working to pay off a debt, Biblically I am a slave, and it is highly likely you are too. I am grateful that the Biblical ideals about these things have finally filtered into society toward their natural conclusion to the extent that despite my debt, I can live so much like one who is free.

              Wow, I wonder who you work for. Last I checked my boss wasn’t allowed to beat me, rape me or sell me (also, I’ve no debts to pay, thankyouverymuch. I earn a salary, unlike the slaves in the past). You seem to think it was all about debt, and that was a way to get into slavery, but it wasn’t the only way; conquest was another. Even the Bible says so: slave-owner, care for his slaves. If slaves were “free people”, he wouldn’t need to say such a thing. He wouldn’t need to tell the slave to obey his master if it was just a work-relationship. Hell, the word ‘slave’ wouldn’t even be needed.

              But then, I’m sure you’ve a lot of ways to rationalize the irrationality, much like they did in old times. Alas.

            • NorCal

              “I always found it highly ironic that the supposedly simple scriptures need to be studied to be understood. It’s almost… malicious.”

              Siberia, think about that statement for a moment. It’s almost malicious for someone to want you to dwell thoughtfully on what they have written or said to you? If so, I would feel sorry for whomever would be your significant other. Anything they said that might seem to contradict something else, it seems you would throw spitefully in their face without discussing and reasoning about it. As it is written, “Come, let us reason together.” I know, your significant other would probably not mention things like the seemingly ruthless punishments described there; but the spirit of “let us reason together” that was a recurring theme woven between them was why those punishments were forbidden to be administered unless the person committing the sin was repeatedly warned and admonished, and they only responded with high-handed arrogance of a type in which they explicitly displayed that they only cared for their own self-exaltation and would only be too happy to hurt others to achieve it, you might say gangster-type boasting. And even then, they could only be administered when the Presence was visibly and actively dwelling among the people, when it would be especially astonishing for people to commit such things before it.
              Whenever people corrupted the administration of these statutes such that the laws were being misapplied, then the Presence would withdraw from its Dwelling, and in some cases the Dwelling was allowed to be destroyed.

              To answer more simply, I have always found it highly ironic that when people supposedly read the Hebrew Scriptures, they turn for understanding of them to everyone except the Hebrews. Can you tell me why that is?

              (quoting my earlier response…)****Let me answer a few things: Yes, free will for the Egyptians. The Hebrew word that is translated “hardened” is actually the verb that is used everywhere else to mean “strengthened”. It was actually a measure the Creator took to *preserve* Pharaoh’s free will. The commentary says that the strengthening in question was to make it so the plagues did not induce fear in Pharaoh, so that he made his decisions based on his true desires, not based on fear.*****

              “Why even cause them in the first place, then? It’s like God, alright – he goes and causes plague to cow the Egyptians and, at the same time, makes him fear-less (while, at the same time, requiring others fear him – ironic). Downright malicious.”

              The plagues were not caused to cow the Egyptians per se. They had built up a religious system, with awesome edifices that as you can see in their ruins today, created an entire world for those people such that they had made it very difficult to imagine any other way of life. And it was all built on cruelty and oppression, with supernatural authority behind it in the form of the gods they worshipped. The plagues were designed to systematically deconstruct the peoples’ enslavement to each of the deities to whom they ascribed this authority, by showing that those deities had no control over the various forces of nature that were assigned to them. They were done in an exact way, though, that people were still able to make the choice whether to believe or not… but they were shaken out of the inescapably absolute certainties they had built up through their religio-political system. These things were done to free Egyptians as much as Israelites, and those particular people who were actually hurt by them were only the ones who through their own choice had willfully indulged in all of that oppression and cruelty, that whole power trip with the amassing of wealth.

              I submit that everything that you are angry with the Bible about, is actually due to what the spiritual descendants of ancient Egypt have done to its interpretation, having found a way to secretly/insidiously mix those principles back into purportedly Bible-believing society, lending the air of Biblical authority to the same oppressive practices focused on the awe-inspiring edifices, obscuring its words with their tools. Read Hosea for a prophecy predicting that, and see also the repeated stories in the rest of Scripture that showed certain people who, if they couldn’t amass power and wealth by opposing the Creator, decided to do it by seeming to go along with the Creator. It’s not as if people haven’t been warned. Even for someone brought up not taught to seek to understand Scripture for themselves, at some point in life everyone has to realize that it only makes sense.

              Egyptians were also free to apply the blood to the doorposts of their homes….

              “Not if they didn’t even know they were supposed to – and why would they believe anyway? They had their own gods, with their own capacity. They didn’t know any better. Yet there we have God and his Holy Temper Tantrum, demanding they do completely absurd things they had no reason whatever to believe in.”

              How can you say they wouldn’t know, when it specifally mentions that “the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people”. This is written immediately before the plague of the Firstborn, to emphasize that everyone in the land of Egypt was listening to what Moses had to say. And as aforementioned they were already given very good reason to highly doubt the capacities of their own gods.

              “Also, I’d love to see the source for this assertion of yours that the Egyptians went with the Israelites (even though there’s no sign whatever of the Hebrews ever being slaves in Egypt and thus needing to leave it, but let’s forget this for the moment).”

              Here’s a source: Exodus 12:38 “And a mixed multitude went up with them…”

              “That is, they wouldn’t have won if their God wasn’t with them. Gotcha. Evidence?”

              Since the Biblical evidence is pretty clear, I assume you’re talking about archeological evidence. Well, that’s always changing. Until the past few years, the scholarship on the subject was heavily promoting the idea that there wasn’t even a King David. Now, mention of King David has been found in a document of a neighboring nation contemporary to the time, and a building fitting the description and stated age of David’s palace has been found overlooking the Temple Mount.

              I’m not actually arguing here for the purpose of convincing people that the Bible is true. I am only taking issue with phenomenon of how even in these days people insist on divorcing it from the culture that produced it, and just interpret it any way that suits their fancy, whether to support their personal ambitions or to vilify it as some knuckle-dragging, primitive and brutal tool of domination out of hand (usually as a visceral response to the first type of interpretation) without consulting the very well-documented chain of evidence within the culture that produced it that shows what it really is saying, in case a person has to have it more spelled out.

              “Yet the Roman empire fell anyway, conveniently after it converted to Christianity. Ironic, because the Romans before Christianity were known for their acceptance of other people’s creeds – it was one of their strengths, much as military discipline. Yes, I know, they weren’t so tolerant of Christianity, but other people? Pretty much so.”

              ****Like I said, that was prophesied, as evidenced by the believers who responded to those prophecies by praying that the rise of the evil power that would supplant Rome would be held off for a time longer. The power that then arose is so often itself called “Christianity”, as it indeed promoted itself, as if it is the sum and the essence of New Testament belief, but the future oppressing power was prophesied to be a kingdom, unique in its spiritual nature, and an actual contradiction of the message of Christ, who said His kingdom is not of this world–while this “spiritual kingdom” has its own national territory, with embassies from most nations and ambassadors to them, and its own army (by these markers identifying itself as anti-Christ). It is a repeating pattern that Scripture emphasizes, that no human being is immune from the allure of earthly power and wealth, of serving self over serving others, and when people succumb to this, the result is always oppression and suffering, and that this includes people who purport to uphold the Scripture, and that this always results in the widespread defamation of Scripture among those who refuse to recognize the warning about this contained in the book itself, or to see that it only makes sense for a Creator who wants people to freely choose to believe must allow this to happen–but not without the warning from one “who does not do anything without first telling that One’s servants, the prophets”, because no explanation of how this would happen in advance wouldn’t be fair, either.****

              “I’d like to know that documentation, too.”

              Here’s a collection of quotes on the subject from Tertullian in the 2nd century, *before* Rome fell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tertullian#Antichrist_.E2.80.94_Beast_.E2.80.94_Man_of_Sin_is_Near

              Also, look up Iranaeus and Hippolytus on the same subject, who said the same things.

              (quoting my earlier post)*** Had the Crusaders been people willing to really understand Scripture, they would have noticed that distinction and not been deceived.***

              “And yet they couldn’t, because most of them were not literate and the Scripture wasn’t in their hands as easily as you’d like me to believe it was for the ancient Hebrews. God obviously didn’t care enough either to stop them or show them the truth, like he did to the Hebrews. Who cares about some few Muslims, mm? Why would he even care to start a new revelation? He must know those people didn’t know any better. I have no doubt they believed just as much as the ancient Hebrews did, or the Aztecs. Yet God is silent, either on approval or disapproval. Almost… like he wasn’t there.”

              Yes, the truth is buried just deep enough that those who don’t *want* to find it, won’t, and this is a perfect example. Whatever your sources are have neglected to mention that during the *exact same period* as the Crusades, the Waldenses were travelling the *entire length and breadth* of Europe, disguised as peddlers, distributing copies of the Scriptures (which was forbidden by the church and the governments it controlled) and teaching people to read them, and standing as witnesses against the horrific atrocities being perpetrated in the name of Christ. The Crusaders tried earnestly to stamp them out and, for some reason, obliterate the reading of the Bible by the people (odd, if the Bible was so in support of what they were doing with the Crusades), but they were repeatedly saved by miraculous means to continue their work, though many of them were killed. The Creator, as in the experience of Elijah, is often not in the fire, the whirlwind, or the earthquake, but in the “still, small voice.” The one you can ignore and pretend is not there if you wish.

              *******And the people in Exodus are represented as being continually skeptical of these supernatural events, because of being *used* to seeing supernatural things unfold from other sources. But each time, the tests of veracity revealed in which ways their skepticism did not arise out of genuine truth-seeking, but out of simple desire to not be so different from the world around them, to fit in and elevate themselves materially through the *tangible* systems of the world.***********

              “That’s humans being humans. God made us this way. It’s not our problem – it’s his design.”

              Namely, made us free to choose. If you don’t like that idea, I would say that *is* a problem, but it is not the Creator’s problem, because the Creator’s will was that we are free to generate problems if we so choose, and free to be delivered to be able to rise above them, if we so choose as well.

              “And yet, while I do not, I’m sure lots of people might think so and take things at face-value. Is it their fault? Not really. Again, God is a helluva lousy communicator (and incapable of updating his Holy Writ. Sucks to be us and have to rely on extensive study of the past to actually get what it’s all about, eh?). This is one of the situations where clarity is important, yet there is no clarity. Maliciousness or incompetence, I don’t know.”

              Neither. It’s simply leaving it up to us, the creations, to decide whether or not to really pursue a goodness behind it all. Like it says, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened; making it really clear by saying “the kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a man found, and sold everything he had to buy that field.” If a person isn’t willing to decide that living in suspicion and hatred, for starters, is not worth the effort to preserve an appearance of worthiness before others, despite the events that happen to everyone to suggest that to them, then no further truth will be forthcoming. Everything will be viewed in terms of whether it positively reflects on one’s particular notion of worthiness and self-esteem, and if that appears negative at first glance, it will be deemed not worth a second glance except to seek to further condemn it. The Creator being the Creator, the effort to uncover sufficient evidence, whether objective or subjective, to support belief, will be matched to the capabilities of each person and the resources available to them. You seem to be capable of quite a bit of research, yourself. Are you living up to that capability, even-handedly to both sides of the issues?

              ****When I talked about conditionally asserting right over land, then giving it all up, I wasn’t talking about the Flood, I am talking about the land of Israel as a demonstration, carefully worked out in a way that still preserved the free will of everyone involved, of the Creator’s ability to operate in the physical world. By giving it all up, I am talking about the Creator in the form of Christ, renouncing it all and giving the demonstration of what it means to truly abandon all interest in this world for the sake of the next.********

              “While, of course, protecting Israel’s interests. Some are more equal than others, I guess.”

              ??? Misunderstanding again, apparently. When Christ renounced it all, Israel’s interests as a nation in its land were quite decidely *not* protected. The Talmud records that for 40 years after that day (passover 30 CE, the year that the statements of times in the Gospels show was the week of Christ’s crucifixion), the Temple doors opened on their own every night, which was considered a portent of the Temple’s destruction. Furthermore, the red sash of the sacrificial goat of Yom Kippur ceased to miraculously turn white after the atonement service, which it had done to signal the forgiveness of corporate sins of the nation for the year.
              It would be hard to believe that this wasn’t true, because the Jewish people would decidely have motivation to *not* write in the Talmud a date for the beginning of the portent of their Temple’s destruction that coincided with the crucifixion of Christ.

              ****The commandments you refer to as if they are still to be observed today: Yes, He said that they were not done away with. But they were specifically placed in categories of things that were to be done *in that Land*, with the patently evident supernatural Presence operating and emanating from the Temple. In the absence of those conditions, all such commandments are suspended indefinitely.****

              “Says who? How can you be so sure of this?”

              Says millenia of rabbinic interpretation; not only that, but they are not content to just pronounce these things, but prove from the Hebrew text how the commandments are very explicitly given for particular situations: “When you come into the land…” “Speak to the priests…” “Speak to the leaders….” “Speak to the people…”. We tend to skim over those parts, ignoring that it is a legal document and these things are organized the way they are for a reason. And the New Testament and Prophets agree, making multiple statements about, for instance, the period coming on the earth when there would be no Temple, and therefore sacrifices would not be offered since they were not the point in the first place.

              *****Indeed, the Temple was destroyed twice explicitly because of people not applying commandments in the spirit they were intended. Christ came to show exactly in what spirit they were intended (”Let he who is without sin cast the first stone…”), and also made sure that the conditions for which those commandments are prescribed are indeed absent indefinitely, this time until everyone truly gets it, which according to the writings’ words, will not be until Christ actually returns and transforms the entire nature of Creation anyhow.*****

              “Again, says who? Jesus was pretty clear on that everyone sins. OK. Cool. I grok that. He wasn’t so clear about what are the sins, though. Paul gives a big rant about abominations and all evil things, but not Jesus.”

              See the Sermon on the Mount. I would say that gives a pretty clear summation of what sins are. Furthermore, He made it clear that He did not need to get so specific, except to clarify the essence of things lest anyone be unsure, because He said He didn’t speak any new commandment, and said that heaven and earth would pass away before even one ornament of a letter would pass from the books of Moses. It has recently been confirmed by comparison of Yemenite scrolls and European scrolls, traditions that were confirmed entirely separate for at least 1800 years, that this is true. There were discrepancies between the European scrolls, yes, but once the comparison narrowed it down to one scroll that agreed with the majority in every case where there was difference, it matched the Yemenite scroll exactly throughout. Paul only confirmed that though the punishment as written may not apply, as it almost never did to begin with anyway, when you understood the organization of the commandments, it was still true that what were always to’evah/causes of turning away were still to’evah.

              **** Even then, it goes on, there will be, in the end, no Temple, for there will be no need since Christ will be the visible dwelling place of the Presence and none who have entered that next world will need the protection from that Presence that the Temple in this world afforded. Both Christian and Jewish sources agree that the Temple of Christ’s time, too, was desolated of the Presence long before its destruction.****

              “Quaint. References?”

              See above on the Temple’s destruction and its harbingers. Talmud Bavli, Tractate Yoma, Daf/page 39b.

              ****As for the Flood, again, we have never seen the like of the circumstances. The text refers to people before the Flood reaching such a height of wicked collusion with the evil supernatural, that superhuman beings were roaming the earth–basically the whole earth was like a mashup of WoW & GTA, if those games were allowed to be as violently pornographic as possible. In fact, ancient stories from many cultures relate the same stories as the Greek legends you were talking about, where the Greeks had simply transferred the location of the events from Mount Ararat to Mount Olympus, and the legends of the Greek gods’ wretched behavior were in fact echos of the stories of what had actually happened among these superhuman beings before the Flood.*****

              “Says you. The Greeks were the Greeks; Mr. Olympus bears no semblance whatever with Mt. Ararat. There is nothing whatsoever similar between the two stories – much less about the Greek gods’ lecherousness and the alleged “superhumans” from the pre-Flood (which, once again, mysteriously leave no traces they ever existed at all). Seriously, I’ve no idea from where you’d even draw such a comparison.”

              Not just me. Tubal-Cain, mentioned as the pre-Flood inventor of forging, has long been recognized as linguistically related to the name Vulcan, the Greek god of the same function. Likewise Naamah becomes Nemesis. And it is also well-known that most of the Greek gods were not invented by the Greeks, though they Hellenized their names and sometimes made up new stories, but many if not most were imported from other cultures, with their stories, and these stories are traceable, like that of Vulcan/Tubal-Cain, to antediluvian beings that came to be worshiped by people in various forms down through the ages.

              Why does Ararat have to bear any semblance to Mt. Olympus, anyhow? Things like that have not stopped people before from co-opting things that carry weight in the world as their own, like this example of the Greeks. The earliest recorded temple of the style that was later adopted and refined by the Greeks, rectangular and lined with pillars with triangular roofline, was the temple at Musasir near Ararat. If they imported a temple style, why not gods as well, complete with change of residence to their own mountain?

              “Then again, we know the Flood didn’t happen simply because we know it’s impossible for it to have even happened at all (unless God’s ****ing with our brains, naturally – hiding the evidence from us so well that it’s like it’s never existed at all). Also, I’d love to see where it says that the earth was that wicked. Even if it was, the animals surely didn’t get compassion, nor the children.”

              Again, something can be compassionate from a Creator’s perspective that isn’t from a human perspective. If a Creator is, as written, the essence of life and consciousness, then making an end to a creation’s earthly phase of life and consciousness doesn’t necessarily mean the absolute end of that being, from the perspective of a Creator who can effect a continuation of that life under better circumstances. A human being cannot know or do anything of the sort, therefore it’s true that a human can’t make such a decision compassionately—as I’ve been saying, even in the circumstances described where humans were involved at the *direction* of the Creator, it was extremely circumscribed and limited to that time and place, and as you can see when reading further, it was not carried out to the extent that was described as a possibility.

              Another example to illustrate the point: If I put someone on a table, slice them open from their neck to their navel, crack their rib cage with hammer and chisel and pull it open and grab their heart, anyone would agree I am doing something horrific. But if the circumstances are that it is in the emergency room on someone who would otherwise die, by the ER doctor, then it would be hard to look at, but understandable. Now imagine someone who has decided to form their opinion of healthcare by first impressions, and not pay any attention to anything written by providers of healthcare, and they go to a hospital and that’s the first thing they see. Not having been made aware of the explanation for it, they would be horrified and might want to kill everyone there for what they are doing to that person. Now you might be generous and say that they could have lived in a situation where it’s mostly not their fault that they didn’t know, but I’d still say that it’s just maybe, a little bit their fault for not finding out when choosing to explore the subject, even more so if they just decided to never go in that awful place again and persist in believing what they wanted to believe about it, without asking around some more.

              As for “hiding the evidence”, perhaps “we” are actually hiding the evidence, because it seems that it is staring at us wherever we go. So much water-deposition, everywhere on the face of the earth. Ever wonder why the Grand Canyon’s layers and layers of sediment are so flat, just as if there were no time for disturbances between layers? Why, during the millions of years they and quite a few other sedimentary layer-cakes like it were deposited, nothing ever disturbed the flatness of the layers except the occasional water-whirl pattern that mixed 2 layers together, mighty odd if one had solidified millions of years before the next was deposited? Furthermore, why the canyon itself comes to a straight V-shape toward its base, rather than the U-shape that the successive ebbs and flows producing undermining and deposition over eons would produce? Why each layer is sorted from coarse material at the bottom to fine at the top, and in fact the entire canyon has its coarsest material at the bottom and its finest at the top?

              “I’d love to see this evidence. Even if it was so, I repeat, there’s no difference whatsoever from so many other books.”

              “No difference whatsoever” is a pretty strong statement. You mean all those other books are word-for-word exactly the same? If something actually happened, I would expect to see a lot of different documents from different sources talking about the same stuff, everyone telling their side of the story. It escapes me why people seem to think that this automatically makes the events not true. If it still bothers you, then go a little more in-depth to see whose side of the story is the most consistent.

              ****You can characterize it as fits of childishness, temper tantrums etc., but that does not make it so, and it completely ignores how the people who understood it and wrote it in its original language described the story as the intricate, delicate dance of a Creator being revealed to the created beings while preserving their free will. The fact that a fractal-like pattern on the frost on a window and in the leaves of a fern plant look nearly identical does not make them one and the same thing. All it shows is that the forces that shaped the two events are analogous in some single respect in the way they balanced against each other, but they still have otherwise entirely different structures, functions and dramatically different effects.*****

              “Because you want to believe it’s a delicate dance between Creator and Creation. I am just saddened that you even feel the need to see such a thing.”

              I would say I’m more saddened by the unprecedented sheer magnitude of the horrors that have taken place when people have corporately felt the need to *not* see such a thing. That is why my main concern in posting here is not in believing I’m going to convert anyone in this manner, but just in placing an answer here that will testify against the cartoonish demonization going on. I consider the Bible-bashing, while conspicuously ignoring any Jewish voice on it, to be an ominous thing.

              ***** And slavery? Different definition than we commonly understand it now. As a person working to pay off a debt, Biblically I am a slave, and it is highly likely you are too. I am grateful that the Biblical ideals about these things have finally filtered into society toward their natural conclusion to the extent that despite my debt, I can live so much like one who is free******

              “Wow, I wonder who you work for. Last I checked my boss wasn’t allowed to beat me, rape me or sell me (also, I’ve no debts to pay, thankyouverymuch. I earn a salary, unlike the slaves in the past). You seem to think it was all about debt, and that was a way to get into slavery, but it wasn’t the only way; conquest was another. Even the Bible says so: slave-owner, care for his slaves. If slaves were “free people”, he wouldn’t need to say such a thing. He wouldn’t need to tell the slave to obey his master if it was just a work-relationship. Hell, the word ’slave’ wouldn’t even be needed.”

              Well, “slave” is an English word that has relatively recently acquired its most rigid adherence to certain connotations. The Hebrew word is “eved”, which means servant, and was used at various times to describe almost every type of person including government officials. And it’s not the boss that’s the one to worry about, it’s the creditor. Good for you on having no debts to pay. Anyhow, the allowances in the books of Moses, again, were by the language indicated to be for that specific time and place because of what was going on at the time, as has been rabbinically explained for millennia, and made more explicitly well-known by the words of Christ. The New Testament writings were not promoting slavery of that type at all, but were in fact paving the way for it to be done away with. Especially if you put them together with the books of Moses, which said not only to set free your Hebrew debtors after 6 years, but don’t stand by and let them get in debt in the first place, but help them, and then Christ made official the already-implied extension of this brotherhood to all nations. The taking of a slave as wife was so circumscribed that it really could not be done against her will, and it explicitly says that she becomes a full wife in every respect. When aberrations away from that were practiced, they were sin and commented upon as such. These were things that again, both ancient Jewish and Christian sources agree were written to people so immersed in a culture around them that practiced these things that to explicitly forbid it would have just shut their ears to it entirely, like it says they were “added because of transgressions”. So the way it was worded was a way of explaining why not to do it. This is how it has been rabbinically explained since long, long before it was cool to explain it that way.

              So the explanations of the culture that produced these writings, which have survived intact for centuries upon centuries, which explain the structure of the writings in a way that didn’t support people lording it over others, and therefore were ignored because so many people *like* to lord it over others, were “rationalizing the irrationality”? Seems to me it was the opposite; the rest of the world was “irrationalizing the rationality” for their own purposes, and people got in the habit of overlooking the obvious. Now, people are still taking the bait, this time by getting mad at the writers, just as the distorters would have them do to *still* support their purposes…different game/strategy, same goal.

  • atheistlove

    jeff, when did i say i felt attacked? i think you do the way you keep ignoring what people say,GROW UP. plus you never said you werent going to talk anymore,,, stop trying to make yourself look good, you are making yourself look like more of a idiot.
    and no, you aren’t intelligent, JUST DEMEANING AND ILLOGICAL.
    you may say sorry to try and mask what you are portraying, but it dosnt work.

    GROW UP you argue like a child (and i wont say SORRY, because like you, i am not sorry)
    i am sick of your style, AND i take things the way they are written, if someone im talking to says
    “and the man shall rule over the woman” WELL thats what he said!”
    if someone you love says they murdered someone to you you cannot run around saying that they
    only punched them. ITS NOT WHAT WAS SAID!!!
    if you go around morphing what is said all the time, you can forge any illogical line of thought you want. even tho it says one thing, you take a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT MEANING?
    oh yea.. its the meaning that modern MAN,not god, has contorted it into.
    BLUE MEANS BLUE! NOT PINK!!!!!
    my english is much more comprehensive than yours. your attack on my english is disrespectful and not grounded with any substance.
    P.S i will ask AGAIN, did you read up on PARANTHROPUS??
    obviously not.
    I HAVE NEVER SAID THERE IS NO GOD, i just state there is no evidence of him, exept one book, so i refuse to follow, just incase i OFFEND him (if he IS there)
    if it IS thor or any of the older,ORIGINAL gods, HE DEFINATELY WONT LIKE YOU!!!

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      On May 11, 2009 at 5:59 a.m., I responded to your post re: paranthropus. As far as I know, that was the first time you asked me about it. My response was contained in the last paragraph of my reply post. I too take people at their word, especially God. I cannot imagine where you get the idea that I do not, and since, for whatever reason, you and I have a huge communication problem, I have chosen to discontinue my end of the conversation with you. I’ll still be around dialoguing with others if you care to audit.

      You will be wasting your own time if you continue to badger me with poorly framed, weak and illogical arguments. You’ll also be wasting your time if you change your tactic and pose questions the way the rest of the people here do, as I will no longer respond to your posts. I am not angry, but I need to make better use of my time. You’ve done nothing wrong and I accept all of the blame for our communication gap.

      Regarding when I said I wasn’t going to respond to you anymore, here is the quote from my post on May 11, 2009 at 11:51 a.m.

      First a response to atheist love (his/her last) then a response to Siberia:

      then after several paragraphs I closed the portion to you with the following:

      I’m finished trying to have an adult conversation with you. Sorry.

      Now I really am done. I’m praying (literally) that I’m big enough not to be further antagonized by you.

  • atheistlove

    and yes, you did say that what i quoted WAS NOT hosea 14:1
    “I’m also not sure where your second passage comes from. It doesn’t appear to be Hosea 14:1. While I’m not inclined to enter a fruitless point by point discussion of each passage you misunderstand, I will entertain explaining that one if you can provide the appropriate reference.”

    please, you have made yourself look stupid enough, time to stop.
    and yes, i wanted you to read up on the evoloution of man, THAT is HARD evidence that we are monkeys, AND that if you follow all that science says, WOW you are the ONLY christian i know who does!!!

    • Elizabeth

      Uh, AtheistLove, we are not monkeys. Our closest relatives are not monkeys. Our ancestors are not monkeys. I’m an evolutionary biologist; our close relatives are apes, and our ancestors are related to monkeys but split from them many millions of years ago. I’ve enjoyed going after Jeff’s illogical, fk’d up arguments, but don’t screw up people’s minds by pulling biology into this–if you’re not going to use authentic biology. You sound like a kid who just knows that evolution is part of the argument but has no idea what part–it only serves to give people who try to discredit evolution as a part of their pro-Xianity, anti-atheism ammunition.

      And Jeff didn’t even bring up evolution. I know many religious people who believe in evolution, and it IS entirely possible to reconcile evolution with religious belief–depending on what you hang your religious belief on. Those who hang their belief entirely on the Hebrew Biblios and its creation mythology, determining to interpret it literally, are screwed when evolution comes along. But there is no requirement for a godd-believing person to also disbelieve science–in fact, if those two truly ARE opposed, then the issue is resolvable, one of us is right and one of us is wrong, and we can hash it out in our lifetimes. Because godd is an intangible, unprovable idea, science can’t touch it. Is there a Mystical Teapot? Sift the stars.

      Is the Hebrew creation mythology true? Now THAT is a question science can answer–no, it is not, humins have origins discoverable in the fossil record and the history of Earth is proven to be a long one by the same technology that X-rays people’s teeth at the dentist. But Jeff doesn’t hang his entire faith on that question, nor do many people who are rational in all ways except their attachment to Xianity.

      By the way, Jeff: “You’ve done nothing wrong and I accept all of the blame for our communication gap” is such a martyr statement that it perfectly illustrates the brainwashed insincerity adopted by Xians. Putting yourself above and better-than your opponent through false long-suffering, telling yourself that that’s what Jesus would do, patting yourself on the back in the back of your mind where you think no one can see you do it, because you’ve got yourself so tied up in mental knots that even you can’t see it.

      • NorCal

        (Responding to Elizabeth’s assertion that you can’t reconcile the Bible with the current narrative of science). Actually, Elizabeth, not only is it possible, but it was shown to be possible long before Darwin, between the 15th and 16th centuries, by Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman. Even earlier, in the 1st century, the rabbi Gamaliel said that since it is patently obvious that a “day” in the Creation week has some different attributes to the current day, since some of those “days” occurred before there was a sun to mark them out (on the 4th “day”), time was not reckoned the same way. He gave a figure for the age of the universe–between 15 and 16 billion years–that is almost exactly that proposed by modern cosmology, and then said he had not even come up with that himself, but was only relating what his grandfather had passed down to him, saying he too had received it passed down.
        Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, being intimately familiar with the language of these scriptures, proposed his additional understanding on the subject–a description which very tightly follows the modern understanding of the initial expansion phase of the universe–based on the fact that some of the Hebrew words had altered spellings, or altered manners of writing letters in them taking into account numeric values etc., which were carefully preserved and passed down in the lineages of scrolls–for instance, where it says “waters” in the Creation account, a letter is altered, and RamBan explains that these were not waters as we know them, but a similar substance that was the material from which everything else was formed. We now understand that this was hydrogen, which is the principle component of water, and that after expansion, it existed in a water-like form before coalescing into galaxies, stars, planets etc.

        Furthermore, you have probably heard that in the theory of relativity, if something goes away at the speed of light, and returns at the speed of light, far more time will have elapsed at the “home destination” than will have passed for the traveller. It has been determined that those approx. 15 billion years, if you take into account the observed evidence of the speed of expansion and apply relativity–from the point of the view of the source point of the expansion, that amount of time translates to what we now experience as 6 24-hour periods.

        Now you may say that is not literal interpretation, but relativity is literal, deliberate alteration of usual forms of words to convey something different is also literal. I agree that many people professing to believe the Bible literally are misguided. But my beef with them is not that they are being “too literal”, but rather that they are not being literal enough. The Bible itself repeatedly, literally says that there are things in it that will not be immediately understood correctly on the first reading, and it repeatedly contains explicit cautions in it for people to consider the context, and be ready to discern whether in light of other instructions, it is right to follow an instruction as if it were isolated. As it says, “So the Word became to them line after line, precept after precept” (just one rule after another, with no comprehension of how they are modified by one another and give exceptions to one another as an interconnected whole), “so that they would stumble and fall backward”. Again, it is only logical for the instructions from a Creator who seeks freely-given allegiance from the created beings to not be *too* transparent, to actually require an act of will to seek their meaning, because otherwise, as you described further up, it would only result in forced obedience. The Jewish writings make much of the fact that the very middle 2 words, if you count words from the beginning to the end of the Books of Moses, are “d’rosh darash”, which are translated “inquire diligently”, more literally “following to follow”, or recursively following the leads, the paths of interconnection between precepts beginning with first principles, and the dynamics of the situation at hand, to determine what is truly the correct action to take, that may not be what it appears at first glance.

  • Joey

    Why does everyone feel you have to win an argument against Jeff? It does not matter whether or not you convince him; all that matters is how that translates into practical consequences for you. As long as our secular system continues and the popularity of religion continues to decline, convincing Jeff is unnecessary and is a waste of time. Those to convince are those who still have an open mind and who can be convinced through the logic that you all demonstrate. There will always the philosophically entrenched, but they are a minority. Convincing the fence-sitters is the key. The bulk of us know that “God’s Word” is the antiquated sophistry of Bronze Age demagogues. I could care less how sure Jeff is of Biblical authenticity and primacy. The god of the bible is a bit like an irascible, alcoholic father. And I would dare challenge that god to create a moral system better than that anyone of us could. The system of ethics most atheists follow is more in line with current American legal doctrine than any pronouncements contained the bible. Most things in the Bible are currently illegal.

    God sure doesn’t know how to be humane. So, even if the Bible were true, I still defy the god who wrote it. There are children wiser than yahweh, allah, or whatever supernatural security blanket the religious prefer.

    • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

      Joey,

      That’s all very revealing. Bill Murray said of his mother Madelyn Murray O’Hare, “Mom says she doesn’t believe in God, but she does, . . .she just hates Him.”

      In any event, Even I agree that winning or losing an argument with me should not be anyone’s concern. However, if I’m right about God, winning or losing the cosmic argument is absolutely paramount. I may be involved in the most wonderful, peace-filled self-delusion possibly imaginable, and if so I should just be peacefully left to my delusion. That would, after all, be the most humane way to treat me, under the circumstances. But I may actually know God. And that’s one reason honest atheists and agnostics continue to engage me. . .on the off chance that they’ve missed that vital piece of convincing proof.

      I’ve been blessed to see many atheists turn to faith in Christ over the past thirty years, so it’s certainly possible. I’ve also seen it go the other way. I know that, on a world-wide basis, Christianity is certainly enjoying a dramatic growth spirt right now, but honestly true believers don’t care if we’re “the last one on earth.” Once someone knows Him the arguments just stop resounding with any “sticking” power, or force. A person with an experience is never at the mercy of someone with an argument.

      So yes, as I’ve admitted, in regards to atheism, it’s too late for me. You’re as likely to convince me I am like John Forbes Nash, the mathematician portrayed by Russel Crow in “A Beautiful Mind,” and that my own wife is a mental delusion and not a part of the real world. Whether you see her, feel her, receive love from her, or think she’s a useless and outdated construct, I love her and I always will (thirty years and counting). I’ve known and loved God even longer, and knowing Him just keeps getting sweeter.

      • Francesc

        “I’ve been blessed to see many atheists turn to faith in Christ over the past thirty years”
        They weren’t true atheists
        (hey, don’t blame me, it works for believers)

        “A person with an experience is never at the mercy of someone with an argument”
        Agree, that’s why we built madhouses

        “. . .on the off chance that they’ve missed that vital piece of convincing proof.”
        Yes. I want to know if I’ve missed something. I have my mind “open” just in case, but let’s accept that it is very improbable for me to find that on a blog.
        I also agree with you that we can let you live in your delusion peacefully. As we have done. We didn’t wrote in a church’s blog to convince you. I don’t have any problem with religious people who don’t try to push their beliefs on me – here I’m not referring to you, we can always argue about anything. I’m speaking about political parties and pression groups.

        “However, if I’m right about God, winning or losing the cosmic argument is absolutely paramount.”
        You know, even if atheists are wrong, there is an awfull lot of possibilities out there that don’t make you right. You have basically the same arguments for your God than jewish, muslims or mormons.

        • Siberia

          Or worse, what if the Vikings or the Greeks or Hindus are right? Granted, their gods tend to be less vicious to mortals than the monotheistic gods (don’t know much about Hinduism, though), but…
          Or maybe the Buddhists got it right and we’re all safe. Whee!

        • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

          I’m very much aware of your thinking on this, which is why I carefully worded my response to say, “If I am right,” not, “If atheists are wrong.” They are indeed two different things. Of the three groups you mentioned, only mormons would have the same arguments for their god that Christians have. We can point to a man who was given an address, by prophecy, in history, who then lived up to His name, calling, and prophesied expectations and further calculate the mathematical odds that someone could have fulfilled those criteria randomly. The person and work of Jesus is one of many dynamic evidences (not proofs) for the existence of God.

      • Elizabeth

        If I come to your house, I’ll meet your wife. I won’t meet godd. I could shake your wife’s hand. Godd won’t be shaking mine even if I leave it hanging. No one is accusing you of imagining your wife. (Well, except for you.) I doubt you or your wife ever have to pick up godd’s socks that it left on the floor, or wash its dishes–if you do, let me know, we’ll get over there with a camcorder and get some of the first-ever proof of godd.

    • Elizabeth

      The argument against Jeff thing has come about because I’m enjoying being infantile. It’s like picking at a scab. And unlike his “I love everyone” crap, I’ll admit it. It’s getting kind of old, though. Today I started asking for some definitions of “proof” and perhaps even a dose of what he things constitutes that proof … since he’s getting so repetitious. It was fun at the start. But you know Xians–there are some of them where you reach a point that it’s not fun poking them with sticks anymore, since they just keep making the same glurping noises, and then I get bored and walk off.

      So, fence-sitters, I’m NOT the poster-child of rationality. Don’t let my personal amusement sway your opinion, though I hope some of my previous points (back toward the start of May) were worthwhile parts of the conversation.

  • atheistlove

    one last thing ,you take god word letter by letter, you have made that clear, but you have also said that your context of the words differs extremely from the original text… WHICH WAY IS IT?
    p.s SE DIA SCOMPARIRE ,VITA VOLONTA ESSERE TRANQUILLO.
    VOSTRO MALEDUCATO IMBECILLITA….. COSI TRISTE….
    YOU FINISHED TRYING TO HAVE A ADULT CONVERSATION? yea, least you tryed to be more adult-like. least i never varied, changed context of what i was saying or back-tracked the way you have. BUT TALKING ABOUT SUCH A SUBJECT, such as the tooth fairy ,bhudda, jesus, thor, santa, ganesh, astrology, numeroligy, scientology(not science, different thing all together), the great sun dragon, shaktisim, theravada, sunni, taoisim…. lol so many gods!!!!!! that is only like 1 percent of the different views on spirituality. GET IT? GOT IT? doubt it!!
    see you, im going to a blog that is actualy talking about logical discussions.

  • atheistlove

    joey, so true, ive given up anyway. thank you for the grounding!
    peace out to all logical, peace loving non-believers!!

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  • Warren

    The author has one good point. The term “Biblical Marriage” is open to the question that the author raises.

    A Christian, using the term “Biblical Marriage”, would probably mean, “Christian Marriage”, that is, marriage, as instituted by Christ himself, evidenced not only in the Bible in the teaching of the New Testament but also in two thousand years of history.

    But if it’s convenient to ignore or misrepresent what people mean, and pull an arbitrary meaning out of a hat (biblical christianity, as used by most people, means New Testament Biblical Christinaity) but hey, they left themselves open by not saying “new testament”, right, so go right ahead, and ignore, and misrepresent what people believe, so you can make fun of them.

    That’s what sceptics do, right? Truth is not the stock in trade. It’s laughs.

    If you prize honesty, and truth, then you realize that cheap shots only lower other people’s opinions of how careful you are, for a supposed sceptic, the answer is “not very”.

    Warren

    • Siberia

      Surely.

      Except when it’s convenient. Then suddenly Biblical encompasses the Old Testament as well, including things like the flood, creation stories, abominations great and small, etc..

      Must be fun, playing Biblical hopscotch.

      • Tomc

        Hypocrisy is what you’re doing. It is very clear in Christianity how stuff works : old testament = historical tale, a correct and accurate historical tale, even if the authors indulge in a bit of symbolism, but an accurate historical tale. New testament = what God told us, in person.

        Of course a view like this requires a balanced opinion, not something most of these “sceptics” and atheists care for. Christianity is evil. Atheism is good, and that the largest ever group of atheists killed a billion people in less than 100 years ? That has NOTHING to do with ideology ! That Christians, on 3 occasions in 2000 years of history, did questionable actions (by today’s laws’ standards) that MIGHT have resulted in a few thousand innocent deaths ? Clearly the fault of the ideology. Of course no reasonable man would accept this, but that is exactly why atheists spend so much time screaming about their rationality : because they have a little shortage of it to compensate for.

        This post is also hypocrisy. As the parent says, there is no doubt about what biblical marriage means : an oath, before the Lord Jesus Christ, of loyalty onto death between a man and a woman, because such a relationship is the perfect environment to have and raise children. Because such a relationship is what God wants. That is what God prescribes.

        But hey, this is america, if you truly are so stupid to think random sex, parentless children, violence due to jealousy (and other excuses like “allah orders it”), and general refusal to live in the real world will get you anywhere, exactly who is stopping you ?

        But people aren’t content until random sex, living without consequences, until their idiocy works, until random sex, giving themselves to their feelings and drugs get them the “respect they deserve”. Until it stops killing them they will not settle for anything. And it will never work. Hating God because of reality being real, because of the truth is the definition of atheism. It is not, like Christianity, an attempt to improve the lives of people, but an attempt to worsen their lives enormously, almost an attempt to kill them.

        • Jabster

          Yeah thanks for that well thought out post I needed a chuckle on Sunday …

          The OT is an accurate historical tale — are you sure about this seems to me much of it is widely inaccurate.

          Christianinty has only caused a few thousand deaths but that’s ok as they had a different culture — well besides disputing the figure it’s a really good way of brushing it under the carpet and here’s me thinking that Christian morality comes from god?

          Marriage with an oath to JC is a perfect enviroment, well looks like my marriage must be full of random sex acts then doesn’t it?

          This is america — no this is a blog and as far as I know Daniel F doesn’t restrict it just to Americans.

          non-Biblical marriage leads to drugs — well that a new one on me. Care to post exactly how this works?

          p.s. You’re not a friend of dwade are you?

        • claidheamh mor

          Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

          Jabster, I think he’s dwade pretending to be someone else. Same kind of idiocy, loaded connotative language, over-the-top hyperbole, simplistic beliefs, name-calling, spending a lot of time and energy defending his beliefs he pretends are so secure, and a lot of time and energy attacking people who don’t share his mythology.

          • trj

            Nah, there’s a whole bunch of people that have amazingly similar viewpoints concerning the inerrancy of the Bible; selective reading of religious texts; intolerance towards other religions or atheism; thinking USA is the whole world (except for those Muslim terrorists that hate American freedom); failing to realize atheists don’t hate a non-existing god; etc etc. And I’m willing to bet they also have the same views on abortion, stem cells, gays, politics, taxes, healthcare, and a lot of other things.

            • http://ChurchBeneSol.com Jeff

              And that, “a whole bunch of people that have amazingly similar viewpoints concerning the inerrancy of the Bible,” etc. would be wholly appropriate if their views were correct too.

              It seems to be fine when people walk in lock step to a tune we play, but wrong if people do so when we disagree with them. This is inconsistent at best. The problem, as I see it, is that in your opinion there really is no meta-physical truth, so how dare anyone claim to have a corner on it?

              That argument is meaningless if there is such truth, as competing and opposing truth claims, of necessity, are therefore false. If we do not agree with truth we are in error, by definition.

            • trj

              I wasn’t making a claim as to the actual veracity of the Bible or other spiritual matters. What I was attempting to say is that there are a lot of ill-informed, xenophobic, homophobic, conservative people who happen to back up their unpleasant views with a literal, selective interpretation of their Bible.

        • claidheamh mor

          Was Tomc getting too apoplectic to catch the video on bible-based marriage?

          Most apropos!

  • NorCal

    HOLD ON A MINUTE HERE … sorry, I’m not usually an all-caps person, but the glaring omissions in this whole discussion seem to warrant a little attention-getter–the omissions in questions being, namely:

    1) This post is not expressly, but is very transparently primarily addressed to Christians, yet completely ignores the Christian view of the Bible, which promotes that the advent of the Messiah and the resulting New Testament made a major change in how people were admonished to relate to one another, including in marriage, and that one of these changes was the elevation of committed lifetime marriage to one wife.

    2) Even more speciously, it also completely ignores the most ancient commentaries on these writings by the very same group of people who *produced* them–the Jewish people. In those most ancient commentaries you will find that there was a vast difference–especially in marriage–between what was *allowed* and what was *encouraged*, for example:

    a) The commandment that *allowed* marrying a captive required first a “cooling off” period before the decision was made, and the commandments immediately following, concerning the “unloved wife” and the “rebellious son” are considered warnings that if one takes advantage of this allowance, these are likely to be the inevitable result. Furthermore, it is commented that the only reason the allowance was made was that the thought of an allowable avenue of obtaining a woman that one desired in the heat and adrenalin surrounding battle conditions, would help to prevent the soldier from taking the immediate action that we see so commonly even to this day–raping and pillaging. Remember, that the same Scriptures record an event where people were heavily influenced by another type of passion of the moment, impulsively craving meat, complaining that the manna from heaven was not enough– and they were told that they would be *allowed* to have meat. When said meat was miraculously provided, it says that the ones who had incited and cultivated this craving “died with the meat between their teeth, before it was chewed.” The point is, when something is Biblically *allowed*, but not encouraged, it is to be understood as something very dangerous to be avoided.

    b) the Bible expressly forbids polygyny for the king, presumably because he is to be as ideal an example for the people as possible. Furthermore, every time instances of polygyny are mentioned, their adverse consequences are clearly laid out in the story. Consequently, plural marriages have been rabbinically prohibited for not just centuries, but millennia.

    c) the commandment in Deut. 22 was talking about both rape and consensual, premarital sex. The ancient Jewish commentaries all say that while marriages were arranged with considerable input by the parents, and prospective partners could be *denied*, parents could *never* make their daughter marry anyone–specifically, the daughter has to be able to say, “I want that one”. In the case of Deut. 22, the passage explicitly states that marriage was not required on the daughter’s part. It says there that if her father was unwilling to give the daughter in marriage, which by extension that unwillingness includes unwillingness on the part of the daughter (since none of this can be done without her consent), then the perpetrator of the rape or illicit seduction must pay a penalty to the family. The requirement to either marry or pay is placed on the perpetrator, but the woman may refuse the marriage.

    d) Even levirate marriage was a special circumstance dependent on inheritance of land. Since the destruction of the Temple *in Biblical times* and the dispersion, the impossibility of reliably matching land inheritances to families induced a rabbinic prohibition on yebamah or levirate marriage, as well.

    e) “Slavery”, which also was far different from the forms of slavery we know, was again dependent on Temple-economy-based land inheritance. So it and all its institutions including slave marriage have been considered nonfunctional since Biblical times.

    Finally, in both Christianity and Judaism, the whole process including the destruction of the Temple and exile has been viewed as a process of refinement, a dialogue between a Creator and a people who have been in process of bringing awareness of the existence and the character of that Creator back into the world after their being hidden through humanity’s original mistake of equating freedom and happiness with ignorance of a Creator and absence of the authority over them such a Creator would have.
    So people were taught to begin to reconnect through things that they understood, namely physical strength, ownership of property, and sexual relations, and the rules surrounding those were always to be understood as teachings that were meant to reveal the inadequacy of these things in themselves to make life truly satisfying and fulfilling.

    So the process by which the more primitive practices, which had to be addressed because they were commonplace in the ancient world, fell away and out of practice along with the Temple and the Land, explicitly because people in their human nature could not seem to stop abusing all the allowances in spite of the warnings, is seen by both Jewish and Christian traditions as a progressive revelation of the true will of the Creator, finally being narrowed down by both to the committed, monogamous marriage, as it was in the beginning.

    Time for caps again: NOW, YOU MAY DISAGREE WITH THE BIBLICAL VIEW AS OUTLINED HERE, BUT YOU WILL NOT GET ANYWHERE BY SAYING THAT THE REST OF THE “8 FORMS OF MARRIAGE” HAVE ANYWHERE NEAR EQUAL STATUS WITH COMMITTED, MONOGAMOUS MARRIAGE ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE, BECAUSE THAT IS BASED IN EITHER COMPLETE IGNORANCE OR DELIBERATE DECEPTION.
    That’s all I’m saying, is if you just want to preach to the choir, keep up the same tactics of assuming that the subject matter isn’t worthy of close examination. But anyone who has actually spent time reading the Bible, especially with any awareness of the interpretations of the people who wrote and preserved it, will be able to easily tell that you are misrepresenting it through either ignorance or dishonesty, and so this will not change any of their minds.

    • Jabster

      I think you’ve just proved the whole point of the post which is the definition of Biblical marriage is down to interpretation and why is the current interpretation any more correct than any other? If the Bible is the word of god then he sure is bad at expressing what he meant.

  • NorCal

    Again, I point you to the fact that these are the earliest interpretations, done by the ancient people intimately familiar with the original language of the text and most able to accurately tell us what it is saying. They made these interpretations not at a time when “political correctness” demanded it, because at that time, all of the worst possible interpretations of it would have been perfectly well acceptable to the world around them.

    • Jabster

      So the current interpretation is no better than the original interpretation then — I would have thought that an all powerfully entity would have made a better job of it than having to leave later generations of his creation to work out what he really meant?

      The conclusion is that there is no such thing as Biblical marriage but only that which the current culture determines as Biblical marriage. I believe this is normally referred to as cherry picking.

    • vorjack

      The target of this piece was the argument from tradition trotted out by Rick Warren et. al. “Marriage hasn’t changed in 5,000 years,” etc. If you are not making that argument, then this article is not aimed at you.

      Oh, and remember: the CapsLock key is not your friend. It secretly wants to make you look foolish on the internet. Late at night, it conspires with the function keys to overthrow the entire keyboard.

      • Siberia

        Lmao. XD

  • NorCal

    Thank you for the clarification, vorjack. It would have been helpful to see Rick Warren’s work referenced in your original post. Nice one on the CapsLock.

    Jabster, I’m sorry I continue to fail to convey the point, and I apologize for the somewhat inflammatory tone I initially took under the mistaken impression that the punch might draw enough attention for people to listen to the logic, when in fact it is still, as always, just counterproductive. I admit I have a lot to learn about explaining my understanding of something in a way that other people can understand without it getting lost in all the words. I think I will leave all the words there to provide the details of how I worked up the way to explain this though, (all of this is all about communication, after all, isn’t it?), but I think by the end I’ll be able to put there a summary that will convey the main point succinctly.

    Anyway, here’s the thing: In order that the creatures may have freedom to accept or reject their Creator (otherwise what would the point of creatures be?), the Biblical narrative describes humanity at first in close contact with that Creator, finding themselves also in the ideal most intimate relationship between themselves, designed to live in equality but at the same time act as a sketch, a tangible symbolic portrayal of the Creator’s relationship to them, to help them understand the nature of that love. They are, however, presented with the option of calling all of it into question, of believing, if they so desired, that they were not actually created, but were free agents in all senses including having no-one to answer to except themselves. As the narrative continues, the consequence is that the Creator becomes more obscured to them, as was essentially their wish put into action, and people become even more “free” to believe whatever they want. Their own choices, which the Creator allows, continue to draw them further and further afield into such mayhem, which becomes so ingrained, that for most of them existence is no longer tenable, and the Creator narrows it back down to the last few left who are still open to looking for truth beyond themselves.
    The Creator then continues to intervene, but only in response to individual human beings having that same openness to revealed truth, without automatic rejection out of hand of anything smacking of an ultimate authority over the entire universe, the willingness to believe that such an authority only seems distant because of our choices, and that the true desire and motivation of that Creator, if the human creatures are willing to use the freedom given to them to choose to let it be revealed to them that the true desire of the Creator has actually lived within them all along, is for that sweet, freely given agreement of consciousness from different perspectives that they call love, that supercedes all of the apparent harshnesses of life and of death in this temporary, secluded existence that they have corporately chosen through everyone’s cumulative acts of unwarranted hesitations to believe, specifically those hesitations that are rooted not in verifiable fact but in the desire, however subtle or however overt, for the supremacy of self.
    Everything that follows–all the divine interventions interacting with human foibles, the laws, symbols, punishments, rewards, things that often seem peculiar–are the result of the Creator continually dialoguing with humanity while carefully preserving their ability to choose what they want to believe in, and ensuring that their choices reveal what kind of motivation is behind them. Peculiarities inevitably result because of the pecularities of human invention in the surrounding environment to which they are a response–yet another way of using tangible symbols understandable to the people at the time, out of the raw material of matter itself that inherently reveals attributes of the Creation of which it is a part, answering the symbolism of how people commonly choose to manipulate that matter for their own pleasure with a symbolism that more accurately points, in parable form, to the intangibles, to a more deeply satisfying purpose to it all.

    So (here’s the summary I promised), what I’m saying is that these Scriptures do present a coherent arc beginning with a portrayal of what is represented as a simplicity of joyful life and relationship, but then doubt fueled by self-conscious focus fragments it, leaving the rest of the narrative to become a gradual re-assembly of all those fragments in all of their complexities back into the wholeness of that original simplicity, and in so doing gaining an appreciation of its underlying ingenuity that had not yet been achieved. This is typified in how marriage was first of only one type, but commandments that came later showed the way to navigate the intricate tangle of relationships that had developed out of all kinds of alienation, in order to pave the way back to that original one type, that simplicity.
    The correct interpretation never changed, as the quote goes, “As it was in the beginning, so it shall be in the end.” To say that it did change would be like saying that different sides of a mountain are actually different mountains because they look different. Both the ancient Jewish and the early Christian interpretations of these allowances in the instructions of that portion of the Bible are as things that were “added because of transgression, until the time of reformation would come”.
    The desire and purpose of the all-powerful entity, the Creator, was purposely made not so explicit as to force human will to bend to it, and therefore truly make it into the slavish relationship that so many choose to see it as, but was made to respond to the human act of will to reach out and look for it in a manner not rooted in suspicion, not in automatic distrust. And this trust was not left without verification, because two different perspectives on it–perspectives that were usually at odds with each other, original Christianity and Judaism–both independently reached the same conclusion, both in times that were actually hostile, not favorable, to reaching that conclusion.

    So to address the original subject, I think I’m just trying to say that I still find it very disingenuous for people to represent all “8 kinds of marriage” that are mentioned as allowable under certain circumstances at a certain time in history, as “Biblical Marriage” with the strong connotation that they are or are equivalent to the main type of marriage that the Bible wants to promote–the type that is at the beginning and at the end, as both easily proven by looking at the whole text, and is also promoted to the extent of prohibiting the other forms, based on Biblical proofs that their limitations had been *Biblically* reached, by both of the most ancient sources of commentary on it, in the face of much social pressure to the contrary at those times (what could have been influencing them both independently, if not either those social pressures or the Bible itself?

  • Dontlikeyou

    Wow, what a complex attempt to further distort the traditional meaning of marriage to be between one man and one woman. The truth is, NO culture in history has ever made marriage anything but between a man and a woman. Ours would be the first. Doing so will destroy our culture within one century. Homosexuals are an abomination. Repent.

    • Siberia

      ORLY?
      I suppose China, Africa and (pre-European-driven massacre, therefore Native) America don’t exist, after all.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      Also… “it’s always been done that way” is not a good reason to continue doing it that way.

      • Siberia

        Also, I don’t see anything wrong with destroying a culture of bigotry and hypocrisy. Bring it on, the world will be better off for it.

  • Amonite

    Pologyny was not prohibited for Israelite kings, the exact scripture says something to the effect that a king shall not ‘multiply wives unto himself’ (multiply, not add – the Hebrew words are used differently in the Bible for a man adding a new wife, and increasing/multiplying numbers greatly) IE David had several wives, including Abigail – Nathan never got after him for adding a new wife – until he sinned by taking -another- man’s wife and set up the man’s death. God (through Nathan) tells him He would have given him more wives had he needed, so why had he commited such a sin by taking Bathsheba? Conversly, Solomon multiplied wives unto himself, clearly breaking the rules – having 1000 wives/concubines.
    II Chronicles 24:2-3
    2 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of Yahweh all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
    3 And Jehoiada took for him(Joash) two wives; and he begat sons and daughters.

    Nowhere in the New Testament (contrary to popular belief) does it say polygyny is wrong or disfavored. (There is a passage that either says elders should have only one wife, or remain married to their first wife, so their might be something for elders, but otherwise) Indeed, the most popular verse supporting (each wife should have her own husband, each husband her own wife) supports pologyny, not monogomy, as the word for ‘own’ is different for male/female – indicating that a man should have his own wife whom ‘no one else can share ownership in’ but a woman should have her own husband that ‘others might share ownership in’ (in the sense of ‘my own language, my own city -vs. ‘my own life’ or ‘my own name’)

    The legal structure of Israel, which was a country often at war with other nations, was very different from say, America. On the one hand, Israel had a vested interest in remaining separate culturally from other nations – on the other it also had a vested interest in growing. Foreign slaves were always prisoners of war, and israelite slaves were a sort of bondservant – people who had sold themselves into slavery to pay debts or otherwise, with their own sets of rights, and who were to be set free even if not redeemed out of slavery on the years of jubilee.

    But it is true it’s silly when people speak of ‘Biblical marraige’ yet have defined that without referring to the majority of actual Biblical marraiges. Looking even at Adam and Eve’s -while it is true it was a monogamous marraige between husband and wife, it was also an arranged marriage (by the ‘father’ of Adam to, in some sense) – does this mean all marraiges -must- be arranged?

    There are also some passages on divorce which do refer back to Adam and Even, but in context, they all point out that a man cannot divorce his wife for just any reason (which would include reasons like to marry a new girl)

    Although there are some points of marriage the Bible is very clear on, like the order of the home, or how the marriage reflects Christ and the church.

    • NorCal

      Sounds very reasonable, Amonite. However, I again point you to the Jewish understanding of the Biblical ideal of marriage which has existed at least as long as our earliest copies of these scriptures. It’s amazing how people are willing to parse words on their own, but not listen to the understanding of the people who were *writing these words down, in their ancestral language*.
      Yes Jehoiada did what was right, for the understanding and in the very different circumstances that existed at the time. But ancient Jewish and Christian interpretations agree that it was the Creator’s will to *change* those circumstances, to bring them closer to how things originally were. That is why Christ talked about Moses *allowing* divorce for just a greater variety of reasons, but “from the *beginning* it was not so”.
      Yes all marriages should ideally be arranged in as similar a manner to the arrangement of that of Adam & Eve as possible–arranged by our Creator, a “match made in Heaven,” that is.

  • Pan

    5.A male soldier and a female prisoner of war
    Women could be taken as booty from a successful campaign and forced to become wives or concubines. Deuteronomy 21:11-14 describes the process.

    6.A male rapist and his victim
    Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes how an unmarried woman who had been raped must marry her attacker.

    ~ Repellent ethics. Absolutely abhorrent. If people can look at the bible and by today’s standards judge it good I can by modern standards judge it bad. Imagine living imprisoned with the man who butchered your family knowing you’re his property, and in one month, he can legally rape you. Or getting raped every day by the man who paid Daddy a fine and you can never escape him. Women really were just an animal, a possession like the 10 Commandments say, don’t covet your neighbor’s ox, goat or wife. That’s her happy marriage! The faithful wonder why we leave? Reading any middle eastern holy book defines aversion therapy.

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  • Bob

    This subject has been covered by a number of thinkers, philosophers, and scholars for hundreds of years. There are many literatures and studies.

    But who cares, huh? Most of you just want to vent your hatred.

    Head over to http://mandm.org.nz if you want to know the other side of the story

    • VorJack

      I don’t suppose you’d be so good as to link to the actual post where you discuss the issue? I really don’t see how Mr. King’s discussion of Israel relates to the topic at hand.

      • Jabster

        Come, come now VorJack … you now how it works you just have to say that something is true not actually provide evidence that something is true. The problem with providing evidence is that someone may actually disagree with it.

        • Francesc

          The problem with providing evidence is that facts have a liberal and atheistic bias
          :-)

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  • Mark Copley

    Thanks for compiling this list and I agree with your premise – that the biblical examples of marriage are many and varied, but not your conclusion-that they are all therefore equally valued. The Bible’s revelation of God is progressive. It culminates in the revelation of Christ. Jesus’ method of teaching was different than the other rabbis of his time precisely because he taught, “You have heard that it was said…., But I SAY TO YOU…” (Matt. 5:21-48)
    When asked about marriage (and divorce) by the religious teachers of his day, Jesus pointed back to creation as God’s intention. “…from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” (Matt. 19:4-6)
    Christians understand that Christ has authority to interpret the scriptures and to reveal God’s will for us to follow. The “one man/one woman” view of marriage should not be referred to as the “biblical view” but rather “the Christian view” or “Christ’s teaching” on marriage.

  • http://www.granbychurchofChrist.org David Hersey

    All of those from the old testament have been abolished and are no longer in effect (Ephesians 2:15). Jesus returned the marriage law to the standard of what it was before the law of Moses came into effect in Matthew 19:4-9. There is only one Biblical marriage law in effect for today. And that is one wife, one husband for life. The only deal breaker is for infidelity.

    • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ AVlCENNA

      So by your logic, hindus are not married since they don’t follow an abrahamic god?

    • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

      That might be what YOUR religious version of marriage is, but YOU DO NOT GET TO DEFINE WHAT MARRIAGE IS. Did you read that alright? Can I make it any clearer? Marriage is first and foremost A LEGAL STATUS. I myself am getting married next year. Religion will NOT be involved.

      • Jabster

        Surely not letting Christians define what marriage is amounts to persecution?

        • JohnMWhite

          They’re also allowed to define what hiking the Appalachian trail means.

        • ddblue

          Stop playing the victim, Jabster. No one is telling Christians what they may or may not do. People like you, however, want to restrict my rights as an American based on an outdated sense of morality… just like previous “Christians” did with interracial and interreligious couples. *That* is persecution.

          BTW, even a majority of lay Catholics now support marriage equality:

          http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2011/03/22/survey-catholics/

          So be careful who you lump into your definition of “Christians” opposed to marriage equality. The pool gets smaller every day.

          • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

            ddblue, I suggest you reset your sarcasm filter.

            • ddblue

              Foul on me. I should have checked Jabster’s previous posts. But then again, maybe he’s had a conversion since his last post a year and a half ago. I’m sure a lot of people have been praying for that… and we all know prayer works, right?

          • claidheamh mor

            Sarcasm detector: FAIL!

            Someone who rushed to post before reading here very long, or they’d know jabster.

    • http://theascendancymemoirs.blogspot.com/ wazza

      5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
      5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

      Matthew 5:17-18

  • claidheamh mor

    I did a search for Betty Bowers, and mention of her has been awfully neglected!

    Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian, Explains Bible-based Marriage to Everyone Else

    For all the video junkies, she shows in video the truly Bible-Based Principles that Vorjack summed up in writing.

  • Timmmeeeyyy

    OK, I haven’t read every comment, but has anyone mentioned this gem, the marriage of David and Michal (Michal’s a girl in this case)?

    Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired, 27 David arose and went, lalong with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law.”

    A gift of 200 foreskins to marry your daughter? That’s some hardcore kink.

  • St

    Um…this is all Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament so that we wouldn’t have to. My faith at the moment is suspended in the sure because logically a lot of this does not make sense. However, I guess that’s a part of faith.

    • trj

      How exactly did he fullfil it? I’m curious, since I’ve heard this claim often, but usually the people making it can’t really explain it.

      • Jabster

        … looking forward to the answer here.

  • Jordan

    Whoever wrote this article doesn’t understand the word of God. The Bible is divided into 2 covenants: the old and new testament.
    Before Christ, man was under the law of Moses which is the old covenant. After Christs death and ressurection man is now under the law of Christ.
    As Christians we are to interpret the old testament through the lessee of the new testament. There has been new model and guidelines as to how Christ followers are to model their marriage.
    We are no longer under the old covenant so all of the examples you gave to confuse other people are useless. Repent and trust in Christ my friend. Submit to the law of Christ.

    • trj

      Except that the New Testament says nothing about which model marriage is supposed to follow.

  • isabel gonzalez

    Christians defend what their faith says about marriage because that is their faith. It may not make sense to others, but that is what they believe in. Everyone is allowed to defend what they believe in. It’s atrocious that once another’s opinion varies from their own, it becomes unacceptable. Suddenly they are not allowed to speak out on issues based on what they believe in. If Christians think that marriage is only between a man and woman, let them speak out about it. Stop telling them to stop “meddling” or imposing on others. America is unique in that it allows you to stand up for what you believe in. Everyone should be able to do that, including Christians, no matter how different their stance is from yours.

    • Yoav

      1. You didn’t actually read the post you reply to did you? The whole point is that, despite what christian claim, monogamous, heterosexual marriage is not the bible.
      2. No one say christians can’s say that a heterosexual marriage preformed by a priest of their favorite denomination, which is obviously the only real christianity™, is the most awesome of all marriages, ever in the history of the universe. However, and that’s were we have a problem, when they do try to impose their definition on everybody else they don’t get to whine about being called out on that.

      • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

        Bingo. Christians are perfectly entitled to go about their business thinking only their marriages count. They’re not at all entitled to take away marriage from other people just because they think they’ve figured out the ‘right’ interpretation of what the word is. What is atrocious is Christians and their apologists trying so, so hard to stop gay people getting married. It doesn’t affect you, so stop it, and put your energy into something positive rather than making such an effort to get in people’s way and damage their life. How arrogant do you have to be to get self-righteous and upset about being called a meddler and that your genuine efforts to harm other people by interfering in how they live their lives are not tolerated?

  • msnijin

    1) Polygynous Marriage: Given the proper historical context, women were not independent wage earners and had very little if any means to support themselves unless they lived with their father or married. It would seem then to be better to marry a man who was already married than to not marry at all if you wanted shelter and food. This would also be a moral obligation on behalf of the man, a sort of charity to take care of a woman who had no means to take care of herself. This also applies to 2) Levirate Marriage. In this case the obligation was two fold, to take care of your sister-in-law (not a blood relative) and to provide an heir for the family’s estate. Women were not thought of as heirs because they could marry and benefit from their husband’s estate. If the widow died without having a son then the estate might be lost to whoever claimed it. This is explained well in Ruth. 3) A man, a woman and her property — a female slave: These things were not ordered by God, but were the desires of the wives themselves in an attempt to produce male heirs. The author of these events also shows how the Lord comforted and blessed the servant’s in spite of the jealousy of the wives. These events are biblical in the context of historicity, not the Divine Will of God to be carried out by every generation and should not be represented in that way. 4) A man, one or more wives, and some concubines (Judges 19:1-30): Uh…keep reading to find out what the Israelites did about these obvious perverse acts. Honestly, if you are going to claim something is Biblical, you should clarify whether you are saying it is a historical account of some event or an expression of God’s will. 5) A male soldier and a female prisoner of war (Deuteronomy 21:11-14): Again, this is a command to show mercy and not to mistreat a female captive. 6) A male rapist and his victim
    (Deuteronomy 22:28-29): The command is intended to deter rape in the first place, by committing the rapist to the obligation of taking care of the woman for life. He is never allowed to divorce her and is obligated to provide for her since no one else will want to marry her because he is the one who violated her. While it may seem unfair to the victim today to force her to marry her rapist, that was the best way to ensure that she will be taken care of, AND to prevent it from happening in the first place. 7) A male and female slave: Since no reference was given, I will comment on Exodus 21: 1-11. This passage, along with others concerning servants/slaves shows how they are to be treated and respected, and provided for. It is an obvious gross misrepresentation to compare the master/slave relationship under Jewish law to that of slavery in American history. Not even close. Finally, 8) Monogamous, heterosexual marriage: All prior examples are heterosexual, so the only real difference is that of monogamy. Since no reference is given, I will only say that it is made abundantly clear that we are charged with taking care of each other. In societies where there is no communal assistance to single women, it seems permitted to marry in order to provide for her and bring her honor. In societies where a single woman can provide for herself, it is not necessary. The spirit of the Bible seems to always be to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.

    • Sunny Day

      Thanks for the wall of text you moron.

      “While it may seem unfair to the victim today to force her to marry her rapist, that was the best way to ensure that she will be taken care of, AND to prevent it from happening in the first place”

      How the hell does that follow?
      When you’re married its not rape when your husband forces you?
      When your rapist is now responsible for you, he will somehow treat you better than when he first “met” you?
      Is having a rapist husband a magical talisman that somehow keeps other rapists at bay?

      Gee its just a darn shame that god forgot all those parts about treating women as equals and not property.

      • msnijin

        I hope that we can refrain from name calling to have a discussion. It follows because the rapist would be committing his own livelihood/resources to support his victim. It is a consequence that would be analogous today if we were to allow convicted rapists to earn a living and take a significant portion of those earnings and give them to his victim for the rest of his life. You may disagree with the consequences, but given the time and place in history it was better than letting the woman live on her own without any means of support. It is because men were not treating women equally that the law had to be given, not because God was treating them unequally.

        • Sunny Day

          “I hope that we can refrain from name calling to have a discussion. ”
          1) Wall of text. 2) Your apologizing for rape, Fuck you.

          “It follows because the rapist would be committing his own livelihood/resources to support his victim.”
          Because a rapists have such an honorable reputation they will naturally stick around to support their victim?
          “It is a consequence that would be analogous today if we were to allow convicted rapists to earn a living and take a significant portion of those earnings and give them to his victim for the rest of his life.”
          And they get a free wife out of the deal WOOT! Who cares what the woman thinks, she’s just property to be bought ans sold.
          “You may disagree with the consequences, but given the time and place in history it was better than letting the woman live on her own without any means of support. ”
          Or you know god could have just told everyone that women should be treated equally with the same rights and responsibility as, you know people instead of as things to be bartered with.
          “It is because men were not treating women equally that the law had to be given, not because God was treating them unequally.”
          Nice to see you admit that god is powerless. Men had to make up a law because god wasn’t doing anything. That seems to sum up just about every religion.

          • msnijin

            I most certainly was not apologizing for rape. At the very most all I was doing was trying to put the passage in proper context. Further, God is not powerless but gave us the freedom to disobey Him. That was why the law had to be given. Consider today’s penalty for the same offense. Does it make the victim whole again? No. The victim is still stuck with the memory despite a successful conviction. There is absolutely no way to undo what has already been done. Even with the community support available today it is a huge struggle to overcome the experience and move on with your life. There was no such support when the Israelites were given the law. If you were raped, that was that. If the people found out you were raped, no one would want to marry you, which meant almost certain poverty for a woman. Further, if a woman was witnessed being raped, Israel was instructed to stone the man and save the woman. It is clear when reviewing the entire law given to the Israelites that rape was not permitted and was punishable by death.

            • Sunny Day

              Again, Rapists have such an honorable reputation they will naturally stick around to support their victim?

              Too bad god just didn’t speak up and tell the people to not shun or further victimize women for being raped.

              Funny how your gods powerlessness to change the hearts of men so closely align with the customs and desires of a primitive people.

    • trj

      Marrying your rapist is supposed to be a deterrent to rape? Are you seriously that naïve?

      Also an interesting choice of words from you: “While it may seem unfair to the victim today to force her to marry her rapist…” I see. So you’re saying it doesn’t make sense to follow this commandment today. I wonder which other commandments regarding marriage are no longer relevant.

      • msnijin

        No, marrying your victim is supposed to be a deterrent to rape. Relevance depends on the historical context under which the law was given.

        • Elemenope

          Relevance depends on the historical context under which the law was given.

          Why? I thought this was supposed to be a God giving these laws. Why should He be a respecter of harmful local customs? If God gives laws that change the rules of a society, He certainly could give laws that change the culture of a society. Instead, in the Bible we have this God fellow selling raped women out to “historical context”. Where, exactly, does this impulse to grade God on a curve come from?

          • msnijin

            He is not a respecter of harmful local customs, but a respecter of our own will to disobey Him. That is why the law was given. I am not aware of God selling raped women, nor am I grading God.

            • Troutbane

              Reading comprehension fail!

            • Len

              Not “selling”, but “selling out” – ie, betraying.

            • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

              You are grading god, on a curve, as expressed by Elemenope. You’re holding him to the standards of the context and historical circumstances in which he is alleged to have made these laws, and not the universal and perfect objective moral standard that a perfectly good and omnipotent entity ought to be held to. You’re basically reducing god to a mere mortal incapable of doing much better than his temporal circumstances allowed. You don’t see this as a problem?

            • Nox

              The bible is the strongest evidence against christianity. No one can defend what it actually says. They can only pretend it says something else.

              Msnijin,

              It is technically stated as a deterrent. That changes nothing. That you think this addresses the point, indicates that you don’t really get what the problem is with this law. This is not just a commandment that the man has to marry the woman. This is also a commandment that the woman has to marry the man. The woman who got dragged into this against her will in the first place. Even if it were intended as a deterrent, it is still a law that commands a rape victim to marry her rapist. Selling them out is exactly what this law does.

              And it’s not really accurate to say this was intended as a deterrent to men forcing themselves on women, the authors of Deuteronomy certainly had no problem commanding execution for a variety of offenses they actually wanted to deter (including some objectively harmless infractions). What we see here is very different from what we see in the passages meant to deter things. What we see here is just “you break it, you bought it”. To the degree that we can say what any of the bible authors intended, this is not intended as a deterrent. It is intended to regulate the buying and selling of women and to settle disputes over who owes who how much.

              If the authors of the Torah had really wanted to say “don’t f*cking do that”, they could have easily done so, as they did with so many other things. The authors of the law of Moses had no trouble telling people what to do or not do (do you suppose circumcision was an easy sell at first?). And no trouble being entirely clear on some things. The Torah is not the least bit ambiguous about the sabbath. It clearly says if you see someone working on the sabbath, kill them. Deuteronomy is not ambiguous about serving other gods besides yhvh. It clearly says if someone serves other gods besides yhvh, f*cking kill them. Deuteronomy is not ambiguous about how to treat Hittites or Jebusites. It clearly says “thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them”.

              And it is not ambiguous about this. The bible portrays women unambiguously as property. The property of their fathers until their fathers sell them and they become the property of their husband (unless they are born to slaves in which case they would be the property of whoever owned their mother). And when it comes to treating women as property, Deuteronomy 22 may be the least ambiguous thing ever written. It tells men to treat women as property and how to handle buying and selling them. Only a couple verses before declaring that a man who forces a woman who has not already been sold, must buy her, it declares that a man who forces a woman who has already been sold must be put to death. The only distinction it makes between these circumstances is that a woman who is already sold belongs to another man.

              The bible doesn’t say what your pastor told you it says. It doesn’t say what you expect it to say. It doesn’t say anything close to what a perfect book should be expected to say. I think that may be what’s causing some of this confusion. If the book that you think the bible is, were going to mention coercive sex at all, of course it would condemn it. But it doesn’t. It condemns violating another man’s property. That it only condemns violating another man’s property and is utterly indifferent to the violation of a person is the center of what is so wrong with this commandment.

              If yhvh or Moses or Hilkiah had the basic sense to state that rape is wrong and just don’t f*cking do it, it would be a perfectly easy thing to include while they were making up the rest of this sh*t. Just put in one extra verse. Somewhere in the giant list of things to not do. If it’s a space issue, maybe you take out one of the hundreds of verses of intricate instructions for setting up the tabernacle or carrying out ritual sacrifices, or maybe even trim one of the passages that flagrantly condones rape. Just to make the issue a little more clearly defined. But they don’t ever include that.

              Instead they chose to devote space to explicitly condoning forcibly taking women from captured cities as “wives”. There are numerous examples of this said to be commanded directly by god. The example you already attempted to defend as “a command to show mercy and not to mistreat a female captive” is one of these. It is stated as showing mercy, but stated in a way that shows the author’s incredibly poor grasp of the concept of mercy. What it says is after you finish your unprovoked attack commanded by yhvh, if you see a girl you want, you can take her, but you have to give her some time to grieve for her father (who you just killed) (as commanded by yhvh) before forcing her to marry you. That this is stated as an act of mercy reveals some disturbing definciencies in whatever intelligence authored it. That the law regulates how one must go about carrying out the atrocities it commands, does not mitigate the fact that it commands those things in the first place.

              At one point in the story (Numbers 31), Moses (the alleged author of the Torah, which includes the law of Moses), tells his soldiers (following the killing of all the adult males in a neighboring tribe) (again as commanded by yhvh) “kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves“. That this is stated as a restriction, does not mitigate what is said. And it certainly doesn’t fit with your description of the intent of the law or the general spirit of the bible.

              That men have traditionally treated women as nothing more than property, is not something which can be separated from the bible. Particularly because the text does depict women as property and that depiction is still being used in many sects of fundamentalist christianity as justification for treating women that way. The purchasing and selling of women, the general dehumanization of women, and the unhealthy obsession with virginity as some measure of a woman’s value are things which the book prescribes. The bible is not just a reflection of ancient misogyny. It slightly edges out the Qu’ran as the primary cause of current misogyny.

              I’m always a little hesitant pointing out the objectification (let alone rape) of women endorsed in the bible. Specifically because I know some people out there do take everything in that book as true at face value, and many of those same people don’t see anything wrong with the idea that women are property of men, and that is something I don’t want to encourage at all, ever, even accidentally.

              Even in cases where most modern readers will simply get “damn, that yhvh guy sure is a vile prick”. Someone out there will just get “sweet, yhvh says I can do that”. It’s generally safer to point out the genocide and slavery condoned by god, as most potential readers will already recognize these things as wrong (or will at least not readily have the ability to acquire slaves or carry out genocide).

              But the bible’s view of women really is one of the biggest practical problems with the bible. Not in terms of internal logical consistency or how technically true it is, just in terms of why people should stop believing it.

              And the passage which is the subject here is one example which is so overtly, grossly sexist, that no one reading this will be able to see it as something to be defended. Deuteronomy 22 is one of the thirty or so best examples of why the only way to believe the bible is to not know what it says, and the only way to defend it is to pretend it doesn’t say stuff like this.

              Deuteronomy 22:13-29
              13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
              14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
              15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
              16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
              17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
              18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
              19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
              20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
              21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
              22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
              23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
              24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
              25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.
              26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
              27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
              28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
              29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

              Is this really something you want to defend? Is this really something you think you can defend?

              This is not some random thing that’s in the bible. These are words which are supposed to have come directly from the mouth of god. Like the rest of the bible, but disgustingly moreso, this passage demonstrates a complete lack of awareness or concern for the humanity of women. It speaks from the presupposition that women should be treated as a commodity, and instructs its reader in the most regressive imaginable way to process that commodity.

              A man marries a woman and subsequently accuses her of not being in factory condition on their wedding night. If the receipt for her virginity is provided, he is to pay her father restitution for slandering his good name. If the receipt for the woman is not provided, she is to be put to death. If a man f*cks another man’s wife, both of them are to be killed. Both the conscious human agent who committed the act and the woman. If a man forcibly f*cks a woman who has already been sold to another man, he is to be put to death, for he has devalued his neighbor’s wife. If it was in a city both are to be killed (yes the same law that you just claimed was intended to protect victims says victims should be executed). But if it is in a field, the victim isn’t guilty for being raped, and you don’t have to kill her. And if a man forcibly f*cks a woman who has not already been sold, he has to buy her. He has to reimburse her father for damaging his property.

              This is not an uncharitable interpretation of the text. It is the only straightforward interpretation the text leaves any room for.

              If the lord sayeth thus, then f*ck your lord. This sh*t doesn’t even rise to the moral level of “an eye for an eye”. This is nothing more enlightened than “you break it. you bought it”. No better than what the most primitive humans could do without god’s help, and far worse than what we could do today without his interference.

              Once again, the fact that this is stated as a restriction does nothing to mitigate what is being said, or that it is being stated as a commandment in the bible by the character who is supposed to be the same god christians worship today.

              And before you bother trying to point them out, neither the clause that he can’t divorce her, nor the clause about not executing the victims if they were raped in a field, does anything to mitigate what is being said here. This is still a passage in which god instructs men in the selling of daughters and buying of wives. And this is still a passage which commands a victim to marry her rapist.

              That a woman without a hymen would be treated as an outcast is not a valid excuse for a book that tells men to treat them that way in the first place. That god couldn’t do any better is a pathetic excuse for a character who’s supposed to be omnipotent. And that god didn’t know any better is a pathetic excuse for a character who is supposed to be omniscient.

              If a god or any enlightened being wrote this commandment with the intention of protecting victims, it would have been written very differently. If god couldn’t do any better than that, why the f*ck would you even call him god? If a divine moral law can’t rise above the primitive standards of its time, then what is the point of it? If the alleged word of god doesn’t know any better than the ignorance which gave rise to it, why should anyone still take god’s ignorant word for anything?

              If you do honestly understand that the bible was written for an ancient society that no longer exists, and that we do not and should not follow its commandments, then at least you already get the more important point here (though if I were to judge you based on my previous experience with other christians, I might suspect that if you are this interested in defending Deuteronomy, you will probably switch to treating it as currently authoritative as soon as you need it to command something you want commanded).

              The problem is not what some mostly fictional tribe allegedly did thirty five hundred years ago. The problem is that millions of people today treat this ignorant, barbaric sh*t as god’s infallible guide to life. The problem is not there is still some record of an obsolete model of morality. The problem is that this obsolete morality is enshrined, and widely viewed as how things should be.

              There are many ill effects caused by widespread use of this inaccurate guide. But to stick to the one most related to the original post, the primary stated justification of opponents of marriage equality (including several posters in this thread) is that everyone regardless of religious belief must be bound to marriage as defined by the bible as between one man and one woman.

              There are two very obvious problems with that assertion.

              The one which is more important overall, is that it doesn’t f*cking matter how the bible defines marriage. We didn’t all agree to live by your book. There is absolutely no reason why the basic rights of others should be subject to your approval. If a person wants to believe their version of marriage is somehow better than some other version, they are entitled to that choice. If a church wants to refuse to perform or recognize some versions of marriage, they are entitled to that choice. But if that person or church tries to interfere with the ability of other people to get married at all, that is an unacceptable act of aggression and should be seen as such in any reasonable society. The bible is relevant to the practice of the christian faith. The bible is relevant to the study of religion. But the bible is not at all relevant to secular law.

              The one which is more related to our subject here, is that no part of the bible ever defines marriage at all, or defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

              Some marriages or married couples are mentioned. Some practices relating to marriage are commanded or forbidden (see above). But no. It does not ever give any definition of marriage or ever say anything which could reasonably be interpreted as a definition of marriage (and before you bring up Genesis 2:24 or Genesis 3:16-21, you should read what those actually say). And of those marriages described or prescribed within the bible, a majority do not fit into the one man one woman definition many christians like to pretend is in the bible.

              Which brings us back to Vorjack’s original point. If we were to actually legislate the biblical view of marriage, which biblical view of marriage would that even be?

              Most opponents of marriage equality would not go so far as to say we should stone women on their honeymoon if they can’t provide the court with bloody sheets. And even among the most hardcore fundamentalists, I’ve never seen anyone claim the state should recognize marriage exclusively as the union between one man and one woman made out of one of that man’s ribs.

            • Christopher Huang

              Nox,

              Your post here is long and covers a lot of ground, but I’m only addressing your block quote and your interpretation of it.

              The passage clearly shows rape to be a crime punishable by death. The Bible does not condone rape, as you say.

              Verses 23 and 24 is drawing a scenario where it is NOT rape (a woman being raped in the city would be able to cry for help), and as such, means that both parties committed adultery.

              Verse 25 refers to a rape situation, and/or gives benefit of the doubt to a girl who had sex with a man in a field, because nobody can prove that she didn’t protest.

              In verse 27, the sex with the unbetrothed virgin is also not referring to forced sex.

              Your portrayal of daughters being sold by their fathers is one-sided. While true, sons also had no say in whom they were married off to, so in this particular facet, it was even.

              Also, your idea that Christians should enforce the OT code in full force in order to not be hypocritical is wrong. Jesus of the NT set the precedent of deferring judgment to God the Father.

              I can’t tell that you aware of this within your posts, so in case you didn’t, just FYI, all that Mosaic law was ONLY for the chosen people of Israel. Gentiles that followed yhwh did not have to follow that code, and were not bound to it (so eating pork in my linen/wool-blend suit is totally allowed!).

            • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

              A fantastic, very thorough post, Nox. I’m sorry to see that it has likely been lost on msnijin. Hopefully they at least read it, and maybe even learned something.

            • Nox

              Thank you John.

  • Theory

    Ekant….please point out EXACTLY were it says in the bible that god ORDAINED marriage He brought the woman to adam (like a thing) and gave her to him. Why? Because he had been complaining about how all the other animals had a companion (read blow up doll) The line, For this reason is merely the writer’s commentary….doesn’t even try to “quote” god. Also note. Gen 1 god made man, both male and female…then in Gen. 2 Adam is alone and complaining about it. A bit different isn’t it.

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  • http://calatieta.com ca la tieta

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  • R.C.

    By the way,

    The fact that all these things exist in the Bible should not be construed as indicating divine approval.

    According to Jesus, “one man, one woman, lifelong, no possibility of divorce, only separation without any remarriage” was the way it was in the beginning, and all the other variations were the result of human sin and “hardness of heart”; thus, Moses gave the Israelites permission to divorce because their hearts were hard, but “it was not thus in the beginning.” Various other passages confirm this view (e.g. St. Paul’s instructions on the topic).

    The only slight room for contrary interpretation comes in Matthew where Jesus, in saying that remarriage is forbidden to Christians, says, “except for porneia.” Now porneia is a Greek word meaning some kind of sexual impropriety, but Biblical exegetes have disagreed about what kind. Some English translations render it “adultery.” Some render it “sexual immorality” or “sexual impropriety” which represents a sort of respectable agnosticism about what it actually means.

    But the most ancient view, and best documented among the early Christians, is that it referred specifically to consanguinuity; that is, having sex with one’s mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, stepmother, stepfather, et cetera. In context this was taken to mean that Jesus was teaching that marriages were indissoluble unless they weren’t valid to begin with because of the too-close familial relationship.

    (This ancient interpretation, despite its popularity among the early Christians, seems a little convoluted to modern English readers, but that is because of language and cultural differences. One can overcome the strangeness of this usage of the word porneia by noting that Acts 15, while permitting uncircumcised Gentiles to become Christians, still requires them to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from porneia; and that this list is, itself, derived from a list in the Mosaic law in which the Israelites were forbidden idol worship, drinking blood, eating animal flesh with the blood still in it, and from marrying close family members.)

    So, that puts an interesting spin on all the other variations depicted in the Old Testament: Christians think that, at the end of all this sexual weirdness throughout the Old Testament, God Himself showed up and said, “Look, you’ve been screwing this up for centuries now. Up until now, I was working on just getting you clowns not to sacrifice your children to Moloch and oppress the poor; and I was grading on a curve when it came to divorce, but now, I think it’s high time I really addressed marriage and how UR DOIN IT WRONG.”

    One need not believe the Christian view about Jesus (Jews obviously don’t). And one can reasonably take the view that Jesus forbade divorce “except when caused by sexual immorality” but allow “sexual immorality” to include problems other than adultery.

    But, if one is trying to see what makes sense from the Christian perspective — that is to say, what makes sense if we first assume that Jesus is God — then the Christian “one man, one woman, for life” view is entirely reasonable and consistent. For of course, Jesus, being God, had perfect authority to say, “I was letting a lot of things slide up until now because you were moral ignoramuses who couldn’t handle my stricter standard. But now it’s time to step up your game.”

    In fact, if you want to pick on Christians for inconsistency, I’m afraid most of you are going about it incorrectly.

    The real inconsistency among modern American Christians is not that they oppose gay marriage., polygamy, and so forth. Jesus’ comments on marriage show why that’s perfectly consistent.

    The real inconsistency is that so many modern American Christians consider 2nd, 3rd, and 4th marriages to be actual, valid marriages…and even allow it among clergy.

    The apostolic-era Christians simply didn’t. Paul says it plainly: If a Christian has become separated from his/her spouse, he/she must either reconcile with that spouse or remain single, period. And he also admonishes that clergy (presbyteroi, episcopoi) are required to be “husband of one wife.” In context, and judging by the writings of the early Christians who commented on it, this doesn’t mean non-polygamist; it rather means “either unmarried or having only ever married one woman.”

    So the thing to do, when confronting an American Christian about gay marriage, is not to spin out a list of “marriage variations” from the Old Testament. All that does is show them that you don’t know your Bible well, since citing Jesus on that topic clears the whole matter up.

    Rather, if you want to confront an American Christian about gay marriage, simply say, “How can you enshrine Christian sexual morality in American law with respect to gay marriage, when you’re not willing to enshrine Christian sexual morality in American law with respect to outlawing remarriage after a divorce?” …and give them all the relevant citations from the New Testament (Matthew 5, Matthew 19, 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1).

    This demonstrates you actually know something about the Bible and the topic as applicable to Christians generally; whereas all the Old Testament misbehavior doesn’t.

    And it is especially effective if the Christian to whom you are speaking happens to be divorced and remarried…and especially if he’s a deacon, an elder, or whatever in his church! The relevant comment then is, “Take the beam out of thine own eye, first!”

  • Troutbane

    RC:
    “The fact that all these things exist in the Bible should not be construed as indicating divine approval.”
    Please reread Nox’s point above. The Bible goes out of its way to detail that you shouldn’t boil a calf in its mothers milk but cannot seem to explain why rape is wrong. On the contrary, it tells what a rape victim must do (marry the rapist) on top of a ton of other instructions we would consider barbaric and evil. If God wanted to declare rape evil he would. He is very silent on this point.

    • R.C.

      Oh, I saw Nox’s post, but there is nothing new there. It is an old canard: a dull, deeply unsophisticated, and parochial view.

      The Jewish tradition does not consist of a sort of 1600′s European Protestantism “Sola Scriptura” view. (For that matter, neither did the Christian tradition until the mid 1500′s, and even since then it remains a minority view worldwide even though, for historical reasons, most American Christian sects hold it.)

      In Judaism there was always a “Written Torah” and an “Oral Torah,” the latter delivered from one generation of rabbis to the next by rote memorization, finally finding a fixed written form in the Babylonian Talmuds and similar sources in the final 500 years B.C. Furthermore, there is a particular context of the pre-Christian scriptures (both forms) which is viewed as critical for proper understanding; namely, the liturgical life of Israel: Her temple worship, her sacrifices and ritual ablutions, her feasts and new moons and sabbaths, and so on. A person is simply unable to correctly understand the Hebrew Scriptures in a sophisticated way without that context.

      The same, by-the-way, is true of the Christian “New Testament” Scriptures: They make sense only in context of the apostolic tradition which was continuous from Jesus to the apostles and the apostles to their successors; e.g. Jesus, to Peter and John, to Evodius and Ignatius of Antioch, or Jesus, to Paul, to Timothy. Likewise, they don’t make sense without some knowledge of the liturgies of the early Christians (e.g. the Roman Liturgy, the Liturgy of St. James, the Liturgy of John Chrysostom). This is why pre-trib dispensationalists, whose view of eschatology first emerged in the 1800′s with John Nelson Darby, are so puzzled by the structure of the Book of Revelation: They don’t notice that apart from the first few “Letters To The Church At X” chapters, the whole book is patterned after a Christian worship liturgy…because their own worship traditions are different from that of the early Christians.

      So, a 21st century Western-Civ atheist — or, indeed, a poorly-read and loosely-religiously-trained 21st century Western-Civ Christian or Jew, is unlikely to be a competent reader of the Hebrew Scriptures. I don’t mean he won’t find plenty in there that’s straightforward and laudable: “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery” is pretty obvious. But there will be tricky passages he’ll be utterly unable to explain, and other passages which are tricky but which he doesn’t recognize as tricky, and for which any interpretation he offers will be risible.

      And in fact we see that to be the case. Young-Earth Creationists, who typically are pretty ignorant of the culture of the Hebrews, their worship, and their Oral Torah, typically read Genesis 1 as if it were an astronomy textbook, in violent disregard for the style of the text, which requires it to be read more as a liturgical chant, and its words to be read not the way one reads the New York Times, but the way one reads the lyrics to Don McLean’s “American Pie”: Full of meaning, to be sure: But the “days” aren’t required to indicate time-periods any more than the “marching band” is supposed to be imagined as carrying Sousaphones.

      Likewise, Nox takes a view of the Hebrew scriptures which entirely leaves out the oral tradition and the liturgical life. When a Jew in Israel heard the Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim read aloud to them, and then watched the rabbi sit down and begin to discourse on it, they knew perfectly well that rape was evil. But they also knew that their ancestors lived in a world where warring tribes typically killed the conquered men, raped and enslaved the conquered women, and either killed or enslaved the conquered children, as circumstances required. In the midst of this, they had this wild anomaly, the Law of Moses: Some of it looking like a typical civil code, a la Hammurabi, and other bits resembling a monotheistic version of religious worship, and other bits seeming to have no precedent at all, being deeply weird and serving only to culturally isolate them from their neighbors.

      But by living this code, these practices, they were assimilating over time something more critical: A way of looking at the world. They assimilated that women were persons with intrinsic dignity, just as men were; that the power of the strong over the weak was intended to protect and to heal, not to despoil; that sexual pleasure was not a good to be taken from a person in an act of sexual highway robbery, but a relational power intended to forge families whose permanence was the correct environment for childrearing. A captive-at-war would otherwise have been viewed as an object, a thing, chattel, to be used and discarded. Usually raped and killed, in fact. But God shockingly says, “No, that person is a person; in fact, she’s fit to be your wife” …which leads to a whole different understanding of the humanity even of the persons conquered in battle.

      In short, God is not a deontologist but a virtue ethicist: He is giving laws, but His intent is not merely that the laws be followed but rather that the culture into which future generations are born will be one which naturally and organically views things according to their true value, and thus naturally and organically treats them correctly, without requiring the effort of consulting the rule-book. God doesn’t merely want people who don’t rape because it’s one of the items on the “not allowed” list; He wants people who don’t rape because it wouldn’t enter their heads; it wouldn’t make sense; it wouldn’t seem plausible in their worldview.

      So when you see some instruction or lacuna “we would regard as barbaric and evil,” the question you should be asking yourself is: Here is an instruction which the people to whom it was originally given found difficult to follow because it was too good, either too picky or too Polyannaish, to be followed in the real world. But, by attempting it as a culture over time, they gained insight into their own souls and into the nature of goodness which, in the end, produced the awareness we have now of the evils of battlefield rape.

      Now, that’s all too complicated for a person who has no interest in learning, and who only wants to casually take potshots at this religious tradition. He reacts by complaining that nothing true or edifying could possibly be so convoluted, because truth is beautiful and beauty is simple, et cetera.

      Such a person doesn’t want to spend a year participating in the religious life of that tradition, seeing it “from the inside”, let alone trace his way from a strange and barbaric-seeming Scripture excerpt to the hundreds of pages of commentaries and teachings that give context to it and help the modern reader, who is disconnected from the original hearer by 3,000 years and vast cultural differences, understand it. He doesn’t, in short, want to do the homework which would qualify him to make an informed critique. Because, understandably, he really doesn’t care that much about the topic, and has better things to do with his time.

      So he tends instead to ape a Fundamentalist of the most extreme, backwoods, snake-handling variety and take everything as if it were a rulebook written personally for him and intended to apply immediately and directly to his 21st century existence. When reading it that way produces nonsense, he throws up his hands in despair and says, “It was reading the Bible that made me an atheist.”

      But what he’s really done is tantamount to finding the phrase, “It’ll be raining cats and dogs by breakfast” in a decades-old newspaper clipping, and, after reading it, rushing outside, hoping for a free pet.

      • Kodie

        So much easier to rationalize away the uncomfortable parts than admit it’s horrible, isn’t it. How do you sleep? How do you look in the mirror?

      • Sunny Day

        I see this as a admission that the bible isn’t supposed to be used today and was only supposed to applyin the context of dealing with a primitive and superstitious people.

        “But what he’s really done is tantamount to finding the phrase, “It’ll be raining cats and dogs by breakfast” in a decades-old newspaper clipping, and, after reading it, rushing outside, hoping for a free pet.”

      • Troutbane

        Yep, the old “The Bible says what makes me feel comfortable in my culture” view. Good for you. Although I leave it to Nox to defend his scholastics but I think he may be more well researched then you think.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2009/04/the-varieties-of-biblical-marriage/ Jeff Finley

    First of all, no where in the Bible does it say it is okay to have more than one wife. Secondly, in 1 Corinthians ch 7 it says “each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband”….It does NOT say ‘wives’…it is singular, the last point i bring up is that as a born again christian our lives are to be reflective of that of Christ Jesus. He was not married!

    • Sunny Day
    • trj

      Wrong. 2 Sam 12:8 says directly that God himself gave David his multiple wives (and would have given him more, had he asked for it), which seems rather strange if God disapproved of polygamy. Also, we’re told David always did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 15:5), which shows that not only did God not have a problem with polygamy, he was also a-ok with concubines.

    • Troutbane

      So….Christians shouldn’t marry? Interesting. I believe the Shakers practiced that.

  • Blah!

    The one thing I find funny about this article, it takes into account only Old Testament beliefs. If you truly practiced what you believe as religious tolerance, not just attacks on Christian values, then you would understand that the New Testament clearly throws out this order and only ties itself to Number 8.

    • Troutbane

      So nothing in the Old Testament applies anymore? Nothing? So when people condemn something for being “bad” they cannot use anything from the Old Testament as a reason why?

      BTW, I’m not saying this is an incorrect viewpoint. However, I have noticed way too many Christians who pick and choose which OT stuff applies and which does not. I have never met a true NT Christian who ignores OT commands. Everyone I’ve ever debated when you got them on the ropes, fell back on OT when it helped their arguments.

      • Hadi

        Jesus said “I came to confirm the LAW(OT) not to abolish it” and if the OT is not valid anymore you have to erase it from the bible !!!

    • Nox

      So you’re saying god was wrong about what god’s will is?

      It’s still the same god.

      Even if god did issue one set of commandments at one time and then issue a different set of commandments later (ignoring the part where the new testament explicitly says the law of Moses still applies, or the part where every christian wanting to defend “traditional” marriage runs right to the old testament), it is still the same f*cking god. The new testament is very clear that it is talking about the god from the old testament.

      Did god not know any better? The god giving these commandments in the old testament is the same god christians pray to today. And apparently when he gave his first set of moral laws he had such a flawed understanding of morality that he included things you now have to pretend aren’t there.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Theodoric-Derek-Nowak/779705787 Theodoric Derek Nowak

    “The important thing to realize here is that none of these models are described as better than any other. All appear to have been accepted.” A teacher accepts someone getting an A on a test and someone getting a D. Therefore neither of these marks are better than any other? The fact that they are distinguished in and off itself means that they are regarded differently and not necessarily equally.

  • esully63

    Another item of note is that in all eight forms of marriage it was a man and a woman not a man and a man or woman and woman.

    • Lou G

      really? that’s how you defend A male rapist and his victim ? “well it wasn’t man and man” ! really?

      how deprived are Christians?

      • esully63

        Stop with the divisions. No one is defending rape. The point is homo sexuality was not acceptable.

        • Lou G

          but rape is. that’s exactly what you said in your comment. “well it wasn’t man and man” so rape is okay because it’s not man on man.

          Either it’s not, or it is. Simple as that.

          and it’s not acceptable by who’s standard? A bunch of pedophiles?

          Your comment is EXACTLY why I left the ministry and now work to end Christianity.

          • esully63

            I am not defending rape but it is an interesting note that rape was more acceptable than homosexuality.

            • http://cantercast.net/ Lou G

              Among the Jews, sure. Which is telling of the lifestyles they, and later Christians had.

              and you are defending rape. “well it wasn’t man on man” is defending rape. How Christian of you.

            • Nox

              If a moral standard says that rape is more acceptable than homosexuality that should tell you something about how broken that moral standard is.

              The bible does condemn homosexuality. And the bible does endorse rape.

              How is that anything but an indication that we should not be blindly accepting the advice of this unreliable source.

        • Yoav

          1. The important point is that, despite what you and your buddies in the religious wrong claim, even according to the bible marriage was not always defined as ONE man and ONE woman but rather that the definition of marriage have evolved throughout human history and is now continue to evolve to include same sex couples.
          2. Why would anyone consider a book written by people who thought it was a good idea to force a rape victim to marry the rapist to be an acceptable source for morality.

          • esully63

            It’s absurd! Why are you always trying to put a square peg into a Roy d hole? Man was made to be with woman, it nature it’s what we were designed for. It’s not the religious wrong, it is the order of the universe.

            • Yoav

              I hate to break it to you but we were not designed for anything (or designed at all). The universe is not sentient and therefore doesn’t care who you want to fuck. Some men are attracted to other men, some women are attracted to other women, live with it. And since you and your friends already ignore most of what the bible say why not add the bit about hating the gays to the bits about bacon and mixed fibers.

  • Tawntawn

    It should actually be stated differently. A rapist was forced to marry the person that they raped. It was a punishment for the rapist, not the victim. That way the woman would be taken care of since she would most likely not be able to get a husband. The woman would not have to resort to prostitution then and it deterred men from raping. It may seem barbaric to us, but back then that was years ahead of its time.

    • Nox

      Is this a reason why it should still be considered a moral authority in our time?

      • Tawntawn

        No, this is a reason we need to look at the context of why things were done before we judge. The world and the relationship between man and woman was pretty messed up back then. It still is, but we have made a lot of progress. God moves his people forward in baby steps. People just don’t go from treating someone as an object to an equal overnight. We have seen that in our own country. There are so many laws in the Old Testament that were put there to protect women, and this is one of them. We have moved beyond this now but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t revolutionary for the time.

    • Len

      So glad it wasn’t a punishment for the victim.


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