The Varieties of Biblical Marriage

The Varieties of Biblical Marriage April 29, 2009

by Vorjack

We 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.

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

    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:

    • 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

      • 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.

      • 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, 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.

  • 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

            • 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.

          • 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?

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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…

        • 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…


          • 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.


            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.

            • 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.


              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

      • 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.


        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.

            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… 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.

    • 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.

      • 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???

      • 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.

          • 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.

        • 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”

      “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.

  • 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


      Well done, sir, well done.

  • 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 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.

          • 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.

        • 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?”


          • 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.

      • 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

  • 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.

    • 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.

        • 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.


          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… :)

      • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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


    • 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.

      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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.


      • blake rogers

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • “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?

  • 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


    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:

    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.

  • 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.

      • 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

      “”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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.
      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.

    • 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.


      • 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 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?

        • 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?


        • 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).

        • 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,

            • 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.)


            2001 ARIS data ( ):

            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


            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. :)

            • 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!!

  • 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?

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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

    • 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.


      • 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.

          • 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

        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.

        • 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.

            • Daniel,

              What a silly straw man that is.


              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.


            • 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).

            • 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.

            • 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?

        • 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.

      • 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.

          • 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.

            • 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?

    • 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?

      • 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.

          • 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.

  • 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.

      • 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.

          • 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?

            • 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”?

          • 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.

            • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

      • 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 :)

          • 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.


        • 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.

  • Rodney,

    Taking my sweet wife out tonight. Gotta jet.

    Thanks for the conversation.

  • Rory McKnight

    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.

      • 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.

    • 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.


  • 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!


    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


      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.

      • 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.

          • 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.

            • 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

    Please help me out and explain the meaning of Xians. I can’t seen to locate this word anywhere.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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?”

      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.


  • 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.”
    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!

    • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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.


          • 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”?

  • 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…

    • 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.

        • 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.

            • 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!

          • 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.

        • 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.

            • 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.

    “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.”
    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.
    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…….

    • 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!!!!!!

    • 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.


      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.

      • 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.

        • 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”.

            • 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.


          • 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…

            • 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’.

  • 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.
    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!!!

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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!

        • 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?
    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!!