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Discussion for Christian perspectives on ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, and so forth.
Shirtless
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Postby Shirtless » Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:52 pm

Yes, the Bible does always refer to men with many wives. Wives were considered property back then, and the concept of "adultery" was based almost exclusively around the idea of a woman being a man's property that he bought and sold. We now live in a world that is more equal. I'm glad that you have moral objections to polygamy, instead of saying that it's wrong and that's that. But I think it's more complicated than dividing a man up like he's a piece of meat using cold mathematical terms. If you really believe polygamy promotes inequality, I would like you to read this with an open mind:
http://www.polygamy.com/Practical/From- ... -Place.htm

Here is another site that deals with polygamy and Christianity (the subject of polyandry is brought up):
http://www.christianpolygamy.com/

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Postby Mastermind » Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:59 pm

Kurieuo wrote:Shirtless,

I'd like to point out the verses you quoted represent specifically only polygyny (husband with multiple wives). Can you provide examples in Scripture to demonstrate polygamy the other way around? Now if women don't have the right the have multiple husbands, you have to deny women are equal to men which leads to sexism, and the Bible is clear in my opinion that women and men although different are equally valuable. Yet, it doesn't really matter even if you could provide examples of polygamy the other way around (polyandry).

By reason, the only way for equality to occur between man and woman is through a monogamy. If polygamy is alright, then a man's possession of say five women, means that each of those women are only equal to one-fifth of that man. For in marriage, people are given to each other, and therefore owned by each other. If a man is given to a woman and vice-versa, they belong to each other. If a man is given to a second woman and vice-versa, the man is belongs to two women who share him, and the two women belong to the one man. Surely any way you look at polygamy, it creates unequality between the sexes?

Therefore, on reason alone, if it is accepted that males and females are equally valuable, then polygamy ought to be rejected.

Kurieuo.


Unless you have a group of men marry an equal group of women. I would imagine this would get nasty though. Literally. :p

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Postby Deborah » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:00 pm

Gen 2:22 - And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he woman,.... It is commonly observed, and pertinently enough, that the woman was not made from the superior part of man, that she might not be thought to be above him, and have power over him; nor from any inferior part, as being below him, and to be trampled on by him; but out of his side, and from one of his ribs, that she might appear to be equal to him; and from a part near his heart, and under his arms, to show that she should be affectionately loved by him, and be always under his care and protection: and she was not "created" as things were, out of nothing, nor "formed" as Adam was, out of the dust of the earth, being in the same form as man; but "made" out of refined and quickened dust, or the flesh and bones of man, and so in her make and constitution fine and lovely; or "built" (n), as the word signifies, which is used, because she is the foundation of the house or family, and the means of building it up: or rather to denote the singular care and art used, and fit proportion observed in the make of her:

and brought her unto the man: from the place where the rib had been carried, and she was made of it; or he brought her, as the parent of her, at whose dispose she was, and presented her to Adam as his spouse, to be taken into a conjugal relation with him, and to be loved and cherished by him; which, as it affords a rule and example to be followed by parents and children, the one to dispose of their children in marriage, and the other to have the consent of their parents in it; as well as it is a recommendation of marriage, as agreeable to the divine will, and to be esteemed honourable, being of God: so it was a type of the marriage of Christ, the second Adam, between him and his church, which sprung from him, from his side; and is of the same nature with him, and was presented by his divine Father to him, who gave her to him; and he received her to himself as his spouse and bride; see Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church.

John Gill

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Kurieuo
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Postby Kurieuo » Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:20 am

Shirtless wrote:Yes, the Bible does always refer to men with many wives. Wives were considered property back then, and the concept of "adultery" was based almost exclusively around the idea of a woman being a man's property that he bought and sold. We now live in a world that is more equal. I'm glad that you have moral objections to polygamy, instead of saying that it's wrong and that's that. But I think it's more complicated than dividing a man up like he's a piece of meat using cold mathematical terms. If you really believe polygamy promotes inequality, I would like you to read this with an open mind:
http://www.polygamy.com/Practical/From- ... -Place.htm

That writing seems to argue an opposite point of what I was suggesting:
    To those who would argue that polygamy makes women dependent, I would say from experience that just the opposite is true. A woman married to a man with other wives is forced to have a very strong sense of who she is, what she's doing, and why she is doing it, and must maintain her own sense of identity. Her identity cannot be wrapped up in her husband's identity, the way many women in monogamous marriages become, simply because her husband isn't always there. And for an independent woman, that's one of the advantages.
From this I see signs that marriage is being made meaningless. One does not get married to become independant. One gets married because they realise something is lacking within themselves. Marriage is about "dependance"—dependance on each other. The woman complements and completes man in a way the man can't, and the man complements and completes a woman in a way she can't. Of course there are those who wish to maintain their individuality, but then they wouldn't get married would they? And so, there is this complementary union between two in marriage. If one gets married to maintain individuality (as this page encourages as a benefit to polygamous marriage), then why on earth get married at all if you want to maintain your individuality?

Thus, we come back to the argument I was making earlier, which I'll lay out roughly, but more indepth, below:

1.1) Two people marry because they realise something is missing within themselves (e.g., purposefully, physically, and emotionally), which only another can complete.
1.2) In order to be made complete by another, a person requires another person to complement them.
1.3) To be complemented (made whole), a person needs that other person to give themselves to them.
1.4) Therefore, in marriage two people give themselves to each other to be made complete.

Then on top of this argument, I build a second:

2.1) If marriage means two people give themselves to each other, then each person has ownership of the other.
2.2) Marriage does mean two people give themselves to each other. (from 1.4)
2.3) Therefore, each person in a marriage has ownership of the other.

Then on top of this argument, I build a third which gets a little more complicated:

3.1) Unless each person in a marriage has equal ownership of the other, they are not equal.
3.2) If a husband is in a polygynous marriage, he has full ownership of at least two women. (from 2.3)
3.3) If a husband is in a polygynous marriage, two women or more share ownership of one husband. (again from 2.3)
3.4) A woman in a polygynous marriage does not have equal ownership to her husband. (from 3.2 & 3.3)
3.5) Therefore, the husband and wives in a polygynous marriage are not equal.

Now I'll wrap everything up:

4.1) If a husband has higher value than one wife, then equality of sexes is not true.
4.2) In a polygynous marraige, the husband has higher value than one wife. (drawn from 3.5)
4.3) Therefore in a polygynous marriage, equality of sexes is not true.
4.4) But our innate sense of morality dictates equality of sexes is true.
4.5) Therefore a polygynous marriage ought to be rejected, because within it equality of sexes is not true.

Kurieuo.
Last edited by Kurieuo on Fri Feb 04, 2005 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Kurieuo
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Postby Kurieuo » Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:51 am

I have a link to a page I just read, and thought you'd be interested to read it considering it is from the same source that you enjoyed reading from last time. ;)

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/polygame.html

Kurieuo.
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Postby Shirtless » Fri Feb 04, 2005 12:21 pm

First let me say, Deborah, I have no idea what point you're trying to make.

Mastermind,
I guess in a numerical sense have the same amount of wives and husbands would be equal. But I think equality resides in simply whether he/she is comfortable with the arrangement; respecting your spouse's opinion is true equality! :P

Kurieuo,


From this I see signs that marriage is being made meaningless. One does not get married to become independent. One gets married because they realize something is lacking within themselves.


If men and women in a polygamous relationship thought that their arrangement was meaningless with no sense of bond, it would not be called polygamy, it would be called swinging.

I believe whole-heartedly in what you say in 1. 1-4. I have no argument there.

2.1) If marriage means two people give themselves to each other, then each person has ownership of the other.


Okay, hold the phone, stop right there! This is the heart of why I believe in polygamy. You think of marriage in terms of a business deal--that wives are cords of wood meant to be divided evenly among people, and if one man gets two cords of wood, he owns more than he's allowed. I don't want to own anybody. Of course you think of it as mutual ownership, but it's flawed IMO :wink: . To say your wife can't love another, much less marry a man other than you, is basically saying: "I own you! You can't be with anyone except me--and if you feel like this system isn't working and you want to expand, then you just aren't committed enough, and it's your fault."

Thanks for the link, but I've read it already :roll: . I always check other people's opinions, which is why I suggest reading these pro-monogamy pages:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/4074.asp
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/polygamo.html
But the link you provided has things I would like to address. The page starts with a historical perspective on polygamy:

"Polygamy was NOT practiced in Greek and Roman societies of the time"
Now what the author probably wouldn't realize, is that this fact is probably the strongest pro-polygamy argument! :shock: For two reasons:

1. The Jews obviously had God's guidance, and they were very religious. They believed whatever God told them to believe. So the question is, why did Palestine believe in polygamy and find it perfectly acceptable, when some pagan nations didn't? Some have suggested that polygamy was a "necessary evil". This is one of the silliest things I've ever heard--I mean, to what ends? The Greeks and the Romans were able to avoid it, so why didn't the Jews?
"Polygamy was not practiced in the Roman world outside Palestine"

Well, Gosh darnit! This is so weird...why does it seem like many cultures in that area didn't believe in polygamy EXCEPT the Jews? Why did God keep missing all those golden opportunities to tell the Hebrews this? Maybe it's because God observed the marriage arrangments of the Jews, and saw that it was good. :)

2.
One of the best ways to promote monogamy in a Christian community, is to acknowledge how linked it appears with Christianity today. This would make it seem that Christianity changed the views of polygamists, and we now have a monogamous culture as a result. This is called "wagging the dog".

But if you look at history, you realize that Christianity didn't "change" anything as far as marriage goes. When Rome became the center of the Christian world, the idea of polygamy would have greatly offended the Romans, and Romans would have kept their monogamous arrangements while still being a Christian. Later, missionaries from Rome would travel the world to spread Christianity, while promoting their marriage arrangements as well--much like missionaries in the New World who gave Christianity to American Indians, while also demanding that the natives wear European clothes as well.

There are many other things on that page that I would like to address (such as the omissions dealing with Romans 7), but this post is getting too long. I'd just like to conclude with a website that this time deals with polygamy from a man's perspective:
http://www.libchrist.com/poly/manview.html

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Postby Deborah » Fri Feb 04, 2005 6:05 pm

the idea I got from your post shirtless is that you believe that man and woman are not equal, my post was to show that they are.

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Postby Mastermind » Fri Feb 04, 2005 6:19 pm

Acts 15:20 but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood.

1 Corinthians 6:13: "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food" -- and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
14: And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.
15: Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!
16: Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two shall become one flesh."

1 Corinthians 7:2: But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
(no plural)

1 Corinthians 10:8: We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. (I believe the 23 thousand are the ones that mated with the medianite women)

Galatians 5:19: Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,

Ephesians 5:3: But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints.

Colossians 3:5: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

1 Thessalonians 4:3: For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from unchastity;


The general message that I'm getting is that we should abstain from sex, but if we can't, take ONE wife, and do it with her alone.

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Postby Shirtless » Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:23 pm

Deborah, I believe firmly that men and women need to be treated equally. If I marry a woman, and somewhere down the road she feels like she would like another husband, I must respect her wishes, and regect my own vanity, and selfishness.

Mastermind, there are many words mentioned in all those passages that that would easily confuse a reader into thinking that Paul was anti-sex, anti-indulgence. Many Christians believe that the Bible teaches this, but I haven't seen any reason to believe this. If I may paraphrase, I believe that the Bible says

"To indulge or not to indulge, that is NOT the question."

By this, I mean that the Bible says that whether you indulge or not, it doesn't matter in the end. It's an Earthly pleasure, that's all. So the Bible doesn't say to avoid food, sex, comfort, etc. It just says that it's all moot. Just have a healthy sex life (no more, no less), and you'll realize that living a moral life will be 10x easier! :P

But about those passages: words like "unchastity", "lust", "fornication", "impurity", "licentiousness", "sexual immorality" are all English words. We should, ney, we MUST take into context the original meanings of these words. Even if the Bible were written in English, words like "unchastity" could mean anything. This language barrier can cause great misunderstanding and misinterpretation. This is why I suggest reading "The Message", which is the Bible in contemporary English for the modern tongue. It's a very popular and respected version. I don't suggest using it as your only source, but let's take a look at Galatians 5:19-21 using "The Message":


19It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; 20trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; 21the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

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Postby Mastermind » Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:29 pm

Err, indulgence is exactly what it advises against. And "chastity" tells it all. You can't just paraphrase it into "cheap sex" because it's socially acceptable nowadays(which is what that translation of yours seems to be doing). Unless you can get me a hebrew/english translation that tells us we got the meaning of chastity wrong, I'll have to go with the generally acceptable idea.

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Postby Shirtless » Sat Feb 05, 2005 9:36 pm

Mastermind,
I suppose you've got me dead to rights on that one. I don't speak Greek and I'm not going to pretend that I do. But there's something about the word "unchastity" that might interest you...

I had never seen that word before in the Bible, so I checked the passage you gave from 1 Thessalonians 4:3, which was the only passage that had "unchastity" in it, and I don't see the word "unchastity" in that passage, in any version:

(NIV) 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;

(KJV) ...that ye should abstain from fornication:

(NASB) ...sexual immorality;

(AB)
...sexual vice,

(The Message) ...sexual promiscuity;

(NLT) ...sexual sin.

(YLT) ...whoredom.

In fact, I did a search on "chastity" and "unchastity" throughout the OT and the New, and they don't appear once, in any book, in any passage, in any version.

But I CAN comment on "fornication" and "sexual immorality", which are the words that come from the Greek word "porneia":

Word: fornication
Original Greek:porneia
Definition: idolatry, adultery, prostitution, sorcery, divination, witchcraft, rebellion, stubbornness and familiar spiritism.
Comments: The word "porneia" is now translated as "sexual immorality". In some passages (Matthew 5:32) it's translated as "marital unfaithfulness".

Of course I'm suggesting that some translators aren't being completely honest, and I believe this for several reasons. But before we play the "blame game" we need to realize that ALL translators are liars, no matter how good they are. No translation is perfect, especially not with ancient languages. :o

Mastermind, I think you trust too much. No, I don't mean you shouldn't trust a babysitter or you should trust someone to watch your car--I mean you can't trust any version of the Bible or any one religious scholar. Do your own investigating, compare one guy's view with another guy's, don't reject anything that's "too extreme" for you, and pray...always pray for guidance.

Maybe it's just cause I used to be an Atheist, and I'm not going to allow myself to sink into a deeper and darker form of heresy if it has no Biblical basis. I can relate 100% to the struggles of this Messianic Jew who wrote to "Christian Thinktank":

I come from a Jewish background and have my spiritual inspiration from Jesus and his followers. I am not one to put my head in the ground, nor take things at face value what the church tells me. I see challenges from my Jewish roots as really opportunities to understand better the world of the Jesus, yet they are always filled with the tension of wanting to stay honest and be willing to lose a formerly cherished belief if presented with a more mature view.
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/baduseot.html

BTW, I've commented on page 1 about the passages you gave dealing with Paul and his views on prostitiution.

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Mastermind
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Postby Mastermind » Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:21 pm

Wait a second, greek? I thought the oldest version that we have is hebrew. In addition, I understand these translation problems. However, let us look back into the times of the apostoles. What did sexual immorality mean? From what I gather from the Bible, having sex with anybody other than your wife/husband constitutes as such. In addition, doesn't it say in Mathew that once we have joined with a woman, we become one, and what God put together, let no man pull apart?

Genesis 2
22: and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
23: Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
24: Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Matthew 19

3: And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"
4: He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,
5: and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
6: So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."

By the way, I found an interesting discussion here.
http://p074.ezboard.com/fstreamsinthede ... 21&stop=40

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Postby Shirtless » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:16 pm

Wait a second, greek? I thought the oldest version that we have is hebrew.


"Thessalonians" was written by Paul, who wrote it in Greek. All of the NT was written in Greek. The Apostles wanted to spread the word to the gentiles. The OT was written in Hebrew and sometimes Aramaic.

From what I gather from the Bible, having sex with anybody other than your wife/husband constitutes as [sexual immorality].


That was true if you were a woman. If a man, you could have sex with any woman, at any time (including prostitutes), just as long as the woman wasn't married (owned by another man).

doesn't it say in Mathew that once we have joined with a woman, we become one, and what God put together, let no man pull apart?


Good question. I'm long overdue for addressing that passage in Genesis, and the one in Mathew. I'll address it tomorow in another thread. :P

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Postby Mastermind » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:39 pm

That was true if you were a woman. If a man, you could have sex with any woman, at any time (including prostitutes), just as long as the woman wasn't married (owned by another man).


Err, I'm fairly certain they would stone them both to death. I know they wanted to stone the prostitute which Jesus saved.

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Postby Shirtless » Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:08 pm

Based on what I've read about 1st century sexual customs, women could not sleep with anyone other than their one husband. The man, however, could go to prostitutes before, or while he was married. He could have several wives(if he could afford it), and he could have concubines.

You have to put the word "adultery" into biblical perspective. Adultery was only thought of as touching a man's property. If a man has sex with a married woman, he is violating the husband's property; if a woman (whether married or not) has sex with a man that is not her husband, she is disobeying her husband's (or future husband's) right to a virgin.

In a nutshell:
Adultery for a man: sleeping with another man's wife.
Adultery for a woman: sleeping with any man that's not her husband.

BTW, the woman Jesus saves in John 8:3-7 isn't a prostitute. It only says, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery." The movie "The Passion" made this woman out to be Mary Magdalene, but that was simply dramatic license.


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