Friday, August 10, 2012

According to The Bible...

All too often nowadays I'll be on Facebook and all of a sudden one of these images will pop up on my wall. These images are usually very short, simple texts and or pictures that make several statements regarding Christianity in a mocking, snarky fashion as if to say "Checkmate Christians!". After I shake my head and chuckle at the foolishness of such images, the unfortunate and sobering reality dawns on me that there are people who think in such a fashion and THEREFORE I have to write an article dealing with the "arguments" put forth in the image in order to make the person who made the image think 2 twice about it next time. (not that it'd matter.) LET'S DIVE IN!

1) Marriage must be in the same faith
YEAH, NO DUH! How can you be married to someone who thinks your faith is foolishness? Is that supposed to be a bad thing? Is that supposed to be an argument? Anyways since the image failed to provide a citation (those are important if  you wanna make an argument) I will be kind and provide the citation for it and discuss it 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. I understand that there are people who call themselves Christians who end up getting married to Muslims, Hindus and so on, which is VERY BAD because what do you teach your children about your faith? The concept of faith is the fact that it's exclusive. You cannot be a Hindu and a Muslim at the same time, the 2 beliefs DO NOT correlate, in the same way you cannot be a Christian and a Muslim, or a Pagan and a Mormon. In a like manner, I cannot be married to someone who thinks I should be a Muslim instead of a Christian, it's just logical. So I don't understand why this is on a list of supposed negatives, since this is a positive. I mean seriously, how can an Atheist and a Christian be married. The only way they can function is if one relents their faith OR doesn't take their faith seriously. It's best to be married to someone who shares your world view as opposed to someone who rejects your world view.

14  Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“ I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17 “ Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 “ And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.

So it's only logical. Is this supposed to be a bad thing? Is it a bad thing to marry someone who believes as you do? I'm not sure what the point is.

2) A wife should be subordinate.
I'd like to point out that they misspelled Ephesians, but that's neither here nor there. So obviously this is attempting to imply that The Bible is sexist towards women, specifically wives. As if to say that the stereotype of the Beer Drinking Abusive Couch Potato screaming at his Wife to make him a sandwich is the way a Christian house hold should be. I'm amused that this person KNOWS the exact passage BUT, wouldn't you know it, DOESN'T QUOTE THE REST OF IT! Gee, I wonder why? Let's take a look at it. Eph 5:22-29

22  Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
2 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26  so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

OH WOW, would you look at that! " Husbands ought also to loves their own wives AS THEIR OWN BODIES! How sexist ! How horrible! My goodness! Husbands are supposed to die for their wives as Jesus died for The Church! WOW! Yeah I can see how oppressive this is for women. I can't imagine why a woman would want a man to be willing to die for her and love her as if she was his own body. I'll stop being sarcastic now and take this point home. Let's take a look at 1 Cor 7:2-4.

But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

What's this? Could this be teaching MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITIES?! Yes. The Husband has responsibilities to The Wife and The Wife has responsibilities to The Husband. Also the authority of their bodies are mutually exchanged. As much as people would like to paint Christianity as an oppressive male oriented construct, it really fails as that because in order for it to be oppressive to women it'd actually have to oppressive. This could be achieved by saying that the woman is property of the man and things of that nature, BUT it doesn't. The Bible makes it clear that Husbands and Wives share a mutual authority over each other, The Husband must be willing to die for his Wife, and The Wife must be willing to be subjected to her Husband. The CATCH of this is the woman herself. If she marries a man worthy of her respect then she WILL subject herself to that man, because she respects his judgment and everything else.  Col 3:18-19

18  Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19  Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

If she does not, then it is not The Bible's fault that she married a man unworthy of her respect. Simple as that. Don't blame The Bible for oppression, blame the morons like the person who made this image who only quote HALF of a scripture and point to it as doctrine.

3. She must prove her virginity lest she be stoned. (Duet 22: 20-21)
First of all the image above suggests that these two points run in tandem together, HOWEVER the purity laws outlined in Deuteronomy and Leviticus no longer carried the same penalty by the writing of Ephesians. So correlating the 2 is wrongly connecting 2 different periods of time. Furthermore, we must remember that Israel was under a theocracy at the time (outlined in Duet 28). Since they were under a theocracy, their obedience is following The Law was the means in which they were allowed to remain in The Land Of Canaan, failure to follow The Law would result in expulsion from The Land Of Canaan. But since we're no longer under a theocracy this does not apply to OUR American culture and no Christian would suggest that it should.

During those times which was 3,000 years ago AND an VERY different culture than ours under a VERY different governmental system, sexual purity was highly valued (unlike today where sexual purity is frowned upon while sexual promiscuity is praised). Sexual promiscuity was seen as being a prostitute, since the daughter was offering herself to men who did not seek to provide for her nor offer her protection. When a man sought a wife, the potential wife's Father was paid a dowry. The Dowry was NOT a payment for the daughter's hand in marriage, the dowry was more or less proof that the potential husband could provide for the daughter. During those times Israel was a HEAVILY patriarchal society. The Father was the provider for the family and the daughter was under HIS protection (the practice of the wife changing their surname after getting married is a symbolic gesture that states that the wife is no longer under the protection of her father but her husband). The Father's ability to not only protect and provide for his daughter but raise her correctly (according to The Law) was something that every Father during those times took seriously.

If his daughter was found to be engaging in promiscuous sex, this would reflect VERY badly on the Father, and further it would be seen as an affront to God's Law which STRICTLY prohibits sex outside of marriage. Since The Law was broken and The Wife deceived her Husband into making him believe she was a virgin, restitution must be made, the only way to achieve this is by punishing the sin and she would have to be put to death. For the first reason that she has brought massive shame upon herself and her family, she lied to her husband and she broke the Law of God.This is not to advocate Honor Killings. This is a cultural statute ONLY upheld during the Theocracy of the time, NO Christian would support this practice nowadays because THANKFULLY we are no longer responsible for upholding The Cultural penalties of The Law.

4. Marriage Should Be Arranged.
You didn't even provide a citation for this one. Why should I even bother to refute it if no citation is provided? This is the BIGGEST problem with things like this. People simply make a statement, offer NO citation or reference and then expect you to know what they're saying. Frustrates the crap outta me. BUT since I'm a nice guy I'll provide the citation and examine it. But let me start by saying The Bible DOES NOT make any statement that marriages should be arranged. Arranged Marriages are cultural things and as I've said before "Christianity will work in ANY government and cultural that will ALLOW it to work.". There are actually very FEW arranged marriages in The Bible. Isaac and Rebekah were an arranged marriage, but God neither endorses nor disapproves of arranged marriages, so saying that The Bible outright teaches that marriages should be arranged is like saying that daughters should have sex with their father simply because Lot's daughters slept with him. Just because something happens in The Bible doesn't mean God gave his outright consent and endorsement of such behavior.

I should also note that during those times members of the opposite sex didn't hobknob like we do today, there were no such things a dating ect. ect. the vast majority of relationships were family assisted and were always within the confines of the culture, this was to ensure that not only would the potential husband/wife would trustworthy, but it would ensure that the potential husband/wife would be cared for or be able to care for, and would maintain orthodoxy within the culture. Nowadays our society has changed BUT the ideology has not in regards to marrying someone who can provide for you, you can trust, and who shares your ideology. In our culture today we're able to make those choices without family assistance, BUT if there is a culture that continues arranged marriages there's nothing inherently wrong in such a practice. The Bible does not teach for it nor does it teach against it. Whoever wrote this needs to check their facts.

5. A Widow Must Marry Her Husband's Brother If She Does Not Have A Son. (Deut 25:5-10)
Once again this is a CULTURAL issue not an issues with the practice of marriage. The issue in this scenario is NOT simply marrying your husband's brother, it's the issue of inheritance. The property the Husband owned, as a right of legality should remain within the Husband's family. If the widow marries someone outside of that family, the property would go to someone outside of that family. Therefore The Law of Moses dictated that property should remain in the family and the only way to do this is to re-establish the lineage. This was achieved through providing an heir to the property. One could argue why the widow couldn't retain ownership of the property, but once again we'd get into a discussion of the culture. Israel was a heavily male driven society and the first male heir would be in line to receive all of that which was his father's. This was seen as an obligation not only before the family but before the wife. Therefore The Brother would step forward and provide an heir who would be named after his dead brother so the lineage would continue and his brother's property would remain with the family. Failure to do this would result in leaving the widow destitute and would result in the dead brother's property falling prey to another family since there is no heir to stake legal claim over it. The circumstances of this overrides the passages of Lev 18:16 and 20:21. This responsibility is hinted at in Genesis 38 and with Ruth & Boaz in Ruth. BUT once again THIS IS A CULTURAL thing! The Bible is NOT teaching that ALL cultures should function in such a way. Every cultural has their own marriage customs and legal provisions in terms of inheritance and so on. Jesus elaborate on this in the verses provided in the image Mark 12:18-27 So offering this as an objection to Biblical marriage is foolish because they're merely offering an objection to Israel's culture. You can object if you like BUT this is no longer in effect so you're ultimately objecting to nothing.

6. Many Men Of God Were Married And Had Concubines & God frequently blessed polygamists.
I'm combining these two since they're the same argument. I'm gonna make a statement here. WE ARE ALL SINNERS! EVERY LAST ONE OF US ARE SINNERS! Romans 3:9-23. Paul HIMSELF declared that he was the chief of sinners 1 Tim 1:15. That being said, every last one of us have sins we've committed, however many of us are blessed. Pharaoh was not a Christian and was blessed with great wealth and one of the biggest kingdoms in the history of the world. What are we to assume from this? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:45. The Bible makes it clear that ALL good things come from God James 1:17. So how does all of this tie into marriage? Well if we acknowledge that we're all sinners, then you must acknowledge that we all commit sins. King David is described as a Man after God's Heart Acts 13:22, but not even that moniker exempts him from his status as a sinner. As such, David indirectly killed a man to sleep with his wife, while David was already married. David committed murder and adultery. BUT David repented from his actions. He couldn't divorce Bethsheba because he had already married her and once that happens he's stuck, regardless of his other wives. David didn't lose his kingdom, nor did he lose his kingship or his wealth or power, so what are we to gleam from this? That God is A-OKAY with adultery and murder?

NO! We're supposed to realize that EVERYONE IS A SINNER AND GOD WORKS WITH SINNERS! Paul was a murderer, he carted Christians off to The Jews to be killed and jailed. After Paul's encounter with God, Paul REPENTED and became one of the most vocal supporters of Christ. WE'RE ALL SINNERS and God blesses EACH AND EVERYONE OF US! I've stated before that I am a recovering porn addict and God has blessed me with a job, an amazing girlfriend, a family, a roof over my head, clothes on my back and so on. So the bases of the argument ignores the fact that polygamy is a sin and every last one of us are sinners. As if to say simply because God blessed a polygamist is approval of polygamy is similar to saying that because God blessed Pharaoh with all he had God approved of the worship of other gods. NO!

We need to understand that God does NOT approve of polygamy, as established in the very FIRST marriage in Genesis 2:24. Furthermore Jesus makes a references to marriages being exclusively monogamous citing ONE MAN & ONE WOMAN as the blueprint for a marriage and rejecting deviations Matt 19:3-1. Furthermore God expressed His disapproval of The Old Testament kings having many wives in Deut 17:14-17. In The Bible marriage is seen as a spiritual act of merging 2 people to become one, this is echoed in Jesus' teachings Matthew 19:4-6.

And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

This is echoed again in Ephesians 5:28-29, 1st Corinthians 7:4, and 1st Corinthians 6:15-17.

28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

15  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “ The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

So yes, CLEARLY The Bible teaches AGAINST polygamy! BUT if that doesn't convince you then let's look at what The Church is supposed to do, after all The Church is supposed to model of moral practices concerning all things in society, let's see what The Bible has to say about church leaders.
1 Tim 3:2, 12 & Titus 1:6.

An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

12  Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.

namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.

SO CLEARLY The Bible is against it's church leaders having more than one wife, it's against it's the kings having more than one wife, Jesus and His disciples taught monogamy whenever discussing marriage, so I'm 100% sure without a shadow of a doubt that God fully and completely disapproves of polygamy as much as He does every other sin. Merely blessing a sinner is NOT approval of their actions, since we're all sinners the only people God can bless are sinners. But Earthly blessings such as health, wealth and so on and NOT equal to spiritual blessings of faith, repentance and so on. Meaning simply because God blessed you does not mean that you are going to Heaven. The gift of Heaven is a spiritual blessing given to those who repent and trust in The Lord our savior Jesus Christ. While we all may receive earthly blessings, our earthly blessing must NOT take our eyes of God as they did The Rich Man in Luke 18:18-29. The Bible warns us about worshiping our blessings as opposed to worshiping the one who gave it to us. The image above makes the assumption that simply because God allows something to happen He approves of it. God has allowed incest but strictly forbids it (Lev 18:6), God has allowed homosexuality but strictly forbids it (Lev 18:22, Romans 1:24-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10), God allowed bestiality but strictly forbids it (Lev 18:23), God allowed murder, and adultery and so many other things but His Law is clear on forbidding such actions and labeling them as sin, to suggest that just because these things happen God gives His approvals is both foolish and childish. That's like suggesting that because murders occur the police are okay with it.

Images like these are set up to appeal to the snark crowd, people who don't REALLY want to discuss the topics being raised rather they want to appear to be knowledgeable WITHOUT having studied the material they're addressing at all. The unfortunate thing is despite the time I spent writing this article, providing citations and references to support the various points I'm making, NO ONE WILL CARE and people will still go around posting this images as if it holds ANY weight once you really think about the topics being raised. My only hope is that if you're reading this article you are NOT one of those people and will think twice about such images once they appear wherever you see them. People who post, support and endorse this image are clearly unable to think beyond the shallow points of snark and sarcasm. Let's see which one of us are actually thinking and which one of us are not, anyway I believe the proper term here is Check & Mate.


The Reginator said...

"Once again this is a CULTURAL issue"
Oh, so that's a cultural issue.
Says what? The Bible. Certainly not. hypocrite!

Ugo Strange said...

You fail to understand that there are different sections of The Law that cater to different aspects of society.

Ergo Don't commit Murder, theft and adultery are Moral Laws. Eating Shellfish is NOT a moral law, it's a dietary one.

The concept I discussed in that section of my articles is dealing with social customs within the nation of Israel. Christianity does not require us to behave like Ancient Israelites. Furthermore the economic situation was entirely different in those days. Therefore THAT cultural made certain cultural requirements that weren't applicable to other cultures but theirs.