"The Christian Marriage"
Not sure if this is really the correct place to post this since the topic at hand doesn't strictly have to do with polyamory, but it is about spirituality so I didn't know where else to put it!
I see a lot of people comment on having been in and taught the "Christian Marriage" and it being a major hurdle to their journey to poly. I was raised Southern Baptist. My grandpa was a pastor. I still consider myself a Christian, although in a different sense (the Christ-like sense, not the religious sense).
What I am curious about is why Christian husbands tend to get a bad reputation for being repressive and completely controlling. My family and the churches I have gone to have acknowledged that the husband is the head of the household and ultimate decision making is up to them and used various Biblical references to back it up and whatnot, BUT they have always also focused on passages such as I Peter 3:7 that tells husbands to treat their wives with understanding.
NONE of the devoutly Christian men I know would EVER do something to blatantly hurt their wives (i.e. expect them to completely stop being their own person after marriage, expect that a second wife would be acceptable without the first one agreeing, etc.). Am I just completely naive in thinking that the Bible as a whole teaches us to be loving and respectful of everyone regardless of gender, marital status, sexuality, or any other qualifier?
and what's more, the patriarchical system of the last 5000 years overcharged literature (and brainwashings) with cruelty and subjection (of course on women) through many official books and myths.
Just an opinion, but the bible itself has very little influence on the beliefs of many "Christians". They mostly just believe what is acceptable according to what their preacher/other people at church/their politician of choice says. In summary, religion, even the most peaceful, well-meaning religions, have been used by those in authority to brainwash people into following a paradigm they think would be useful to them. Giving the head of household power over the family was just a convenient interpretation.
That being said, the bible is a wonderful book, and, if people actually read it and interpretted it for themselves, Christianity would look a lot different. I'm glad that your church preaches love instead of hate. :)
What is the first rule? "Love God" (which, according to I Corinthians, God IS Love) what is the second rule? "Love thy neighbor".
I suppose this is the problem I have with organized religion and why I call myself a Christian now instead of a Baptist. lol I don't attend church anymore because I moved to a larger city for school, and all of the ones I've visited here DON'T preach love.
Neegoola - I understand that society was VERY different in Biblical times. I am not denying that there are terrible stories and situations in it and in general women were treated as property, but I don't feel like that is the moral of the story. Are you taking the Bible as a whole and calling it trash or are you looking at individual pieces and judging it by that?
"If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death." (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)
"Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed." (Exodus 22:19 NAB)
"They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman." (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
"But if this charge is true (that she wasn't a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father's house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst." (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)
Yes, you are, but that's not a bad thing. Most people follow what's taught in church without reading the Bible objectively because they're taught to not question religion. It means eternal damnation to do so. If you believe you'll be separated from the kingdom of heaven, would you want to risk that? It's understandable.
Having read the old testament and skimmed parts of the new testament, I can see the foundations of the Bible are wrought with men of power killing women for not conforming to man-made roles, killing men who don't conform to their beliefs and roles, and God plays the biggest murderer throughout the Bible.
Luckily, modern Christianity is conformed to today's first world standards of morality more so than the laws of the Bible. Understand the Bible is very old. Not only that, but some parts of much older than others, and there are even texts of earlier Judism and Christianity that were left out of the canon as we know it. It doesn't teach love until Jesus comes around, and even then, it's conditioned on the worship of the God of the Bible.
"For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me." (Luke 19-26-27) I read the chapter surrounding this quote, and from what I understand, it was Jesus saying this to a rich man who offered to let Jesus stay with him on his way to Jerusalem.
Anyways, just because a culture teaches you that something is right, doesn't mean it is so. Same goes for religious/spiritual beliefs, politics, and relationship ideals to name a couple. If we follow the new testament's version of marriage, it's between a man and woman, and of definite gender roles in the house hold, and the male role automatically comes with more power and control over the family. In today's modern society, it makes little sense to continue this tradition as women are working as equal members of the community, working and earning more power among everyone else.
At least that's how I've some to understand things. The Bible as a whole seems to teach things like bigotry, hate crime, fear of differing religious/cultural views, fear of questioning, it's full of contradictions, it teaches genocide, racism, sexism, and the moral of the story is "Worship the God of the Bible or else". That's the point of the original scriptures, was to organize Christianity into something to be followed, and it was militant in nature in it's early to middle times.
Now to address the male dominating the house hold thing; I have read a marriage pamphlet that was very much Christian in it's ideals (it self proclaimed as such), and it was quite biased towards the woman serving the man while the man sustains ownership of the household, essentially. This doesn't mean abuse necessarily of course, but it does mean inequality based on sex. Not ever based on gender, but on one's genitalia. Man has run of the home, and the woman works to maintain it, and to make her husband happy (which is a job no one should be put up to). It's inherently flawed, in my opinion.
I don't think citing religious law shows that followers of a particular faith should not be loving - punishment for religious crimes (which is what is referred to in all of those verses) is not the purpose of the text or of the religion. Consequences for various actions are a part of every religion, but that doesn't mean that the only thing people should learn from it is to avoid those actions so that they don't get punished.
Here are a few POSITIVE things to think about when you think of the Bible and marriage (even with men holding the power):
Ephesians 5:25-28 (NIV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
-My take- Husbands are to love their wives and treat them with the same type love and respect that Christ has given the church (CHRIST, not God, so vindictive/angry/actions meant to punish from the Old Testament are not an argument against this). A man should treat his wife as well as he treats himself. Granted, this is a New Testament verse which means that by this time "Christians" (not Jews - although Christianity is merely a sect of Judaism - but that is a whole other thing) should be focused on the expanded teachings that include the behaviors as Christ as an example. Christ had great respect for women and pushed the boundaries of society by teaching them and treating them as equals to men in many cases.
I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
-My take- Love (which is what a man should have for his wife) is good and causes the person feeling it to treat the recipient with these good qualities.
Proverbs 31:28-31 (NIV)
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
-My take-A good wife who fears the Lord (it's a religious text, you have to expect the religious caveat) should be honored and praised for her goodness. I made sure to include an Old Testament verse to show that even before Jesus there were instructions and encouragement to treat spouses with caring.
As for the marriage being between a man and a woman, I heard a podcast the other day that went through all of the verses people normally cite in anti-gay marriage campaigns and showed how they could be interpreted to SUPPORT gay marriage claims. I will ask my brother in law to get me the info on it so I can share who it was that was speaking.
I understand it is all about interpretation, but why is everyone always so quick to interpret things in a negative light?
Wow. maybe the toughest of all subjects.
The bible has something for everyone in it, it has been proclaimed. there are several instances of group marriage in the old testament. the new testament seems to stay away from polyamory, and one could speculate that its messages were for people who were not well-to-do financially. if they were well off there might very well have been more than two in a marriage.
Also, many of the people in the new testament may very well have been involved romantically with more than one partner in a live-in arrangement. the scriptures say nothing about that one way or another.
It seems that the topic and its moral questions are left up to us post moderns. i've never read any opinion to the contrary. what we are 'supposed' to do or not do regarding someone we love is left up to our own hearts.
Is it right? only my heart can say. is it virtuous? only my heart knows. no one else but the people i make love to could have a voice here. is my love any of the many things the bible extols?
Who else could possibly say but me and my lovers?
Is our love pure? oh yes. always. and most pure when it is most dirty. :)
Of course I'd rather anyone who reads the Bible doesn't interpret it like Albert Fish for example. I'm glad people look at the Bible and strain out the good from everything else, even though it's an outdated source.
All in all, my main point is that the Bible is an outdated, hypocritic source to look when dealing with things such as marriage. It's wishy-washy-messy, and forces you to pick and choose what you want to believe, which only means you're conforming the Bible to what you already think. (I'm saying "you" in a general sense throughout this post, not necessarily as YOU btw haha).
All in all, I think this is a very good, debatable topic and I'm glad you brought it up, even if in the end, we agree to disagree. :)
well, this all seems to have it covered.
no i'm not kidding. got sharp brains here. this is a great site.
not being sarcastic or ironic or any shit. we got good men and women.
i agree the bible says everything to anyone.
so is there an answer? to the thread starter's question?
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