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Monogamy


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Polygamy is all over the Bible. Christianity has done its best to avoid this fact as it contradicts Paul's teaching that Christians should have one partner. One of their favorite techniques is "the original intent." Basicly, the original intent argument is that because God created one man and one woman, everybody is only supposed to have one partner. God allowed polygamy in the Old Testament but it wasn't "the ideal."

 

This argument however begs the question: why would God not make a law against polygamy if He was against it? He had no problem with saying that He was against homosexuality, eating pork, etc. but according to Christianity, He said nothing about polygamy but was still against it.

 

The Jews allowed polygamy except in Christian countries throughout their history. In Christian countries, when Jews tried to be polygamous, the Christian majority would call them immoral. To take the moral high ground, European rabbis condemned polygamy. In Arab and African countries however, Jews still had multiple partners into the 20th century. When modern Israel was formed, many of the Jews there had multiple partners. The government deemed these relationships legal but stated that no further polygamy would be allowed, to make the laws equal.

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Well, I guess we have to accept the original intent excuse (I've heard that one before, I believe it was in a children's compendium of bible stories), considering how many other 'original intents' of god seem to have been thwarted.

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...

The Jews allowed polygamy except in Christian countries throughout their history. In Christian countries, when Jews tried to be polygamous, the Christian majority would call them immoral. To take the moral high ground, European rabbis condemned polygamy. In Arab and African countries however, Jews still had multiple partners into the 20th century. When modern Israel was formed, many of the Jews there had multiple partners. The government deemed these relationships legal but stated that no further polygamy would be allowed, to make the laws equal.

 

Could you supply a footnote or two on Jewish polygamy in countries not dominated by Christians -- and modern Israel's encounter with polygamy? I've never heard of this before, so would like to know more. Thanks.

 

Paul encouraged chastity, but allowed marriage in order to sublimate sexual energy. He forbade polygamy for leaders of the church. But I don't know that there is an explicit prohibition of polygamy in the NT for the layperson. Is there, anyone?

 

-CC in MA

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My source is Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

 

Thank you. Another book for my amazon.com list. I've got to get another job if I'm going to buy all these books...but then I wouldn't have time to read 'em!

 

-CC in MA

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Christians interpret the Bible according to their Western culture and not through the Ancient culture in which it was written. Marriage and a wife were very different concepts to the ancients than they are to us today. The New Testament is eerily silent on the very common ancient practices of concubinage, sexual access to slaves, and the prolific patronizing of prostitutes.

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Christians interpret the Bible according to their Western culture and not through the Ancient culture in which it was written. Marriage and a wife were very different concepts to the ancients than they are to us today. The New Testament is eerily silent on the very common ancient practices of concubinage, sexual access to slaves, and the prolific patronizing of prostitutes.

 

Yes. Christians need to learn much more about the origin of their faith, about Judaism in particular. But, like most people, many are not interested in such intellectual work.

 

Several good books that I have read that help bridge the gap are:

 

Anything written by Rabbi Harold Kushner

What Christians Need to Know About Jews and Judaism

The Gospel According to Moses: What My Jewish Friends Taught Me About Jesus

 

Regarding the second matter, the NT urges sexual purity (whatever that is) and specifically condemns joining the "temple of the Holy Spirit" (one's body) with the "body of a prostitute."

 

-CC in MA

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Regarding the second matter, the NT urges sexual purity (whatever that is) and specifically condemns joining the "temple of the Holy Spirit" (one's body) with the "body of a prostitute."

 

-CC in MA

How do the literalist Christian understand that passage "temple of the Holy Spirit" if not meaning that God is in you? Why do they keep kicking this Essence out of themselves and putting him in some supernatural realm? Even Jesus says several times about God being in you and stuff. I was just wondering if you knew???

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How do the literalist Christian understand that passage "temple of the Holy Spirit" if not meaning that God is in you? Why do they keep kicking this Essence out of themselves and putting him in some supernatural realm? Even Jesus says several times about God being in you and stuff. I was just wondering if you knew???

 

Good question.

 

I think the view is that the Holy Spirit literally joins with one's own essence, or spirit, in literal communion, as an infusion of energy from God. As the human spirit is housed in the body, or temple, so too is the divine spirit.

 

I also think that the view commonly held is that God is within us and outside us. The dominion of God is within and without.

 

Seems that the Essense is both a spark of divinity within and a fire of divinity without. I think.

 

-CC in MA

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How do the literalist Christian understand that passage "temple of the Holy Spirit" if not meaning that God is in you? Why do they keep kicking this Essence out of themselves and putting him in some supernatural realm? Even Jesus says several times about God being in you and stuff. I was just wondering if you knew???

 

Good question.

 

I think the view is that the Holy Spirit literally joins with one's own essence, or spirit, in literal communion, as an infusion of energy from God. As the human spirit is housed in the body, or temple, so too is the divine spirit.

 

I also think that the view commonly held is that God is within us and outside us. The dominion of God is within and without.

 

Seems that the Essense is both a spark of divinity within and a fire of divinity without. I think.

 

-CC in MA

Yet they are one, right?

 

I see it as you do, I think, but many don't. They see themselves as filthy humans that God doesn't even want to touch. They are miserable. I see this only happening when they move this Essence outside themselves in the first place (turning away from God). This metaphor doesn't mean to turn your head and look away in a literal sense. It means leaving God somewhere outside oneself and living your life thinking that God is not with you. It doesn't mean that God is watching, it means that God is a part of who you are. Maybe that's why they are miserable and make everyone else around them miserable too. Ironic...they try so hard to look outside themselves to find what is already within. They have turned away.

 

Isn't it funny that in the west it is seen as heresy to claim that we are God, but in the far east it is accepted as fact? How do they live with this division of thought? They aren't bringing the opposites together as they should, IMO. God is within and without. The formless and the forms are not separate, but opposites that are ultimately one. :shrug:

 

Sometimes I have to wonder....

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