Sunday, May 12, 2013

How Jesus' Views on Marriage Proves Yahweh's Laws are NOT Absolute OR Jesus is Mistaken

Marriage is still viewed as a sacred institution in our society.  Christians view it as a "gift from god," or a"spiritual representation" of their relationship with God.   Truth be told however, the institution of marriage came about for economic reasons, and not out of love for a god, or the love for a potential mate.

Marriage has been defined differently by different cultures four thousands of years, and not solely in the realm of Christian societies. In many cases, arrangements were made, dowries were paid, children were born, and people worked together to provide the necessities of life.  Marriage was a contract.  Marriages have also not always been monogamous.  In fact, approximately one in six of the 1,195 societies surveyed in the largest anthropological dataset have been defined as being monogamous,* making monogamy something of an enigma.

Biblically, marriage was also a form of contract that had little or nothing to do with love, and in many cases, if not most, these marriages were polygamous.  Historically, the wealthier one was, the more wives one tended to have. (Consider King Solomon and his 700 wives and his 300 concubines.)  Polygamy was most certainly a permitted practice. Although the Romans and Greeks are said to have practiced monogamy--which some say influenced Western Societies to adopt this practice--their version of monogamy was something of a sham.  Roman men who were married could and did have relations with their wives and their slaves, and this was not considered adultery, as slaves were possessions--not people.   Furthermore, the practice of pederasty (in which a man "passed his knowledge" to a young male protege via homosexual sex) was also considered normal in Roman society, and was not a form of adultery.  The normalcy of this practice is made mention of in the Bible, although not directly.  In Matthew 8:5-13, Jesus was asked by a Roman centurion to heal his "pais" (male slave), and made no mention of any sins being committed.  Logically speaking, if pederasty itself was considered sinful, then it would make sense that he would have denigrated a practice that was widely practiced in the Hellenized world that he lived in--but he did not.  But I digress.  Not only did Jesus not speak out against pederasty, niether he nor Paul spoke much on the subject of marriage.  What Jesus did say however, was in reference to a question of divorce.  When Jesus told his disciples man could only divorce when adultery was committed, they decided maybe it was better not to marry.  Jesus concurred by saying some men became eunuchs to avoid marriage, and the "sins" of the flesh.  Note also that Jesus contradicted himself when he said "Therefore, what God has joined together, let NO ONE separate," but then goes on say that well, it is ok to separate if one has committed adultery:

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason? Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”  Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom  of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”  Matt. 19:3-12

Neither Jesus nor Paul put much stock in the institution of marriage. Paul  made it known that marriage is for those that "can't help themselves" and it would be better if they did not marry (1 Cor. 7:8-9) as they would be better able to "serve the Lord" without the distraction of "lust."  (Although, this tactic hasn't worked out too well for the priesthood.)  Furthermore, as late as 393 CE, the Roman state forbade Jews to ‘enter into several matrimonies at the same time’ (Justinian Code1.9.7)** which illustrates that polygamy was routinely practiced by the Jews who worship the same god the so-called monogamous Christians do.  Therefore, we can say that marriage is not well defined by the Abrahamic god and his "writings."  More importantly, this illustrates that the "absolute" laws of Yahweh, are not so absolute at all, when Moses said it IS possible to divorce, and Jesus said it was not (i.e., let NO ONE separate {a universal term})--and then when he was challenged on this mistake by the Pharisees, Jesus added the ad hoc exception to the rule--making him less than perfect.  Jesus seems to imply that Yahweh created his laws based on  how people feel at that given time.  (They were "hard hearted" at the time of Moses.) The implication of Jesus' statement is that the laws are NOT absolute, and they change based on social conditions.

That being said, even in Christian societies the rules and regulations concerning marriage has changed significantly. Governance of marriage proceedings only became an institution of the church in approximately the 13th century.  Before that time, those speaking for their God pretty much kept their noses out of the business of marriage.  Since then however, the church has felt the need to tell people what defines marriage and who they can and cannot marry--when they themselves have no consistent Biblical doctrines which uphold their views. (The more the church infiltrated the lives of their flocks after all, the more power they had over them.) Church fathers did, and continue to this day to instill their OWN bigoted views on homosexuality and gay marriage, interracial marriages, and interfaith marriages on their flocks, to the detriment of the happiness of those involved.  Again--due strictly to their own bigoted views.  How shameful.  If Jesus did exist in the person most Christians describe--I know he would not be pleased.

** Ibid.

Please see the following post for more information on "Absolute Laws."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good article. The point you make, that yahweh's laws are not absolute, is priceless. That they change based on social conditions, is one I can definitely use.. Thx lmcq

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