Biblical Marriage: Not a Pretty Picture

Christian apologetics and atheismWhat does the Bible say about marriage? Jesus said, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Mark 10:8). Sounds like today’s conservative position, with no restrictions against interracial marriage and no allowance for same-sex marriage.

But the Bible says much about marriage, and things get muddier when we look at the big picture.

Interracial Marriage. Deut. 7:3 says, “Do not intermarry with [those in the Canaanite tribes]. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons.” King Solomon got into trouble for violating this rule and marrying foreign wives (1 Kings 11).

So the Bible says that marriage is with someone of your own tribe.

Concubine Sex. King Solomon famously had 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Four of Jacobs 12 sons were from servants of his two wives, and Abraham’s first child was from his wife’s slave. Frankly, I’m unclear on the difference between wives and concubines, though one source emphasizes the similarity—concubines had similar privileges and their children had similar rights.

So the Bible legitimates sex with and children from concubines.

Rape. Courtship rituals vary by society, but here’s an unusual approach: “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her” (Deut. 22:28–9).

So the Bible says that if you see a woman and don’t want to go through that whole getting-permission thing, you can rape and then marry her.

Captured Women. “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” (Num. 31:17–18 and see also Deut. 21:11) I don’t know what we’re talking about here—whether it’s wife, concubine, or sex slave.

So the Bible says that capturing women (virgins only, please) is a reasonable way to get a bedmate. It doesn’t much matter whether the woman is on board with the project or not.

Slave Marriage. Exodus 21:4 says that a male Jewish slave can be released, but any wife given to him by his master (and her children) remain the master’s property.

So the Bible says that ownership trumps marriage.

Levirate Marriage. Say a man is married but dies before he has any children. Who inherits his stuff? To solve this problem, the Bible demands that another brother must marry this sister-in-law, with the firstborn child considered the dead brother’s heir. The Bible does more than simply document a curious Jewish custom; God enforces it with the death penalty (Gen. 38:8–10).

So the Bible says that getting children as heirs for a deceased brother is more important than having your own children.

Polygamy. Abraham had two wives. Jacob had two (or four, depending on how you count them). Solomon had 700.

God said to David, “I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” (2 Sam. 12:8). God has his complaints about David, but polygamy isn’t one of them.

So the Bible says that marriage is between a man and one or more women.

Apologists like to excuse the Bible’s craziness with its many variations on marriage by saying that it simply reflects the culture of the time. It applied then, but it doesn’t apply now. I can accept that—just do the same when the Bible says, “A man shall not lie down with a man.” Put that into the same bin as levirate marriage, polygamy, or killing everyone in a tribe except the hot women that are kept for your pleasure.

Today’s Christian enthusiasm for marriage certainly wasn’t mirrored by the early church. Here’s what Paul says: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman” (1 Cor. 7:1). So much for the celebrated role of procreation.

Paul said, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry” (1 Cor. 7:8–9). In other words, marriage is the second best option.

Paul also rejects divorce (7:10–11). Those Christians concerned about the purity of marriage might want to look at their own house to see if they’re following the rules. (You could say that Paul rejected marriage only because he thought the end was near. This might help reinterpret his curious views on marriage, but of course his being dramatically wrong raises a whole new set of problems.)

Marriage wasn’t even a Christian sacrament until the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. This wasn’t a popular move among civil authorities of the time, because it granted the church the power to decide which marriages were legal and which not—and therefore decide which contracts (often based on marriages) were valid and which not. When the Pope didn’t like an alliance, he could just annul the appropriate marriage.

The argument that the Bible and the Church make a clear and unambiguous declaration that marriage is between a man and a woman is in tatters. Sure, let’s celebrate marriage, but let’s not delude ourselves about how recent our view of marriage is.

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36 thoughts on “Biblical Marriage: Not a Pretty Picture

  1. You would actually be able to give some of your concerns a lot more weight if you didn’t bundle them with so many dubious ones.

    For example, you regard it as a negative point that the Bible proscribes certain things regarding marriage (eg Levirate marriage). And then you regard certain activities of the time (eg polygamy) that the Bible does not approve as a negative against the Bible. Even in cases where it is obvious that the behaviour is not approved of (eg Solomon’s concubines). In fact, through reading the Old Testament narratives, two traditions that were deeply embedded in ancient culture were repeatedly subverted – polygamy and primogeniture. There is no situation recorded in the Bible where having more than one wife results in good, or where the eldest child gaining the inheritance results in good.

    I actually think that your problem in this area (as in others) is that you read the Bible like a fundamentalist. You are only prepared to look at what they call the literal meaning, but which is really the surface meaning. You both never get past the text to the subtext. If you’re willing to do the harder work of trying to work out what the Bible authors were trying to say, instead of quote-mining for examples that will horrify the modern mind, you will find a Bible that, while you still may not agree with it, you will be able to appreciate much more.

    • If you’re willing to do the harder work of trying to work out what the Bible authors were trying to say, instead of quote-mining for examples that will horrify the modern mind…

      Quote-mine me some examples of family values in the Bible.

    • Karl:

      the Bible proscribes certain things regarding marriage (eg Levirate marriage).

      I think you meant “prescribes.” To proscribe means to condemn as harmful. Just a typo, I’m guessing.

      And then you regard certain activities of the time (eg polygamy) that the Bible does not approve as a negative against the Bible.

      The Bible doesn’t approve of polygamy? Where does it say that? Or are you saying that the Bible’s acknowledgement of the practice with no specific ruling amounts to condemnation?

      The Bible acknowledges sheep herding without judgment. Do we conclude that that is condemned also?

      Speaking about the many things he has given, including multiple wives, God said to David, “if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more.” Sounds like God is A-OK with polygamy.

      Even in cases where it is obvious that the behaviour is not approved of (eg Solomon’s concubines).

      And precisely what annoyed God? That Solomon had more than one wife? Of course not–reread 1 Kings 11. It’s that they were foreigners.

      There is no situation recorded in the Bible where having more than one wife results in good

      Jacob had 2 or 4 wives, depending on how you count. He created the 12 progenitors of the 12 tribes of Israel. Was that yet another evil fruit of polygamy?

      I actually think that your problem in this area (as in others) is that you read the Bible like a fundamentalist.

      Yes, I do rather read it like a fundamentalist. I want to see the Bible for precisely what it says, without sugar coating. The problem, as I suspect you’ll agree, is when you come across something you don’t like in the Bible and then you spin it to take the shape of your theology. Wouldn’t letting the Bible speak for itself be better?

      Now, if you’re saying that for most nasty passages in the Bible, you can find another elsewhere that says the opposite, I’ll agree. But now we’ve got a whole new problem–the Bible as contradictory hodge-podge.

      If you’re willing to do the harder work of trying to work out what the Bible authors were trying to say

      I’m happy to discover what the authors were trying to say. However, I have zero patience with someone using the Bible as a ventriloquist’s dummy to make it say what they want to say (and, again, I suspect we agree).

      • I think you meant “prescribes.” To proscribe means to condemn as harmful. Just a typo, I’m guessing.

        Thanks for picking that up

        The Bible doesn’t approve of polygamy? Where does it say that? Or are you saying that the Bible’s acknowledgement of the practice with no specific ruling amounts to condemnation?

        What I said there was that the Bible doesn’t approve of polygamy, not that it expressly condemns polygamy or that by not being approved polygamy is condemned.

        Where things get interesting is what I was saying later, where the story of the Bible subverts the practice of polygamy. Sarah and Hagar, Rachel and Leah, David’s many wives, every example of polygamy leads to family strife.

        Jacob had 2 or 4 wives, depending on how you count. He created the 12 progenitors of the 12 tribes of Israel. Was that yet another evil fruit of polygamy?

        And they were all one happy family, right? Actually, no. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and consequently loved Rachel’s children more than the others which created such resentment in the others that they were prepared to kill Joseph.

        Yes, I do rather read it like a fundamentalist. I want to see the Bible for precisely what it says, without sugar coating. The problem, as I suspect you’ll agree, is when you come across something you don’t like in the Bible and then you spin it to take the shape of your theology. Wouldn’t letting the Bible speak for itself be better?
        Now, if you’re saying that for most nasty passages in the Bible, you can find another elsewhere that says the opposite, I’ll agree. But now we’ve got a whole new problem–the Bible as contradictory hodge-podge.

        The important thing is to try to understand what the writers of the Bible were trying to say. Fundamentalists often aren’t interested in understanding the context of a passage. And it is possible to play the game both ways, finding proof-texts that appear to support one position or another.

        Whenever you come across a “contradiction”, you need to ask yourself whether the original readers (and earlier readers) would have noticed. Usually in most cases the writers themselves woud have been aware of these “contradictions”. Would they really have been so stupid as to not notice these contradictions? If you assume stupidity on the part of the authors then what the authors write will appear stupid to you. If you are willing to allow
        that the authors were intelligent and wise (even if you consider them fallible), then you give the possibility that what they have written is not as stupid as it might at first appear to you.

        • Where things get interesting is what I was saying later, where the story of the Bible subverts the practice of polygamy. Sarah and Hagar, Rachel and Leah, David’s many wives, every example of polygamy leads to family strife.

          So God gave minutely detailed rules about things such as clothing, food, worship, etc, but He decided to let humans figure things like monogamy out by trial and error?

          Whenever you come across a “contradiction”, you need to ask yourself whether the original readers (and earlier readers) would have noticed.

          Good point. We need to ask ourselves what the original writers and readers would have thought.

          The original authors and readers saw no contradictions because they simply had no problem with polygamy, stoning disobedient children, slavery, etc.

          Many of these contradictions only appear when we look at the Bible from a modern viewpoint. So what should we do then, regress back to a civilization where these things are acceptable and commonplace?

          If you are willing to allow that the authors were intelligent and wise (even if you consider them fallible), then you give the possibility that what they have written is not as stupid as it might at first appear to you.

          Likewise, if you are willing to allow the possibility the authors were fallible, then you might also be open to the possibility that what they wrote was simply a product of their culture. We can learn from the mistakes in the Old Testament only if we have the honesty and the courage to admit that the Old Testament is archaic and no longer applies.

          It is not as stupid as it first appears if you accept that it was written thousands of years ago by fallible humans who imagined a passionate God that was like themselves.

          What is written in the Old Testament is truly stupid if you think that it was written by an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving deity, and that it is timeless and somehow still applies today.

        • What I said there was that the Bible doesn’t approve of polygamy

          Agreed. There is no explicit, “Polygamy rules!” statement by God. Neither is there a “sheepherding rules!” statement, but we more or less figure that God is fine with sheepherding. Why make an exception for polygamy? It’s treated as an uninteresting trait of this culture.

          every example of polygamy leads to family strife.

          Knives are handy, but they can cut you. A little advice from someone wiser than you can be a big help. That God says, “OK, polygamy is like a knife, so here are some instructive stories to help you use it properly” is hardly a condemnation of polygamy. Said another way, God needs to work on his communication skills if he thinks this is supposed to be a clear smackdown of polygamy.

          Whenever you come across a “contradiction”, you need to ask yourself …

          If we’ve left behind the idea that the Bible makes a uniformly unambiguous statement about marriage to the idea that the many books written over many years gives a seemingly contradictory collection of arguments, then we’ve moved on to a different topic–how to salvage the idea of the Bible as an infallible and inerrant text (or perhaps salvaging that idea isn’t your goal).

          Would they really have been so stupid as to not notice these contradictions?

          I don’t assume that. I simply conclude that the Bible is full of contradictory verses. Making sense of them doesn’t invite but rather demands that the reader act as judge to make sense of them. And now we’ve entered a familiar world, the world that gives us 40,000+ sects of Christianity because the Bible is so open to reinterpretation. That’s terrific for people with agendas, because the Bible can be contorted to take on just about any shape they want (Jim Jones, David Koresh, Fred Phelps, and so on). But for those of us (perhaps you) who’d prefer a simple, unambiguous statement from God about what he wants, we’re out of luck.

        • Retro,
          You’re making exactly the error that I was cautioning Bob to avoid. Do you really think the ancient readers of the Old Testament just did not notice any “contradictions”? How do you explain the extensive Talmudic commentary on the Old Testament? How do you explain the Scriptural conundrums that were thrown at Jesus by various people, as well as the one’s he throws back at them?

          You may think it is archaic and simply doesn’t apply nowadays. If that is so, why are stories from the Old Testament continually being adapted for modern retellings? The Ten Commandments, Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, etc.

          Actually I do believe the Old Testament was a product of the culture. I just do not believe it was simply a product of the culture. Your explanations explains too little. It doesn’t explain why still today there are Jews who maintain Jewish traditions. It doesn’t explain the establishment of traditions such as the Passover, and so much more. In fact,your explanation explains nothing because it doesn’t answer the question of where the ancient Jewish culture came from and what made it distinct from the surrounding cultures.

          To say that it takes

          honesty and the courage to admit that the Old Testament is archaic and no longer applies.

          is somewhat begging the question. You are assuming that anyone who thinks otherwise is either dishonest or lacking courage. If that is the case, then why bother even talking about it?

        • If we’ve left behind the idea that the Bible makes a uniformly unambiguous statement about marriage to the idea that the many books written over many years gives a seemingly contradictory collection of arguments, then we’ve moved on to a different topic

          This is what I was alluding to in my opening comment. You have a valid point here that the Bible may not provide the basis that many seem to suggest it does for a marriage/family structure that seems to resemble the 1950s.

          But you allowed this valid point to be obscured in a bunch of other points (eg rape, captured women, slavery) that appear to be simply point-scoring for your cheerleaders.

          And you are right that this then all comes down to understanding what sort of a book the Bible is. Do you think the best understanding of the Bible is going be with or without an understanding of the culture in which it was written? If so, then working out what the original writers and readers/hearers meant and understood by what was being said should be very important work, right?

        • In fact,your explanation explains nothing because it doesn’t answer the question of where the ancient Jewish culture came from and what made it distinct from the surrounding cultures.

          Where did the surrounding cultures come from, and what made them distinct from the Jews? Does it really take a supernatural explanation?

          You are assuming that anyone who thinks otherwise is either dishonest or lacking courage. If that is the case, then why bother even talking about it?

          What is it that compels you to believe in the Bible? Is it logical and rational, or is it because it is traditional?

          Why did you believe in Santa Claus when you were little?

          Why do I bother talking about it? It’s because people are motivated by their belief in the Bible to indoctrinate children into believing horrible things like eternal punishment in Hell. Belief in the Bible causes people to perpetuate the idea that if you believe enough, God will actually do something to change things. It’s because saying you don’t believe in the Bible keeps you from being elected, and saying you do believe in the Bible gets people elected to office in this country.

          But I do get your point, some people are going to believe in the religion they were raised in no matter what.

        • Why did you believe in Santa Claus when you were little?

          Because people I trusted told me and I believed them.

          What is it that compels you to believe in the Bible? Is it logical and rational, or is it because it is traditional?

          Because I trust that which has been handed down to me (both the Bible and the account of how the Bible has come down to us).

          You might ask why I don’t now believe in Santa claus but still believe the Bible? Regarding Santa Claus, I have good reason to believe that what I was told when I was a child is not true, including, for example, that those who told me now tell me that it is not true. Regarding the Bible, my investigation into the Bible has actually strengthened my trust that what has been passed down is true.

        • Karl:

          why are stories from the Old Testament continually being adapted for modern retellings

          The Bible has stories that are an important part of Western culture. I get it. It’s the picking and choosing that’s the problem. Christians will on one hand select the good bits and reject the bad (in a way that would be similar to my approach) and on the other hand say that the entire thing comes from God.

          It doesn’t explain why still today there are Jews who maintain Jewish traditions.

          Ditto with what Retro said (apologies–I’m in a Rush Limbaugh mood). Surely you’re not saying that a supernatural explanation is required here.

        • Karl:

          But you allowed this valid point to be obscured in a bunch of other points (eg rape, captured women, slavery) that appear to be simply point-scoring for your cheerleaders.

          This seems to me to be just one point. If we’re in agreement that quote-mining the Bible to create an Ozzie and Harriett world is wrong, then it simply extends the point to show the Bible’s support of other nutty marriage forms.

          If so, then working out what the original writers and readers/hearers meant and understood by what was being said should be very important work, right?

          Sure, understanding the context of the original authors is fine. Let’s do that. But the context is irrelevant when making the simple point that the Bible says many things about marriage beyond just a simple one man, one woman.

      • Because people I trusted told me and I believed them.

        I can remember coming home as a small kid and finding that Santa had visited while we were gone. He had taken a few random bites of food and a short piece of red thread was left on the plate. I can remember being suspicious, but we had all left and came home together, so I couldn’t comprehend how anyone in my family could have done it. The red thread seemed so random that I couldn’t imagine it being left there on purpose.

        Because I trust that which has been handed down to me (both the Bible and the account of how the Bible has come down to us).

        What would it actually take to challenge your trust? Everyone but the original authors are trusting in another human who handed it down to them. This long chain of people we trust have no real way of knowing what actually took place. It’s impossible to prove these claims to be false because by it’s very nature, there simply isn’t any physical evidence at all for miracles or inspiration.

        A believer of another religion has the exact same trust in their holy book. Any religious claim can be defended on these same grounds, but none of them can be proven to be true.

        Regarding the Bible, my investigation into the Bible has actually strengthened my trust that what has been passed down is true.

        My experience was the opposite. It is often claimed that the Bible was written by several authors, over several centuries, from different backgrounds, and yet all the authors agree and there’s no contradictions. Reading and studying the Bible, much to my despair, demonstrated to me that this was false. For me, the only way to understand and make sense of any of it was to see that it was a fallible book written by fallible human authors with differing and changing beliefs.

        In the end, I simply saw no reason to keep believing or defending a tradition that couldn’t be proven to be true or false.

        • It’s been said that the surest way to deconvert Christians is to have them read the Bible.

          But, of course, that’s an imperfect process. I’ve spoken to ex-Christians who had read the Bible as Christians, many times. After they passed through their doubt phase and read the Bible again, they were amazed at the stuff they’d never seen.

        • After they passed through their doubt phase and read the Bible again, they were amazed at the stuff they’d never seen.

          Yeah, it’s amazing how the mind can filter things out. Once you start to see it, you start to wonder why you need to explain away things like the command to the Israelites to kill children. Wouldn’t a book written by an infinite and all-loving being not have horrible things in it that need to be explained away?

          It’s actually a relief to find out that there isn’t any evidence for the Exodus or the Canaanite Conquest, and so it probably never happened at all. This however, brings up the question of why anyone would make up something that horrible if it wasn’t true, so then you have to explain THAT away…

  2. Hi Bob,

    About captured women: it beautifully agrees with sociobiology. The Bible unwittingly confirms cutting-edge evolutionary theory.

    • The problem is that the Bible is prescribing. It tells us what we should and shouldn’t do.

      Evolution is simply describing. There is no moral obligation in anything evolution concludes, just like there is no moral obligation coming from chemistry or physics.

      • Hi Bob,

        No, there is a misunderstanding. I don’t mean to say that sociobiology is a moral guide, but in that instance (captured women), the guy who wrote that part acts very much like the kind of animal described by sociobiologists.

  3. Bob said:

    “….Marriage wasn’t even a Christian sacrament until the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. This wasn’t a popular move among civil authorities of the time, because it granted the church the power to decide which marriages were legal and which not—and therefore decide which contracts (often based on marriages) were valid and which not. When the Pope didn’t like an alliance, he could just annul the appropriate marriage.

    The argument that the Bible and the Church make a clear and unambiguous declaration that marriage is between a man and a woman is in tatters. Sure, let’s celebrate marriage, but let’s not delude ourselves about how recent our view of marriage is…..”

    As usual Bob has no idea what he is talking about…

    Matt 19. Explains , That Marriage is a created order between a man and a women.. It also talks about how man abused this created order. And Jesus reaffirms Marriage is between one man and one woman..Which become one flesh…So marriage started at the beginning ( not in the 4 th Lateran council) of time as a created order of God.

    Listing to an atheist deal with scripture is like having you house cat teach you algebra.

    • Is that what they teach you in apologetics school? That when you come across an uncomfortable argument you just ignore the bits for which you have no answer?

      You’ve quote-mined the Bible, picking out the bits that conform to your own theology and ignoring those that don’t. How is this honest exegesis?

      I do hope that you’re at least honest with yourself.

  4. Bob said

    “…Is that what they teach you in apologetics school? That when you come across an uncomfortable argument you just ignore the bits for which you have no answer?”

    There is no argument? You made up a fallacious argument , as you misrepresent Christianity.

    As I said:

    Matt 19. Explains ; That Marriage is a created order between a man and a women.. It also talks about how man abused this created order. And Jesus reaffirms Marriage is between one man and one woman..Which become one flesh…So marriage started at the beginning ( not in the 4 th Lateran council) of time as a created order of God.

    The definition of Marriage from the beginning of time ordained by God is between one man and one women, and they become one flesh. As Jesus ( the creator) repeats in Matt 19.

    Very simple! You just do not like it! Because the Bible defines what the meaning of marriage is, And tells it was this way from the begging, and shows how the creator order of marriage was abused . And to this day the created order of marriage will be as Jesus defined it. Between on male and one female.. Will it still be abused in our generation? Of course. But that is irrelevant that the Bible shows us Marriage is a created order ordained by the Creator from the beginning, and defined as between one man and one women.

    So your article is irrelevant and proves nothing. Your argument shows the abuses of marriage that the Bible explains and confirms marriage was created for one man and one women from the beginning…. Case closed.

    Matt 19…

    Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created 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 no man separate.”

    • Bob Calvan:

      You sidestepped the argument in the post. Simply saying, “Listing to an atheist deal with scripture is like having you house cat teach you algebra” doesn’t actually address the argument.

      You’ve cherry-picked just the Bible verse that supports what you think marriage is. And how does that address the post, which talks about the many different flavors of marriage that you and I would both reject? You seem to imagine that a single Bible verse trumps all. But how is a Bible verse supposed to trump another Bible verse? It doesn’t simply because you say it does. And the Bible is clearly not speaking with a single Calvan-esque voice on the subject of marriage.

      Your argument shows the abuses of marriage that the Bible explains and confirms marriage was created for one man and one women from the beginning…. Case closed.

      So all those many flavors of marriage in the OT are aberrations of God’s one correct form of marriage? You gotta actually show that. Your simply stamping your feet and repeating your claim in all caps doesn’t do it.

  5. To all,

    Sounds like the Bible writers somehow felt that polygyny was wrong, and they shared this feeling in stories, but they did not have the guts to make an explicit law against it.

    • My view is quite the opposite. I see polygyny documented as an unremarkable part of life just like sheep herding or commerce was.

      If you’re saying that polygyny, like any aspect of life, has downsides or can lead to problems, sure. But I see no reason to imagine that the authors didn’t approve.

      • Hi Bob,

        While it’s true that no text of law in the Bible clearly prohibits polygyny, the stories in the Bible tend to present polygyny in a bad light. And monogamy is more viewed as praiseworthy. I fail to see any “good” guy in the NT who had many wives. Likewise, Job had just one wife, and Satan did not even kill her. And of course, the prototypic couple were Adam and Eve, but Adam and many eves. And in the NT, the best couple are Mary and Joseph.

        Perhaps the problem is that the Bible was written by many different people, and they had disagreements over theology and morals.

        • That’s a very tenuous argument. Abraham, the uber patriarch? King David? Solomon, the smartest man in the Guinness Book of Records? Sure, they had ups and downs, but I think these stories net out to be very positive.

  6. Listening to you and Random proves Romans 8:7 and 1 Corinthians 2:14.

    What we have is two house cats debating algebra.. What a joke!!!

    • Precisely. Or maybe the Bible is yet another mythical book from ancient people and there is no god.

      How to tell? If only we had someone who could provide evidence to help us figure this out …

      • The interesting thing is that the Quran says the exact same thing: only believers can understand the Quran:

        “The unbelievers are like beasts which, call out to them as one may, can hear nothing but a shout and a cry. Deaf, dumb, and blind, they understand nothing” (2:172).

        “Deaf and dumb are those that deny Our revelations: they blunder about in darkness. God confounds whom He will, and guides to a straight path whom He pleases.” (6:39)

        And though We should send down the angels unto them, and the dead should speak unto them, and We should gather against them all things in array, they would not believe unless Allah so willed. Howbeit, most of them are ignorant. (6:110-11)

        You cannot prove the Quran to be false unless you can understand it, and you can’t understand it unless you believe it.

        So then, by your logic Bob Calvan, your unbelief in the Quran proves that the Quran is true.

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  8. You need somebody with some experience to teach you proper Biblical hermeneutics. This article is full of just, plain nonsense that could be avoided if you just understood a little bit about the book you’re holding in your hand.

    I didn’t read the whole article because I have a very low tolerance for crap. But from the parts I did read, you clearly need to understand this: just because the history of God’s relationship with the Jews records how they did things during the Bronze Age, DOES NOT DOES NOT DOES NOT DOES NOT DOES NOT mean that those practices are endorsed for modern, Christian believers!!!!! And no serious Biblical exegete believes that they do. So quit pretending like that’s what we believe.

    Get a clue, man. Get it BEFORE you embarrass yourself further.

    • You need somebody with some experience to teach you proper Biblical hermeneutics.

      You, perhaps?

      This article is full of just, plain nonsense that could be avoided if you just understood a little bit about the book you’re holding in your hand.

      I welcome any future corrections.

      just because the history of God’s relationship with the Jews records how they did things during the Bronze Age, DOES NOT DOES NOT DOES NOT DOES NOT DOES NOT mean that those practices are endorsed for modern, Christian believers!!!!!

      I never said they did. I just wish you’d had a stronger stomach and could’ve waded through my vacuous crap to get to that point.

      I’m noting precisely that: that modern Christians reject all these nutty practices (practices that God had no problem with, BTW). They reject these and yet they want to cling to the Old Testament’s prohibition against homosexuality. Weird, huh?

      Get a clue, man. Get it BEFORE you embarrass yourself further.

      I appreciate your concern! :)

      • “(practices that God had no problem with, BTW)”

        If that is what you think, you clearly do not understand the Old Testament, nor the character of God, and in fact are guilty of the very nonsense I accused you of earlier.

        ” They reject these and yet they want to cling to the Old Testament’s prohibition against homosexuality. Weird, huh?”

        No, entirely consistent with any of several, robust interpretive regimens. As I said, a little learning might prevent you from saying such ridiculous things.

        Some people actually spend their entire lives studying and evaluating the principles of interpretation of the Old Testament. Your comments here are comparable to those of a layman who never studied biology criticizing the work of evolutionary biologists who devote their lives to their study. Perhaps you should take a lesson from those folks (whom, I imagine you’ll agree, are fairly pathetic) and leave the principles of interpretation of the Old Testament to those who actually know something about it.

        • you clearly do not understand the Old Testament, nor the character of God, and in fact are guilty of the very nonsense I accused you of earlier.

          Lots of charges, but no evidence. Show me that this is not what the OT says.

          Some people actually spend their entire lives studying and evaluating the principles of interpretation of the Old Testament.

          Given any nutty philosophy, smart people can find rationalizations for it. Is that what we’re seeing here? You obviously think not, but you have a big job, it seems to me, to show that God’s calling for genocide, approval of slavery, etc. that we see in the OT is somehow reasonable.

          Your comments here are comparable to those of a layman who never studied biology criticizing the work of evolutionary biologists who devote their lives to their study.

          I think I’m entitled to give the Bible a chance and take it at face value.

          The Courtier’s Reply discusses this fallacy in more detail.

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