Saturday, June 29, 2013

The fourth reason

Dalrock considers why conservatives instinctively turn to big government to fix the marriage strike:
So what makes marriage different to conservatives?  Why instead of pushing to remove the built in incentives for women to legally abuse marriage and the uncompensated risks men take in marrying, do so many conservatives reflexively dismiss the need for reform and passionately respond with bizarre and incomprehensible arguments and calls to duty and patriotism? (H/T SlargTarg)

There are three main reasons for this:

    They are responding emotionally and reflexively to the term marriage strike.
    They have been suckered into the role of enabling feminists.
    They are invested in the current corrupt model of marriage.
Allow me to suggest a fourth reason: most conservatives don't understand the difference between Marriage 1.0 and Marriage 2.0, which is a little ironic given that the Supreme Court has now created Marriage 3.0.  Which, I suppose, will make the inevitable legalization of polygamy Marriage 3.11.


Shimshon said...

I wonder what Marriage 95 will look like?

Ospurt said...

I don't even want to think about Marriage 8...

However, this whole problem with conservatives isn't really that odd for a RedPill man. It is a form of White Knighting. Instead of that "Ideal Pure Godly Woman" (who sluts it up on weekends and has rockbanddrummers demon spawn in the church nusery) up on a pedestal, it is marriage.

Penrose said...

Here's a question. If polygamy is allowed alongside gay marriage could multiple groups of men and women get married? Imagine an entire high school class getting married. Or worse, a corporation requiring its employees to legally marriage each other to get a tax break.

tz said...

Or as I suggested, they want to keep the biases which were appropriate for 1950s patriarchial culture where the woman was dependent and divorce devastating to her. They seem to rationalize if they keep that in place, we will return to it more easily.

The evil is that marriage 2.0 needs a response of a tradition 2.0, and now 3.0. Or more properly that you uphold tradition 1.0 in the face of a culture and legal system that is acting to destroy it. But that would mean changing strategy to kill leviathan, and the only thing about power conservatives hate is liberals using it - they want the power to remain more than they want to stop the abuse and destruction.

Anonymous said...

I think it's simply an inadequate supply of the Red Pill...but many conservatives are not at all happy with the current situation.

It's simply that many are uncomfortable with PUA Game. Steer them over to MMSL and they do OK.

sconzey said...

Isn't polygamy, 'Marriage NT' ?

S. Thermite said...

"Marriage 3.0"...I like the analogy. But I think what the Supreme Court just created is more like a virus capable of crippling unpatched Marriage 2.0 systems.

hadley said...

The polygamy will come in through the back door. Muslim immigration to America. The second wife (married elsewhere) will need medical care. Maybe the kids. Save the children! Obamacare will cover their costs.

The Europeans are already covering the costs for second and third wives under welfare. The Muslims just get married under Muslim law and do not register the marriages. The women are cool with it. Free cash, their kids are (Muslim) legit, what's not to like? They sign up for welfare and get their own free apartments and welfare for their kids as single moms.

hadley said...

The polygamy will come in through the back door. Muslim immigration to America. The second wife (married elsewhere) will need medical care. Maybe the kids. Save the children! Obamacare will cover their costs.

The Europeans are already covering the costs for second and third wives under welfare. The Muslims just get married under Muslim law and do not register the marriages. The women are cool with it. Free cash, their kids are (Muslim) legit, what's not to like? They sign up for welfare and get their own free apartments and welfare for their kids as single moms.

Penrose said...

If gay polygamy becomes legal I'm going to be come a professional mexican importer, marrying everyone willing to pay me 25k to become a citizen.

rycamor said...

sconzey said...

Isn't polygamy, 'Marriage NT' ?

At least we can be sure it's not Eunuchs.

parselmouth said...

Ugh...ok...rycamor wins this discussion.

(golf clap)

Polynices said...

"Marriage for Workgroups 3.11"? Groups. Very clever.

Proforce111 said...

Polygamy and polygyny need to be considered separate issues. Polygyny was always considered a righteous form of marriage, even amongst the biblical patriarchs, while homosexuality was considered an abomination. It is not a logical statement that it is a moral slippery slope from homosexuality to men having more than one wife. However, homosexuality can lead to other deviant acts, such as a woman having more than one husband, which polygamy would allow. The fight against polygyny by Christians is just another part of the feminist brain washing we've been receiving since the Romans hijacked Christianity

Anonymous said...

Marriage 3.11. Ha.

But the original 3.11 - Windows for Workgroups - got the nickname "Windows for Warehouses" because it's sales were so anemic. I suspect Marriage for Workgroups will be a similar flop.

Duke of Earl said...

Polygamy in the Jewish world had declined by the time of Jesus. Although there doesn't appear to have been any prohibition against it, the shear economic burden of multiple spouses (and attendant progeny) made it unviable.

Of course the modern world will just slap the extra baby mommas on welfare. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Polygamous societies make bad neighbors. They tend to produce lots of aimless, angry young men.

rycamor said...

As opposed to what we have now?

Proforce111 said...

Nailed it rycamor.

How about ending the Church State stranglehold on marriage? Start by taking your money away from churches that claim the right to marry. Let the father of the bride make an agreement to give his daughter away, like they did 80 years ago, but instead of getting married in a church, just have a big dinner and party like they did in the bible. End the ceremonial vow that a man makes to forsake all others, since that is not a Christian requirement, and let the two go and consummate. Let the state handle gay marriage. It has nothing to do with me.

hoenecke said...

Reading Ayn Rand's "Capitalism: the unknown ideal" she identifies (and honestly you can see it without reading her work, but she does a good job of poking both cons and libs) one of major intellectual fallacies is using gov't to prevent competition in some cases, because it is easier to have an ally in gov't than to compete in the market. I think some of the same ideas are in play here - it's easier to have the gov't enforce marriage with a stick than to compete, or explain your ideas clearly. Government enforced marriage between a man and a woman when it was convenient, now they will enforce any kind of marriage as political expediency dictates.

On top of that many of the rank and file conservatives don't really understand conservatism beyond 'social conservatism' and again view the state as a beatstick to enforce their worldview.

Proforce111 said...

It makes sense that homosexuals appeal to earthly government to accomplish their goals. Heavenly government has no place for deeds of darkness. On the other hand, Christians can rest securely in their marriage, when it has been properly approved by the woman's father, because heavenly government sanctions it. There is therefore no need, nor benefit in earthly government approval of Christian marriage, since man's meddling inevitably leads to things such as "no fault divorce". What God has joined together, let not man bring asunder. Get the Church-State's filthy hands out of Christian marriage. The state can have jurisdiction over godlessness, if they want.

rycamor said...

Thinking over the implications of a polygynous society (in response to Jack Amok), one must remember that there are those that make sense, and those that don't. Obviously there has never been a society where the majority of men had more than one wife. Humans reproduce in relatively equal numbers. So multiple wives has always been the domain of the elite male, or at least, those successful enough in life to be both worthy and capable of this responsibility. How far that balance is pushed would have bearing on the happiness of the average man. It might seem unfair that some men will have to go without so that some men can have more. But, if only the few men have multiple wives, that problem is dealt with by the fact that there are in fact a few more women than men, except in the case of societies like China where females were aborted to make room for males. Also, remember that a man can be in his prime from the age of about 21-50, while a woman is in her prime from the teens to late 20s. Ergo mathematically speaking, in a male-polygamous society a man can just bide his time and work on his success to make himself a more attractive prospect.

Think in terms of a sales team for a successful company. Good management tends to reward top sellers with an even higher percentage of the take than mediocre sellers. Bad management tends to react with "Oh crap, Jones is outselling everyone else by 300%, so he is taking home a huge commission. We have to put a stop to this." It may sound unfair, but the effect of this approach can goad the other sales guys into serious competition, whereas if the high sellers end up with flattening commissions, fewer will care to scramble for that position.

We see in the Old Testament God telling David that he has rewarded him for his service with women (plural), and in fact making that point in remonstrating with David for wanting a woman who is not his (Bathsheba). Then we see Solomon taking it to ridiculous levels with 600 wives and 300 concubines. And, that he pushed too far beyond God's favor, taking wives from among the heathen, who of course led him astray.

So it seems the positive aspect of male polygamy was that it provided men incentive to succeed. Also, from other Old and New Testament passages we see it was a social vehicle to provide for women who would otherwise be left destitute (you have to admit, it's better than prostitution). The negative aspect: the Bible shows it is possible for a man to never be satisfied. always wanting a little more.

How this affects the West as we move into a very pagan-influenced future... good question. But the Church will eventually have to deal with it one way or the other. I find it ironic that the Church has pretty much accepted that its membership will be full of serial monogamists--those who left several sexual or married relationships behind, while reacting in complete horror at the idea of a man who is committed to caring and providing for more than one wife for the rest of his life.

wtanksley said...

Proforce (and others like you), you don't realize what you're asking for, and you can't possibly have it. The Bible consistently treats the marriage customs of a people as being binding and real -- the vows that we actually make actually bind us. (Of course, we're also bound by God's immutable laws and cannot vow contrary to them.) Jesus makes it clear that he's opposed to no-fault divorces, but it's equally true that God thinks a man can be righteous _because_ he uses a no-fault divorce law to prevent his divorcee from being publicly humiliated (Matt 1:19).

But back to my first sentence. The state cannot, never has, and never will get out of the business of marriage. Marriage involves property rights, and this is the government's proper domain (even if you argue that rewarding righteousness is NOT part of the government's job). All that will happen is what has already happened in broad stretches of the LCMS: pastors will refuse to perform marriages at all, instead holding solemnizing ceremonies for people limited to their own church's members.

Proforce111 said...

Perhaps I didn't make my point clear. I have no need for a pastor or church to marry my daughter to another man, because I am the one before God who's permission matters. So the state may not recognize her marriage, but God will. She will lose some worldly benefits because of this, but this is to be expected for the righteous. And I also have faith that the pros of shunning state licensed marriage will outweigh the cons, in the end.

I do recognize the seriousness of a vow. There are vows to God, and vows before God, and each carries a great weight. This is why a man should not vow to forsake all others, since so many will break this vow, regardless of their stance on polygyny, and be guilty, if nothing else, of breaking a vow. It may even be better for a woman not to make this vow, and save herself at least from the guilt of breaking a vow, even though she may commit adultery. We don't need vows to know that adultery is wrong, so why use them? Jesus and the New Testament writers warned explicitly against making vows, because they only cause sin to increase.

Proforce111 said...

PS wtanksley. I don't equate Matthew 1:19, which demonstrates a husband acting with the mercy of God (Hosea 2:1-20), with the no fault divorce laws of today, which demonstrate widespread contempt toward men, and the authority which God established.

wtanksley said...

Proforce, there's a lot we don't agree on. That makes this conversation potentially very interesting to me. I'd like to ask you for some reading material so that I can understand your position without wasting your time arguing against my newborn understanding of it. My position is well-stated in Jay Adams' works on the topic -- Instone-Brewer comes close, but I think he's making excuses for divorce. I definitely don't agree that Jesus was disapproving of marriage vows; he was disapproving of people who would parse a vow in order to break their word, not people who give their word and keep it.

The Matt 1:19 divorce Joseph was contemplating when he was called righteous was not "mercy"; it was not the strongest justice, but it did not involve Joseph paying the price for Mary's apparent sin the way God pays the price for our sin. (Forgiveness isn't free. Someone always pays.) Joseph was going to have her pay the price for her own sin, but not the highest price (death would have been unjust, because there were not the required two witnesses), and not even the reasonable price (divorce and public shaming of Mary as unfaithful to buy Joseph's claim of innocence). We can only guess what the exact context was, but since no trial was apparently involved, it's quite likely that he was contemplating a Hillel divorce, which would have been available to him and wouldn't have shamed Mary as much as divorce for uncleanness -- the child would be assumed to be Joseph's rather than a total unfaithfulness.

Hosea was an example of a higher mercy than Joseph was willing to show -- a mercy where the man took on all the costs of a woman he and God knew to be both unfaithful and unrepentant. Joseph did take on the costs for Mary, and in that sense he does show us a little corner of the love of God, but there's no strong parallel to the costly forgiveness Hosea showed us for God.

I will also add that while Matthew was likely dealing with the Hillel "no-fault" divorce, Paul was dealing with the Roman style, where simply leaving was adequate as divorce. There was no community property, so no divorce process was normally needed.

You're right about today's laws, of course. Horrid. But polygyny is not that different; although there are no recorded words of Christ against polygynous practice, that's probably because it was very uncommon by that time due to Roman crackdowns (Jews were some of the last groups still practicing polygyny at the time, but it was rare in Roman-controlled lands). Paul definitely took it upon himself to tell the church what to do with a polygynist -- it's clear that such a person is bound to their commitment (divorce is never contemplated, nor is bigamy apparently considered inherently annulling), but such a man isn't allowed to have authority in the Church. The real problem for polygyny is that Christ's argument against Hillel divorce cannot be read to allow an argument for polygamy; it becomes apparent that just as God didn't create divorce, in the same way He also didn't create polygamy, but it become necessary as part of a cultural adaptation to deal with the consequences of sin and death. And thus, although God didn't institute polygamy or divorce, either one can be carried out by a person in a righteous way, not for its own sake but to help overcome sin and death.

Levirate marriage is an instance where refusing polygyny can be shameful. Seducing a virgin also brings a penalty that can, if the father affirms, result in a mandatory polygynous marriage (without an option for the man or his wife to refuse -- although there are laws if the man cannot keep up with his obligations). Neither of those grant a universal cultural obligation to allow polygamy; where a culture has other ways of dealing with the same problems polygamy is no longer essential, and may be avoided.

Proforce111 said...

This culture takes a default position against polygyny. You have made the assertion that the likely reason Christ did not speak against polygyny was because it was uncommon due to Roman crackdowns. This betrays your bias toward the present cultural view, because it could just as easily be stated that Christ never addressed polygyny because it was simply a non issue. The fact that you also view polygyny as something which has the need to be avoided also reveals a very westernized cultural view of the issue, since throughout history, and even in some cultures today, polygyny has been and is still regarded to be as valid a form of marriage as monogamy. You say that polygyny is no longer essential. Necessity does not dictate whether something is moral, or else murderous cannibalism could at some point be considered moral. Anyway, where is the requirement that polygyny only be considered when necessary?

The point of using Hosea was simply to show that Joseph did something he did not have to do. He was not vengeful toward Mary. Regardless of whether it was as merciful as God has been to Israel does not nullify the point I was making, which is that you related my statement about no fault divorce, the modern (obviously I wasn't referring to Hillel divorce) to Joseph's plan to divorce his betrothed. These two things are as different as day and night. And if you have any further argument, I appeal to the scripture itself which states that the reason Joseph was going to divorce Mary in this way was because he was "a just man, and not willing to make her a public example".

It is not apparent that divorce and polygyny are the same. How you arrive at the conclusion that they are even similar I do not know. Since polygyny is nowhere condemned, even by Paul, and divorce is explicitly condemned by Christ except in the case of adultury (which could by scriptural proof only have been applicable to a woman's unfaithfulness) underscores the reality that polygyny and divorce are never equated in scripture. This again is a conclusion which must be contrived, and reveals your default position is based on cultural norms. I do not fault you for this, since norms have the tendency to be that, norms. The things which we are discussing are an aspect of "red pill" which have needs to be further understood.

You asked for reading material. There is not a great deal of good reading material available. I have developed my understanding of this issue over the course of three years, and have had to reject a great deal of the information on the topic because I find that some have clearly false motives (solar to your mention of making excuses for divorce). There is a video series I can recommend on YouTube. Just look up Brian Kelson. If you can get through the entire series, you will see that he very comprehensively addresses the issue of polygyny with scripture.

Proforce111 said...

Similar, not "solar.

wtanksley said...

Thank you for your clear and courteous responses, Proforce.

Before anything else, you shouldn't assume that because I happen to take a position superficially similar to the traditional church position that therefore I haven't thought this out. I have.

You're right that I shouldn't make an argument from silence; I didn't. Knowing historical background doesn't "prove bias", I don't know why you said that in that context. All I did was show that there was a possible explanation -- whether it's actually the reason will be up to archeology.

But although we don't have a record of Christ speaking personally on polygamy, we do have a record of him reasoning about marriage. And the passage he turns to has a man leaving his parents to cleave to his wife. This is definitional. The heart and soul of marriage is Scripturally the formation of a family unit, not the expansion of an existing one. This doesn't forbid polygyny, but it makes perfectly clear that it's an elaboration, not the original design.

Passages on marriage throughout the text (outside of historical examples and those "by necessity" passages I pointed to) all speak of a normal situation in which a youth leaves his parents and marries "the wife of his youth", and is satisfied with her for the rest of his life. Abnormal situations are permitted, but are hedged about with difficult law (such as the command that a husband who takes an additional wife must not deprive the first).

And then we have Paul, who seems to accept that polygamous people will join the church, and doesn't forbid it or demand annulment -- but who does treat them as second-class citizens, simply ineligible for church leadership.

This is a side point, but your claim that the Bible treats male unfaithfulness as something other than adultery is false, and ignores the nature of the texts involved. They are written as ancient legal documents, and as such unless they are discussing a unique privilege for men or women only (of which there are many), they will be written to the male. The symmetry of the punishments, with both offenders being killed when the death penalty applies, provides support for that. What completely destroys your claim, though, is that when given the opportunity, Jesus says that "whoever looks on a woman with lust has committed adultery with her in his heart." If a male cannot commit adultery, then this passage applies only to lesbians.

Proforce111 said...

I did not say a married man could not commit adultery. However in the scripture I referenced, the only interpretation could be when a woman commits adultery. Scripturally, a man can commit adultery, if he has sex with, or as in the case of the scripture you referenced, he looks with strong desire on a married woman. If a married man has sex with a virgin who is not his wife, biblically, this is referred to as fornication, never adultery. This is why the men of God could take on more than one wife, not because God just somehow looked past it. This is discussed in the video series I recommended. I can see you've looked into it some, and judging by your answers, we've come from similar backgrounds. I was blown away by what I discovered over time, and how mislead I had been.

Proforce111 said...

When I said a man can commit adultery, I meant in the sense that it is possible, not that God permits it. I just wanted to make that clear.

Proforce111 said...

Also wtanksley, I consider much of the traditional view of marriage, born after the writing of scripture, to be modern, and in conflict with scripture. Western culture has views based out of the Roman Empire, as you nearly pointed out yourself. So when you said, "although there are no recorded words of Christ against polygynous practice, that's probably because it was very uncommon by that time due to Roman crackdowns (Jews were some of the last groups still practicing polygyny at the time, but it was rare in Roman-controlled lands)" I took it to mean that your view was not based in the biblical view, but rather the modern view, which is born out of ROMAN-ticism. Roman-ticism is a big part of traditional marriage. I separate traditional and biblical marriage, because I see the difference.

Anonymous said...

Proforce, great stuff, thank you.

wtanksley said...

Proforce: thank you for clarifying regarding adultery; I should have read your original comment with that in mind. I am aware that some people hold that adultery is in essence a sin against a husband, so that if no husband is implicated there is no adultery per se. So you're essentially right that Christ's statement *could* have been meant to refer only to a woman who was already a wife, changing it from a statement about the strength of the Law to a reminder about a different law (personally, though, I think this weakening ignores the context, in which Christ is clearly claiming that the Law against adultery is stronger than his listeners thought, just as the law against murder is stronger).

I'm aware that you consider the "modern" view wrong; but I think you're missing a good deal when you make that claim. The Christian church has at no point, EVER, made the claims that you're making. A pastor who attempted to role model them would be explicitly ineligible for elderhood (even before the church succumbed to the heresy of forbidding marriage). Christ's argument against divorce from the institution of marriage weighs exactly against polygamy.

It seems that we do agree in one respect: that the Bible does not militate against polygamy, but rather allows it. However, it also doesn't allow it on anything like equal terms, as I've explained above.

Your point in regards to my mention of Roman law that "Roman-ticism is a big part of traditional marriage" is a wince-worthy pun, unworthy of serious discourse. Romanticism is (to say the least) not derived from Roman family law in the near and middle East.

With that noted, it must be clearly emphasized that you have no grounds to separate Biblical and traditional marriage, because the two are always and in every culture we can see identical: Biblical marriage is consistently, wherever it is described, expressed using the same form as the surrounding culture (at its best, ideally -- but the ideal isn't always actual). The form described by the behavior of the patriarchs is the same form used in the societies they were moving through, and the forms changed as cultures changed around them. So what you are doing (separating Biblical from traditional marriage) is precisely what you may not do, since the Bible gives you no support.

Proforce111 said...

You are likely not aware of the etymology of the word romance, but my reference to romance being originated in Rome, comes from it's history. There is a distinct reason why "roman" is in the word "romance", it was not just a pun. From

romance romance c.1300, "story of a hero's adventures," also (early 14c.), "vernacular language of France" (as opposed to Latin), from O.Fr. romanz "verse narrative," originally an adverb, "in the vernacular language," from V.L. *romanice scribere "to write in a Romance language" (one developed from Latin instead of Frankish), from L. Romanicus "of or in the Roman style," from Romanus "Roman" (see Roman). The connecting notion is that medieval vernacular tales were usually about chivalric adventure. Literary sense extended by 1660s to "a love story." Extended 1610s to other modern languages derived from Latin (Spanish, Italian, etc.). Meaning "adventurous quality" first recorded 1801; that of "love affair, idealistic quality" is from 1916. The verb meaning "court as a lover" is from 1942.

Adj Roman (architectural style)

So, to sum it up: romance, as a story, is a hero's tale, built in the language and architectural style of the Romans.

Family law or not, romance is Roman based. It has at its root the vestiges of empire. It is built on strength and might of men, instead of the truth. It conforms its people to the state, and makes us dependent. It has not the heart of God in it.

Thanks for the conversation.

wtanksley said...

Proforce, none of that is relevant to our disagreement. If it were a valid argument, it would actually prove that ALL Roman law was invalid. It's not a valid argument, though, and proves nothing -- it's a formal fallacy, which means that the logical structure of the argument cannot prove anything. If refutation were needed, your argument is completely refuted by Paul's recommendation that Christians accept and honor unjust Roman divorce when demanded by an unbeliever. If further undermining is needed, please actually read the dictionary entry you posted, and note that the discussion is about a word that applies to stories OR to architecture (not both), not to law. (There IS actually a term "Roman law", a synonym of "continental law" and usually opposed to "common law"; most of the US and Britain use the latter while most of Europe and the US state of Louisiana use the former.)

Can you address the Biblical arguments I've brought out? That's actually something we agree matters.

Proforce111 said...

You miss my point about romance. That is, what is supposed today to represent male and female love, commonly referred to as "romance", is itself not a biblically based love. Romance does not suffer the beliefs and practices of the patriarchs. Romance is an ideal which is so highly influential within the culture that most people do not recognize anything besides it. Romance defies the natural differences between men and women, and even reverses the order which God ordained with regard to authority, and lets even homosexuals claim the same feelings as heterosexuals do with regards to love, and rightly so! Romance is a feeling which any two people can experience toward each other, even though their love may be an abomination. My position on romance is not solely based upon its heritage, but rather I questioned its heritage because I found fault in its fruit. It ignores the basic principles which govern manhood. You think I'm making an argument for polygyny. I am making an argument for true manhood!

Anyways, I doubt you have watched the entire video series I recommended, which is fine. But it is not easy to keep coming back here to argue this or that point, and get off onto bunny trails, as I have to work, and I am doing this from my phone. The answers to most of your questions, if indeed they are questions, are in the video series on YouTube, Brian Kelson.

You can't change my mind, unless you have proof by scripture. I am ruined for the truth. And my position, as I've already stated is that I don't need a government approval to OK my own daughters marriage. I find that people don't like challenges to the status quo, and when it doesn't fit their frame, they can't imagine that there might be another frame. If you are hungry to understand what I'm saying, watch the videos. After you know more about what I already know, then we can discuss. Otherwise, I'm done.

Proforce111 said...

I guess I have one more thing to add... I can see that you have studied fallacy and are well prepared to recognize when one comes up. I'll admit that I did not explain my position on romance very well. It is a time consuming topic, and being that I am typing on a phone, I get lazy. Plus, I do believe that people have a difficult time wrapping their head around what is false in romance, and I have not developed my argument well enough. But I don't want anyone to mistake the weakness in that aspect of my argument for a weakness in my overall argument. I should have not brought up romance. The problem is that one encounters a general thought process when discussing this subject with others, and that is that people look at New Testament scripture through a certain filter, then interpret God's will regarding marriage (but actually, manhood) as having been somehow bent in the Old Testament. Romance appears to play a part in that view, as well as a fear of lack (oops, opened another can of worms). Now I'm done for real.

wtanksley said...

Proforce - I agree with you that "romance" is destructive. But that doesn't mean that anything that's not romance is godly.

I'm not hungry to watch the videos because I'm familiar with how dangerous video teaching is. It's easy to make something appear plausible when you get no interaction. (Live teaching is dangerous too, but there's some tiny possibility of interaction.) This is why I'm trying to get you to interact with the Biblical arguments I've been making, and so far you've completely ignored them as though I'd never opened my mouth.

You SAY that I could change your mind if I had proof by scripture. Could I? Do I?

If Christ wanted to PROVE divorce the way you prove polygamy, He could have turned to Ezra, the "Great Divorce". He didn't; He turned to the institution. God could have written that institution to say that a *woman* leaves her father and joins with her husband... But He didn't. Read what I've written. See if you can see why I think this.

No, I don't think polygyny is inherently immoral. But throughout the Bible it, like divorce, is seen to be profoundly a secondary situation in the shadow of the real institution of marriage.

Anonymous said...

The issues of divorce and polygyny are tied together and it is difficult to understand the Bible's teachings on the former if one does not understand the latter. Simply put, polygyny is a legitimate form of marriage, not forbidden by the Law. Divorce, is treachery, hated by God and forbidden to a union of married believers.

First, understand what divorce is and is not. It was not part of the Law that God gave to Moses, it was a judgment by Moses in his capacity as a judge. "Caselaw" if you will.

When the Pharisees came to Jesus in Matthew 19, they asked Jesus for His interpretation of the judgment, an interpretation that was actually a source of controversy. Jesus, answering their question, ignored Moses and said "What therefore God has joined together let no man separate." No exceptions, no loopholes, Jesus is saying divorce isn't part of God's plan.

The Pharisees responded with the caselaw, to which Jesus agreed that "Moses permitted you." Both sides knew exactly what was being said and that is important to understand: God did not permit divorce, Moses did. After recognizing that Moses had indeed permitted the men to divorce their wives, He said "but from the beginning it was not so." Again we see Jesus objecting to divorce. However, He then gave them the strictest interpretation of the judgment.

The question might be asked, did the Lord ever get around to overturning that ruling? Yes. We see in 1st Corinthians 7:10-11 that Paul makes it very clear that the command is not from him, speaking with Apostolic authority, but from the Lord. The believing wife is not to separate from her believing husband and the believing husband must not divorce his wife. No loopholes, no exceptions.

The character of the believer is identified repeatedly as that of a bondservant, so Christian marriage takes on the character of a marriage within the service of the Master, who has forbidden His servants to divorce. In keeping with the law of the bondservant, the only way to leave the wife is to leave the service of the Master. That agrees perfectly with the following text in 1st Corinthians 7:12-17, in which the believer is allowed to divorce if their unbelieving spouse will not stay with them.

Now we go back to Matthew 5:31-32 and see Jesus explaining to His disciples that God will not accept an illegitimate divorce. The only way the "divorced woman" could be committing adultery is if she were still married. There is a difference between legal and lawful, which is the difference between mala prohibita (wrong because there’s a rule prohibiting it) and mala in se (wrong because it’s morally wrong). The woman was legally divorced but still lawfully married. That definition fits an enormous number of women in the church today.

Anonymous said...

On to polygyny. Romans 5:13 says there is no sin imputed where there is no law. There is nothing anywhere in Scripture that forbids a man from having more than one wife and God provided His instruction to men who wanted more than one wife (equal treatment, etc.) within the Law. 2nd Samuel 12:8 is God taking credit for giving David multiple wives within the context of a rebuke where God is reviewing the good things He did for David. Basically, there is nothing wrong with polygyny except for the fact it drives people crazy with envy.

The husband is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, and the wife is to obey her husband in everything. A husband can have more than one wife. Anybody want to guess where that's headed? God saw it coming and nowhere in Scripture is sexual contact between two women forbidden. Romans 1:26 doesn't condemn women for anything, it merely raises the question of what the natural function of women is.

We go back to creation and observe the natural function of women is to be a companion, a helpmeet, to her husband. 1st Timothy 2:15 says women will be preserved through the bearing of children. Can a woman be fulfilling the natural function of women in a polygynous marriage? Yes. Therefore, the unnatural function must mean getting rid of the husband that the woman is commanded to obey and respect.

I believe Christians get so upset about the issue of polygyny because the desire for a menage a trois is an almost universal fantasy for men, the wives are commanded to submit to their husbands in everything and surprise: nowhere in Scripture is sexual contact between women forbidden. For many Christians this is like fingernails down the chalkboard: they can't take it.

However, rather than getting its collective knickers in a knot, the Christian community needs to use this as a solution to a specific crisis rather than as a point of contention. Polygyny seems to have flourished during the time of the patriarchs, a time when the land had a surplus of high-N former temple prostitutes, perhaps with children, who needed husbands... a condition remarkably similar to the environment we see today.

The problem today is how to get a decent man to marry a high-N butthexed former temple prostitute with a load of debt from her time in the temple of higher learning and some other man's child?

That really is the question because we are presented with a large supply of unmarriageable women within the church, young single mothers and divorced middle-aged mothers. They are typically rather low on the economic food chain and from a societal viewpoint they and their children would benefit from more economic security. Although individually unmarriageable, the majority are not willing to be celibate so there is the issue of the fornication within the church as well. The solution is to re-package them as harems to make them more manageable and more attractive. I believe this will work far better than the "Man Up: Marry A Slut!" campaign.

The women can team up and start off by consolidating their housing. One woman works in the home, the others work outside the home. By consolidating housing and bills and with a full-time mom at home, they are better off economically, have more free time and less stress. Once they've settled their sisterly issues they can start looking for a husband.

The man that’s willing to marry a prepackaged harem will be bringing another income into the household, so we see more economic security and a way out of debt. Individually they may very well be unmanageable and unmarriageable, but what if there’s three or four of them and a tight cohabitation agreement? Dread game is built in.

wtanksley said...

Thank you, Artisanal. In addition to your useful and interesting contribution, I wonder whether you'd be willing to evaluate mine? I've actually interacted with two other guys with your general viewpoint, and I got almost no interaction.

"Simply put, polygyny is a legitimate form of marriage, not forbidden by the Law."

True. In fact it's regulated, which means it's not forbidden.

"Divorce, is treachery, hated by God and forbidden to a union of married believers."

False. Divorce CAN be treachery (and is called out as such); it can also be a legitimate Biblical response to a type of treachery, and Christ Himself calls it out as such. Note that God responded to Israel with divorce, as did Joseph to Mary's infidelity (see my posts about that).

The explicit regulations on divorce are: there must be a written document giving a reason; in other cultures this document served to assure a new husband that the old husband would not be able to take blood revenge. (It's almost certain that it worked this way in ancient Israel as well, but we have no documents proving that.) A divorcee may remarry, except to a priest (same for a widow). Reconciliation was encouraged until the wife had remarried, after which it was forbidden using a term applied only to the most grievous sins: that it would defile the land.

But none of this tells us what divorce is, because the Bible doesn't explain it; it only explains marriage, and that is how Jesus was able to explain what divorce actually was.

This is where my claim about polygamy comes in. Polygamy does not fit the Bible's description of marriage; in fact it fits it even worse than divorce does. The Bible claims that marriage is when a MAN leaves his parents. Why did it specify a MAN leaving his parents? Why "the two" become one flesh?

wtanksley said...

I'll let you decide whether to scan and interactive my other stuff; let me know, and either way I'll also interact with your other stuff as well (I need to take some time for other things now). Only one more thing really quick: your reading of Rom 5:13 is invalid in context, and impossible in the context of many clear teachings that unwritten law also causes sin (Rom 1 being one example, many others also in Romans).

Anonymous said...


Re: Romans 5:13. Compare the righteousness of Christ, which is "imputed" to the believer, a judgment of God. Before the law sin was in the world, but sin is not "imputed" where there is no law. To say that sin is imputed where there is law is to say the standard applies to everyone and is public. This is where you get to say "adultery is wrong and is always a sin." If you're going to all out a brother, this is the standard, the public one.

That which is not of faith is sin. To not do that which you know to be right is sin. The Law of God is written on the hearts of man and man has a conscience which speaks to him and convicts him. These things are private, within the believer's relationship to his Lord. This applies differently to different people and you don't get to call out the brother just because you think something is sinful even though God didn't. See Romans 14:4

The point is that when it comes to a doctrinal standard defining morality, we should go with exactly what God said and no more. You admit that polygyny is a permitted and regulated activity, therefore it cannot be called morally wrong. You then say that polygyny doesn't fit the Biblical description of marriage so perhaps you believe it would be wrong for you. That means you shouldn't do it, but you cross the line when you say someone else shouldn't. Again, refer to Romans 14.

The man leaving his mother and father means he is separating himself from the authority of their family which he was subject to as a son. He and his wife are creating their own, new, covenant marriage over which he is the sole authority (under the Lord- not the church). He is no longer in submission to his father in that respect. A common view of 'patriarchy' promoted by Gothardites and others is that parents still have authority over their married children.

Why do the two become one flesh? Because they have sex. When they do that, God joins them together. 1st Corinthians 6:16 says having sex with a harlot is to become one flesh with her so obviously a man has the capacity to become one flesh with more than one woman.

As to the divorce issue, evidently you don't understand what I said. The Law did not cover divorce, that was Moses who did that on his own. The Lord overturned that judicial decision by Moses in 1st Corinthians 7:10-11, in which the wife is forbidden to separate (but if she does she is to remain single or reconcile to her husband) and the husband must not divorce his wife. Period.

Jesus, in His capacity as a man, subject to the authority of those who sat in the seat of Moses, was not in a position at that time to overturn the divorce judgment of Moses (c.f. Matthew 23:1-3). However, after He regained His position in heaven, He overturned Moses and there is no divorce allowed for His servants except for when the unbeliever will not live with them. When a case gets overturned, it's inappropriate to cite the case that just got shot down in flames.

The law of the bondservant is the context for this, as believers in Christ.

Read the epistles of Christ. Only once did He refer generally to the members of His church and He called them "My bondservants." Look up the law of the bondservant: Exodus 21:1-6. Christians are purchased. Christ is the Master. If you leave the Masters service, you don't get to take the Christian wife with you because He purchased her as well. If you want to leave the wife, you must leave the Master's service. This is in perfect agreement with 1st Corinthians 7:12-17, 39 and Romans 7:2.

Matthew 5:31-32 teaches that God will not accept an illegitimate divorce, yet some divorces are legitimate and allow a wife to remarry. Men are allowed to have more than one wife so the issue of divorce does not effect their right to take another wife. A wife does not have the authority to force her husband into celibacy by separating herself from him because the husband is not limited to one wife.

wtanksley said...

To me, the most important problem here is your claim (along with other anti-divorce extremists like John Piper) that Christ was declaring that he wanted to change a provision in Moses' Law, and that there was an actual error in the Scriptural account. Although this is a possible reading of the text, it should be considered by any Bible-believing Christian to be the lowest probability. In this case, there's a vastly clearer interpretation that begins with the recognition that Moses' law actually doesn't mention divorce except to admit that it exists. The text that the Pharisees were pointing to was not actually written in order to define divorce, but rather to define a specific land-defiling sin related to double-remarriage. This is why Christ refused to argue about this text -- it is almost irrelevant, merely an excuse. To claim as you do is to say not only that Moses got it wrong, but Jeremiah lied about GOD HIMSELF quoting that law in Jer 3.

And this is also why the texts you cite are irrelevant to polygamy as well as marriage. The foundation of marriage is a man leaving his parents' household (note "father and mother" specifically) and cleaving to his wife (a verb in which the man is the subject, not ever clearly used in Greek or Hebrew to describe the unitive function of sex, but apparently an additional action of pursuit, isolation, and closing that mixes not only genes but also culture -- and Dan 2:43 actually explicitly CONTRASTS the "mixing of seed" to the cleaving using the same roots in Aramaic [see the notes in the ESV and the NET, at least]).

Rom 14:4 is applicable to this debate, I believe, although not for the role you're putting it to. Rather, it means that men of both of our persuasions must accept each other as Christians -- you and your wives should be welcome in my church, although never as leaders. Rom 5:13 still doesn't mean that in context -- it's talking about God himself, not men. As a polygamist, you will always be a second-class member of the Christian church -- not less SAVED, but more bound by your past decisions. And make no mistake, you are bound. Sinning by taking more women than you can cleave to does not give you the right to decide which of them you will refuse to support. The Law is clear in its ruling that anyone marrying an additional wife must not reduce the support his existing wife has -- although the Law doesn't specify any remedy, it's pretty clear what would have to be done.

You're making a huge mistake to say that polygamy is "wrong for me" but not for you. I'm not saying that polygamy is "wrong for me"; I'm saying that like divorce, it's a secondary consequence of sin that should not be pretended to be God's will for marriage, but only a way of dealing with otherwise irredeemable situations. Polygamy is effectively required in order to support a close relative's wife, both giving her a continued inheritance (and a living); it's also required as a response to a man defiling a virgin (at her or her father's option), since otherwise she might be at very low chance of finding a decent husband.

Your argument about bondservants is logically backwards -- there's NO command to force a divorce when the husband leaves Christ (which is the situation described by the law of the bondservant). Once that's dismissed, we see that the rest of the argument is based on a _reversal_ of the actual bondservant text; so far from being "in perfect agreement" it's pure fantasy.

wtanksley said...


Since Matthew 5:31-32 does not actually SAY that God won't accept an illegitimate divorce, and 1Cor 7:11 actually speaks of an illegitimately divorced woman as being "unmarried", it follows that even illegitimate divorces are actual. All divorces, regardless of legitimacy, "allow" remarriage, and the resulting marriage (however wrongly introduced) is both real and final -- it completely and permanently eliminates the possibility of marital reconciliation (as that would be an abomination).

Now, Christ's words on the topic are difficult. There's no arguing with that; but they aren't any easier for you than they are for me. Your thesis requires that men can only commit adultery only by having sex with a married woman; but Mark 10:11 adds that a man divorcing his wife an marrying another (no mention of the new wife not being a virgin!) commits adultery _against his ex-wife_. How? By my thesis it's perfectly clear -- he's denying his legitimate wife the right to the cleaving she never did anything to forfeit, and giving it to another. By your thesis Christ's words are nearly inexplicable (perhaps you'd say it's some kind of hyperbole). Now, I do admit that your thesis is useful -- I'd never thought of adultery as an offense against the honor of the husband before, rather than just as a sin. Your definition helps me to understand why Matthew might say that putting away your wife forces her to commit adultery -- you're not forcing her to SIN (although she may of course be sinning when she does it), because her remarriage isn't a sin; rather you're forcing her to publicly dishonor you by choosing another man in preference to you.

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