Definition of Marriage is a Moving Target.

This country needs a Truth in Advertising law applied to the term,”traditional marriage”. Whoever uses the term should have credentials in the history of marriage.

Currently, the term, “traditional marriage” is used to get votes and collect money from a nieve public.  The less-than-honest Popes, politicians and preachers taking advantage of the public should be required to use a  phrase like, “marriage the way I want it defined”.

Opposition to marriage of gays is based on nothing more arbitrary definitions.  People who don’t like gays want to make their lives miserable.  So, they make up terms like, “traditional marriage” and pretend they know what is meant by it.

Since ”traditional marriage” is used frequently, though not always, by the Christian right, we should look at marriage as it was practiced in its Bible.  A “traditional marriage” in the Bible was a man taking ownership of a woman, or some women, and treating her as his property.

“But, wait,” a Christian might say. “Jesus treated women better than men did in the Old Testament and better than other religions of the time.”

Actually, women were more powerful in times before Jews and Christians.  There were worse groups than the Jews/Christians, but there have been better ones as well.

The final defense when people are condemning gay marriage is the line, “They can’t have children. That’s the purpose of marriage.”

The purpose of marriage is to form a household to care for each other.  The part about children is another example of making something up.

http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/8209-%E2%80%98biblical%E2%80%99-marriage-unmasked

Local readers, Freethinker meeting, 1 PM, this Sunday, Feb. 17.  Plains Art Museum, 704 1st Ave N., Fargo.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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38 Responses to Definition of Marriage is a Moving Target.

  1. murill says:

    Wish I could afford a harem.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Thanks for posting, Murill. I wonder how the cost of a harem today compares to what the men in the Bible paid. :)

      • Jeffrey Eide says:

        Don’t forget, Murill, at that time, it would be more likely for a man to be a eunuch than own a harem. Well, at least you could keep up your choir voice.

        Besides, where would you find eunuchs to work in your harem in today’s world, even in this job market…

  2. Michael Ross says:

    “Opposition to marriage of gays is based on nothing more arbitrary definitions.”

    Let’s not be ludicrous Jon. We all know that the traditional definition of marriage is one man and one women until death do us part. You may may wish to change that definition but the institution of marriage is not open your trendy thinking or the whims of the times. I change, you change, the weather changes, technology changes, but marriage is a bedrock of all civilizations. I fail, you fail, men and women fail, individual marriages fail, but the institution as prescribe by the Almighty in Eden will be everlasting. Deal with it.

    • Jeffrey Eide says:

      Mr. Ross, I beg of you, please read the posts completely. Jon pointed out that the idea of marriage has gone through extraordinary changes throughout history. Of course, marriage did not start with organized religions, but has served a purpose in the earliest known civilizations, long before.

      Even in biblical times, it was not uncommon for a man to marry multiple women. In fact, the ancient Hebrews practices polygamy regularly. Most of history comprised of marriage as a way to pass property on, and certainly rarely for love. Women were often considered chattel, property to be traded and sold.

      Much of early American history, before independence, people were married if they said they were, sans ceremony. Indeed the very idea of marriage as a bond of love between a man and a woman is only about a century old. Now, I must concede that the defined institution of a man and a woman was entirely Christian. In fact, that is the entire point. By insisting that you or anyone is entitled to define what matrimony is, based on their own religious viewpoint
      is exactly why so many people are demanding that reanalyze the situation.

      Quite simply, marriage is an institution that has constantly evolved in response to changing social and political forces. Our social and political forces continue to change. IT IS NOT the bedrock of our society, sir.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 6:25 “Let’s not be ludicrous, Jon.”

      I have something going for me you do not, my friend. I have actual documented historical experience.

  3. entech says:

    I think the very idea of a traditional marriage is ludicrous, there must be as many traditions as there are tribes.
    If you think the Genesis story is the one and only truth, you have a lot to do to demonstrate that it even happened let alone that the other creation stories are wrong.

    Even in Eden with only two of them they could not get it right.
    Multiply, how? don’t eat from that tree or you will find out.
    The sequencing doesn’t seem quite right, so we have the legend of Lilith, not monogamy.
    Another explanation for Gen 1 and 2 is that in Gen 1 the first creation was androgynous, Gen 2 describes the separation into separate entities. Not everything works as desired so perhaps the division is not always as accurate as it might be?
    The servant looking after the Garden needed a companion, a helper, so lots of potentials were created and Adam named them all but none were found suitable -?- so a human female was produced.
    After playing with snakes they were both banished from the Garden, and now jobless, limited prospects, they start a family.
    The rest of Genesis is a mass of intrigue, polygamy, infidelity and incest. The very horrors that gay marriage would encourage.

    What horrors would changing the (Christian) definition of marriage introduce that weren’t in the book from the start?

    The whole five books are too inconsistent and strange to be taken seriously, deal with it.

  4. Doug says:

    From LIVEJOURNAL Blog: http://anthropologist.livejournal.com/1314574.html

    When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite

    “Contrary to myth, Christianity’s concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual.”

    Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the “Office of Same-Sex Union” (10th and 11th century), and the “Order for Uniting Two Men” (11th and 12th century).

    “Records of Christian same sex unions have been discovered in such diverse archives as those in the Vatican, in St. Petersburg, in Paris, in Istanbul and in the Sinai, covering a thousand-years from the 8th to the 18th century.”

    “While homosexuality was technically illegal from late Roman times, homophobic writings didn’t appear in Western Europe until the late 14th century. Even then, church-consecrated same sex unions continued to take place.”

    Interesting reading.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Doug 11:40 Thanks for the first time post. I had not heard of these documents before. Amazing.

      One has to conclude if same sex orientation occurs today in humans, it must been there since day one. And, those in charge over the hundreds of thousands of years probably dealt with it in many ways. Today, one way is to condemn it as sin. We know native peoples only a generation back treated such people as holding some divine powers.

      “Traditional marriage” folks, please take note.

    • Michael Ross says:

      “When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite”

      So were the Crusades. Does that justify them?

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Michael 4:19 The Crusades were a Christian ritual? Do we have a ritual called “Traditional Crusades”?

        • Michael Ross says:

          They were wrongfully carried out in the name of Christ. An offensive war is not biblical. Neither is same-sex “marriage”, even if done in a “church” by a “pastor” or “priest”.

          • Doug says:

            Two powerful statements supposedly attributed to Jesus Christ (or maybe it was Santa Claus):

            1. Love thy neighbor as yourself.
            2. Judge not and you will not be judged.

          • Michael Ross says:

            Doug, what if your neighbor is a pedophile? Just love him and don’t be judgmental. Is that what you are saying?

          • entech says:

            Seems to me that what Doug said was that Jesus said those things, and by extension you should love your neighbour without judging, without qualification or restriction>

          • Doug says:

            I actually did not say either of those things. I said that SUPPOSEDLY these statements are attributed to Jesus Christ, or maybe Santa Claus (the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, The Bad Witch of the West, take your pick, . . . I don’t really care!) I am an atheist, NOT a Christian (or a “christian”) who makes judgments, condemnations and bares false witness against his neighbor.) I don’t give a hoot if my neighbor is a pedophile. It’s none of my business. That is the business of our courts and police departments, however.

            On another note, it’s becoming so obvious that now days, in any discussion of any issue involving the Gay community, someone always manages to bring up the word “pedophile” in the same breath as Gay equality. This practice has become standard procedure for the haters on the “christian” right.

          • entech says:

            Doug, I did not say that you said etc. if you want to be picky I said “It seems to me”, now that you have been a little more forthright I will use a similar expression and say – When it comes down to it, it seems to me that we agree entirely. :)

    • Jinx says:

      Doug, this is fascinating and like Jon, I have never come across this facet of early Christianity! I am going to pass this info along to my wonderful gay son and his equally wonderful partner and I know they will share this with others.

      Thank You so much for posting this!

  5. Jason Klinnert says:

    Just a couple of quick questions I would like to ask the Author or anyone else for that matter. 1. Let’s all assume that same-sex marriage becomes legal and the norm of society, What’s next for marriage? Who will be the next group to step forward and say that they should be allowed to get married? Should polygamy be allowed then? Wouldn’t they have a right to the claim to marriage as well?
    2. Should religious institutions who have self governing laws and beliefs regarding how they live out their faith and religion be forced by secular law to perform same-sex marriages?
    3. Should a privately owned business be forced or held criminally or civilly liable if they choose to refuse to offer good’s and services to same-sex couples because it violates their beliefs, religious or non religious?
    4. And finally, can you explain the difference between marriage, civil union, and domestic partnership and why the same-sex advocates for same-sex marriage are pushing for one over the other?

    I look forward to your responses.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Jason 6:30 Thank you for your first time comment, a well organized and well written one. I’ll take a crack at answering these, maybe others would like to add something as well.

      1. “What’s next for marriage…polygamy?” What’s next for marriage is what society collectively decides is in the society’s interests. Since polygamy has mostly been a practice associated with religions, I can see the case made for it as one of religious freedom and not one made by “liberal” people. I don’t see much in common between polygamy and gay marriage. Polygamy is seen by most as a practice with victims, whereas, gay marriage is victimless. The Bible advocates a rape victim be forced to marry the rapist. That would be yet another variation in the marriage practice that would be seen as unacceptable, except, perhaps, in some religious circles. (I see you did not include marriage to animals which many predict is next.)

      2. “Should religious institutions ..be forced to perform same sex marriages?” I think this, also, would be decided by what society, including denominations, sees as being in its collective interest. That a pastor/priest signs the marriage document is an abberation in the practice of marriage. Marriages were originally arranged by tribes in ways that benefited tribal interests. Tribal leaders were what we would call today government. If pastors are required to marry gays when their denominational rules prohibit it, there are two choices. One is to change the denomination’s rules, the other is to not sign marriage certificates for anyone–i.e., remove itself from this entanglement with government. It could offer a ceremony blessing a couple which it could withhold from gay couples. The couple could have the certificate signed by someone else.

      3. re: Privately owned firms, required to offer benefits. That is being litigated now, is it not? Perhaps you are too young to know about the civil rights movement. The argument was similar. Privately owned bars and cafes did not want to serve black people and said requirements to do this infringed on their freedoms. Society decided otherwise. In my opinion, the owner of a firm that encounters government with licences, etc., should have to conform.

      4. Marriage, civil union, etc. This requires too long an answer to cover here. I will only say from a policy standpoint, one kind of union is better than many. Many kinds will require endless other laws about property, children, etc. I once heard a discussion about civil unions and how straight couples will demand access to these if they are available for gays. Is this in society’s interests? It doesn’t seem so to me.

      The thing is, if gay marriage becomes the norm, the term you use, these problems with requirements for dissenting branches of the faith and private firms will evaporate. In a generation or so, the members of the denominations and owners of businesses will be made up of people who accept gay marriage, or, the denominations and businesses will disappear.

      • entech says:

        Question 1. Polygamy (probably more accurately polygyny, polyandry a woman with a few husbands would be unheard of in any Christian context, men are in charge) is an early form of Biblical marriage.

        Genesis 4:19-22
        19 Lamech married two women, …
        These verses tell of both women having offspring so this was two real marriages to two real women.
        This was about 5 generations after A&E so probably at least one was incestuous.

        Having gone so far beyond one man one woman for life, and having done it so soon, it would be hard to justify anything as being prohibited and would thus remove any justification for the other questions even being considered.

        Although for 4. I would be happy with a single legally binding contract between consenting adults. If you want to add rites do so, but do not deny others rights based on your desires.

  6. Michael Ross says:

    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
    —1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV)
    Fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites – the Bible put homosexuals in the same category as promiscuous heterosexuals, period. Whether homos are in a monogamous life-long relationship(“marriage”) or not, they are under the condemnation of God. And church history and traditions do not supersede the scriptures.

    • Jeffrey Eide says:

      Yeah, we understand your bigotry and hatred originates with your religious beliefs. That is primarily why I oppose organized religion.

      The problem is your circular arguments. You say that “homos” are wrong, why? Because the Bible says so. Why is the bible right? Because I believe it is. Why do I believe it is? Because the Bible says so.

      If you are not willing to question the basic assumptions you make, i.e. the Bible is true, then joining the conversation is nothing more than shouting someone else’s conclusions at the top of your lungs.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 10:37 ” 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10…homosexuals…(NKDJV)”

      I’d encourage you to read other versions of the Bible, in addition to the one that reinforces your dislike of gays. For example, King James 1611. It does not use the word “homosexual” because, as I’m sure you know, the word was not invented until relatively recently. There is a word in KJ 1611, “effininate” that might have been changed to “homosexaul” in the version you quoted.

      You can see in Wikipedia, and other sources I’m sure, the work “effiniate” can refer to a variety of behaviors, depending on the period or culture referred to. It is not an agreed upon synonym for “homosexuality”. What the authors of the Bible were referring to is up for grabs.

      • Michael Ross says:

        Effeminate by immorality is what is meant. Men acting like women. If a man has some feminine mannerisms but is straight, that is not what the scripture is referring to. As the Kink’s “Lola” sang: “Now I’m not the world’s most masculine man but I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man so’s Lola.” Lola is man man who wants to be a woman. That is what God condemns. God loves homosexuals as He does all sinners and wants to forgive and deliver the from that bondage. They must first know their sinfulness and need of repentance. Our culture today does not promote conviction of this and is headed toward judgment and collapse.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Michael 1:18 “Effeminate by immorality is what is meant.”

          But Michael, get serious. It doesn’t say that. It just says “effeminate”–doesn’t go on to say what you say, “If a man has some feminine mannerisms but is straight, that is not what the scripture is referring to.” It does not say “homosexual”, it does not say, “effeminate but only if prefers men.”

          • Michael Ross says:

            Of course you know more that the scholars that translated the scriptures.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Michael 1:43 “Of course you know more than the scholars that translated the scriptures.”

            No. NO. You are the only who wrote, “What this means is….” I only pointed out use of the word, “effeminate” in 1611. And, I pointed out, as you can read on any discussion page like Wikipedia, the word is not a synonym for homosexuality. I did not insert my own opinion and pretend I was an authority.

          • Jeffrey Eide says:

            Michael, please try to see it from this point of view:

            You are not only claiming with certainty that there is a book which truthfully contains a message from god, but that you are able to interpret it word for word to suit whatever meaning you believe is what was “meant”. Does this not seem arrogant to have this much confidence in such a translated and passed-down book?

        • Jinx says:

          I believe some of these scholars made errors, some pushed their own agenda, translation problems and the source material is highly questionable! You must read Bart Erhmann if your going to knowledgeably discuss biblical scholars. The Misquoting of Jesus is a good one to start with……….I just love his rigorous methodology he uses when assessing ancient writings. BTW, he reads and speaks Aremic (sp), Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and 3-4 other biblical languages of the times.

    • Jinx says:

      Absolutely no scientific evidence that god and her kingdom exist, and equally, no proof that they don’t. Faith, you say is all you need to justify your beliefs and the so called “done in god’s name” atrocities committed by the faithful in the last 6,000 years? Please, I want no part of the fairy tale god and her kingdom.

  7. Michael Ross says:

    OK Mr. Bible scholar, show me which translation does not condemn homosexuality.

    ? 1 Corinthians 6:9 ?

    New International Version (©1984)
    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
    New Living Translation (©2007)
    Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,

    English Standard Version (©2001)
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

    Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
    Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or anyone practicing homosexuality,

    International Standard Version (©2012)
    You know that wicked people will not inherit the kingdom of God, don’t you? Stop deceiving yourselves! Sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals,

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
    Or do you not know that evil men do not inherit The Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; no fornicators, neither worshipers of idols, neither adulterers, neither sexual molesters, neither males lying down with males,

    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
    Don’t you know that wicked people won’t inherit the kingdom of God? Stop deceiving yourselves! People who continue to commit sexual sins, who worship false gods, those who commit adultery, homosexuals,

    King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    American King James Version
    Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    American Standard Version
    Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,

    Darby Bible Translation
    Do ye not know that unrighteous persons shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who make women of themselves, nor who abuse themselves with men,

    English Revised Version
    Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    Weymouth New Testament
    Do you not know that unrighteous men will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Cherish no delusion here. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor any who are guilty of unnatural crime,

    World English Bible
    Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals,

    Young’s Literal Translation
    have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites,

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 3:32 “OK Mr. Bible scholar.”

      Thanks for taking the time to look all those up and enter them for everyone to read.

      I’m not a Bible scholar, I’m a retired economists and politician. As such, I see things in a way different than you. I noticed “homosexuality” start being substituted for the word used in 1611, “effeminate”, at a certain point in time. This was about the time when gay people started asserting themselves publically for equal treatment. The Christian right saw that as an opportunity to make some money with gay bashing. Jerry Falwell came along eventually with his “Moral Majority” which focused its rath on homosexuals. Others, seeking to cash in, were book publishers including those who sold Bibles. Use of the word, “homosexual” was a part of that.

      So far as I know, there is no other explanation for substitution of “homosexuality” for “effeminate”. As I pointed out, they are not synonyms.

  8. entech says:

    Corinth must have been a veritable cesspit, somewhere that would put Sodom and Gomorrah to a place so paltry with its sinning that it is not worth mentioning. Most of 1 Corinthians seems to be indicating who will not go to heaven, it would be a lonely place.

    Now tell how the story of David and Jonathon is not approval.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 4:07 “Most of 1 Corinthians seems to be indicating who will not go to heaven…”

      Included among those not going to heaven were the “effeminate”. I have it on good authority (my own) this referred to men with high pitched voices. Today, they would sing tenor in the chruch choir. :lol:

  9. Jinx says:

    Michael, they are all based on the same questionable sources. Very little if any original writings exist…….between copies upon copies upon copies, etc., purges of certain writings, and mistranslations both accidental and deliberate……..and then copied again and again, how can the sources you list even be allowed as evidence?

    Gay people are born that way and plenty of scientific evidence supports that hypotheses. New discoveries in genetic research are pointing to what we actually inherit are gene switches in our DNA that turn on or off many different human traits and diseases. A genetic male embryo is female until about 6 weeks…..then an an “androgen bath” is triggered that physically changes the embryo to male and androgenizes the brain structures to male.

    The percentage of gays in the population of world is a constant across cultures and ethnic groups as well as over time. This strongly suggests that genetics are involves. In light of recent significant medical research findings regarding gene switches, science may soon have a solid explanation for the existence of a constant percentage of GLTB people in the population.

    Imagine the genetic switch for the Androgen Bath that shuts down the process for the brain after the embryo’s physical genetic switch is completed….you have a male physically but not in the brain, or vice versa….. a girl physically but an adrogenized brain. How about infants born that we call hermaphrodites…..possessing physical traits of both sexes but are genetically male or female. In the past they were assigned a gender mainly by appearance but as the grew and developed, their brain is of the opposite sex. I do believe that the discovery of genetic switches will revolutionized not only gender research but medical and behavior research as well.

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