Along Came Poly.

Comments have been moved here:http://deeperwaters.ddns.net/?p=8410

Does the covenant of marriage really matter? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Two days ago on February 18th, prominent internet blogger Richard Carrier, who seems to be the answer to all conservative NT scholarship in the eyes of internet atheists everywhere, wrote a post about how he is coming out polyamorous.

So what does it mean to be polyamorous?

A visit to the Polyamory society defines it this way:

Polyamory is the nonpossessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultanously.  Polyamory emphasizes consciously choosing how many partners one wishes to be involved with rather than accepting social norms which dictate loving only one person at a time.  Polyamory is an umbrella term which integrates traditional mutipartner relationship terms with more evolved egalitarian terms.  Polyamory embraces sexual equality and all sexual orientations towards an expanded circle of spousal intimacy and love.  Polyamory is from the root words Poly meaning many and Amour meaning love hence “many loves” or Polyamory.  Of course, love itself is a rather ambiguous term, but most polys seem to define it as a serious, intimate, romantic, or less stable, affectionate bond which a person has with another person or group of persons.  This bond usually, though not necessarily always, involves sex.  Sexualove or eromance are other words which have been coined to describe this kind of love.  Other terms often used as synonyms for polyamory are responsible, ethical or intentional non-monogamy.

Now if you want to say as I seem to take it that this entails a desire to have sex with many people other than one’s own spouse, then I will tell you that there are many many people who I think are really polyamorous.

Namely, every male on the planet, including myself.

But you know, rather than admit that you’re a person who has to learn to practice self-control and rather than admit that maybe sex is meant to be between two people who make a covenant together, it’s often easier to just come up with a name for it and in fact define it as a sexual orientation. In fact, Carrier himself says this. “The ability to be more transparent, public, and open about my sexual orientation is a major part of what I’ve needed in my life.”

And note that. “What I’ve needed.”

Of course,we can’t overlook the fact that there truly is someone for whom to have great sympathy in this situation, and that’s his wife who he has said he is divorcing after twenty years. One can only imagine what is going on in Jen’s world right now and we as Christians should indeed pray for her. After all, she has invested twenty years of her life in a man only to have him leave her.

It’s especially tragic if one really thinks there is a need for multiple partners. It’s going to a woman and saying “You’re not enough for me. I need more than you.” That hits at the core of a woman’s identity very often. This is especially the case of a woman who wants to be a one and only and not simply one among many. Whether Jen falls into this category or not, I cannot say, but I can say I’m quite sure she’s not a happy camper right now and I mean this with all honesty. I have the greatest of sympathy right now for her in this and plan to keep her in my prayers.

We can also be sure Jen is another victim of the “It won’t hurt your marriage” line.

Remember this. When marriage gets hurt, it is not just marriage that hurts. It is real people that get hurt.

So how did all this start? Carrier has the answer:

Several years ago, after about seventeen years of marriage, I had a few brief affairs, because I found myself unequipped to handle certain unusual circumstances in our marriage, which I won’t discuss here because they intrude on my wife’s privacy. In the process of that I also came to realize I can’t do monogamy and be happy. Since this was going to come to light eventually, about two years ago I confessed all of this to Jen and told her I still love her but I would certainly understand if she wanted a divorce. Despite all the ways we work together and were happy together, this one piece didn’t fit anymore.

You see, most of us find ourselves unequipped to handle some events in our marriage, and when we do, we go and get the help we need. Why? We are absolutely devoted to the person we love and want to be the best that we can for them. It is for that reason that on Facebook, my wife and I both have set up marriage groups. Mine is for Christian men only and hers is for Christian women only. These are men and women who are married, engaged, dating, or planning to marry. In both groups, it is about learning to love our spouse the way we’re supposed to.

This is monogamous marriage? Is it hard work. You absolutely bet it is. It’s one of the greatest lessons in self-sacrifice you learn. It is indeed about dying to yourself and learning to live a life where you actually have to realize what it’s like to not only put one person’s good above your own, but you have to learn what it is to do so with one who is so radically different from you, and even if you marry someone very similar to you, their being of the opposite sex makes them really much more different than you realize.

Yes. It is hard work, but it is also worth it.

Now you can go out and form many relationships with many people on a sexual level and just never really get to know them but have a time of pleasure with them, but as for me, I have decided already I have no desire to go wading in the shallow waters of multiple women. I have decided to dive deep into the ocean of my one. The key to real sex, I am convinced, is not going to be some technique or your physique or anything like that. Now these are all fine in and of themselves. If married people want to try a new technique in the bedroom that they both agree to, that’s fine. If they want to get in better shape to please their spouse and be able to do more, that’s fine. But you know what will make it best? It will be the raw unbridled passion that each person has for the other as a passion. It is knowing that the other person wants you for you and not just for sex. Sex is the icing on the cake of having one another.

This is something I have to keep in mind. I have to look at Allie and make sure constantly that I am treating her right. Am I using Allie as a means to get sex, or is sex the means that I use to get Allie? There is a world of difference between the two. If all you want is sex, go out on the streets with enough money and you can get that pretty easily. If what you want is another person, well that requires a lot more.

For many of us, that requires a covenant.

And that is really the great tragedy here. A covenant has been broken. The reason given includes the following:

But one of those things is the mutual understanding that we aren’t compatible with each other.

Most of us find this out before twenty years of marriage, but it does conveniently come out after affairs.

In reality, are any of us really “compatible” with one another? We all will change in the relationship, but if you really love the person, you change with the other person in mind and seek to grow in love towards that other person. If your main focus is on yourself, you won’t think about the other person. Granted, all of us have some areas of self-interest in a relationship and none of us do perfect in it, but we should all seek to strive for that.

Carrier says about this that:

It actually doesn’t make a lot of sense to expect a monogamous relationship to last, given that it assumes the contra-factual that people never change. If we never changed, we would never be learning, never growing or improving as a person. Which is not a commendable goal. And as both members of a couple change, as unavoidably they will, and even if each changes for the better, statistically, just on a basic bell curve reasoning (and thus simply as a matter of mathematical necessity), half are still going to change divergently rather than convergently, so we could predict on that basis alone that half of all monogamies will become non-viable. Which oddly matches observation.

We might want to learn something from that.

This is news for people who did monogamy for centuries and found that for some strange reason, it seems to work pretty well. Could it be that the problem is not that monogamy is hard but that divorce is easy? It doesn’t take much to say “I give up” when things get difficult. In reality, as you change, you learn to love through the change. Divorce in that way becomes a way of saying “I can’t love you the way you are.” It really says nothing about the way the other person is. It says plenty about the person who makes the claim.

Is the other person hard to live with? So are you. Is the other person someone who can annoy you at times? You do the same to them. Is the other person someone who makes no sense to you at times? You don’t make sense to them at times. This is all part of the reality of the covenant. You made a promise to this person when you married them to love them forever and they trusted you in that promise. What does it mean to be the kind of person who breaks that promise?

Now does this mean divorce is never an option? No. There are sad cases where it is. Two such cases I can think of are abuse and adultery. And still in these cases, while divorce can be a necessity, particularly in the case of abuse, it is still a tragedy. None of us should really celebrate when a divorce takes place. We should all have great sorrow. Even if in the case of a woman better off than with an abusive husband, it is still sorrowful that a covenant was broken and a woman has to live with that. As I’ve said before, pray for Jen.

As for those of us who are Christians, let’s make this a favorite case to show Carrier wrong in by loving our spouses the way we’re supposed to and striving for that every day. If you’re in the field of apologetics and you’re able to refute Carrier, but you do not do the job of loving your spouse the way that Christ commands you to, I could call you a fine apologist, but I can’t say I’d call you a fine Christian.

To that end, we do need to establish better places in churches where men and women can come together. Men need to be able to connect with just men and talk about what is on our minds. Women need to have the same. In both cases, sexual issues should not be off the table. It seems often we talk about every aspect of marriage enrichment in church except the sexual one. That should definitely be discussed. Carrier’s embracing of polyamory should be a reminder to Christians that this stuff is becoming more and more acceptable. It’s not going to go away. We need to be prepared to handle it and not just with an apologetic defense of marriage, but a lived out defense of marriage.

Then of course, couples need to come together and be able to discuss the issues that they have, because all marriages have areas that can be improved on. The more we do this, the better able we are going to be to fulfill our duties as Christians. When I was dating Allie, I was studying philosophy. Now it’s New Testament, and I would change that part of what I said to her parents at the time that described my goal in life which is still the same. One goal is obvious, to get a Ph.D. in New Testament. The other goal? To get a Ph.D. in Allie. I want to be a student of learning who she is constantly and growing in my relationship with her more and more. Do I screw up at times? Obviously, but a mature man learns from his mistakes and strives to not repeat them. I just pray I be a mature man.

Keep in mind people that this is something that we should read about as a tragedy. I still do. The problem is not the institution of marriage. The problem is the people entering into it. Let’s try to change ourselves to be better at marriage. Too often we’re trying to change marriage to fit it to ourselves. If you are married, renew that drive today to be the best spouse that you can be.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

21 Responses to “Along Came Poly.”

  1. Wintery Knight Says:

    Sense and Goodness without God. Now we know what he really meant by that.

  2. Vincent S Artale Jr Says:

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
    Excellent article!

  3. Ken Ammi Says:

    As Ricardo Montalban, the original most interesting man in the world, put it, “A great lover is someone who can satisfy one woman her entire lifetime and be satisfied with one woman his entire lifetime. It is not someone who goes from woman to woman; any dog can do that.’”

  4. SLIMJIM Says:

    Good exhortation in the end.

  5. d4m10n Says:

    It would be somewhat more impressive (especially to those who don’t share your worldview) if you could show where Carrier transgressed his own stated moral principles. You’ve done the deep dive on Sense and Goodness, so I’m guessing it shouldn’t be that tricky.

    • apologianick Says:

      I could do this later on. I’m awfully busy this week with another project that has to be done. Still, this would seem to entail some form of relativism. If polyamory can be shown to be a wrong way of living anyway, then the point is made, though I do think it would be fun to go through Carrier’s work again on this. Another interesting article in this regard is here: https://orwelliangarbage.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/dr-richard-carrier-phd-polyamorous-or-sleaze-unless-box-checked-for-other/

      • d4m10n Says:

        You have not shown that polyamory is “a wrong way of living” though, but rather asserted that “sex is meant to be between two people who make a covenant together.” This assertion is convincing to many theists, of course, but not to those who believe sexual reproduction is merely an evolutionary adaptation.

      • apologianick Says:

        I have some book reviews coming up, but I can still make the case. A lot of my emphasis however was the fact that Carrier is divorcing his wife, the very woman who helped him get to the Ph.D. level and he could not have got there without her, essentially saying she’s not good enough, and letting other lovers all talk about his exploits with them.

  6. d4m10n Says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Ball Skeptics and commented:
    Interesting post from well outside the skeptic/rationalist perspective

  7. Patrick Reynolds Says:

    I find this to be an interesting topic mainly because while there seems to be wide-spread condemnation of Richard Carrier for his choice you seem to ignore the large number of men in the OT who had multiple wives and were never condemned for it. In Exodus there were even rules for dealing with more than one wife.

    Polyamory is no more sleeping with multiple people mainly for sex than dating and marriage is sleeping with one person mainly for sex. If you examine the quote you made you will see that 1). sex is not manditory, and more importantly, 2). it is an open, honest, relationship where everyone knows everyone and is fully aware of who is sleeping with whom. New people are aware of the situation when they come into it and are able to leave if they are no longer comfortable with it. Honesty and communication are stressed in this relationship rather than the sneaking around that married people do when they have affairs.

    It’s especially tragic if one really thinks there is a need for multiple partners. It’s going to a woman and saying “You’re not enough for me. I need more than you.” I have read studies that have stated that it is unreasonable to think that one spouse can fulfill all of the needs of the other partner. If you find that one, single, person who fulfills all of your needs then great. You are indeed a lucky person. My experience with watching other married people is that they have some needs that are not fulfilled by the other person. Maybe one likes sex and the other is asexual. Maybe the woman had to have a mastectomy and now the husband does not feel sexually attracted to her because of the resultant scars. Should the woman just abstain from any further sex? Maybe the needs have nothing to do with sex.

    Lastly, studies also show that the divorce rate is much higher for religious than non-religious.

    Hopefully, we can continue this chat if you are interested.

    • apologianick Says:

      And if you look in the OT, polygamy was a borderline practice that was allowed, but it always led to difficulty when it was followed. By the time of the NT, they’d got it straightened out and Jesus was tougher on marriage than even the essenes.

      Also, you say you have read studies. Well I cannot say anything about unsourced studies out there. In marriage, if needs aren’t being met, both partners work together to do what they can to reach the needs. They stick through and fight it out.

      As for the divorce rate, Shaunti Feldhahn also did the research. There is a difference between nominal Christianity and those who have an active part in their church from an orthodox position and participate in solid activities together regularly like prayer and Bible study.

      • Patrick Reynolds Says:

        And if you look in the OT, polygamy was a borderline practice that was allowed, but it always led to difficulty when it was followed. By the time of the NT, they’d got it straightened out and Jesus was tougher on marriage than even the essenes.

        I have read the OT in its entirety numerous times as a Christian but I didn’t see any support for the above statement. While numerous men did have multiple wives their problems were tied more to their obidience to God or greed or whatever. I don’t recall any verses that showed that having multiple wives in itself was a problem. Besides, in Exodus, rather than chastising men for having multiple wives, God gives instructions on how to handle inheritance and other issues with them but never says that it was wrong or that there should only be one wife. Even in the NT there is no real definition of what constitutes a marriage. I don’t recall any verse spoken by Jesus that condemns polygamy or polyamory. Perhaps you can provide one.

        Also, you say you have read studies. Well I cannot say anything about unsourced studies out there. In marriage, if needs aren’t being met, both partners work together to do what they can to reach the needs. They stick through and fight it out.

        Generally speaking that would be nice but it does not always happen that way. People grow apart or perhaps the death of a child breaks up a marriage or a number of other reasons causes a marriage to break up.

        As for the divorce rate, Shaunti Feldhahn also did the research. There is a difference between nominal Christianity and those who have an active part in their church from an orthodox position and participate in solid activities together regularly like prayer and Bible study.

        The press is full of stories (Jimmy Swaggart, as just a single example among many) of pastors and other church elders who have had (heterosexual or homosexual) sex outside of marriage or have gotten divorces so limiting the discussion to “True” Christians is not an advantage for you. I personally would not like to get into a discussion of who is or is not a true christian and what criteria to judge them by as the definition of a christian changes from person to person and topic to topic.

      • apologianick Says:

        For the first, let’s look at where polygamy shows up often times.

        First major case is Abraham. Do you not think his relationship with Hagar caused some tension for the family?
        Next comes Jacob and his wives. Sure, you had twelve sons as a result, but that was one messed up family. You have to be for a large number of brothers to plot to kill one of them and to deceive their father. Keep in mind Reuben tried to usurp his father’s position with the concubine and Simeon and Levi were quite bloody.
        David had numerous women. What happened? He was a terrible father and his lust led to incidents like that with Bathsheba.
        And then of course, Solomon who was led astray.

        When we get to the NT, it’s actually not an issue at that point. Polygamy is not practiced so there’s no need to say anything about it.

        As for what happens with generally speaking, Dennis Prager once did some work on this and found that many couples do break after something like the death of a child. Why is it some don’t? They already have a place for evil in their worldview. What our culture has lost sight of is that marriage is hard work. Our culture is a culture that doesn’t care about that.

        With the last, no one is saying that someone can be a true Christian and not slip up, but there are a lot of Christians who haven’t really studied what they believe and it’s not a shaping dynamic in their lives. They just say that because they’re not atheists.

      • Patrick Reynolds Says:

        For the first, let’s look at where polygamy shows up often times.

        You raise some good issues here. Let’s take a look at them.

        First major case is Abraham. Do you not think his relationship with Hagar caused some tension for the family?

        And what exactly was the cause of the tension with these people? According to Genesis 21 there was no problem until Hagar’s son began mocking although it does not say who he was mocking. Sarah did not want to share Isaac’s inheritance with someone so rude or mean-spirited. She was, after all, fine with the relationship up to that point.

        Next comes Jacob and his wives. Sure, you had twelve sons as a result, but that was one messed up family. You have to be for a large number of brothers to plot to kill one of them and to deceive their father.

        I don’t see any link between their dysfunctionality and there polygamy. Many monogamous relationships can also be dysfunctional. My great-grandfather had 14 children with just one wife. The family was so dysfunctional the men all died alcoholics and all of the women moved away to the US.

        Keep in mind Reuben tried to usurp his father’s position with the concubine and Simeon and Levi were quite bloody.
        David had numerous women. What happened? He was a terrible father and his lust led to incidents like that with Bathsheba.
        And then of course, Solomon who was led astray.

        The question is, though, would David have been any better of a father had he only one wife? Or was he just someone who was very immature, a Christian who just slipped up? Even today, even though many men are in monogamous relationships they suck as fathers. They are absent due to work fathers or just not interacting with their children or there may be a number of other reasons. Many people who divorce and remarry several times still end up having children by multiple spouses and yet remain good parents to all.

        When we get to the NT, it’s actually not an issue at that point. Polygamy is not practiced so there’s no need to say anything about it.

        As for what happens with generally speaking, Dennis Prager once did some work on this and found that many couples do break after something like the death of a child. Why is it some don’t? They already have a place for evil in their worldview. What our culture has lost sight of is that marriage is hard work. Our culture is a culture that doesn’t care about that.

        Statistics show that if there is the death of a child in a family then the likelihood of a divorce rises to 80%. According to one source, In 1985, a study was done by Teresa Rando where it was revealed that there is an extremely high divorce rate (80-90%) in the US when a couple loses a child.

        With the last, no one is saying that someone can be a true Christian and not slip up, but there are a lot of Christians who haven’t really studied what they believe and it’s not a shaping dynamic in their lives. They just say that because they’re not atheists.

        I certainly do not expect Christians to be morally perfect, we are all human after all. My point was mainly that there are many Christian who have studied the bible, even received doctorates and other lofty degrees but still get divorced. I think that any group that accepts Martin Luther as a staunch Christian will pretty much accept anyone as a Christian.

        The real defeater for your position, as I see it, is two-fold. One is that God outlines rules on how to have multiple wives and how to treat them. Unlike with other sins He never comes out and states that multiple wives are wrong. Not once. Secondly, in the new testament, Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, thus putting his stamp of approval on the OT. Besides, if Jesus is God why would he come in the NT to say that something is wrong when he, as God, approved it in the OT?

      • apologianick Says:

        Patrick: And what exactly was the cause of the tension with these people? According to Genesis 21 there was no problem until Hagar’s son began mocking although it does not say who he was mocking. Sarah did not want to share Isaac’s inheritance with someone so rude or mean-spirited. She was, after all, fine with the relationship up to that point.

        Reply: She was, but then came inheritance issues that she had probably not taken as seriously at that point. Had Abraham believed the promise of God and not acted on his own, this dissension would not have taken place.

        Patrick: I don’t see any link between their dysfunctionality and there polygamy. Many monogamous relationships can also be dysfunctional. My great-grandfather had 14 children with just one wife. The family was so dysfunctional the men all died alcoholics and all of the women moved away to the US.

        Reply: The difference is why was Joseph hated? Joseph was hated because he was the oldest son of the favorite wife. Traditionally, everything would have fallen to Reuben, but the story came about because of favoritism, including favoritism among wives. Have one wife and that’s less likely to be a problem.

        Patrick: The question is, though, would David have been any better of a father had he only one wife? Or was he just someone who was very immature, a Christian who just slipped up? Even today, even though many men are in monogamous relationships they suck as fathers. They are absent due to work fathers or just not interacting with their children or there may be a number of other reasons. Many people who divorce and remarry several times still end up having children by multiple spouses and yet remain good parents to all.

        Reply: They can, but this was David’s great weakness. He fell for women. It was because of that that he fell for Bathsheba. Had he made it a vow to stick with one woman, Bathsheba would have never happened and the sword would not have hung over David’s head after that.

        Patrick: Statistics show that if there is the death of a child in a family then the likelihood of a divorce rises to 80%. According to one source, In 1985, a study was done by Teresa Rando where it was revealed that there is an extremely high divorce rate (80-90%) in the US when a couple loses a child.

        Reply: You realize that both of these statements could be true? The question is about Christian families. If my statement is true, Christian families that were devout and knowledgeable would have a place to explain evil in their worldview. Thus, they would be less prone to divorce.

        Patrick: I certainly do not expect Christians to be morally perfect, we are all human after all. My point was mainly that there are many Christian who have studied the bible, even received doctorates and other lofty degrees but still get divorced. I think that any group that accepts Martin Luther as a staunch Christian will pretty much accept anyone as a Christian.

        Reply: I am prepared to accept several as Christians, but their level of commitment is different. Of course, some with doctorates even slip, but at the same time, we would need to study those with doctorates compared to those without. I am not in a place to do that and I doubt you are as well.

        Patrick: The real defeater for your position, as I see it, is two-fold. One is that God outlines rules on how to have multiple wives and how to treat them. Unlike with other sins He never comes out and states that multiple wives are wrong. Not once. Secondly, in the new testament, Jesus says that He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, thus putting his stamp of approval on the OT. Besides, if Jesus is God why would he come in the NT to say that something is wrong when he, as God, approved it in the OT?

        Reply: For the first, I see it as God allowing a borderline practice that was not ideal, but that He would manage until a better time. The seeds for its destruction were already in place, such as not to have favoritism among your wives. Men were told to be more and more responsible for their wives. Second, with fulfilling the Law, this would not be the best passage to base it on as it’s extremely difficult for commentators. My take on it is that Jesus did come to fulfill the Law and that refers to the life requirements of the Law and to be the ultimate sacrifice. The same Jesus who said this also went beyond the Essenes in his view of marriage and divorce, and to show how extreme that was, the Essenes thought the Pharisees were wimps on keeping the Law.

  8. Patrick Reynolds Says:

    Nick Peters: She was, but then came inheritance issues that she had probably not taken as seriously at that point. Had Abraham believed the promise of God and not acted on his own, this dissension would not have taken place.

    Honest communication and planning is important in any relationship, monogamous or poly

    Nick Peters: The difference is why was Joseph hated? Joseph was hated because he was the oldest son of the favorite wife. Traditionally, everything would have fallen to Reuben, but the story came about because of favoritism, including favoritism among wives. Have one wife and that’s less likely to be a problem.

    Favoritism happens in many families with more than one child. It also happens with people who have more than one ex-spouse due to divorce or even the death of one spouse and the other remarries.

    Nick Peters: They can, but this was David’s great weakness. He fell for women. It was because of that that he fell for Bathsheba. Had he made it a vow to stick with one woman, Bathsheba would have never happened and the sword would not have hung over David’s head after that.

    By the time David met Bathsheba he already had multiple wives but there was no sword up to this point. Why is that? Perhaps it was because of the way he acquired Batsheba by killing her husband thus crossing the line, as it were.

    Nick Peters: You realize that both of these statements could be true? The question is about Christian families. If my statement is true, Christian families that were devout and knowledgeable would have a place to explain evil in their worldview. Thus, they would be less prone to divorce.

    Yes, but Christian couples are more prone to divorce than non-religious people.

    Nick Peters: I am prepared to accept several as Christians, but their level of commitment is different. Of course, some with doctorates even slip, but at the same time, we would need to study those with doctorates compared to those without. I am not in a place to do that and I doubt you are as well.

    Sure, I am. Why not?

    Nick Peters: For the first, I see it as God allowing a borderline practice that was not ideal, but that He would manage until a better time. The seeds for its destruction were already in place, such as not to have favoritism among your wives. Men were told to be more and more responsible for their wives. Second, with fulfilling the Law, this would not be the best passage to base it on as it’s extremely difficult for commentators. My take on it is that Jesus did come to fulfill the Law and that refers to the life requirements of the Law and to be the ultimate sacrifice. The same Jesus who said this also went beyond the Essenes in his view of marriage and divorce, and to show how extreme that was, the Essenes thought the Pharisees were wimps on keeping the Law.

    You call it a borderline practice. Nowhere in the bible is it referred to as one. There is no place in the bible where God says or implies that he will deal with it later. Besides, if it is okay for someone to kill homosexuals or women who are not virgins on their wedding day, God should have no problem enforcing monogamy if He wanted.

    As you previously pointed out, monogamous relationships have their problems which both people have to work through and resolve. The same is no less true in polyamorous ones. People are flawed in all types of ways. However, in both cases all of the parties involved may often need to sit down, raise the issues and work out the best solution to them. None of the issues you have raised are found solely in polyamorous relationships. More importantly, while there are explicit prohibitions against murder and lying, for example, no such prohibitions exist for having multipe wives even though there are other marriage-related instructions. You would think that in 66 books that detail how to live He would have found the space to enter “Thou shalt only have one wife at a time.” After all, He did leave other marriage-related instructions so one would have to wonder why He left that out.

    • apologianick Says:

      Patrick: Honest communication and planning is important in any relationship, monogamous or poly

      REply: Indeed it is, but had Abraham just stuck with Sarah as the promise had implied he should have, the trouble would not have happened. This was also about more than honesty. This was about honor/shame challenges. Hagar was shaming her mistress and in that world, she had a basis for it.

      Patrick: Favoritism happens in many families with more than one child. It also happens with people who have more than one ex-spouse due to divorce or even the death of one spouse and the other remarries.

      Reply: Yes it does, but the polygamy only made the situation worse in this case.

      Patrick: By the time David met Bathsheba he already had multiple wives but there was no sword up to this point. Why is that? Perhaps it was because of the way he acquired Batsheba by killing her husband thus crossing the line, as it were.

      Reply: Yes he did, which also led to in-fighting among his own children and disputes on who would be the next king and such. Had David agreed to stick with one woman, this never would have happened.

      Patrick: Yes, but Christian couples are more prone to divorce than non-religious people.

      Reply: This is the very statement under question so it can’t be an argument also. My claim is that those who actually have a real deep study of Christianity and practice it are less prone to divorce than others.

      Patrick: Sure, I am. Why not?

      Reply: Are you a trained sociologist?

      Patrick: You call it a borderline practice. Nowhere in the bible is it referred to as one. There is no place in the bible where God says or implies that he will deal with it later. Besides, if it is okay for someone to kill homosexuals or women who are not virgins on their wedding day, God should have no problem enforcing monogamy if He wanted.

      Reply: Actually, it is. It’s in the NT as well. That’s also along the lines of God allowing divorce because the hearts of people were hard. As for the other laws, do you know the purpose of them?

      Patrick: As you previously pointed out, monogamous relationships have their problems which both people have to work through and resolve. The same is no less true in polyamorous ones. People are flawed in all types of ways. However, in both cases all of the parties involved may often need to sit down, raise the issues and work out the best solution to them. None of the issues you have raised are found solely in polyamorous relationships. More importantly, while there are explicit prohibitions against murder and lying, for example, no such prohibitions exist for having multipe wives even though there are other marriage-related instructions. You would think that in 66 books that detail how to live He would have found the space to enter “Thou shalt only have one wife at a time.” After all, He did leave other marriage-related instructions so one would have to wonder why He left that out.

      Reply: No. I would not think that. I would think that like other systems, the seeds would be in place since these were social realities built into the system at the time and the seeds of their destruction was planted in the Ten Commandments.

      I do note there’s nothing in reply to what I said about the Matthew 5 passage.

  9. Patrick Reynolds Says:

    You have not pulled out any verses from the bible where God forbids poly relationships or where God punishes a man for having multiple wives, and there are a number of men with multiple wives (and concubines). You have tried instead to impose your views and opinions onto biblical text by saying “God implied this or the bible implied that.” rather than take the text for what it actually says.

    Are there problems of jealousy and communications within poly relationships? Of course there are just like they exist in monogamous relationships. If you are going to say that poly relationships are wrong because they have problems then you have to say the same for monogamous relationships which are definitely not problem-free.

    Here are some myths about polyamorous relationships and what studies have shown to be true.

    • apologianick Says:

      No. I have made it a point to interpret the text in the context such as based on what Christ said about the practice.

      If you want to keep this up further, I really urge you to go to the new site I have, but frankly, I’m not convinced by people going with what the text “clearly says” absent the social context.

  10. Richard Carrier and Logic (And Polyamory) | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] sixth point is where he finally gets into the criticism that he considers the most thoughtful, this one by Nick Peters. So let’s see how Carrier responds to a thoughtful response. It doesn’t start […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: