Five Reasons Josh Duggar and Other Christian men fall into sexual immorality

JoshDuggar2

In my first post on Josh Duggar and his sexually immoral behavior, we talked about how God can forgive him and restore him if he has truly confessed his sin and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. We as the body of Christ need to be ready to receive him. In this post though I want to go back and look at what may have been the sources for Josh Duggar’s wrong decisions and ultimately sinful behavior.

This is in NO WAY meant as a judgment on Josh Duggar – God is his judge I am not.   I think if you read this post in its entirety you will see I am not approaching this in some “holier than thou” attitude, but rather I am approaching this with the attitude that all of us a Christian men could fall into this sin if we don’t learn from the mistakes of Josh Duggar.

God hold’s every person accountable for the decisions they make, even if those decisions may have been influenced by the actions or teachings of others. Having said that – nothing happens in a vacuum and I want to look at some things that may have influenced Josh Duggar’s wrong thought processes that ultimately lead him into the sinful situation in which he found himself.

Josh Duggar’s parents had a huge impact on his thought processes about sex

It is good and right for the Duggars and other Christians to stand up for marriage, and to stand against things that God calls immoral like sex outside of marriage and gay marriage. It is also good for Christian parents to try and protect their children from having sex outside of marriage by making sure when they are courting or dating that there are always other people around.

But where the Duggars and so many other Christians fail their children is in the fact that they teach their children to suppress their God given sexuality, rather than channel it in healthy ways that do not violate God’s law.

I use this illustration a lot. Let’s say you have a river running through the middle of a small town. Sometimes when you have bad rains, or in high water years it spills over into the town causing damage to the surrounding structures.

You could build some river walls along the river to the highest height it might go or perhaps you could even build a dam further upstream to control the water level of the river running through your town. But even a dam has to have release valves or eventually the water will overflow the damn and destroy the town.

The water is symbolic of our sexuality. The sea walls and the dam are symbolic of God’s law. Our sexuality is like water, it is a wonderful gift from God. But just as water can be a blessing in measured amounts but a curse when it is uncontrolled, so too our sexuality can be a blessing when channeled, but a curse when it is unbridled. God’s laws about how we may exercise our sexuality are for our own protection and also to fulfill his spiritual and temporal purposes for sex.

I realize both men and women come to sexuality from different positions, but for this conversation we are going to tackle this from the perspective of male sexuality.

As Christian parents we should never tell our sons that they are wrong for having sexual thoughts about girls or wondering what girls look like naked. This is NOT part of their sin nature, but rather by the design of God.

We should not be discouraging our sons from using the natural release valve that God has given them for their sexuality – which is masturbation. Just like that dam needs to release pressure, so too young people need to release sexual tension through masturbation.

There is absolutely no scriptural prohibition against masturbation and contrary to popular belief the Bible is not silent on masturbation. The Bible actually recognizes that masturbation will need to occur at certain points and it regulates the cleanup of masturbation in the cleanliness laws of Israel.   Check out Leviticus 15:16 – 18 where the first part is talking about a man having an emission of semen (and it’s not limited to a nocturnal emission as in Deuteronomy 23:10), then it talks about a man having an emission of semen in the act of sexual intercourse as a separate act.

Besides the fact that there is really no difference between nocturnal emissions and masturbation. A man has a nocturnal emission when he sleeps and has sexual dream. Many Christian’s have falsely taught that nocturnal emissions happen with no sexual dreaming and that is patently false. We as men will dream sexual thoughts whether we want to or not – it is by the design of God.

Josh Duggar like many Christian young people today was taught that he had to suppress his sexuality until he was married, rather than channeling it healthy ways such as masturbation. When people suppress their emotions eventually they end up acting on them in unhealthy ways and sometimes sinful ways. It no different when it comes to someone attempting to suppress their sexuality – eventually they will end up acting on it in unhealthy and sinful ways.

What will Josh be taught in rehab?

Josh Duggar has checked himself into a Reformers Unanimous Christian facility. This is actually a nationwide program that many churches use to help people deal with all types of addictions – including sexual addiction. But I am not confident that this program will work Josh, as it has not always worked for other men. I am familiar with some of their teachings as some of the Churches in the area I live host some of their programs.

This is what Josh Duggar will be taught in this program:

“If you look at any woman beside your wife and find yourself becoming aroused by her beauty or you begin to wonder what she looks like naked you need to quickly turn away or the pleasure you receive from looking at her becomes a sinful and lustful thought.

If you find yourself having any sexual imagination or sexual fantasy about any other woman than your wife you are having lustful thoughts – you need to immediately confess that sin to God and turn from those thoughts.”

Josh will be taught that God’s original intention for man in the Garden of Eden was for him to only have sexual thoughts toward a woman once he was married to her. He will be taught that God originally designed men to have a monogamous sexual nature and that their sexual desire was intended to be focused on one woman for the entirety of their lives.

He will be taught that because sin entered the world – man’s sexual nature was corrupted from a monogamous nature into a polygamous nature. He will be taught that it is the corruption of his sinful nature that causes him to desire to look at any other woman, or have sexual fantasies about any other woman than his wife.

These are two common verse of Scripture that are used in these types of Christian sexual addiction programs:

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15 (KJV)

Josh will be taught that the root of his problem was his own lustful desire to look at other women and take pleasure from their feminine form. Then that lead to him having sexual fantasies. His sexual fantasies then lead to him going online looking to meet up with women to have sex and eventually he found some women and had sex with them.

He will be taught that the root of all his sin was him not learning to suppress his sinful desire to look at any other woman but his wife.

Lust is not sexual arousal or sexual fantasy

The first mistake that almost every Church and Christian sexual recovery program makes is in teaching an unbiblical (yet traditional) definition of lust. They define lust as a man having sexual thoughts about a woman, instead of the letting the Bible define what it is. In fact in most Christian Churches and sexual recovery programs they will give every verse on lust except this one:

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” – Romans 7:7 (KJV)

This verse is conveniently left out, because the Church wants to make lust into a separate category than covetousness. Covetousness is the desire to actually take possession of something or someone that you have not right to possess. God addresses this in the Ten Commandments:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” – Exodus 20:10 (KJV)

The Pharisees only looked at outward actions and not the thoughts of the heart that proceeded those actions.   This is why Christ was reminding them that covetous thoughts can proceed adultery, just as in other passages Christ shows that hateful thoughts can proceed murder. God does not just condemn sinful actions – he condemns the sinful thoughts that may or may not proceed sinful actions.

You can’t fight sexual addiction without targeting the real enemy

So where these Christian programs often fail, and even many secular programs fail is in attacking the wrong source of sexual sin.

Make no mistake, sexual addiction and sexual promiscuity are problems that we must tackle as Christians.

But the enemy is NOT our sexuality, but rather it is our addictive and compulsive behavior.

We don’t tell food addicts that food is their enemy, but rather their addictive and compulsive behavior toward food and the same concept applies to our God given sexuality.

Men have visual and polygynous sexual natures whether we want to admit it or not

Josh Duggar like many other men has a very high sex drive and natural need for variety. And by variety I mean a variety of women.

“the average man’s brain is sexually stimulated by visual cues and is built for variety…

Using functional MRI scans, researchers examined the brains of young men as they looked at pictures of beautiful women. They found that feminine beauty affects a man’s brain at a very primal level – similar to what a hungry person gets from a good meal or addict gets from a fix. One of the researchers said, “This is hard core circuitry. This is not a conditioned response.” Another concluded, “Men apparently cannot do anything about their pleasurable feelings [in the presence of beauty]”

Dr. Walt Larimore, MD – pg. 99 “His Brain, Her Brain”

Dr. Walt Lairmore (a Christian physician) stopped short of coming to the conclusion that we know is true from looking at the Bible as well as men from a mental and physical perspective. Men are wired to seek out a variety of women, men are wired to be polygynous (to be a husband to multiple wives).

But because the Roman Empire passed laws that over several centuries greatly diminished the practice of polygamy and enshrined monogamous marriage in Western culture we have the situation where we force polygynous men into monogamous marriages.

In essence when we ask a man to vow to only love one woman, and only have sex with one woman we are asking him to vow to suppress his natural God given desire to have multiple wives. Most men except for the few that have the gift of celibacy have polygynous natures whether they consciously realize it or not.

Some Christian husbands will take offense at what I just said and say “I only love my wife and I have and have never had any desire to take another wife”. But the truth is in most cases these husbands are simply lying to themselves and they have spent so many years telling themselves this because this is what their church and the female side of our society expects from men.

Other Christian men recognize their polygynous desires but they dismiss these desires as a corruption of their God given male nature – in essence they are convinced this is part of their sinful nature or they are trained to by Christian sexual recovery programs like the one Josh Duggar is currently attending to believe this. So they spend their entire lives asking God to forgive them anytime they are aroused by another woman or wonder what another woman beside their wife looks like naked. Every time they have a sexual fantasy or dream they are asking God to forgive them, in essence they live in a perpetual state of war not with their sinful nature, but with their God given sexual nature.

Five reasons Josh Duggar could have fell into sexual immorality

Josh Duggar is not the first Christian husband to watch porn and masturbate and then get on dating sites and finally meet up with women to have sex. To say this same scenario has occurred with thousands of other men or even more would be an understatement.

Here are five reasons Josh Duggar and so many others Christian husbands fall into this type of sexual immorality.

They allowed their sexuality to dominate and overpower their lives, rather than controlling and channeling their sexuality within the bounds of God’s law and design.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

Many Christian men rather than controlling and channeling their God given male sexuality – have allowed it to overpower them and control their life. The results of unbridled and uncontrolled sexuality are on display before us in what happened to Josh Duggar.

They allowed their normal visual sexual arousal and imagination to turn into covetousness

Again there is not one passage of the Bible that condemns a man’s visual arousal or sexual imagination. Not one. But what can happen is men can allow that natural visual arousal and imagination to turn into covetous thoughts as we see happened with Josh Duggar.

They allowed their faulty view of their own sexuality to rationalize their sin

I can’t tell you how often I get accused by my fellow conservative Christians of rationalizing sin because of my teachings (based on the Bible) about polygamy, lust and sexuality. But the real rationalizing of sexual sin goes something like this.

Because most Christian Churches and sexual addiction programs teach that a man is committing mental adultery by watching porn or being sexually aroused by any kind of female imagery many Christian men rationalize – “If I am already committing adultery by viewing porn, I might as well do the real thing and have sex with an actual woman instead of just imagining it”.

So in essence the false interpretation of Matthew 5:28 that they have been taught actually promotes sin rather than discouraging it. Christ was saying in Matthew 5:28 if a man looks on a woman “to lust after her” – to covet her (to think about how he would might take possession of her) then he has committed adultery with her in his heart. He was not condemning sexual arousal and sexual imagination as these are part of his natural design of male sexuality.

They allowed their natural polygynous nature to be corrupted into a promiscuous nature

As I mentioned previously God has created men as naturally polygynous creatures, but our sin nature wants to corrupt our God given polygynous nature into a promiscuous nature.

Even in the ancient times of the Bible not every man was able to act on his polygynous nature. For the most part only wealthier men were able to act on their polygynous natures by having more than one wife. Many less wealthy men were fortunate if they could have even one wife. Often poor men or men that were slaves were not able to have wives at all.

But what happens often is when men find themselves frustrated by not being able to find a wife, or even men that have wives desiring more wives they turn to promiscuous activities like going to prostitutes or whorish women.

Because their wives have sexually denied them

Some men because their wives sexually deny, or severely restrict how often or what ways they may have sex feel justified in seeking sex with other women. In their hurt and frustration they act out in sinful ways. But one sin never justifies another. Just as a woman does not have the right to deny her husband sex because of sinful things he might be doing, in the same way a husband does not have the right to go out and have sex with other women because his wife is sexually denying him or not fully giving herself sexually to him. We don’t know if Josh’s wife was sexually denying him, but even she was this does not justify him going out and having sex with other women.

So what is the answer for Christian men like Josh Duggar?

Let me just reiterate when I say “Christian men like Josh Duggar” I am not singling him out in any way trying to say he is some rare case – the only difference is that he was public figure.   All of us as Christian men should have the sixteenth century reformer John Bradford’s attitude toward Josh Duggar’s sin – “there but for the grace of God go I”.

Here are six ways we as Christian men can avoid falling into the same sexual immorality that Josh Duggar did:

We must hide God’s Word in our heart

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – Psalm 119:11 (KJV)

We can’t distinguish between our sinful nature and the nature God designed us with without knowing God’s Word. God’s Word is the “Cannon” or measure by which we must judge our actions.

We must take every thought captive to Christ

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – II Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

Any thought that we have we run through the filter of Christ and his Word.   Oh and for those who always ask me “Would Christ allow himself to have sexual thoughts about a woman” – Christ had the gift of celibacy rather than the gift of sexuality. It would have gone against his mission from God to be married (despite conspiracy theories to the contrary).

Accept our male sexual nature

As Christian men we must accept our male nature (including our sexual nature) as God designed it. Our fight is against our sin nature, not our male nature.

We must fight against sexual excess

We cannot allow ourselves to be over-powered by our own male sexuality.  Satan wants to take a good thing God created – our sexuality – and turn it against us to destroy our families and our lives. We should not suppress our sexuality, but at the same time we must channel it to experience it within the bounds of God’s law.

We must fight against covetousness

We must fight against our flesh that wants to take our normal sexual desires, our visual sexual arousal and our imagination(all which are gifts from God) and turn them into covetous thoughts which eventually could lead us into fornication or adultery.

We must depend on God’s strength

We cannot fight against the sinful desires of flesh in our own strength or will power we can only fight our flesh with the help of the power of God.

“But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.” – Psalm 22:19 (KJV)

Josh Duggar PhotoSource: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96024429@N00/17781684170/in/photostream/

JimBob and Michelle Duggar PhotoSource: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3c/Jim_Bob_%26_Michelle_Duggar.jpg

 

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34 thoughts on “Five Reasons Josh Duggar and Other Christian men fall into sexual immorality

  1. What a great post! I too have been feeling some empathy for Josh Duggar. Healthy sexuality from a Christian perspective is something that I think is so needed in the world. The church, Christians in general have really dropped the ball there, in my opinion. We are like fearful parents or something, “don’t do it, all sex is bad!” The problem with that is that all sex does become bad, because it is then all rooted in shame and repression. Women suffer damage too, we’re supposed to say no, to not enjoy it, and then we take those same attitudes into marriage with us and deny sex to husbands…and ourselves. Men are heavily shamed for having any biological urges at all. It’s a train wreck that has lead to much suffering all around.

    God invented sex, sex is good, He wants us to be in good health and to prosper. He went to the cross for us “despising the shame.” Shame is a real tool of the enemy and it can be tightly entwined with our sexuality, which is a potentially harmful and damaging combination.

    I really have no idea how we go about teaching and embracing healthy sexuality, but I do know that if we don’t get control of the narrative, the culture will do it for us.

  2. I have been working with some other friends of mine(some of which are ministers) and others with online and we all want to do just what you are saying and teach a healthy view of sex that views it as gift, rather than part of our fleshly nature that must be suppressed.

    Here are some important principles that I teach my sons and others about our sexuality:

    1. There is absolutely NO sin in us becoming sexually aroused – it is no different than us becoming hungry for food. There should be no shame in this.
    2. There is absolutely NO sin in us having a sexual imagination or having sexual fantasies. Christians don’t condemn imagination in any other area except sexual imagination this is wrong. We need to attack that as a false teaching. Our brains need to be allowed to imagine sex – it is healthy and right.
    3. Our enemy is covetousness not sexual arousal and sexual imagination(Josh Duggard allowed his high yet still normal sexual desire to move from sexual imagination into sexual covetousness – that is where he fell into sin).
    4. We need to teach our Christian brethren that the “M” word is not a swear word. Masturbation is a gift, it helps young people to understand their bodies and it helps married people to have sexual release during those times they are away from their spouses. Masturbation does not have to lead to sexual sin, in fact it can help keep our sexual purity and keep us from falling into sexual sin when used properly.
    5. A controversial position that I take and some of my friends who are ministers take is – some erotic material is NOT wrong for Christians to view. Especially for men – we are creatures of variety. Many of my brothers disagree with me on that, but I believe it is part of embracing healthy and realistic view of male sexuality.
    6. We need to teach women to respect male sexuality rather than looking down on it. We need to teach women that they can learn from men when it comes to sex. I believe if more Christian wives would do what men naturally do without thinking about it – they would have far better sex lives and enjoy sex better. Women need to intentionally think about sex. They need to remind themselves of how good it feels. They need to get in touch with their own bodies so they can experience sex in with their husbands in the best way possible.

    These are just some of the principles that I believe every Christian Church needs to start teaching.

    Some people would falsely argue that Josh Duggar watching porn and masturbating lead him to eventually cheat on his wife. They argue that if he would have focused all this thoughts on this wife and accepted whatever sex he got from his wife this never would have happened. That is an extremely faulty view of male sexuality.

    I believe that Josh Duggar had waves of guilt flooding over him everytime he looked at a picture of a naked woman. Every time he masturbated he felt like a horrible human being. I believe what happened to Josh Duggar is exactly what I said in this post. Eventually he was so overcome with guilt for wanting to look at pictures of other women, for enjoying the sight of other women and for masturbating that he made the jump to covetousness. He reasoned “I can’t not look at other women, I can’t not have sexual imagination” so he gave up and and gave into REAL sin when he signed up for AshleyMadison and then met women and had sex with them.

  3. Thank you for that outline, that is most helpful. Repression is really unhealthy, as is shame, and it weighs heavy on my heart that there are men who are healthy, normal, and yet shamed simply for being men. Men have always had an openness, an honesty about sexuality that is really quite refreshing. Women really can benefit greatly from following that lead, so to watch women today look down on male sexuality and to disrespect it so publicly, is a grievous thing. Women, girls these days, are perceiving men in such a negative light, as all potential rapists, adulters, perverse, things that are simply not true and do a lot of harm to relationships and to our culture at large.

  4. Insanity,

    You bring up a great point about us also needing to take a more proactive role educating women about a healthy view of sexuality. Many fathers if event they talk to their sons about sex, they leave all sex talk with their daughter to their mom. I believe that just as boys can benefit from learning about a woman’s emotional nature from their mom, women really need to learn about sex from their Dad.

    My daughter is 13 but she and I have been talking about sex since she had her first period when she was around 11. I started off with just the very basics but gradually we talked about it in more detail with how men think verses how women think. What I often do is use things we see on TV or in a movie as ways to raise discussions. Often times it is not even me bringing it up – it is my daughter asking the questions because we have that open relationship and there is ZERO shame about talking about sexuality in my home.

    I will give you a recent example. One of our relatives came over she is pregnant(she and her husband have been married a couple years and they are both in their early 20s). She is about 7 months pregnant and how she sometimes just does not feel like having sex with her husband(yes even our extended family talks openly about sex). This was a great discussion for my 13 year old daughter to hear.

    We agreed though as we were discussing this issue that even if for some reason you can’t do it “the normal way, that there is more than one way to skin a cat”. I said “that is why God gave you two hands and a mouth” and the whole family laughed. But my pregnant relative acknowledged that what I said was right. My daughter chuckled but she is learning what a good wife does for her husband. Some Christians would think we were wrong for talking that way in front a young teenage girl but I reject that type of thinking. We need to talk openly and honestly about our sexuality, and sexual difficulties and how to overcome them.

    I never forget that I am raising another man’s wife – as fathers and mothers we need to always remember that. We are raising other people’s husbands and wives.

  5. What do you have to say on the issue that made tlc cancel the duggars show, josh duggar molesting his sisters and i believe a babysitter when he was a teen. Do repress sexuality count in that regard or will that be another issue?

  6. ChildofRa,

    As I said on a previous comment to you about Josh – I do not believe Josh can be classed a child molester for several reasons. I believe a child molester is an adult who preys on children, typically using some kind of coercion to get them to allow them to touch them. Josh was child himself, a child with an admittedly high sexual drive, but a child regardless. Teens often times have bad judgment and I am sure that Josh was not the only teenage boy to touch a girl while she was sleeping. What is missed in this is – he felt bad about and it and confessed. Think about it – no one knew? The people he touched were asleep and he could have never admitted it and we would not be discussing it right now.

  7. “In essence when we ask a man to vow to only love one woman, and only have sex with one woman we are asking him to vow to suppress his natural God given desire to have multiple wives. Most men except for the few that have the gift of celibacy have polygynous natures whether they consciously realize it or not.

    Some Christian husbands will take offense at what I just said and say ‘I only love my wife and I have and have never had any desire to take another wife.’ But the truth is in most cases these husbands are simply lying to themselves and they have spent so many years telling themselves this because this is what their church and the female side of our society expects from men.”

    I’m not sure if this is really unfair to men though. Taking out what women think, what the church thinks, and what the laws say, there’s still an insurmountable problem that would cause a polygynous society to negatively impact a significant percentage of the male population (potentially even close to 50%). There just aren’t enough women out there for all men to act on polygynous desires while all women remain monogamous to one man. In fact, if all the men in the world who are wealthy enough to support more than one wife marry two women (we’re not even taking into account men who would try to marry more than two women at once), we’d see a lot of men left without any woman whom they could marry. Their only outlets to express their sexuality would be masturbation, which is helpful but doesn’t involve a physical and emotional connection with another; sex with prostitutes and other sex workers (I’m assuming that there wouldn’t be any single women left except prostitutes); and sex with married women. I know that you’ve touched on the idea before and in this post that in biblical times, many men could not be polygynous, even when the law allowed it, and many men couldn’t get married to any woman. With that in mind, isn’t a system where monogamous marriages are idealized ultimately the best for men as well? At least such a system allows most, if not all, men the opportunity to get married to at least one woman. Widespread polygyny, on the other hand, deprives many men of an opportunity to marry even one woman. You can definitely see this in Mormon polygynous cults–young men are left wifeless, loverless, and sexually frustrated and are often either pushed out of the community altogether or reduced to a servile state.

    I’m also curious about what exactly you mean by a polygamous sexual nature vs. a monogamous sexual nature. You’ve mentioned here before that you recognize that women, even married women, are capable of being sexually attracted to more than one man at a time, becoming emotionally or romantically attached to more than one man at a time, and admiring non-physical traits in men other than their husbands that would indicate that those men would be good husbands, providers, and/or lovers and companions. You also seem to be arguing that men are naturally polygamous because they are capable of being attracted to multiple women at a time. What’s the difference between men and women that makes you think that men are naturally polygamous while women are naturally monogamous? I’d really appreciate if you could explain this in more detail because I think that I’m missing something in your argument.

  8. Masturbation is a gift? How? I thought it’s obvious that it’s sexually immoral to do it… Whatever we do, we should honor God. That includes in sex, which God made for sex between man and woman, not with woman and woman, or woman with herself. ‘Honor God with your body.’ Masturbation is not blibcal…

  9. Emily,

    With all due respect – what passage of Scripture forbids masturbation? Your church forbids it but God and his Word does not.

    And yes masturbation is part of the gift of our sexuality that God has given us. Masturbation allows us to experience our sexuality before marriage and during marriage and can be a powerful tool for keeping us from having sexual intercourse before we are married.

    Emily – I am sure you know what a nocturnal emission is right? A man has sexual dream in the middle and he has an orgasm while he sleeps which releases his semen. There is no difference between a person having a sexual dream(fantasy) while awake and masturbating and a person having sexual dream while asleep and having an orgasm. This is all part of God’s natural design of our sexuality.

    Now can masturbation be abused? Absolutely. But masturbation by itself is not a sin, only the abuse of it.

    I realize I probably won’t convince you because you believe the RCC teachings are always right(even if there is no Scripture to support some of them) but I am just putting this out there anyway.

  10. I appreciate your response to the question about masturbation,
    Biblical. That is an awkward subject indeed, but these are the kinds of questions that must be dealt with in a Christian context. There is so much harm, shame, damage in the world from our inability to embrace healthy sexuality. I have had young men (and some women) who reject Christ Himself because of what I believe are false teachings and misunderstandings. I can find no biblical precedent for some of these myths, so they are things I refer to as simply churchian legends. I am forever saying God invented sex, not to torment us, but to bless us. There are some challenges within the RCC but there is also this thing some of us humorously refer to as fundy-sexualism, the kind of repression and harm that has brought problems upon Josh Duggar.

  11. Insanity,

    I agree that the subject of masturbation can be awkward but it something I have felt strongly about for many years that our churches(both fundy evangelicals and RCC) are flat wrong on. By the way I actually attend a fundy baptist church so I know well the teachings. Even though I must say that my church is more open on sexual issues than my fundy churches I know.

    The fact remains and I always challenge people on this – God NEVER condemns masturbation. He actually regulates the cleanup of a man masturbating in Leviticus.

    On a different note – did you see my post on painful sex(based on a letter I received from young Christian bride?) I look forward to your response that.

  12. Larry and Insanity,
    You can take this ‘healthy sexuality’ attitude all the way to sexual intimacy before marriage, perhaps even to homosexuality and pedophilia? It’s dangerous.

    Maybe this is, as usual, the natural disagreements Catholics have with Protestants. I think this is where tradition is important, because where does it say in the scripture that abortion is wrong? We infer it, right? From the commandments – thou shalt not kill, therefore you cannot kill a fetus. Similarly, when Matthew warns against sexual immorality, don’t you think that includes masturbation?

    Think of it this way – the Bible is pretty clear on what God’s intent for sexuality is. Perhaps instead of trying to find what the Bible says about not masturbating, find what the Bible says about what sexuality is intended to be (a total giving of oneself to his spouse) and then tell me how masturbation can be justified.

    I know what ‘nocturnal emissions’ are, my bf had them sometimes when we were living together, but I dont consider that a sin since it is subconscious. I also think the verse in Leviticus concerned ‘nocturnal emissions’ not masturbation.

    Look, I can buy that maybe in the modern world, since we get married late now, masturbation is a good way to prevent teens from committing worse sins like premarital sex. I certainly feel rather hypocritical condemning it when I was sexually active during my teens until a few months ago. But the truth is the truth, and I can’t see how the behavior can possibly be Biblical.

    By the way, what is your opinion on the sin of Onan? Isn’t that condemning masturbation?

  13. Emily,

    I think it is a very faulty comparison to compare masturbation to homosexuality and pedeophilia. Homosexuality is clearly condemned by Scripture so no matter what anyone says that behavior cannot be part of healthy sexuality. Preying on innocent child(akin to rape or sex outside or proper marriage) is forbidden.

    Tradition is good- when it follows the Scriptures. The Jewish teachers of the law for centuries had added to the law of Moses. They figured if Moses missed something in his law – it was ok for them to “fill in the blanks”. But they had no right to add to God’s law. Christ was constantly condemning the Pharisees and Jewish teachers for adding their traditions to God’s Word:

    “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” – Matthew 15:9 (KJV)
    “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” – Colossians 2:8 (KJV)

    I am all for following tradition – but only the tradition of the Apostles of God:
    “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” II Thessalonians 2:15(KJV)

    The Bible condemns abortion by the fact that it condemns murder and it clearly demonstrates that we are formed by God and are human in our mother’s woman:

    “I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.” – Psalm 22:10 (KJV)

    “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (KJV)

    “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:” – Luke 1:41(KJV)

    These are just some of the passages that demonstrate our humanity from the moment of conception. We don’t need Catholic tradition to tell us abortion is wrong.

    But it is a leap for some Christians to say the when the Bible warns against sexual immorality we can just throw in masturbation there, because after all that is immoral right? That is an assumption based on our own prejudices, not the Word of God.

    Here is “God’s intent for sexuality” as shown in Scripture:

    God says sex is only to occur in marriage:
    “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

    God tells us one purpose of sex is for procreation(but it certainly is not the only purpose):
    “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…” Genesis 1:28 (KJV)

    God shows us one the purposes for sex is to comfort one another during emotional times:
    “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death” – Genesis 24:67 (KJV)

    God tells us another purpose of sex is for pleasure:
    “Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” Proverbs 5:19 (KJV)

    God dedicated an entire book of the Scripture to the topic of sexual pleasure between a man and his wife:
    “7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
    8 I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;” – Song of Solomon 7:7-8 (KJV)

    This is an allusion to fellatio(a woman performing oral sex on her husband):
    “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” – Song of Solomon 2:3 (KJV)

    Here are allusions to cunnilingus(a man performing oral sex on his wife):
    “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.” Song of Solomon 4:6 (KJV)
    “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16

    God tells us that sex is also about sacrifice:
    “3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
    4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”
    I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

    So when a man does not feel like having sex with his wife, but gives her his body anyway he sacrificially gives his body to his wife. When a wife does not feel like having sex with her husband, but renders her body anyway, she sacrificially gives her body to her husband.

    So from what I can see in Scriptures – God says sexual relations between a man and woman are reserved for marriage alone, and sex is given to us for our comfort, our pleasure, for procreation and to teach us to sacrifice ourselves. Could the last part be “the total giving of one’s self to their spouse” in the sense of totally giving our body freely to our spouse in the act of sex? Yes, but it is only part of why God gave us sex.

    But then we have a larger question – is our sexuality reserved only for marriage? Did God give young people all these sexual desires and feelings only for them to suppress all sexual thoughts until marriage? I don’t see any Scripture that supports such a notion. Our ability to have sexual relations with another person is only one part of the gift of our sexuality that God has given to us. While he reserves the act of sexual relations between a man a woman strictly for marriage – he never tells us we must completely suppress our sexual natures and our sexuality as a whole until marriage.

    Onanism is made up term some Church leaders(long after the Apostles were gone). They falsely surmised that God killed Onan for masturbating but that was not the sin he was killed for.

    The Bible says in Genesis 38:6-10 that Onan “went in unto his brother’s wife” – this is a direct reference to sexual intercourse. The Bible typically uses two phrases to denote sexual intercourse – phrases like “he knew his wife” or “he went in unto his wife”. What Onan did here when he “spilled it on the ground”, was literally to pull out before ejaculating. This was not masturbation, it was pulling out.

    Even if someone could try to show that he did masturbate (which the context clearly shows he did not), that was not the sin God struck him dead for. While a man could refuse to do his duty of Leverite marriage(but the woman could shame him for it), Onan’s sin was going in and enjoying his brother’s wife sexually but then not giving her his seed. This was wicked and vile in the eyes of God. He was willing to enjoy the pleasure of his brother’s wife, but he was not willing to fulfill his duty to give her a son.

  14. “By the way, what is your opinion on the sin of Onan? Isn’t that condemning masturbation?”

    I honestly have no idea how or why that translation/interpretation came into existence, but for me the passage always speaks more of disobedience to God and sexual exploitation than it does to masturbation. He is not masturbating, he is having sex with a woman and refusing to impregnate her, even though the law (and God) has called him to do so. Onan’s sin is one of disobedience, deceit, defiance, greed, not masturbation.

    I mention sexual exploitation too, because he has taken this woman for his wife but does not seem to love her, refuses to impregnate her, disobeys God and still uses her for his own sexual fulfillment. To make it even more self serving, I think in biblical times, Onan himself would become the heir of a great fortune if this woman remains childless.

  15. Alex,

    I don’t agree that polygyny denies men the opportunity to marry women. Not if we practiced polygyny Biblically. Biblically speaking a man can only marry multiple women if he has the economic resources to provide for each of those wives as well as their children.

    In a society that practiced Biblical principles – there would be no welfare or government assistance offered to this man to support his wife or his children, he would bare that responsibility. In fact in many ways we have a sort of “subsidized” monogamy in western culture where we take from wealthy men and we give that money to poor men so they can afford wives and children that in previous times of human history they would never have been able to afford.

    In the Bible giving to the poor was always a temporary thing, to help with a temporary problem. It was never meant to be a way of life where someone is constantly given money from others that they did not earn.

    So now let’s circle back to polygyny in modern times. If we no longer subsidized men’s responsibility to care for their wives and children some men could not even afford one wife, let alone two. But I think if we got back to living simpler lives most men even of modest means could at least afford to support one wife. But for those who could not – this would leave some women available to the upper middle and upper class men that could afford perhaps one additional wife(so two wives). But only the wealthiest of men could afford 4 wives as Jacob had or the 18 wives that King David had.

    I think the argument is weak that we must make sure each man is able to have a wife(even if we have to subsidize it with government assistance) because such poor men might act in immoral or illegal ways otherwise. This is the same argument people make in subsidizing the laziness we find in Western culture where everyone is supplied a home, food and medicine regardless of what they do. The scriptures say “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” I Thessalonians 3:10.

    The Bible also tells us not envious of the wealth or talents of others:

    “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

    “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” Romans 13:13 (KJV)

    God instead calls us to be content in whatever station he has given us in life. If we can’t afford a wife, then we can’t afford a wife and we must be content with that. If we can only afford one wife, then we must be content with that. If God we can afford to support 3 wives but cannot afford a 4th, then we should be content with that. Maybe we have enough money for a wife, but we are not may not be attractive in some ways and no woman wants us – again we must learn to be content in the station God has given us.

    “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” – Philippians 4:1 (KJV)
    “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
    And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” – I Timothy 6:6-8 (KJV)

    So when I said we were asking men to vow to suppress their polygynous nature this is what I meant. We are telling them that no matter how successful they may become, or if they were to see another woman some day that they wished to make and additional wife they are forbidden to do so. Just because a man does not make a monogamous vow of marriage, does not mean he will ever be able to take a second wife. But the possibility should be left open – it his right based on God’s design of men and marriage as we have seen in the Scriptures.

    I am aware of some cults that you described. This was a complete and utter perversion of the Biblical concept of polygamy.

    On the issue of polygynous nature of men and monogamous nature of women – what I referring to is not simple attraction or a woman enjoying the sight of a nice looking man. What I am referring to is marriage itself. Women are not designed either mentally or physically to be the wife of multiple men in the way that men are designed with the capacity to a husband to multiple wives. The Bible tells us that sin has corrupted us fully, our minds and our bodies. Because of this some women have had their natural monogamous nature corrupted by sin where they seek out and can seem to be happy carrying on multiple relationships with men, but this is not by the design of God.

    It is one thing for a wife to admire another man’s looks in simple, but not covetous fashion(perhaps an actor, or maybe a neighbor or man at church), but it very much another thing for a woman to allow herself to be drawn to that man and become emotionally and romantically attached to him. This is part of her sinful corrupted nature that allows her to do that.

    A man on the other hand might be attracted women other than his first wife for a variety of reasons. His wife may be the perfect wife, but he could still be attracted to another woman because of his God given drawing to a variety of women. He might also be attracted to a another woman because his first wife disrespects him and fails to meet his needs. In a Biblical society – if he were to take a second wife for any of these reasons there would be no sin in that. However he could not divorce his first wife simply because he did not like her or her attitude toward him. He was still called to love her by providing her with food, clothing and sex as well as his time. He was not allowed to ignore her, despite his issues with her, and despite him taking a second wife whom he had a more romantic attachment to. If we practiced Biblical polygyny today – this same concept would still apply.

    Again I realize from our modern viewing point this seems extremely unfair to women – I am not blind to that. But this is because we have made marriage today into something that looks like nothing like marriage as God first designed it.

    We have made marriage center on equality and partnership, rather than on duty, submission and headship. Yes love is a huge part of marriage as Ephesians 5 and many other passages can attest to. But love as God defines it in marriage and how we define it today are VERY different things.

    One of the biggest reasons that even most Christian women today reject polygamy in the Bible and the polygynous nature of men is because they reject this principle regarding the creation of man and woman:

    “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” I Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

  16. “I don’t agree that polygyny denies men the opportunity to marry women. Not if we practiced polygyny Biblically. Biblically speaking a man can only marry multiple women if he has the economic resources to provide for each of those wives as well as their children.”

    The problem is that your argument depends on some men being too poor or too unappealing to afford or to attract a wife. If even a man of modest means can support a wife (and that’s probably true, given that modern women can help bring in money too, a thing that they certainly did in biblical times by helping their husbands in the field and selling surplus weaving and other goods if they were poor or by running the household to be productive and making good land investments, like the wealthy wife in Proverbs), then there still probably won’t be many women alive who could become second wives to wealthy men if they wanted to. Either that, or wealthy men would be drawing women away from hard-working men of modest means who could still make good husbands and give their wives a good life.

    As for your answer on polygyny vs. monandry, you don’t seem to be saying that men are polygynous and women are monandrous. You’re saying that both are polygamous, but women are that way because they’ve been corrupted. Men are that way because God designed them that way.

  17. Alex,

    I don’t think it is a problem that my argument depends on the existence of poor or unattractive men(as one factor) as that has always been the case since the beginning of mankind. Also there are other factors we had not considered. Women have typically out lived men, either because of death by natural causes or the fact that men are the ones that fight in wars. This leaves many women widowed and especially in times of war leaves a very disproportionate population of women to men. Another factor is the existence of feeble minded men – very low IQ men and women. A feeble minded woman can marry a more intelligent man and be taken care of, where a feeble minded man is not able to lead and care for a home in this same way.

    I think we would be surprised by the number of women, both younger and middle aged, both single and divorced who would jump at the chance to be married to a highly successful and good man that would care for them and their children.

    So I think when you consider these factors that would make more women available for marriage than men polygyny does not sound so unreasonable:
    Feeble minded men
    Unattractive men
    Poor men
    Men die sooner than women(either through war, riskier behavior or health reasons)

    This does leave a certain amount of women available for polygyny. When we also remember that as in most times in human history the wealthy and successful tend to be small part of the population(like top 5 percent) then polygyny would not present a problem.

    Alex – I was not saying both men and women are polygamous. I said

    “Because of this SOME women have had their natural monogamous nature corrupted by sin where they seek out and can seem to be happy carrying on multiple relationships with men, but this is not by the design of God.”

    Most women are in fact NOT polygamous in their nature, and only a select few are and yes for those select few women that are that is a corruption of their God given monogamous nature due to the fact of sin poisoning God’s creation.

    Again as I have maintained from the beginning – just because men have polygynous sexual natures does not mean that all, or even most men will be able to act on these natures. It has been the case throughout the history of mankind that for reasons I have enumerated here and else where only a small fraction of men were able to fully exercise their polygynous natures.

  18. Yes, men tend to die sooner than women. However, that doesn’t necessarily leave many young and middle-aged women widowed. That mostly leaves elderly women widowed.

    And again, you’re basically saying that in the best-case, biblical scenario, only 5% of men would be able to act on their nature. It sounds like that’s not a problem that you need to take up with modern culture. That sounds like a problem that you need to take up with God for not making many more women than men and then (allegedly) endowing men with a polygynous sexual nature.

    And what is your evidence for the statement that most women are more naturally monogamous than most men?

  19. To put it more clearly, I believe that while men and women are both capable of being sexually attracted to multiple people at once and are certainly capable of admiring multiple members of the opposite sex for physical traits or personality traits, they tend to only bond emotionally with one other person or tend to favor one person very strongly over all others. If we look at examples of polygyny in the Bible, we can see that many men who had multiple wives heavily favored one wife over the others. Abraham spent a few childless decades with Sarah as his only wife and only took Hagar as a concubine when Sarah suggested that he do so, seemingly stopped having sexual relations with Hagar after she had Ishmael, and only took Keturah as a wife/concubine after Sarah died. Isaac, despite having great wealth, stayed in a monogamous marriage with Rebekah. The only one of his four wives whom Jacob expressed interest in marrying was Rachel. Laban tricked him into marrying Leah, whom the Bible states he did not love or desire. Rachel suggested that he take Bilhah as a concubine, and Leah suggested that he take Zilpah as a concubine. Even though Leah, Bilah, and Zilpah all gave him sons before Rachel did, he continued to favor Rachel’s sons over theirs and favored her over them even when she seemed to be permanently barren. Elkanah appears to have favored Hannah so much over his other wife and her children that he gave Hannah a portion double their portions when he made his sacrifices. We don’t know much about David’s relationship with his many wives, but he does seem to have favored Bathsheba so much that he had more children with her than with his other wives and that he named her son Solomon his heir over his older sons by other wives. I believe that there are cases where polygyny could work, but the Bible shows us and modern examples of polygyny tend to show us that human emotions get in the way, and it’s not just the emotions of women that complicate things. It’s also the emotions of men, who seem to be easily prone to pick favorites and to neglect their other wives.

  20. Alex,

    I don’t think it would necessarily be only 5% of men but I see where you got that from what I said about the top 5 percent. I would concede thought that it would not be a large percent that could have many wives. Perhaps a bit more could have two wives. I would put the number more around maybe 20 percent.

    But just because only a select few are able to achieve a certain thing does not mean we should outlaw it. For instance back in the depression FDR wanted to basically tax the rich out existence by advocating a 90 percent tax rate on anyone making over a certain amount per year. But just because I will probably never be a millionaire does not mean I want to make it illegal for people to be millionaires by forcing them to give all their money back to the government so it can redistribute it as it sees fit.

    Most families in the United will never be able to own two homes – but would I advocate against wealthy people being able to own more than one home? Of course not.

    I will answer your last question about women being more monogamous than men with you next comment as I think they go together.

  21. Alex,

    I don’t disagree that men like Abraham(with Sarah), Isaac(with Rebecka), Jacob(with Rachel) and David(with Bathsheba) had “favorite wives” in the respect that they had strongest emotional bond with these women. But if we are being honest as parents – often times because of personality issues and likes or dislikes we can have a stronger emotional bond with some of our children more than others as parents(Like Jacob with Joseph).

    I realize you will say the parent child relationship issues are different than that of those between a husband and wife and in that sense “emotional bond” means something different between a parent and child and a husband and wife and I would agree to a point. What you are really getting at is a “romantic bond” – meaning that a couple have chemistry. The truth is that while these men did have stronger attachments to one of their wives than others – many men have never had an emotional attachment to even one woman.

    A man having a long lasting and enduring romantic attachment to a woman is special indeed, but as I point out several times from Scriptural references to marriage – it is not a requirement. Its like the “icing on the cake”. Some couples have that chemistry, and some do not. But that does not mean a man and woman cannot love each other with this romantic attachment, and men are capable of loving each of their wives without having the fall over romantic feelings for their wives.

    The jealousy of wives and the neglect of husbands can occur in a monogamous marriage just as it can in a polygamous marriage.

  22. If 20% of men have at least two wives while the top 5% of men has more than two wives, how many men won’t be able to marry even one wife? In the U.S., 49.1% of the population is male. 50.9% is female. Let’s assume that we have 100 people. Because you can’t have someone who is only a fraction of a person, round up or round down according to the rules of rounding. You have 49 men and 51 women. 20% of 49 is 9.8 (for more accuracy, 20% of 49.1 is 9.82). Round up to ten. 10 men get at least two wives. However, 5% will marry more than two women. For the sake of generosity, assume that they only marry three. 5% of 49 is 2.45. Be generous and round down to 2. 2 men get 3 wives while 8 men get 2 wives. Overall, these 10 polygamous men marry 22 of our available 51 women. This leaves 29 women for the remaining 39 men. 10/49 men do not get a wife. Approximately 20% of the male population must remain unmarried until one of those women is widowed. Of course, there is a chance that she will remarry to one of the polygamists.

  23. As for your other responses, I will make two points:

    1) I would actually very strongly disapprove of a parent favoring one child over their others.

    2) You’re misunderstanding me because you’re projecting what you believe that my beliefs onto what I’m saying. I am not saying that romantic love is a requirement for marriage. I am saying that in cases where a man has a romantic love for his wife (and in our biblical cases where a man had a romantic love for only one of his wives), I don’t see the point in him marrying another woman for whom he has no romantic love. As we see in the biblical cases, these men’s romantic love for one wife made them worse husbands to their other wives. Abraham, for example, can’t be said to have had an agape love for Hagar. He allowed Sarah to abuse her and drive her away while pregnant. We don’t see any indication that Abraham sent anyone to recover his pregnant wife. We only know that God sent an angel to order Hagar to go back. We also know that Abraham sent away Hagar and Ishmael on Sarah’s urging after Isaac was born. In this case, Abraham’s love for Sarah and for his child by her was apparently so overwhelming that he neglected his duties to Hagar and Ishmael. Furthermore, we know that Jacob’s lack of love for Leah moved God so much that he made her fertile while keeping Rachel barren for years. We also know that Bathsheba’s hold over David kept him from upholding God’s commandant to respect the inheritance rights of his older sons.

    I also don’t see why, in a modern context, a man would want multiple wives when he only has an agape love for all of them. In biblical times, a man who was wealthy and/or powerful would want lots of children, and having more than one wife gave him the opportunity to have more children.

    I’m sure that there are cases where men are able to form romantic attachments to two or more different women and where the women are able to tolerate each other while all married to the same man. I’m sure that there are women who are fine with staying married to a husband who is only going through the motions of marriage with them while he’s married to another wife with whom he has a much more passionate and romantic relationship because these women don’t have romantic attachments to these husbands but do want to keep the relationship together for financial stability and the well-being of their children. I’m just not convinced that that’s the norm for polygyny, especially since accounts of polygyny tend to show that it has many negative outcomes.

    3) Recent studies show that the rate of marital infidelity among women has risen drastically in the past twenty years and is getting close to the rate of marital infidelity among men.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1211104/Think-men-unfaithful-sex-A-study-shows-WOMEN-biggest-cheats–theyre-just-better-lying-it.html

    Clearly, both sexes have a problem with sexual temptation and breaking vows.

    There’s also evidence that decreasing female sexual desire in marriage is linked to their boredom with monogamy or at least with a lack of sexual variety.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/magazine/unexcited-there-may-be-a-pill-for-that.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1

    Of course, there are ways to bring sexual variety into a marriage without bringing in other people, and I think that it’s important that men and women are willing to explore adding variety to their sex lives while keeping that sex life monogamous.

  24. Yes and what percentage of those 20 percent who can’t marry would be men who are poor, or lack ambition to work, or who are feeble minded, or unattractive? I would argue this would be take up that 20 percent easily(especially covering for lazy and unambitious men).

  25. 1) What about the percentage of poor men who are poor due to bad luck rather than laziness and who could either eventually work until they’re better off or become better off with the help of a wife? Why should physical unattractiveness disqualify a man from marrying? Finally what about men who are lazy and unambitious but have inherited wealth and are charming and good-looking?

    2) I would actually very strongly disapprove of a parent favoring one child over their others.

    3) I am not saying that romantic love is a requirement for marriage. I am saying that in cases where a man has a romantic love for his wife (and in our biblical cases where a man had a romantic love for only one of his wives), I don’t see the point in him marrying another woman for whom he has no romantic love. As we see in the biblical cases, these men’s romantic love for one wife made them worse husbands to their other wives. Abraham, for example, can’t be said to have had an agape love for Hagar. He allowed Sarah to abuse her and drive her away while pregnant. We don’t see any indication that Abraham sent anyone to recover his pregnant wife. We only know that God sent an angel to order Hagar to go back. We also know that Abraham sent away Hagar and Ishmael on Sarah’s urging after Isaac was born. In this case, Abraham’s love for Sarah and for his child by her was apparently so overwhelming that he neglected his duties to Hagar and Ishmael. Furthermore, we know that Jacob’s lack of love for Leah moved God so much that he made her fertile while keeping Rachel barren for years. We also know that Bathsheba’s hold over David kept him from upholding God’s commandant to respect the inheritance rights of his older sons.

    I also don’t see why, in a modern context, a man would want multiple wives when he only has an agape love for all of them. In biblical times, a man who was wealthy and/or powerful would want lots of children, and having more than one wife gave him the opportunity to have more children.

    I’m sure that there are cases where men are able to form romantic attachments to two or more different women and where the women are able to tolerate each other while all married to the same man. I’m sure that there are women who are fine with staying married to a husband who is only going through the motions of marriage with them while he’s married to another wife with whom he has a much more passionate and romantic relationship because these women don’t have romantic attachments to these husbands but do want to keep the relationship together for financial stability and the well-being of their children. I’m just not convinced that that’s the norm for polygyny, especially since accounts of polygyny tend to show that it has many negative outcomes.

    4) Recent studies show that the rate of marital infidelity among women has risen drastically in the past twenty years and is getting close to the rate of marital infidelity among men.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1211104/Think-men-unfaithful-sex-A-study-shows-WOMEN-biggest-cheats–theyre-just-better-lying-it.html

    Clearly, both sexes have a problem with sexual temptation and breaking vows.

    There’s also evidence that decreasing female sexual desire in marriage is linked to their boredom with monogamy or at least with a lack of sexual variety.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/magazine/unexcited-there-may-be-a-pill-for-that.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1

    Of course, there are ways to bring sexual variety into a marriage without bringing in other people, and I think that it’s important that men and women are willing to explore adding variety to their sex lives while keeping that sex life monogamous.

  26. Alex,

    I have a feeling you and I could go round and round – it is an interesting thread. But I will leave you with this last response.

    A man in a monogamous marriage can ignore or neglect his wife in the same way a man can that has more than one wife. A man in monogamous marriage can be lead astray by his wife just as easily as a man in a polygamous relationship. A woman can be jealous of her husband’s time in a monogamous relationship just as she could if she were one wife of many.

    In fact it always amuses me when people talk about polygynous marriages most of the time turning out bad. In the vast majority of cases the problems they see in those polygynous marriages could have just as easily occurred in a monogamous marriage. Tell me women in monogamous marriages don’t get jealous of their husband’s time and affection? And I don’t mean men cheating on their wives. I mean faithful husbands with jealous wives(this will be the topic of an upcoming post).

    And men being lead astray by their wives? This happens just as easily in a monogamous marriage as it does in a polygamous marriage.

    One thing that is completely missed about polygamy is not just the matter of having more sons. It is about the women having one another. In polygamous societies of the past the wives were able to help one another in taking care of the kids when one of them was ill. They were able to emotionally connect with each other as only women can do with other women. Yes was there rivalry sometimes? Absolutely. But there was also friendship between these wives as well. Think of it this way. If a man only has one wife – what happens when she get’s sick? His home falls into disrepair as he goes out to work each day to provide and then he needs to find someone to care for his kids and of course sex is over. If a man has three wives? One gets sick – no problem one wife can help care for her while he works and the other can care for the children and the home and of course one of the other two wives are still available for sex.

    I TOTALLY get how unromantic that sounds. Its horrible to our modern sensibilities of what marriage is. But before the modern age marriage was about function, duty and commitment. A husband’s love was not measured by romantic gestures such as flowers cards and flowery language toward his wife. His love was primarily measured by his provision and protection of her and their children and his leadership of their family.

    So with that I will end responses. I will give you the last word.

  27. Regarding the discussion on polygamy above, I think I’ve already said I disagreed with Biblical’s views, but something that I do find interesting, back in biblical times, indeed during the last 1900 years, the population was basically flat. It took nearly two thousand years for humankind to produce the first one billion people. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that the population exploded exponentially, in the past 70 years now growing to 7 billion. If only ten percent of those people become Christians, there will be more Christians on this planet all at one time than all the Christians combined for the past 1900 years.

    I have no idea what it all means, but this huge explosion in technology, healthcare, wealth, survivability of children, has all been built around the idea of one man, one woman marriage, and how the stability of that family system ripples out into the community. Polygamy as a mating strategy, as a way of producing more children for Christ’s kingdom, did not produce those results. Nor did it deliver the great advancements we are seeing today.

  28. I certainly won’t deny that there can be practical functions to polygamy and that monogamy is not always a success. However, I think that human emotions get in the way of many of the practical functions of polygamy. Sure, it can work great if the wives get along, but what if, such as the case of Hannah and Penninah, one wife frequently makes the other wife feel so awful that she can’t even eat? What if the husband gives one wife significantly more power over the other wife, as Abraham continued to recognize Sarah’s power over Hagar as her handmaiden even after he took Hagar as a concubine, and the senior wife is cruel to the junior wife and takes control of the junior wife’s children? In short, I think that for polygamy to work well for the wives, the man’s first wife (and second and so on, depending on how many wives he ultimately marries) would have to agree to the arrangement and like the new wife. I know that you don’t think that a man has to consider his wife’s feelings in these cases, but if part of your argument is that this arrangement is actually great for women, then your hypothetical husband is going to have to check on his wife’s feelings on that subject.

    I also would add that while monogamous relationships can have their own problems, adding another person to the marriage adds complications that were not there before and amplifies ones that were. For example, a rational-thinking wife could easily accept that her husband sometimes looks at other women and finds them attractive if she considers that he ultimately chose her over other women and that he is only having sex with her. If the husband takes a second wife, then the wife gains reason to be jealous again, especially since the new wife will likely be decreasing the amount of attention, communication and sex that she gets with her husband. If the first wife doesn’t want sex nearly as much as her husband does, then she might welcome the second wife because that will mean that the other wife might be in the mood when their husband is but the first wife isn’t. On the other hand, the first wife might have a high sex-drive and might have enjoyed having sex, say, five times a week or even once every day with her husband. It could also frequently be the case that both wives end up wanting sex at the same time or at least on the same day. If a husband can’t deny either wife sex, how does he work this out? He also has to figure out dates, communication, and other things with both women, while also working to support them both. It’s also likely that the new wife won’t actually help lessen the first wife’s workload for very long, especially if the second wife has children. More children means potentially doubling the workload.

    My point at the end of the day is that while I think that polygamy could have some benefits for some people, it could also create more problems than it solves and that people who want to turn their marriages polygamous should think very long and hard about how it will work and if it will really make things better. I also fear that it could create problems for decent, hardworking men who would make good husbands but find themselves without any opportunities for dating and marriage. (And no, I’m not saying that the government should subsidize marriage for men to satisfy their sexual desires.)

  29. As a side note, in practice, many polygamist husbands, as we see in Mormon polygamist groups, tend to see their second or third wives, who also tend to be underage, as little more than sex-slaves who can pop out more new babies while their first wives tend to see the new girls as both sexual rivals and slaves who can be put to work while the first wives laze about.

  30. @biblicalgenderoles,

    I do agree with you that God does not condemn or forbid polygamy in either the Old or New Testament. It is not a sin.

    Because they were kings, it was wrong for David and Solomon to have multiple wives.
    “When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;
    15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
    16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
    17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.”
    (Deu 17:14-17 KJV)

    I agree with Alex, God’s best is for every man to have a wife. We see this in the New Testament,

    2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (1Co 7:2 KJV)

    “let every man have his own wife,”

    For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
    4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
    5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
    6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
    (1Th 4:3-6 KJV)

    Having a wife to have sex with is the best way for every man to posess his vessel in sanctification and honor.

    In Leviticus we see that even poor men had wives and children, and God supported that,

    39 ‘If a [z]countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service. 40 He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 41 He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, Leviticus 25:39 -41a

    God allows polygamy but probably prefers it to be rare. Two occasions where it makes sense are after a severe war when many men of a tribe or nation have been killed, and when missionaries reach a primitive culture or tribe. Christian missionaries and leaders should not tell new converts that they have to get rid of all of their wives except one!

  31. Hey, I really appreciated this blog.

    So my question to you, because I enjoy your honesty and unashamed discussions… While porn may not be outright sinful in your eyes, I can’t help but see it as hurtful for someone who wants a monogamous marriage. I actually appreciate your thoughts on polygamy and would agree, the Bible doesn’t condemn it. However, I ascribe to Romans 13 and follow the law of the land. America has no state in which polygamy is legal. So, I will follow the government as instituted by God.

    With that, pornography will not help my brain be satisfied with real sex with my (future) wife. Studies show that men who view porn can become more aroused with porn than the real thing. With my current goal of a monogamous relationship with one woman, I think porn will only hurt my future relationship. So now, after years or neglect and pressure, I masterbait solo and without shame. I avoid porn. When I avoided all things sexual it just made me commit “one more sin” (like you said above) and view porn as well as masterbait.

    Now masterbation is a great way for me to release the tension and then feel way less needy to view porn afterward. I think this is healthy for my end goal. Now I guess I want to ask: Do you think I’m doing a good thing by avoiding porn? I have seen from “the new drug” or other websites that study porn that it hardwires the brain for sexual satisfaction. It doesn’t appear to good for married couples. But I also don’t hate myself anymore for noticing a beautiful figure and thinking about it later. I just won’t search endlessly online for the “perfect” body and lust after it.

    So, i’m single now but one day before I’m married, I would love to be realistic, honest, and even encourage masturbation to my girlfriend if she isn’t already. However, for now, I think porn is a bad idea. Thoughts?

  32. Racenuke,

    Your Comments:

    “I actually appreciate your thoughts on polygamy and would agree, the Bible doesn’t condemn it. However, I ascribe to Romans 13 and follow the law of the land. America has no state in which polygamy is legal. So, I will follow the government as instituted by God.”

    I also try to follow Romans 13 and admonishes others to do so:

    “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” – Romans 13:1 (KJV)

    But marriage was instituted by God and he has given jurisdiction over marriage not to the civil government, but rather to the family. (Specifically fathers have authority over who their daughters can marry. Marriage is a family affair, not a government affair).

    “4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” – Matthew 19:4-6 (KJV)

    What he allows in marriage cannot be disallowed by civil governments(such as prohibitions on polygamy) and what he disallows in marriage cannot be allowed civil governments(such as gay marriage). Before the last century or so the civil governments stayed out of marriage entirely because they recognized that this belonged to God himself and that God gave authority over marriage to the family – not the government.

    I do not practice polygamy. But I believe that those who do so are not sinning because the government has no such authority to regulate marriage anymore than they can regulate churches. When the government tries to interfere in matters of the church or marriage I reject those laws and rules as they have not gone outside the authority God has given them.

    As far as studies about the negative affects of porn – do you realize that there are studies that show the opposite? Positive effects of porn.

    “Nearly a quarter of men and women say pornography has helped them experiment more in bed, and just over 20 percent say porn has made them more comfortable voicing their desires, according to recent research in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. “If you’re looking at pornography for sexual learning—to give your significant other a more pleasurable oral sex experience, for example—you may be less likely to become compulsive than someone who views it because he is depressed and lonely,” says Wright.

    In fact, in a study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, men who used Internet porn for sexual education experienced an increase in real-life sexual activity with a partner. But those who sought it to cope with stress reported an increase in relationship problems. The drive behind ordinary usage of pornography is mostly just normal sexual motivation.”

    http://www.menshealth.com/sex-women/porn-debate

    “Here’s some often-ignored empirical science about porn – as societies have increased their access to porn, rates of sex crimes, including exhibitionism, rape and child abuse, have gone down. (See the work of Milton Diamond) Across the world, and in America, as men have increased ability to view Internet erotica, sex crimes go down. Believe it or not – porn is good for society. This is correlational data, but it is extremely robust, repeated research. But, it is not a message that many people want to hear. Individuals may not like porn, but our society loves it, and benefits from it.”

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/women-who-stray/201305/porn-is-not-the-problem-you-are

    “However, a new study suggests that porn consumption by males may not have such a detrimental affect on their appetite – or capacity – for sex.
    Scientists at the University of California asked 280 men to record their porn viewing habits while tracking their libido.
    They found that there was their a positive correlation between the amount of time spent viewing porn and the desire to have sex.
    Men who watched no porn were found to score just over 40 on the researcher’s arousal matrix. In contrast, men who did watch porn scored over 50.
    Those who watched more than two hours of porn per week were found to have the highest level of arousal. They had more desire for ‘solo-sex’ and sex with a partner.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/11477028/Why-porn-might-actually-be-good-for-you.html

    “It turns out that among porn viewers, the amount of porn each subject consumed had nothing to do with his or her mental state. What mattered most, Twohig found, was whether the subjects tried to control their sexual thoughts and desires. The more they tried to clamp down on their urge for sex or porn, the more likely they were to consider their own pornography use a problem. The findings suggest that suppressing the desire to view pornography, for example, for moral or religious reasons, might actually strengthen the urge for it and exacerbate sexual problems. It’s all about “personal views and personal values,” Twohig says. In other words, the effects of pornography—positive or negative—have little to do with the medium itself and everything to do with the person viewing it.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-sunny-side-of-smut/

    Just some thoughts to consider.

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