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Thread: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

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    Super Moderator UGLY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    Mike what do you think about the idea of Christianity adapting to a secular society to remain relevant. My position is that if it does try to adapt then it becomes irrelevant, to put it simply.

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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    I think the question of whether the church should adapt to the people or stand fast to its ideals and require the people to adapt is a good topic for discussion (so please continue - I'm interested), but my purpose in presenting this article was to ask whether you think that this new interpretation has any validity. Is it possible that the church's position on divorce all these years has been based on an erroneous interpretation of what the Bible/Jesus really meant?
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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    There's a subtle implication in both Spider's question and Ugly's comments that there has been a singular interpretation of what Jesus said/meant about divorce and some guy's coming along now and saying, well, he really meant something else.

    As ctc points out, there are already different views within Christianity on divorce. Some churches tolerate it more than others. If I'm not mistaken, it has, at least until recently, been against the law to divorce your esposa in Italy--a rule, if not in law, that's been strongly enforced within the Catholic church (in Italy as well as in the U.S.) for a long time.

    If I were a scholar, and I'm not, I think I would hesitate to attach a single meaning to what Jesus said (if that is what's happening here). We have a hard enough time figuring out what the founding fathers meant when they set down the U.S. Constitution 200-odd years ago. Think of what it means to say that you know, to the exclusion of other possible interpretations, what Jesus meant, 2000-odd years ago, when he wrote nothing himself, and when the gospels (others accounts of his life) were written many, many years after his death. That's not to say that people shouldn't attempt to interpret what he said, just that claims for a singular interpretation are suspect. Of course, some would say the Bible is divinely inspired (i.e., set down from heaven), in which case, my comments are probably irrelevant.

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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    Tangentially related: I watched the film, Divorce--Italian Style last weekend and realized that's probably where Love--American Style (the 60s TV show) got its name.

    The film itself is a comedic classic in spite of the serious subject matter. It's about a guy with a dilemma: he can't stand his wife, and he's in love with his (much younger) cousin. But, of course, he cannot divorce his wife so he fantasizes about killing her.

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    Ancient Arachnid Spider's Avatar
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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    Quote Originally Posted by matclone View Post
    There's a subtle implication in Spider's question that there has been a singular interpretation of what Jesus said/meant about divorce and some guy's coming along now and saying, well, he really meant something else.
    Not subtle, that's exactly what I'm saying. Whether the new interpretation is correct or not is open to discussion, but I think it's fascinating that there's a possibility that the church's ban on divorce is based on a misinterpretation and all those people who were excommunicated could now be recommunicated.
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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    In Matthew, the pharisees ask Christ, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?" Jesus refers to the Old Testament and then replies, "Whoever divorces a wife, except for sexual indecency, commits adultery."
    Withholding sex -thats definitely not decent, Right?

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    Super Moderator UGLY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    As far as the divorce issue I think that there are many reasons to divorce that fall outside of sexual deviance from your spouse. I think that the bible tells Christians to respect themselves and others and when someone is beating there wife or husband then that to me is a cause for divorce.

    Sorry for hijacking the thread Spider with the adaptation comments. I thought that was part of your original question. But it seems that mos agree with me that if Christianity adapts to fit modern or secular culture then it looses its validity. Religion's such as Christianity are based on certain beliefs that don't change era to era but remain steadfast. I believe that we must constantly study the bible and its meaning to get the truest interpretation. We have to see the words in the original language and context and new information comes to light all the time. Usually they don't result in major changes but it could happen. While I believe the Bible is the word of God the translations of the his word could have been skewed.

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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    Quote Originally Posted by UGLY View Post
    Sorry for hijacking the thread Spider with the adaptation comments. I thought that was part of your original question. But it seems that mos agree with me that if Christianity adapts to fit modern or secular culture then it looses its validity. Religion's such as Christianity are based on certain beliefs that don't change era to era but remain steadfast..

    Not really a hijack, and this is an interesting topic. I can't speak for Christianity, but I can discuss religion in general. While some concepts are universal and don't change with the times, some may be antiquated and no longer serve the pupose for which they were intended. An example of this is the kosher laws of Judaism. Originally, most of these laws had a basis in health and safety. Today, they are merely a tradition that many still follow, but their original intent is obsolete thanks to technological advances in food storage and preparation. If, however, you believe (and I guess you do) that the Bible is the word of God, and God was able to foresee the future of mankind, then God's word would be universal and timeless. This, of course, is a matter of faith, and religious leaders (eg. the Pope) must decide how strictly and literally God's word is to be followed.
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    Default Re: Divorce-An Evangelical Rethink

    "We have to see the words in the original language and context and new information comes to light all the time. Usually they don't result in major changes but it could happen. While I believe the Bible is the word of God the translations of the his word could have been skewed."

    Excellent point! I think where many who try to use english (or even worse king james version) translations of the bible have difficulty is that all of those are merely interpretations of the original word. In many instances, when trying to translate from an ancient language to modern language, there are words in the original text for which there is no direct translation. So the translator is left to try to interpret the meaning and chose a word from their own language that most closely fits. This is even worse in the case of the King James Bible where the translation is three times removed from the original text (aramaic to greek to latin to english). It's obvious to see the problems that can arise from trying to claim what Jesus said, word for word, and basing any argument on any particular word or phrase.


    On to Spider's point, I think that any time man tries to establish hard and fast rules or laws based on specific quotes in the bible he is in error. I don't believe the bible to be a historical document that can be quoted the same as modern history accounts. I believe that it may have been divinely inspired, but only in so far as it was meant to convey a broader message of how we as fallible humans should attempt to emulate the goodness of Christ. I believe that any Christian church's rules to discourage divorce are in part good because it discourages taking the oath of matrimony without proper inner reflection and thought. It also gives the oath more weight, so that it should not be taken lightly. It's the reason it is so difficult to get an church sanctioned annulment from the Catholic church. It's certainly discouraged, but they leave open the possibility that one can prove that they tried to save the marriage, but it was beyond saving, or was not worth trying to save, e.g. abusive either physically or mentally, adulterous, etc.

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