Evolution is True and Christianity, and All Religions, Are Not
MARRIAGE & DIVORCE
10. Marriage & Divorce
Let’s take a look at how Christianity deals with divorce and contrast that to a secular humanism approach. First, it’s best to look at the Biblical approach to marriage and some consequences most conservatives accept.
A. First, Biblical marriage is between a man and a woman.
There is no room for gay marriages. As a physician I saw many gay marriages that were long and superior to heterosexual marriages. See the section above on homosexuality and why it is normal for them, biological, and not selected against even if not directly procreating. It is natural and biological especially for gay men. Allowing gay marriage does not take away rights of the heterosexual couples. It’s not a pie - heterosexual couples don’t lose out if gay marriages are allowed.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. ~ Genesis 2:4.
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” … ~ Matthew 19: 4-6.
Secondly, women are an after thought, an add on, and often considered just property. A very common attitude in the Ancient Near East at that time.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
~ Genesis 2:18
“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.”
~ Exodus 21:7-11
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male slave, his female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything which belongs to your neighbor”
~ Exodus 20:17, Deuteronomy 5:21
"Let a woman learn in silence and full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to be silent. For Adam was formed first then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became the transgressor.”
~ 1 Timothy 2:8-14
“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation. And she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.”
~ Leviticus 12: 2-5.
Thirdly, the implication for conservative, fundamentalist believers is that God has chosen a special person, “the one”, for you and this is the one He wants you to spend the rest of your life with. God has a plan for you; it’s all worked out. God does not make mistakes. This person is special and chosen by God for you. You must stay with your spouse, no matter what.
B. Divorce is not an option for believers except for adultery.
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”
~ Luke 16:18
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
~ Matthew 5:32
“To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.”
~ 1 Corinthians 7: 10-11.
A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.
~ 1 Corinthians 7:39
“And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” ~ Matthew 19:9.
“What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
~ Mark 10:9
“And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
~ Mark 10:12
"But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
~ Matthew 5:32
"Or do you not know, brothers - for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.”
~ Romans 7: 1-3
For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
~ Romans 7:2
Hopefully, it can be seen the inferiority and even cruelty of the biblical view. Except for adultery, there is no way to divorce. If one spouse is raping their children, if one spouse is destroying another through drug use or gambling, there is no way out of the marriage. If one spouse is physically or emotionally abusive to the point of destroying a person’s well being there is still no way out of the marriage. This is another example of how a secular humanism approach to life is is superior to Biblical divine instructions. If a woman is divorced and dates or remarries, she is committing adultery? Really? If a man marries a divorced woman, he is committing adultery? Really? This makes sense now? I actually have personal experience with fundamentalist evangelicals who believe the Bible is the Word of God, He can’t make mistakes, and applied these verses to their own lives.
C. Bible Edicts compared to humanism approaches
If a man rapes a woman "If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife.”
~ Exodus 22:16
“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”
~ Deuteronomy 22:28-29
“If there be a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife:…”
~ Deuteronomy 22:23
Let that sink in. If a man rapes a single virgin woman/girl, he must marry her. Neither of them has a choice in the matter. What about her? She has no choice and a future divorce is addressed to him and not her. If she is betrothed (promised) but did not resist enough, stone them both to death. If she did protest enough, kill only him. What? The police will tell you sometimes the woman must not protest because the rapist would kill her. These divine commands are not superior to our laws; compassion and understanding increased dramatically with modernity. How is this not blame shifting? The rape is her fault and she must die because she failed to protest enough? She was in town/city, instead of in her home? It’s her fault? This is the divine wisdom of a God who created the universe and knows all? Or is this God created by us and we not created in His image?
Adultery means stoning. “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife - with the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.”
~ Leviticus 20:10
“If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.”
~ Deuteronomy 22:22
No room for counseling and reconciliation. Stone them to death. It doesn’t matter that Christians are “not under The Old Covenant Law”. We are looking at how God’s “perfect moral standards” and approach by an all knowing and wise Deity compares to secular humanism approaches. Which is better? Which has better outcome data? Which is more compassionate? What about the children of these adulterous couples?
Bride not a virgin; stone her - “If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, and lay shameful things to her charge, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity: then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: and the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; and, lo, he hath laid shameful things to her charge, saying, I found not in thy daughter the tokens of virginity; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him; and they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel: then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die:…” ~ Deuteronomy 22: 13-21.
Notice that there at least two problems here. First, the woman/girl must be a virgin, not the man. In our enlightened cultures we try to limit the double standard and not condone it. Secondly, the hymen in virgin women/girls can be highly variable and a first intercourse does NOT always produce blood. Yes, this law would result in some girls being stoned to death who were innocent. A “good” law given by an all knowing God? Guess He never even had a high school level knowledge of an anatomy and physiology course. You can bet some innocent young girls/women were stoned to death. Premarital sex only applied to women/girls? And premarital sex does not warrant a death sentence.
Adultery Test - This is found in Numbers 5, starting at verse 11. It’s a ritual performed by the priest for a husband who suspects that his wife has been unfaithful but he has no proof. So she is brought to the priest who has her drink some symbolic dirty water and then God decides. If she is guilty she is cursed. Notice there is no such ritual for the husband again pointing out how far our approach to morality has progressed (but not far enough yet) over the last 3,000 to 2,000 years and another example showing that scriptures are not God given. The curse causes some organs to rot and fall out; they are probably euphemisms for her uterus and possibly other reproductive organs. Notice in verses 27-28:
27 “And when he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has broken faith with her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away, and the woman shall become a curse among her people. 28 But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be free and shall conceive children.”
Other translations appropriately note that it causes her to miscarry and perhaps includes uterine prolapse. So we are usually told by conservative Christians that abortion is wrong and that even an embryo and fetus should be considered an “unborn child” (see my section on abortion). Yet if pregnant, God just killed an innocent “unborn child” like He does in so many places in the Hebrew Bible (the Flood for example). Just collateral damage. Christian writers have noted this also but the cognitive dissonance seems never to fire the appropriate neurons; collateral innocent children death is just what the Bible notes again. Whatever this God does must be just? Or whatever God orders (Canaanite genocides)?
As O’Connor notes: “The most important fact about this trial, however, is revealed in the divine punishment: loss of baby. This statute was not really about morality or marital unity: it was about inheritance. The husband may have become suspicious because his wife was pregnant and he had reason to doubt the child was his. In a culture where land was gold, where you worked hard to provide for your heirs, where all of this was a ridiculously big deal, messing with the family line was a grievous sin indeed.” From an evolutionary standpoint this makes sense. But the superstitious ritual is laughable and notice how O’Connor doesn’t even address how God just killed a fetus - that is what is called abortion for an elective miscarriage. Christians who are “Pro-life” (really mostly only pro-birth), can’t have their cake and eat it too here. Whether it’s killing pregnant women in the Flood narrative, in this ritual, or ordering Hebrews to kill pregnant Canaanite women, this God by definition is the greatest abortionist every conceived.
Divorce, Catholic Style - The Catholic Church, knowing that divorce is impossible biblically had to find a loop hole. So they invented one. They simply annul the marriage. According to Catholic teaching marriage is permanent and the sanctity of marriage is indissoluble. In the Church’s view the marriage was never a valid one if it does not meet four criteria. With an annulment, the church holds that the couple was never married in the “sacramental”, real sense. Your Get-out-of-jail card. If the marriage was a “valid” one but is dysfunctional and broken, you are to separate and can obtain a “civil” divorce but can never have a sacramental divorce and must live your life without dating or getting remarried if you want to remain in the church. This is how religion often wants to have its cake and eat it too. This is authenticity for the couple? Thus if you complete a divorce in this case, you’re still married in the eyes of the Church!