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Bible Allows Child Marriage?

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by norak, May 10, 2009.

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  1. norak

    norak Junior Member

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    The Bible forbids lust (Matthew 5:28). However, lust is allowable within marriage (Proverbs 5:19). There seems to be no explicit statement of age of consent in the Bible. Hence, if an adult male wanted to marry a 10-year-old girl and also engage in sexual intercourse with that girl, would the Bible allow this?
     
  2. Kharak

    Kharak Guest

    In the proper context . . .

    Ancient cultures often allowed early marriages if they were arranged, but intimacy (and even the actual ceremony) were reserved until sexual maturity; 13 at the very least. Consent was irrelevant for sons and daughters of nobility, and kids fooled around then as they do today within all classes. The difference is that modern pregnant teenagers are less incline to marry, and often legally barred from doing so.

    Marriages are for dowries and spawning (not love) and do remember that. Wealthy families often went out of their way to produce arranged couplings, and it is no surprise that the political alliances left the wedded into open adultery (concubines, or my favorite, harems). That people are actually surpised by high price prostitutes serving politicians today is actually very silly, considering it is nothing new and to be expected.

    However wrong we believe this today, the realities of the world then were rather bleak. Marriage was a practical institution to extend a house beyond future generations, and the frequent occurence of stillborns and infant deaths meant that women got the short straw in choosing their own lives among the priviledged elite (save for notable exceptions, though they were all still powerful whether they were mothers or not).

    I do not believe, though, that child molesters were respected then either. There was a difference between lawful marriage and extra-marital rape that most Western cultures recognized between free citizens. Slaves, on the other hand, were at the mercy of their masters and often the subject of wanton sexual abuse.
     
  3. KCKID

    KCKID New Member

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    As far as I know there is no such thing as 'age of consent' in the Bible. This is possibly why the term 'pedophilia' or similar is not seen as an issue in the scriptures. This is a tricky one since many people these days have developed 'pedophile paranoia' and seem to spend their lives afraid of their kids responding to even the natural/normal affections of adults. Every adult is seen as a potential molester that is out to get their kids by whatever means necessary. It's mainly been brought about by 'media manipulation' and this form of paranoia within society has become rampant. Not so in the good ol' Bible days, evidently.

    As for lust ...can anyone tell me the difference between someone being 'turned on' sexually by someone and actually 'lusting' after someone? At what point does being sexually attracted to someone become lust?

    Questions, questions.
     
  4. Kharak

    Kharak Guest

    I believe another member on the forum had correctly pointed out that not all pedophiles are child molesters, and that is something to be noted that is often ignored. Not that being one is a good thing, but redefining terms out of ignorance is never good.
     
  5. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    The bible doesn't explicitly prohibit it, except that the bible talks about marrage as being between a man and woman, not between a male and a female. Without actually defining 'woman' there is clearly a distinction between a woman and a girl. But the bible doesn't attempt to be a complete manual what is and is not acceptable - such a manual would be infinite in size.
     
  6. KCKID

    KCKID New Member

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    It wouldn't have changed the size of the Bible that infinitely by adding some instruction pertaining to the age of consent, now would it?
     
  7. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    One specific comment about one specific thing would not. Covering all instructions about everything definitely would. Approaching scripture as though it should be a complete set of rules is to treat it as something it neither is nor could be, instead of what it is.
     
  8. CreedIsChrist

    CreedIsChrist New Member

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    Well the former is usually because of natural attraction when you look at someone attractive. However the latter, Lust, is when you take it to a higher level and start imagining doing sexual acts with the person in your mind or disrobing them.
     
  9. KCKID

    KCKID New Member

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    And, who is it that decides who is doing what? :)
     
  10. lawtonfogle

    lawtonfogle My solace my terror, my terror my solace.

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    It wasn't always 13 at the very least. While not the Bible, you just need to look at Mohammad (6 marriage, 9 consummation), which was far later than the OT.

    As to the Bible and rape, while there may have been oral or non-OT rules dealing with it, rape of a non-pledged virgin was very close to marriage, with the only punishment being a payment for 'damaging the goods' and a marriage if the father said so. One should note that the woman had no say in this, then again, they were often times treated like one step above being a slave. This leads to the idea that engagements would have been early to protect the child, even if the marriage came later. Yet, there would be nothing to stop someone from marrying a 10 year old, especially if the parents saw it reasonable as well. The biggest key to remember are two fold. There was no special place for children before a couple hundred years ago. This is a change which has occurred at our very core. Second, the adulthood was a completely separate ordeal back then.

    Now, if one takes into account two things, one can understand how the Bible forbids child molestation, though it is a work around, and not a very discrete rule (like say... "Thou shall not murder". Society thinks sex with children hurt them, and combined with the Golden rule in the NT, it would be wrong to thus have sex with a child. Of course, the actual harm of stat rape verses rape verses physical assault is a bit different debate which manyt people can't do without letting emotions run wild.
     
  11. lawtonfogle

    lawtonfogle My solace my terror, my terror my solace.

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    First, if you have read some of what adults will get put on the sex offender list for, you would be scared. Even helpful acts, such as pulling a child out of the road and then lecturing them on not running out into the road, if you are a total stranger to that child, can turn out bad.

    Secondly, the difference between attraction and lust I think is much like the difference between my kicking you because it was a reaction, and me doing the same because I actually wanted to.
     
  12. lawtonfogle

    lawtonfogle My solace my terror, my terror my solace.

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    Thanks to the media, there are actually now two different meanings for pedophilia, the medial/psychological one, and the layman one. It is like gay. Technically that means happy, but no one even thinks of that anymore. Thanks to the media, pedophilia is now synonymous with child molestation. Since this is unlikely to change, for the safety of those who don't offend, it may be time for the APA to come up with a new name.
     
  13. lawtonfogle

    lawtonfogle My solace my terror, my terror my solace.

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    This would then make it culturally relevant, so as long as one lives in a society where you are an adult when you are 10, it is ok. Plus, I dare say the Bible does not use the words 'man' and 'woman', but different works which may or may not have the same distinctions our 'man' and 'boy' has.
     
  14. lawtonfogle

    lawtonfogle My solace my terror, my terror my solace.

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    This is why I do not take a sola scripture stance.

    But really, with all the rules on sex and marriage, you think God would have managed to fit in a line or two "No marriage till both are 14, or 16 if Ceasar so says."
     
  15. OllieFranz

    OllieFranz Senior Member

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    In the ancient commentaries such as as the Talmud, the specific concept of "age of consent" as we know it does not seem to have existed. However, several of the specific issues that do concern children with sex and/or marriage suggest that the cutoff for treating children differently from adults is at a girl's fourth birthday and a boy's tenth. At least one commentary suggests that they can marry as young as that, and nowhere is there any suggestion that they need to wait until puberty to consummate the marriage
     
  16. lawtonfogle

    lawtonfogle My solace my terror, my terror my solace.

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    Ok ok... so only 4... :doh:

    I find 10 hard enough to even understand in light of early mortality and far less concern for children... but 4?
     
  17. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    That's trying to read the bible as though it's a modern legal text, and it isn't, it's a narrative. It's a set of case studies more than a collection of pieces of legislation. Which means you can't extract hard and fast answers to "does the bible allow...." for most questions. That's not what it's for.
     
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