Big Faith

The show is called Big Love but polygyny really takes Big Faith

Anglican church drama

monopoly.jpgI heard a woman interviewed yesterday about the upheaval currently being experienced by the Anglican church (Episcopalians in USA) regarding the ordination of women and homosexuality. She was from somewhere in the South…one of the Carolinas, I believe, and she said, “I just think about when we have to deal with the Bishops in Africa who have more than one wife! We’ll look back on this and say, ‘Man, that was NOTHING!'”

Hmmmm. It always puzzles me why Westerners are so intimidated by polygyny. It’s not as if they’re monogamous themselves! Between premarital sex, adulterous liaisons, blatant homosexuality and frequent divorces (“serial polygyny”), they are definitely living on the wrong side of many commandments and Judeo/Christian/Islamic teachings – and polygyny is not against any teachings of any of the Abrahamic faiths. It was a well-established and accepted practice in the Old Testament (with no limits, incidentally), was not spoken against by Prophet Jesus (upon him be peace) or anyone else in the New Testament, and was regulated by the final revelation, the Qur’an.

Actually, most Christians would be aghast to find out why they abhor polygyny so much. It is because it was against the practices of the pagan Romans, under whose authority Christianity began. Just as Christmas was adopted from pagan practices, so was “strict” monogamy.

Another reason Americans are repulsed by the very concept of polygyny is the way it is practiced by some cultish offshoots of the Mormon church. Caddish old dodgers forcing innocent young teens (and sometimes their sisters!) into wedlock against their will….unlimited numbers of wives…blatant social services fraud…all this makes for a frighteningly immoral representation of an institution that, in other areas of the world, is part of strong societal structures.

From a First Amendment point of view, one man providing (acknowledgedly) for two or three or four women falls completely under the first amendment, and is MUCH less harmful to society than, say, young men “sewing their wild oats” and having a bunch of baby mamas to whom they spread diseases and whom they don’t support.

The Bishops in Africa who are in polygynous marriages are not harming society or the church at all. If they provide for all their wives, raise their families, and fulfill their religious and cultural/societal duties, their style of marriage should not be a concern. Of course, Paul did say that a deacon should be the husband of only one wife…. But then Paul never met Jesus, and he was, after all, preaching to pagans!

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March 1, 2007 - Posted by | faith, Islam, marriage, Muslim women, polygamy, polygyny, religion

2 Comments »

  1. Have you noticed how multiple wives in the OT testament always prove to be a source of strife and discontent?

    Moreover, Christ seems to be clear when he states, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Here Christ is harking back to God’s original creation, one man and one woman. God tolerated multiple marriages among the patriarchs for whatever reason, but his original intent is quite clear (and Christ restated that intent during his ministry).

    May God bless you
    J. Kaiser

    Comment by totaltransformation | March 1, 2007 | Reply

  2. But in the garden of Gethsemane Christ also asked God to become one with Him and for the diciples to become one with the two of them as well. This was a common phrase in that culture and has very obvious metaphorical meaning.

    Notice also how in Mark 10:6 the author has Christ (God’s peace be upon him) saying that “*from the beginning of time* God made male and female, and for this cause……..” Obviously for centuries between the beginning of time – when He created male and female – and the time of Christ, God permitted polygyny. Christ’s explanation of the sanctity of marriage is not referring to this practice but rather to divorce. Furthermore, Jesus never instructed his followers to cease practicing Judaic law. **All of the diciples continued to be practicing Jews after his ascension**. And polygamy was part of that law. (see Exodus 21:10, Deut. 21:15, etc.)

    Here is what the Qur’an says about God’s creation of men and women: 30:21 “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.”

    Look at Matthew 25: 1-13, the parable of the ten virgins. Jesus is speaking to a society of Jews, who practiced polygyny, and his parable is about a polygynous situation, where ten virgins were to marry the same man. Five wind up marrying him, and they are compared to the believers who will enter paradise. Had God forbidden polygyny, Jesus would never have used such a parable, especially in this way.

    Incidentally, you over-speak when you say that polygyny is always associated with strife and discontent in the OT, but even where it is, a lot of the trouble and sin in the OT is a result of man-penned changes in the texts. For example, the OT casts Sarah as a petty, jealous child who insisted her husband drag her co-wife and his son out into the desert and leave them there. The Qur’an corrects this slander against her and Muslims do not believe that of her. We hold her in much higher regard than that. Islam teaches that Hajar and Ismael being taken to the desert was wahi (God’s revelation), and Abraham obeyed just as he did when he had been asked to sacrifice his son. Muslims believe that all the Prophets were noble, upstanding people. They could not have been incestuous cads or drunks, as their role among people was to model the behaviors or believers, and those awful things were not in their nature.

    In peace,
    Juwayriah

    Comment by juwayriah | March 1, 2007 | Reply


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