NonStampCollector Comments on the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

NonStampCollector (@nonstampNSC; YouTube; blog) has just posted a short comment on attempts to use Christianity – and especially Christian appeals to biblical mythological accounts like the story of Adam and Eve – in the fight against same-sex marriage in the modern state.

In short, the reason so many otherwise sensible Christians oppose same-sex marriage is Jesus’ appeal to the “marriage” of Adam and Eve in Matthew 19:4-6. In this passage, Matthew records Jesus as speaking about divorce, and in doing so, citing the mythological story of Judaism’s primordial humans, Adam and Eve.

Matthew 19:4-6 reads:

Matt. 19:4 He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’”
Matt. 19:5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
Matt. 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (NRSV)

Note that Matthew records Jesus as having done a little prooftexting of his own, pulling from the summaries of the two different creation accounts in Genesis.

Gen. 1:27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (NRSV)

and

Gen 2:24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. (NRSV)

Matthew records Jesus as pulling from two different texts to defend his stance on divorce, specifically, that Christians should NOT divorce.

AND YET, we see no constitutional amendment on state ballots banning divorce, and prohibiting divorced individuals from remarrying, but rather, we find conservative and fundamentalist Christians lining up and spending all kinds money to ban and prohibit same-sex marriage, EVEN THOUGH the text is CLEARLY talking about divorce.

It is yet another example of conservative and fundamentalists deliberately ignoring the glaringly obvious context of the biblical passage (divorce), and instead using said verse to prooftext against something the passage is not at all addressing (same-sex marriage).

So to clarify, conservative and fundamentalist Christians are citing a scientifically debunked primordial religious creation myth from nearly three millennia ago, and then using it out of context in an effort to suppress the modern rights of gay Americans in a state that is founded on the principle that the church and state should be separate.

That is just how far conservative and fundamentalist Christians must stretch – how far they must contort the Bible as well as the founding principles of this country – just to suppress the rights of other Americans. They must cite:

“a moral imperative implied (out of context I might add), within an ancient Middle Eastern story involving a woman made of a man’s rib, being convinced by a talking snake to eat the fruit of a magical tree.”

THAT’S the rationale for denying homosexual Americans the same right of marriage that heterosexual Americans enjoy: magic trees, talking snakes, rib-women, and primordial mythology.

Of course, the real reason this argument is even entertained at all is the much larger problem, which just also happens to be the reason why so many conservative and fundamentalist Christians still cling to the historicity of the six-day creation and worldwide flood myths, despite all of the scientific and contradictory intertextual biblical evidence against them: Jesus quoted them both!

Jesus refers to Adam and Eve in Matthew 19:4-6, and their child Abel in Luke 11:50-51 (and their parallels), and to the flood in Luke 17:27 (and its parallels). And if Jesus referred to things that are mythological or ahistorical or simply did not happen, then people might question his all-knowingness, and maybe even his divinity. And thus, many conservative and fundamentalist Christians cling to scientifically debunked primordial myths, despite all the evidence to the contrary, just so they don’t have to deal with the problem that Jesus is recorded as having appealed to debunked creation and flood myths.

So while they’re at it, why not just take the quotes out of context and use them to oppress gays as well. It makes just as much sense…to fundamentalists.

Anyway, watch NonStampCollector’s video.

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15 Responses

  1. It is quite possible that the Rabbi from Nazareth MAY have said something about homosexuality as a condition one is born with after all.
    The Hebrew word for a Eunuch, סריס, is the generic word that probably included those who were homosexual, a term unknown to Jews of the 1st century. It simply referred to those who would not produce offspring, not just castrated individuals. Though I am NOT a Christian in any way or form. AND I believe that the Nazarener Rebbe, Jesus, the son of Joseph, was not a Christian either. Thus I offer the following quotation:

    יש סריסים אשר נולדו כן מבטן אמם ויש סרסים ויש המסרסים על-ידי אדם ויש סרסים אשר סרסו את-עצמם למען מלכות השמים
    “For there are some who are homosexuals, which were born so from their mother’s impregnation: and there are some who are castrated ones, which were made eunuchs by men: and there be those who are celibates by vow, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” (Rabbi Jesus ben Joseph of Nazareth, 1st century CE; Matthew 19: 12)

  2. Thanx for the link, Rabbi. I’ll check it out.

    As ever, bc

  3. Well stated, well presented, and well-researched thoughts, but I’m afraid it’s just too logical and truthful a sermon to ever convince anyone but we who are already in the choir… As you pointed out, those who embrace the lies do so out of their own need to be right, not from any desire for the truth…. and, as an aside, the Rabbi above who commented seems to be an eminently sensible man, at least from a historical standpoint…. Thanks for a thought provoking post….

  4. So which category of Matthew’s list did Jesus fit into? He had to have been either a eunuch from birth, a eunuch made by man, a eunuch for heaven’s sake or he was married with children. There is no other choice.

  5. BC when are you going to get your own show. Land sakes alive man you are witty, erudite, and easy on the eyes. I read your “column” and think to myself “how in the hell did putzes like Sterno and Lindburger get a public form to spew their noxious rhetoric?” Cargill makes sense ( I don’t always agree with youbut I can follow your reasoning), is rational, and open to input (read willing to admit that you don’t know everything).

    I know I’ve just answered my own question. The saving grace is that when I read your blog I am able to connect with other people who use some form of reasoning.

    Thanks for being here.

  6. Dr Cargill, I may be slightly offtopic here, but how is it possible to scientifically debunk primordial religious creation myth? It’s a myth, not a conflicting scientific theory after all. Myths do have there force but not scientific ones. And we should listen to what they have to teach us – like you have done in this post. Peace!

  7. TJ,

    How is it possible to debunk scientifically a primordial religious creation myth?
    Simple: just demonstrate that one of the claims is not factual, true, or historical.

    For instance, if a creation myth claims there was light, and evening, and morning before there was a sun, then the myth is obviously not accurate.
    If a creation myth claims that there is a barrier or a dome in the sky that separates the waters below (on the earth) from the waters above (rain?), and yet science has shown that there is no such barrier in the sky, that rain comes from clouds which are accumulated moisture in the sky, and that the heavens are not pure water, then that claim is obviously not accurate.
    If a creation myth claims that plants existed before there was a sun, then that claim is obviously not accurate.
    If Genesis 1 says that humans were created after the rest of the animals, but Genesis 3 claims that humans were made before the rest of the animals, then that claim is internally contradictory.

    Modern myth writers strive very hard to ensure that their tales have no internal contradictions, that facts about their characters are true to the existing canon, and that however supernatural the superhero might be, that their powers are at least rooted in existing scientific principles. It’s why we call it science fiction. And these are modern myths that we know aren’t true, but made up. How much more should we discount ancient myths, that contradict both science and their internal textual claims.

    That’s how to disprove a myth.

    And one more thing: i’m not saying that the myths don’t have something to teach us. “Truth” can exist within factual error, fantasy, myth, and other forms of ahistorical, unfactual, fantastic writing. Conveying morality, identity, and a sense of ethics has nothing to do with whether the story is historical or factual. Jesus made up stories all the time to convey ethical principles; we call them parables. I’m not saying that these myths have nothing to teach us. I am saying that they’re not historical or factual. And that takes us to a discussion of whether or not the ethical principles conveyed in these myths are worthwhile for the edification and integration into the morality of modern society. And it is at that point we usually begin discussing whether obeying a god that commands genocide and allows for slavery is one worth listening to in matters of ethics and morality.

    Peace,

    bc

    bc

  8. Bob, I’m interested in your last para of the comment February 3, 2013 at 7:15 am, where you respond to the idea of myth.

    Have you (obviously you can’t be expected to be conversant with all scholarship) ever had the opportunity to read Rene Girard? I’ve always been interested to see if folks involved in the more laboratory-based sciences (especially the historically investigative ones) have been able to review his work on Myth and the way in which he uses his mythical/ anti-mythical understanding of Hebrew and early christian texts…

  9. My question is “why do Christians believe they invented marriage”? Every culture around the world has rules and regulations for couples. Some are more extreme like the tribes in the Amazon where people marry into the village and it turns into a “free love” form of marriage where any man and/or woman can have sex at any time. Then there is the holiday in India for Shiva, the hemaphrodidic god, where man can marry a hidjra; a version of transgender, for one day. This of course extends to any man dressed as a woman not just transgender who undertake the extreme ritualistic lifestyle of a hidjra. Then the “ladyboys” of Thailand which can be married. My thing is that marriage traditions are in every culture and all of them are different. It seems like Christians believe that all other cultures are savages and that they don’t pair with each other until Christianity reaches its shores. Which of course is short sighted and simply impossible. Laws and arguments that support banning gay marriage seem to be making the state religion Christianity and ignoring all other cultures. I realize that the presidence was already created with the banning of poly-amory which was more as a way to extinguish the growing Mormon religion. Still, moving to a view where homosexual marriage over the basis of a religious view would once again set a presididence which directly contradicts the document that the same proponents are attempting to preserve. Something that the government needs to address considering that when the marriage tax was created; the government essentially moved marriage out of the cultural basis and into a government regulated institution. One that requires a tax for permission, a tax on those authorized by the state to oversee the proceedings and the tax married couples receive by joining their taxes together. If you remove religion from the argument you are left with an argument of personal freedom and an increase of revenue for the state. Both of which the government must preserve and allow.

  10. “So while they’re at it, why not just take the quotes out of context and use them to oppress gays as well. It makes just as much sense…to fundamentalists.”

    ## A possible reason for this use of the Bible: the idea that “What Scripture says, God says”. (The same idea seems to be behind a lot of Fundamentalist Catholic-bashing; & other Fundamentalist attitudes.)

    From an historical POV, those quotations are de-contextualised – but no more so than Psalm 82.6 was de-contextualised by Jesus in John 10.34. Fundamentalists de-contextualise when treating texts from the Holiness Code or from Gen.1-11 as applicable to Gentile Christians – but if their reasons for doing so are based on the idea that “What Scripture says, God says”, their approach makes sense. The approach is based on applying “Biblical principles” found in the ancient text, to the issues of to-day. This may lack academic rigour, but it does help make the Bible a living authority for people to whom de Vaux & Wellhausen are as alien as the Hittites & Sea Peoples.

    As for the “woman made of a man’s rib, being convinced by a talking snake to eat the fruit of a magical tree” – true, Gen. 3 is a myth; but there is far more to it than meets the eye. As part of the “Primeval History” in Gen.1-11, Gen.3 includes traits that hark back to the “primeval unity” that is separated and ordered in the creation narrative in Gen.1. The fairytale motif of animals that talk to humans is used in this Jewish fairytale, for two reasons: to show that this primal unity between snake & woman still exists; & to hint at the theme of “trans-gression”, the crossing of appointed boundaries, which appears in later chapters too. The tree functions like other fairy-tale taboo objects: the literary function of a taboo, is that it is broken. As it is here. Whether the tree is magical, or in any way beyond human experience in *this* literary unit, is not said; the properties of the tree are not important. The human disobedience is. (Source of much of this: Claus Westermann’s superb commentary on Genesis, vol.1[of 3].)

    Gen.3 does not need “debunking” – that is to misunderstand the function of myth. It would be absurd to use the remains of “hobbits” on the Flores Islands as “evidence” of the inerrancy of “The Lord of the Rings” – the truth of that myth, as Tolkien makes clear, is of the imaginative kind, not the historical. This is where “Ark-eology” goes wrong: Noah is no more historical than Utnapishtim “the Faraway”. Primeval characters are not accessible to history – that is why they are primeval. Primeval history, eschatology, & creation myths, are not actual historical events – & they don’t claim to be. The myths in Gen.1-11 are self-contained; they aren’t meant to be “harmonised”. Any more than the discrepancies as to who killed Goliath need be. Goliath exists in order to be killed – the ID of the hero who kills him is of minor importance. Greek mythology is equally fluid.

    FWIW, I’m Catholic, and gay, & I fully support efforts to secure gay marriage. Although the Bible cannot be accurately used in the over-simplified way many Fundamentalists use it, I think it’s a mistake, & a needless one, to seem to depreciate the value of the Bible. I don’t believe the Bible can possibly be the final authority in controversies – STM that place must belong to Christ Alone. Which IMO is more evangelical than treating the Bible as final.

    Here’s a man who makes use of Rene Girard:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Alison

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