Incest in the Bible?

Here’s a challenge.

Imagine you had to present a biblical argument against monogamous, consensual incest yet in favour of monogamous, consensual same-sex relationships*. Could any of our liberal readers do it? If so, please have a go in the comments below. Be warned though, we will expect logical consistency. For example, if you argue that incest should be prohibited because of genetic issues (which is an argument from nature, not the Bible) you should be prepared to be open to a natural law argument against same-sex activity.

Go to it!

* Let’s just get the rider over and done with – I am not advocating incest, rather I’m interested whether one consensual and monogamous relationship can be opposed whilst another argued for.

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109 Comments on “Incest in the Bible?

  1. I have always been led to believe that  in British (or at least English?)  legal terms, incest only exists as a crime when procreation can occur. For reasons obvious to anyone who has visited certain villages off the beaten track! As I say, I may be wrong about this but  I seem to remember that there is no crime when it’s two adults of the same gender engaging in consensual sex. Likewise a man having sex with a post-menopausal woman etc.

    OK, it doesn’t actually answer the specific question posed by Peter but it does provide a neat secular answer to the issue of incest. As Kieran says, apart from the ‘eww’ factor, does it really matter? Aye, there’s the sibling rub. And I guess it would like everything else come back to whether you believe scripture speaks clearly about the spiritual danger of consensual sex with a blood relative.

    I guess I just keep coming back to the wonderful ending of the film Lonestar in which – mini spoiler alert! – two characters decide that having fallen in love and being well past child bearing age, it really wasn’t important that they had discovered late in the day that they were closer than the proverbial West Virginia cousins…

  2.  It is to lol. Assuming a “liberal” “passes” this challenge will they/we be sat a “Give a Biblical Argument Against Loving, Monogomous Dog-Fucking Or Else You’re Logically Inconsistent!” one?  And of course it depends on what you mean by “Biblical”. Inane “proof” texting is your team’s vice, and it’s a bit much to expect “liberals” to use a source of “proof” that they do not accord value (straw man much?)

      •   No, your game is,perhas unsurprisingly, rigged. Sola (or is Zoomer) Scriptura gave the world centuries-cum-millenia of persecution and demonstrable absurdities like Young Earth Creationism.  We, or at least, I, are not in your inane, leaky, rowboats. Perhaps your competition isn’t getting many hits because it is aimed at sola scriptura liberals (!), which is to say a straw man?

      • How about allowing the audience to expand the challenge for giving argument for same sex marriage that can’t be extended to incestuous marriage that is either 1) based on scripture for the supposedly Christian liberal advocates of SSM’s or 2) NOT based on scripture for the secularists?

        Secularist: I believe in marriage equality. If two people love each other, what the government can’t tell them that they can’t enter into a state recognized union? Don’t give me the “ick” factor argument. That’s just your biases showing.

        Conservative Christian: OK. How about if the two people are a post-menopausal woman and her adult son? They love each other very much. The have had a monogamous relationship for 8 years now. How can you deny them the “right” to marriage while advocating for “right” for same sex couples? And this goes for mother/adult daughter and father/adult son, adult same sex siblings

        Secularist: Uh, um, well,…IT’S NOT THE SAME. You are a bigoted hater.

        And the need to avoid the consanguinity business is not really valid in that the government can’t tell a non-related couple who both have achondroplasia (the most common cause of dwarfism) not to get married. Since the disorder is autosomal dominant and fatal when the fetus has both genes, the couples fertilized egg has three options: bad gene from mom/normal from dad, normal gene from mom/bad from dad, normal gene from mom/normal from dad. Thus, such a couple has a probability of 2/3rds of having a genetically abnormal dwarf child and 1/3rd of having a normal child.

        A normal, thirty year old “cougar” mom and her normal 18 year old son certainly don’t have a 2/3rds chance of having a genetically abnormal child. So Mr. Secularist, this “cougar” mom and her son want to get married…they really love each other! You deny them this “right”???

        •   Perhaps the secularist could point out that them not being able to come up with a “good” reason for incestous marriages to not be illegal in no way means that their reasons for supporting gay marriage are necessarily unsound? A non-relative boyfriend is more like a non-relative girlfriend than either is like a member of one’s own immediate family.

           Also, your example suggests that the secularist would or should regard it as sensible to tie marriage law to probability of birth defects.  Now *that’s* a eugenics style slippery slope of far more concern than the gay-marriage-will-lead-to-government-approve-dog-fucking one! 

           30 is a bit young for a cougar, and 12 is definitely a bit young to be a mum…

           

            •  Duly noted, but it’s a serious point. Animals can not give consent (any vet will tell you that dogs get aroused at all sorts of things for example). A proposed slippery slope analogy between same-sex and zoophilic unions is absurd, what is really being proposed is an analogy between same-sex unions and intrinsically abusive, immoral sexual *acts* with animals. The vulgarity of the language is an apt match for the vulgarity of the bestial “union”. However, point taken, and it won’t happen again. Sorry.

              • It’s perfectly possible for us to have this conversation about the attempted links between one form of sexual activity and another, without descending to the gutter. Others elsewhere will decry us for even attempting it, and that’s why we have to watch our language and try and remain “clinical” in these areas.

                It’s the “intrinsically abusive” claim you make that is interesting. I can give you examples of consensual hebophilic relationships, and of course once we are in the area of incest where the two partners are consensual, it’s hard to see how you can continue to paddle out that particular line without actually providing some documentary evidence of the “intrinsic abuse”.

                •  Good point. Shall stick within the suggested boundaries.

                   The variation in age of consent laws might suggest that it’s not an exact science, but most would agree that individuals below a certain age can not be said to be giving “consent” in a legitimate sense. Similarly, although there is hardly an exact overlap between the Christian and the feminist view, I think some of the former would agree with the latter that a woman engaged in prostitution (for example) is damaged and subject to external pressures which preclude a properly legitimate consensual decision to engage in prostitution. Similarly, one recalls that a US incest charity reacted very angrily (which I concede might indicate more emotion than reason) when it was argued that sibling incestuous relationships might not be comparable to obvious immoral (father abusing his infant daughter etc) expressions of incest. They pointed out that sexual abuse can be learned behaviour, and those who are involved in such unions may well regard them as acceptable and normal. I do not think liberals (or Christians, or anyone else) are being inconsistent if (for example) they raised issues over a woman claiming to “consent” to a “loving” sexually abusive (as in rape and violence, not BDSM) relationship. It is quite simply untrue to imply or state that a gay marriage proponent is being inconsistent if they do not regard statements of consent and love to be valid justifications for all potential forms of relationship. Can “intrinsic abuse” not be a valid description of particular power dynamics within incestous unions that are demonstrably not true of most gay relationships?

                  • It’s commonly assumed by liberal and conservative scholars that Mary (as in “the Blessed Virgin) was most likely around the age of 14 / 15 when the annunciation took place. Does that make the conception of Jesus an “illegitimate” act?

                    Just trying to think Christologically about these things….

                    •  no because
                       i) Although I gather that those Renaissance paintings of the Holly Ghost entering-through-the-ears are not accurate, Mary was not “consenting” to sex with another human being in a manner that brings us in to the area of familial power dynamics and their abusive manifestations

                      ii) Pointing out that ages of consent vary in different cultures does not mean that one does not thing humans do have an age before which they can not consent. Someone could hypothetically argue that 14/15 is old enough but a younger age is not. 

                      iii) I think we can all agree that human beings can try and get other human being to consent to immoral acts, but that God, by His Nature, is not likely to make such a request

                       (although now we’re getting into an area that many fine scholars – e.g. http://rapgenius.com/Kanye-west-no-church-in-the-wild-lyrics#note-314340 – have found unsatisfying ;-))

                    • i) Agreed

                      ii) Agreed, but then by saying this you have to accept that the current age of consent in the UK (around which you are basing your argument about informed consent) is utterly arbitrary in any moral sense.

                      iii) Interesting. Are you strictly arguing that anything God commands is moral? Like murdering all the inhabitants of the land as the Hebrews enter Canaan?

  3. genetic issues (which is an argument from nature, not the Bible) you
    should be prepared to be open to a natural law argument against same-sex
    activity.

     People are open to it!  Alas judging homosexuality per se by the necessarily unrepresentative  amount of people who get AIDS, bowel cancer etc makes little logical sense.

     Tangentially, can you mount a ‘Biblical’ argument against paedophilia or hebephilia, or is that not a prime-example of us all, rather than ‘liberals’, having sources of moral authority other than presumably “objectively” interpretable proof texts? NB suffer the little children is, if we’re all about the logic, equally inapplicable to loving monogomous yada yada…….

    • Absolutely. I can mount a very simple but coherent Biblical argument against paedophilia / hebephilia. I point people towards Ephesians 5 and Hebrews 13:4. The marital bed should be undefiled (so don’t have sex with anybody who you aren’t married to) and husbands should love their wives and Christ loved the Church (so don’t force yourself on your marital partner).

      •   Ah, circular argument. If only were playing intellectual fallacy bingo. Sexual immorality is wrong because it says so in Ephesians 5:1; alas, hebephilia is not identified as sexual immorality in this proof text (and neither is incest; is it really the presumed ‘liberal’ MO that you’re undermining?). The rest of Ephesians 5 has lots on love, yet your question itself referred to loving etc etc unions. Are you presupposing that hebephilic unions are by definition not loving? You could well be right of course, but if that’s the game you’re playing then why can’t “liberals” categorise incestous unions as intrinsically non-loving? And who said anything about forcing? The obvious response is that children and adolescents can’t give consent (note: don’t you know this from current, much-demonised “liberal” values like Reason? ) but you’ve hardly provided a proof-text to support current 16/18 categorical understandings (perhaps because you know fine well that the upper limit of hebephilia extends to e.g. 14, and marriages involving those of that age were hardly unheard of in proof-texted Christendom. And of course, such unions automatically negate the adultery proof-texts. Although, if that’s the game we’re playing, then why can’t straw-man liberals claim that marriage between first degree relatives is precluded in law ergo any sexual acts between such partners is outwith the marital bed ergo adulterous ergo wrong? And, to head the most common argument off at the pass, said straw-man liberal could also (if we’re being logical) point out that the fact that hebephilic unions are demonstrably NOT proof-text condemned indicates the validity, indeed necessity, of other theological sources that (if wer’e being hypothetical) could potentially support same-sex unions….

        • Did you read _any_ of his comment past the first line? It doesn’t seem like it, since you don’t engage with his (albeit short) exegesis at all, preferring instead to put straw-man arguments into his mouth.

          •  I note the irony of  you replying to my in-depth post with a bit of “You Go Girl!” cheerleading for your ideological team.

             And, although “proof” texting tends to be a waste of time at the best of times there was not exactly much “exegis”, Peter instead citing a bunch of biblical verses that turn out to be not-that-applicable.   And possible objection to the hypothetical argument offered are not straw men. In a court of law, for example, the prosecution are under no obligation to do the job of the defence. In contrast, this is a hypothetical exercise calling for a hypothetical argument; as such, it is surely good practise to think of possible flaws in one’s hypothetical argument and to address them at the time. As opposed to, you know, simply ignoring them because they don’t support one’s case?

             Hebrew’s 13:4 says:
             Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge zthe sexually immoral and adulterous.

             And that’s the “best” (!) proof text available? Again, the hypothetical hebephilia-defender can claim that such unions are not necessarily sexually immoral (and perhaps they can press some historical *facts* on e.g. the age of consent in historical Christendom in support of their case).

            NB I know there’s only so many hours in the day, Peter, but in the last thread on these themes you asked a couple of liberals for an exact quote after they made some not-exactlly-outre points on Catholic sexual teaching. They duly complied, and you……..did not reply. Perhaps that’s , rigged game aside, another reason why they’re not chomping at the bit to play some Theological Jeopardy? ;0)

      •   NB internet at home broke (typing this in uni library) and will prob. have to get engineer out tomorrow. So if I don’t reply till then don’t interpet it as a typical (one imagines stereotypical conservatives view stereotypical liberals as the stereotypical French ;-)) cowardly surrender! ;-)
         

      •  Given that you yourself pointed out that no less a figure than the BVM was 14/15 at the annuciation, and age consistent with the upper range of hebephilia,  perhaps you’d like to rethink this argument (and deal with the further points below)? :) 

          •  Your “proof” texts were all about adultery and love. A marriage where one partner is at the upper ends of hebephilia (which I don’t think you could deny were not exactly unheard of in Christendom) and which (like the hypothetical) incestous union involved declarations of love, commitment yada yada would not be condemned by those verses (unless you’re claiming that the marriage bed would by definition be defiled by one partner being under 16, which, if we’re playing that game, does mean that one can make the same claim about incestuous unions)

              •  Are you asking me personally and/or do you want a proof text? Presumably, as with so much else ethically, you would a) concede that sex involving a 14 year old is wrong even if they could have been married in particular cultures and contexts b) admit that you do not have a biblical proof text for your ethical certainty? 
                 (NB not responded to post on arsenokoitai as it’s a long post, part of a long series, which ought to be read and taken seriously before I fire off a comment. Which I will do. Although I would say that retcons are exactly that – you showing that the best current sources suggest that using “homosexual” or similar for “arsenokoitai” is a better translation than liberals have previously acknowledged does not necessarily made that the translators *at the time* similarly consulted evidence and made the best decision)

  4. Hello Peter and all,

    at high risk of repeating arguments I’ve used before, a couple of things…:

    – I’d like to suggest that one could build the kind of argument your challenge calls for, and there’d be two key building-blocks. One would be that the prohibition on incest in Leviticus 18:6 is absolute; the other, that the Biblical texts held by some to ‘deal with’ homosexuality don’t add up to a prohibition on all kinds of same-sex sex. I do have a glimmer of awareness that not everybody will agree with this… and also that those are the barest of bare bones of an argument. But…

    – Peter, please could you tell me what the analogy is between consensual etc etc incest (I’m assuming you mean between people above the age of consent…?) and same-sex sex? It seems to me that if you cannot show such an analogy, this challenge is rather a pointless exercise. What is the link between me having a sexual relationship with my sister, and me having a sexual relationship with another man? 

    in friendship, Blair 

    • The raw analogy is that both can be “Permanent, Faithful, Stable” between two consenting monogamous adults. What’s the difference after that? Why is one moral and one not?

      • Hi again,

        well, one key difference after that might be that incest could be same-sex or other-sex… doesn’t your use of this analogy risk implying that partners’ gender doesn’t matter? 

          • Hi again,

            not sure if I can make this work, but my thought was that among your (and of course others’) key objections to same-sex relationships, is just that – the sameness of sex. Bringing in incest as an analogy undercuts that somewhat and risks slipping towards Robert Gagnon’s logic problem that cerebusboy and i mention further down the thread…

            in friendship, Blair 

      • I am sure we have had this conversation before, Peter? I distinctly remember suggesting possible reasons why incest is not a good idea. Why do you keep revisiting the same ground?

        • Perhaps you could refer us back to the comment you made at the time, so we can reread the reasons?

          If some of them are arguments from “natural law”, as Peter puts it, do you then admit the validity of similar arguments against monogamous, consensual same-sex relationships?

          •  Not to put words in her mouth, but hopefully Sue “admits” that Natural Law arguments, having as much scientific validity as Humorism, tend to be pretty silly and unconvincing whether directed at homosexuality, incest or anything else.

      • well, I don’t eat shellfish and I don’t think I’m wearing any mixed fibres :) …but i think i said enough to be clear that Lev 18:6 isn’t the only hook to hang the argument on. maybe i was too brief / glib, but i was taking it that Biblical authority was a given…

          • Hi Peter,

            at the risk of arrogance and / or laziness, I would point folks to my comments on your ‘Slavery and sexuality’ series, parts 3, 4 and 5. I gave (ok, borrowed :) ) arguments, based on close readings of the texts, which i think add up to saying “that the Biblical texts held by some to ‘deal with’ homosexuality don’t add up to a prohibition on all kinds of same-sex sex”. I’m trying to answer your challenge with the bones of an argument about how we read biblical texts, in the first instance – and taking it for granted that Christians keep the moral commandments of Leviticus, as the 39 articles say (don’t they…?), which was why i was a bit bemused by your objection about shellfish etc. I don’t think i implied that we had to take Leviticus in toto… So, in terms of reading the texts, there’s good reason to argue that there’s no total prohibition on same-sex sex, but no good reason to argue against Lev 18:6 being universally applied. 

            That may well not be enough of an argument ;) but is it at least a start?

            in friendship, blair 

      • Lev. 18:6, “None of you shall approach any blood relative of his to uncover nakedness; I am the LORD.”
        That is certainly a biblical verse against consensual incestuous relationships. The case of David and Jonathan could and has been used to support a case for consensual same sex relationships (although it’s not really my sort of argument) as could the quote about how some are born eunuchs in Matthew.
         
        But when it comes to incest, the bible is hardly consistent. There are many instances of marriage between half siblings – such as Sarah and Abraham. Indeed the only way for mankind to go forth and multiply, given an fundamentalist understanding, is by wholesale incest. In that sense, God based the human race on incest.
         
        I’d say that if you want “logical consistency” on issues such as marriage and sexual relationships that you shouldn’t scrutinise the bible!!! Far from the cherished notion of marriage as a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman, it offers us all sorts of variations, including permission to have non consensual sex with a war prisoner under the guise of “marriage” and then let her go when you tire of her.
         

          • Sorry, I thought you wanted a biblical case? But you don’t take the bible seriously ? Are you going to say that “lie with” doesn’t mean sex or that the prohibitions in Leviticus are nothing to do with sex? Well, in that case, “defile the marriage bed”, which you are so fond of quoting obviously means just means not washing the sheets!
            I do feel  truly sorry for your when I read your bitter gibes, Peter. I can’t respect it when you can’t engage fairly or transparently though.

            • Back up a moment Sue. We’re not talking about “lie with” or Hebrews 13, we’re talking about Leviticus 18:6. You quoted it, so I’m asking you to show us how “uncover nakedness” means having sex.

              The point I’m trying to make is this – I want you to try and be a bit more robust in your use of the Bible. Rather than simply claiming something and moving on, let’s grapple with it. What is the Hebrew being translated here? Where else is it used in Scripture (and outside)? What does that tell us about the meaning?

              And when we’ve done that, even when we’ve established that “uncover nakedness” is a euphemism for sex, you can then explain why you are opposed to incest on the basis of Lev 18:6, but eat prawns and wear mixed fibres.

              • I didn’t say I was opposed to incest on the basis of Lev 18:6 – just was pointing out one of the verses you *could* use to contstruct the case you asked about. I don’t believe scripture is inerrant and I focus more on its guiding principles rather than isolated verses and I recognise that if I construct a “case” from scripture, it is always a selective one guided by my own personal beliefs and instincts and maybe prejudices. Fundamentalists do this too, but tend not to be very honest about it. If I believed the bible was inerrant, I hope I would not eat prawns or wear mixed fibres!

                • So you’re basically telling me that you *can’t* build an argument against incest from the Bible? Don’t claim I’m putting words in your mouth, because you quoted Lev 18:6, I asked you why that was valid given the prawns and mixed fibres issue, and your response was to say that you weren’t basing an argument of Lev 18:6.

                  What is it Sue? Can you give us an argument against incest based in the Bible or not?

                  • Sure you can build a case against incest from the Bible. But neither you nor I can build a consistent case for incest from the Bible (I made those points before!) The point you are missing is that, although you’ve “set” us this little test, I don’t see it as a failure whether I can or can’t build a consistent case from the bible – although it might be intellectually interesting to think about it. I don’t see the bible in the light that you do. A “failure” to be able to construct a consistent case tells me more about the bible than anything else…We are operating from different premises.

                    • Well, once we get theological examples like the one that Philip has presented, you need to explain, in a manner that is consistent across both examples, why he is wrong about incest but right about same-sex unions. That’s got nothing to do with different premises and everything to do with demanding a level of consistency from liberals in the debate over human sexuality.

                    •  The “consistency” comes from the fact that “liberals” do not operate from Sola Scriptura+ fundamentalist proof-texting methodology, which you know fine well even if the less (let’s be kind) subtle of your conservative readers possibly do not! The disconnect between particularly (e.g.) OT expressions of same-sexuality (wanting to gang-rape some angels) and contemporary gay relationships does not indicate a gap in expected proof-texts but an indication that our ethical sense ought not to be founded on bibliolatory (assuming that treating the bible with a methodology that no self-respecting academic, say, would deign to apply to a halfway decent 20th novel indicates a series and respectful treatment, which I|very much don’t).  As methodology, Sola Scriptura gave the world demonstrable untruths like Young Earth Creationism and 2 millenia of persecution. It is very far from being self-evidently moral and binding. 

              • I hate to break in here but it has always been my understanding that to “uncover nakedness” meant to hav sex and “thy father’s nakedness” referred to his wife/wives. I’m no biblical scholar so I could be wrong about that. … Heck, I’m still wondering what “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech” means.

                • The Molech reference is about throwing babies into the fire to appease the god/demon Molech.

                  I’m starting to move back to the idea that “uncover nakedness” does actually refer to incest. Interesting interpretations of Genesis 9 (http://www.leithart.com/archives/001316.php) ponder whether what is being referred to here is Ham having sex with his mother, not his father…

          •  The shellfish argument has been made completely moot by Matt 15:17-20:

            “17. Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18. But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

            Violation of purity codes could be atoned for by sacrificing a couple of pigeons or the like. In contrast, incest violations carried the death penalty, e.g.,

            “And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s
            nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
            Leviticus 20:11”

            Just as liberals can’t use shellfish arguments with any integriy (but still will), then you can’t use them either, Peter+. The real problem of this line is that they are trying to say that levitical injunctions against incest are somehow different from the levitical injunctions against homosexual acts. They both carried the death penalty. We have been told repeatedly that levitical codes were anachronistic cultural norms that don’t apply to today.

            Besides there are only a few “clobber” verses against incest. We can surely ignore these. God is love. God is a hip old dude who is cool with us loving each other. I happen to love my twin brother. We’re both consenting adults. We’re monogamous (we reserve the right to define monogamous, however). Who are you to judge me?

            •  guest proclaiming on integrity! Oh the irony. Way to bravely nail your colours to the mast there ‘guest’.

               A very renowned professor told me (and a class) once that the incest taboo comes from patriarchy, and a desire, as woman were treated as property, to live in a sexual economy where they were circulated outwith the tribe (Do I need to emphasise that, in making this point, said Professor was not *advocating* incest?)

               In contrast, one could argue that the tribes of Israel had no interest in their woman being circulated with strangers (quite the opposite), perhaps suggesting that the anti-incest taboo is not a mere anachronism in a way that the homosexual taboo is (although the fact that few contemporary conservatives would have the balls to say that the death penalty for homosexual acts is *moral* – as opposed to moral but unworkable in today’s society/moral but overturned in the NT etc – does suggest that the liberal and conservative approaches to Leviticus have more in common than the arrogant Sola Scriptura types would like to pretend. The fact that some ‘conservative’ views on the OT necessitate believing things about Judaism that are demonstrably untrue doesn’t help matters of course)

                •  Or perhaps they’re inspired but not inerrant? Again, why do you keep expecting “liberals” to argue with a methodology or from presuppositions that you yourself know they don’t hold?
                   

                  •  Or, to put it another way, 
                     the purpose of this exercise seems to be to show that liberals can not argue proof-textingly *for* gay relationships and *against* incestuous ones simultaneously. Yes? Rather than leading to a presumed liberal ideological house-of-cards collapsing, would they not rather “admit” that this shows the futility of i) pretending like OT (especially) relationships are universally moral, binding and normative ii) proof-texting per se? I’m pretty sure that most liberals would “admit” those positions if you asked them – no Jeopardy-style quiz game required! 

                    •  I thought the Gagnonite, Orthodox line is that much biblical passages on marriage proceed from assumptions (structural difference) that, although they do echo more specific, descriptive OT passages, do not spell out particular things that the authors would have taken for granted? If incest, like homosexuality, is not cited as something precluding marriages in those verses then what stops the hypothetical incest defender from saying that they are “walking in love” and, as a devoted monogamous couple, are keeping the marriage bed pure?  And you can take Sue’s point that, if you take geneologies literally, you have examples of God-approved incest whereas there is no (one freely admits) no proof text support for full blown same sex action. Does that no indicate the many flaws of Sola Scriptura fundamentalism?

                    • No, it simply indicates that you don’t want to grapple with Scripture whilst maintaining it’s inspired authority.

                      Define the kind of incest you are talking about before I reply any more.

    •  Hello Blair!

       Gagnon, supposedly the “best” (!) anti-gay biblical authority out there, points out repeatedly that incest is fundamentally like homosexuality because both involve unions with those who are too similar to oneself. If this seems unconvincing to you, perhaps because a stranger in a bar (be they male or female) are genetically distinct from yourself in a way a member of your family is not then you are being more logical and in accord with sense than the “best” the anti-gay lobby have to offer
       ;-)

        •  Why is a form of relationship where same-sex unions have less evidence of demonstrable harm than opposite-sex a negation of the presumed liberal position? If the Gangnonite anti-gay Natural Law logic was sound then woudln’t one expect the structurally discordant incestous relationship being compounded with structurally discordant same-sex activity to have more, not less, evidence of demonstrable harm or disorder?

            •  Indeed, although I imagine they could sensibly argue that their theological arguments necessarily have particular sociological/biological implications (do the conclusions of your own theology of sex series, for example, not have implications for other disciplines? I think this can be conceded in theory without necessarily implying that its legitimate to use sociological/biological facts/lines of enquiry as proofs for the proceeding theological argument).  The layperson could be forgiven for wondering how our bodies could be inscribed with self-evident “Natural Law”  meaning *without* making the biological sciences of relevance as sources for “theological” meaning.

              • The key though is the root of the argument. Is the primary basis theological (as I try to make it) or is it biological / sociological (as others try to make it). This is the nuance.

      • Hi ryan,

        well, indeed :) but i’ve said before on here and Fulcrum [that’s enough self-regard. ed.] that Dr Gagnon’s argument that incest and homosexuality are linked because both involve a ‘merger’ with another who is too structurally similar to oneself, is flawed. It’s a logical consequence of his argument that there’d have to be a distinction made between same-sex and other-sex incest, with the former being deemed worse than the latter because it would involve even more ‘structural sameness’ – but of course the Bible, and other authorities, make no such distinction….

        in friendship, Blair 

        • My view on this part of Gagnon thesis is that he is correct that both incest and homosexuality are “merger with another who is too structurally similar”, but that does not mean they are not distinct in the manner of that merger (as it were).

          • But Peter - 
            a) Dr Gagnon does not, to my knowledge argue that they are “distinct in the manner of that merger”. I don’t think your comment addresses the logic problem in his argument. (Another problem in his argument could be that he doesn’t – if memory serves, but am open correction – explain what links sameness of gender and sameness of genes; he asserts but doesn’t argue for why there’s an analogy there).

            b) in any case, in terms of same-sex incest it would presumably be true that “they are not distinct in the manner of that merger”, so am not sure how that comment helps your case. 

            in friendship, Blair 

            • Don’t get me wrong here Blair. I think I’m in agreement with you – Gagnon is correct in saying these are two different examples of “merger with another who is too structurally similar”, but as you rightly point out, the structural differences are different in each case (as it were) and *that* difference makes the point harder to push from that opening observation.

  5. i) Agreed
    Hurrah! Great minds ;-)
    ii) Agreed, but then by saying this you have to accept that the current age of consent in the UK (around which you are basing your argument about informed consent) is utterly arbitrary in any moral sense.
     I think “arbitary” is far too strong and a misrepresentation of the position. The UK Age of Consent (in this hypothetically exercise) potentially not morally definitive, aside from which it’s reasonable to assume that societies should err very much on the safe side on these issues ( it’s clearly morally better, if certainty is not possible, to have an age of consent at 16 which is “too high” than one at 14 which is “too low”). 
     iii) Interesting. Are you strictly arguing that anything God commands is moral? Like murdering all the inhabitants of the land as the Hebrews enter Canaan?

     Me personally? I think it’s certainly a position that some Christians could argue without fear of  falling from Orthodoxy.  Aside from which it’s reasonable to say that particular examples (like the one you choose) may have been moral in the context but may have led to some “legitimate” doubt on the part of those being asked to consent to them or in the contemporary reader in a way not true of the Annunciation and subsequent events.

  6.  I don’t fall into the category of one of your liberal readers, Peter, but I’m willing to have a go at defending both monogamous, censensual same-sex and incestuous relationships. I’ll use the classic approach of scripture, reason, tradition and experience in that order.

    The first point to acknowledge is that Leviticus 18 gives direct prohibition of both incest and same-sex relationships. These prohibitions are however to be understood in the context of the passage, which is commonly accepted by most modern scholars Canaanite pagan religious ritual. The author of Leviticus 18 is commanding the Israelites to shun the cultic sex practices followed by the Canaanites, which included same-sex and incestuous sex rituals. Historians tell us that loving, long-term homosexual and incestuous relationships simply did not exist in Canaanite culture.

    We now understand other bible passages that have been read in the past as condemning same-sex relationships in the same way. The forceful condemnation by Paul of same-sex practices in Romans 1:26-27 refers to Roman shrine prostitution. Cybele was an ancient fertility goddess, called “the Protectress of Rome,” whose pagan temple loomed over first century Rome from atop the Palatine Hill. In Cybele’s temple, castrated Galli priests engaged in anal sex with men, in unholy worship of Cybele. With his great learning and knowledge of both Jewish and Gentile customs, Paul would have been very aware of the cult of Cybele in Rome and it is to its ungodly rituals that he is referring, not to the loving, faithful and consensual same-sex relationships that we know today.

    These are the most direct scriptural references to same-sex and incestuous practices. Once we understand that these verses are in fact prohibiting cultic religious practices we can go deeper into scripture. We can see that there are a number of passages where same-sex and incestuous relationships are shown as consensual and loving and are commended as such.

    The foremost scriptural model of a loving same-sex relationship is that of David and Jonathan. The first meeting of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18:1-4 is a classic description of ‘love at first sight’:

    “When David had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Samuel 18:1-4)

    In recognition of their love, David and Jonathan form a covenant with each other that involves the exchange of gifts and of kisses. The pciture given by scripture is one of faithful and reciprocal covenanted love. The seriousness with which this love covenant was regarded is seen after Jonathan has been killed in battle. In grieving for Jonathan, David tears his clothes and fasts and composes a funeral lament which includes the following remarkable declaration:

    “Jonathan lies slain upon your high places. I am distressed for you my brother Jonathan; Greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” (2 Samuel 1:26-27)

    Elsewhere in scripture David is shown with many wives with whom he has children. Yet he declares that his love for Jonathan was greater than his love for any of his wives. In modern terms, David is revealed as bisexual, but his most significant love is same-sex with Jonathan.

    There are similar examples of consensual, loving and faithful relationships between close relatives that would in recent times be regarded as incestuous. Although there are a number of these relationships, the foremost amongst them is the marriage of Abraham and Sarah, who are half brother and sister through the same father but different mothers (Genesis 20:12). Such a close relationship is still legally defined as incest in the UK. Yet there is no suggestion in scripture that their relationship is anything less than loving.

    Abraham is a man approved by God, both before and after his marriage with Sarah. God covenants with Abraham, promising to give him a son, to multiply his dscendents and to make hima father of many nations, in the following manner:

    When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. (Genesis 17:1-7)

    God’s blessing of Abraham and Sarah with a son is highly significant. Abraham’s son Isaac becomes the first in the bloodline that leads to Jesus, God’s plan for our salvation. God approves so strongly of the incestuous marriage of Abraham and Sarah that is a deliberate part of his plan to save us all.

    Scripture therefore gives us clear pictures of consensual, loving and faithful same-sex and incestuous relationships. We must therefore be very wary of placing modern, unscriptual and unloving restrictions on such relationships. Science now tells us that some people are born with same-sex desire and we now recognise that same-sex relationships are good when they are consensual, loving and faithful. We recognise the fruit of love in the good and faithful same-sex couples around us.

    In the same way we should recognise that love can exist between close relatives. It is highly likely that science will also discover that at least some degree of desire between close relatives is with people from birth. The common argument is that incestuous relationships should be banned due to the risk of genetic damage and deformity from children that can potentially be born from close relatives. Modern science however has reduced such risks to almost zero levels through the ever better contraceptives.

    We now can recognise love between close relatives through the blessing that their relationships clearly are to each other and the grace that we see operating in their lives. The influential commentator Johann Hari has given us heart rending tales of close relatives who love each other and asks “is our visceral disgust (towards incest) just a remnant from a vanishing age?” (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2002/jan/09/familyandrelationships.features103). Many people, both in and outside the church, are asking the same questions as they so clearly see the fruits of love in relationships between close relatives.

    We must be courageous enough to confront our prejudices over consensual, loving and faithful incest, just as we have done for consensual, loving and faithful same-sex relationships. If God, chose to bless us by giving us Jesus from the incestuous marriage of Abraham and Sarah, who are we to resist the blessings that relationships between close relatives can so clearly bring?

    •  
      It is highly likely that science will also discover that at least some degree of desire between close relatives is with people from birth

       Really? Prove (think formatting might have messed it up, but c.f. my point on anti-incest charities and the “learned behaviour” of “consenting” to sexual relationships within family. It is an utter straw man to claim, imply or proceed from the assumption that because two members of the same sex can legitimately consent to a relationship therefore (!) liberals – a term that one hopes is not being used in the mere Limbaughian sense – any other relationship that participants claim to consent to is intrinsically moral. And in passing I would say that the many passages reflective of a woman-as-property ethos that invariably get cited in these debates is an argument against, not for, the notion of a clear self-evidently ‘biblical’ model of moral relationships that is threatened by those dastardly liberals…is misogyny not quite as morally objectionable as incest, bestiality or whatever comes next on the presumed societal slippery slope? )

      • Certainly you’re right, CB, that incest is ‘learned behaviour’ within familes. Although I’m very far from an expert here, I suspect that incest is a prime area where ‘grooming’ goes on quite often. That would be a strong argument against permitting incest. But note my use of the terms ‘consensual’ and ‘loving’ which would rule out such behaviour.

        If you go to the Johann Hari article then he is quoting people that claim that their relationships were faithful, loving and consensual. Peter’s challenge is how you can argue biblically that homosexuality is right and incest is wrong. I chose not to meet the challenge but to set out how both types of consensual loving and faithful relationships could be justified from the classic formulations. I hope that you noted the similarities of the arguments!

        •  See my point on incest and “consent” Philip, and my example on feminist critiques of the legitimacy of women “consenting” to work in prostitution (which I think many a conservative Christian would share). It is an utter straw man to claim or imply that, because liberals emphasise the validity and moral legitimacy of two members of the same sex consenting to a marriage style romantic relationship, they must therefore “concede” (!) the valdiity of every and all other statements of consent involving adults.

          • But I’m not arguing that at all, CB. All I was illustrating was that IF liberal theology took the radical step of arguing for consensual, loving and faithful incestuous relationships, then their supporting arguments would look very similar to the ones put forward for CLF same-sex relationships. I’m not saying that theological liberals are making these arguments or are even at all likely to in the forseeable future. I don’t think that they are.

            But I was illustrating where the argument can potentially go once you separate love from God’s commandments and define it relative to the context and to cultural expectations. I was illustrating that liberal objections to CLF incest are no deeper than the general societal taboo that incest is non-acceptable behaviour.

          • Missed that one, CB. Must have been while I was being bowled over by his ‘Hitler from the Bunker’ exclusive ….. ;-)

    • Hello Philip,

      nice piece of ventriloquism (or should that be satire…?), but could you explain why you bracket incest and same-sex sexual relationships together, without explanation? Could you name any mainstream advocate of gay marriage who would do the same, or point o any sign that incest laws in the UK might be changed? 

      in friendship, Blair 

      • Gottle ‘o Geer, Gottle ‘o Geer! …. :-) Nice to be in conversation with you again, Blair.

        I was responding to Peter’s challenge and choosing to change it slightly by showing how a biblical argument could be constructed to support both consensual, loving and faithful (CLF) same-sex relationships. I’m not claiming that any mainstream gay marriage advocates are supporting CLF incest or that any change in the law is at all likely. FWIW I think that the social taboo against incest is very deep and that it would take a sea change in societal attitudes to support such relationships.

        What I hope I have done however is to show the similarities between the way in which same-sex relationships have been justified biblically and the way in which CLF incest could be justified. The Johann Hari reference is to show that such ideas are not totally off the radar …

        1. The key outright prohibitions against both same-sex and incest are in Leviticus 18. If this chapter is really commanding the Israelites to avoid Canaanite sexual rites, then logically the prohibition here against both same-sex and incest ends.
        2. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that Leviticus 18 is the only outright prohibition on incest. Paul’s condemnation of the ‘man (who) has his father’s wife’ as ‘sexual immorality’ in 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 is commonly regarded as not being a blood relative – a wife of the man’s father after his natural mother had died. This isn’t incest under UK law.
        3. With the direct prohibitions explained away as being about a different issue in a different context, the way is then open to seek examples of CLF same-sex and incestuous relationships based on the way that they are described in scripture. I hope that I have done justice to the way in which one of the main claimed examples of a CLF same-sex relationship in the Bible, David and Jonathan, is justified by gay theology.
        4. But the same approach can be used to demonstrate that Abraham and Sarah’s incestuous marriage is CLF by the quality of their love and by the covenanted approval of God, even to Jesus being the ultimate fruit of an incestuous marriage generations later!
        5. In both cases and arguments, love is taken as absolute and is defined as the qualities of commitment, faithfulness, generosity, compassion that we see in both types of relationship by their fruits. Love is defined in terms of its actions between the couple and in the community.
        6. In neither of the two cases and arguments is love defined by reference to God and his many definitions throughout scripture as obedience to his will, guidance and commandments.
        7. In neither of the two cases and arguments are the two relationships compared to God’s guidance and ideal for CLF relationships. As we’re well familiar with on this site, a large body of scripture theology supports CLF opposite-sex marriage as God’s direction for intimate relationships from Genesis through to Revelation via Ephesians.
        8. Once the scripture and theology have been done, appeal is made to reason (what science tells us about same-sex and incestuous relationships) and experience (our experience of CLF same-sex and incestuous relationships as showing love and grace to the participants and the community, both from our observation and from the testimony of opinion in society at large).

        In summary, I’m not saying that anyone in the church is making these arguments, although pre-disgrace Johann Hari was clearly at least part of the way down the road. But the arguments that could be made to justify incest from scripture are very similar to the ones that are made to justify same-sex relationships.

    • The point of the challenge was to present an argument that supports same sex marriage but not incestuous ones. Mr. Cole unabashedly argues for both. I wish that other liberals could have that honesty. We are told by the liberal Cole to give up on prejudice and “visceral disgust” at incest. I have no doubt that we can inure ourselves to all sorts of sin. There is no shortage in human history of people ridding themselves of the small voice that cries out this action or that is fundamentally wrong.

      One glaring problem was that Abraham and Sarah came before the Law was given to Moses. Supposedly, Moses’ father married his paternal aunt but again this was prior to the giving of the law. After that there is no recorded cases of incestuous couples being held up as an good example – probably because they were killed.

      “Historians tell us that loving, long-term homosexual and incestuous relationships simply did not exist in Canaanite culture.” Really? And these “historians” know this how about these people whose only written record was from scant Biblical texts? In any culture where homosexuality is not outside of the moral bounds, you find “loving, long-term homosexual” relationships. If Moses wanted to say no to homosexual and incestuous sex – except if you are loving and long term, shouldn’t he have said this?

      Similarly, we have the rather preposterous, “The forceful condemnation by Paul of same-sex practices in Romans 1:26-27 refers to Roman shrine prostitution.” One wonders, if Paul was referring to shrine prostitution, then why didn’t he say “By the way, folks, I am referring to shrine prostitution here…” Paul, talking to the Gentiles, states,  “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” They ignored nature and exchanged natural relations for those contrary to nature. Are loving, long term homosexual or incestuous relationships found in nature? Sure you can find a couple of male, German penguins that will copulate with each other when placed in isolation but then copulate with females when given the chance.

      And of course, the exchanging natural relations for those that are contrary to nature, was just one of long list of bad things that Paul gives when you ignore natural law: “envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” Is he talking only to those naughty temple prostitutes? The implication that David and Jonathan relationship was was anything more than Platonic is almost too ludicrous to comment on. Zero evidence. Could it have been sexual? Sure. We know that David certainly did engage in illicit relationships. He was blessed DESPITE of this.

      • One wonders, if Paul was referring to shrine prostitution, then why
        didn’t he say “By the way, folks, I am referring to shrine prostitution
        here…”

         Actually, he did use words like arsenokoitai which by no means necessarily translate to “gay” or the medicalising 19th coinage of “homosexual”. You can’t blame St.Paul for the wilfully stupid simplifications beloved by evangelical/fundamentalist tranlators. And dare one say that the notion of those good orthodox Jews Jonathan and David being in a “Platonic” (!) relationship is quite as anachronistic as what you accuse “liberals” of?

        Speaking of which, is it just incest that “liberals” (!) need to approve of, or are we also in favour of bestiality and paedophilia? Be good if you could let me know so I can get up to speed.

         Again: I think most people would say that contemporary loving monogomous gay relationships are more suggestive of the loving consensual institution of heterosexual marriage than are the sort of women-as-property relationships one finds in the OT. Aside from which, the notion of a Sola Scriptura liberal is utterly ludicrous. Peter knows this fine well, although some of the other commentators seem to have an “awareness” of “liberals” that matches Rush Limbaugh’s.

        • As I discussed a while back (https://www.peter-ould.net/2009/07/12/sexuality-and-slavery-part-three/), much of the argument you have just presented around arsenokoitai actually has little textual evidence to support it. Perhaps you could provide us with documented examples of the cases you cite I warn you, as I found out when I explored this issue, most of the secondary sources that claim to cite primary sources haven’t ever examined the primary sources, because much of the claims for what those primary sources contained can be demonstrated to be fallacious.

          • Um, just to butt in, what is wrong with saying that arsenokoitai  ‘by no means necessarily translate[s] to “gay” or the medicalising 19th coinage of “homosexual”‘? On the thread you link to Peter, I think I gave a good case for limiting the meaning of arsenokoitai to penetrative sex between men. Even if it could be shown that it means any kind of sex between men, it couldn’t be rendered ‘homosexual’ since no sex between women is involved…

            in friendship, Blair

      •  Oh and perhaps, we’ll were playing hypotheticals, evangelicals could provide a ‘biblical’ case for not regarding masturbation as a grave sin, since Our Lord supposedly reaffirmed Orthodox Jewish teaching (!) on sexual matters? On a similar note, I don’t think I’ve ever heard birth control condemned from an evangelical pulpit. What *would* St.Paul say?

      • I think that your description of my as ‘the liberal Cole’ deserves several very loud ‘Harrumphs!” Go back and read the first sentance …

        I’m not theologically liberal guest, in fact I describe myself as a classic Reformed evangelical and charismatic Christian (if push comes to shove). I was attempting to present an argument for consensual loving and faithful same-sex and incestuous relationships, and showing the similarities which would be used from a theologically liberal perspective.

        Judgin by your response I did my task quite well! Now there’s a thought. Perhaps I should roam about in disguise on the internet? {evil grin to self} …. :-0

        •   I think that your description of my as ‘the liberal Cole’ deserves several very loud ‘Harrumphs!”
           Perhaps he meant Cheryl…. ;-)

          • Thinking of Cheryl’s ex-hubby, I would rather be compared to Ashley, Andy or Jo (OK, perhaps not Ashley ‘you should be grateful that I threw up in your car’ Cole!)

            As an aside, do you know that ‘Cole’ is the most common surname for England footballers this century? I’m not sure that this interesting little factlet particularly gets us anywhere though …

            My youngest daughter’s name is Joanna and a couple of years ago she insisted that I get her a ‘Joe Cole’ England shirt when I was in the UK. She was well cool (as I believe da kidz say) during the World Cup here in South Africa. At least until people started to see England try to play some football that is …. :-)

        •  sorry about the misunderstanding, but you did not do as Peter+ asked which was to give a justification of s.s. relationships that did not imply justification of incestuous relationships.

        • Philip Cole: well, still no real liberals giving an argument that advocates for ss relationships but not incestuous ones. It’s somewhat disappointing but not surprising. Perhaps, Peter+ needs to put up some dinero.

          • If you’ll excuse my self-regard, I have had a go at a thumbnail sketch of such an argument… tho’ I’m not sure I’m a liberal, real or otherwise…

            in friendship, Blair 

            •  Are you referring to “I’d like to suggest that one could build the kind of argument your
              challenge calls for, and there’d be two key building-blocks. One would
              be that the prohibition on incest in Leviticus 18:6 is absolute; the
              other, that the Biblical texts held by some to ‘deal with’ homosexuality
              don’t add up to a prohibition on all kinds of same-sex sex.”?

              This “thumbnail” makes no sense. There are less “clobber” verses for incest, and so surely we can ignore them…right?

              And the second part of the statement is straw-man-nish. So are you saying, prohibitions against lying with a man as a woman might not allow for anal sex but they could practice fisting, for a crude example? Couldn’t an incestuous couple practice fisting, too?

              Your thumbnail is vague, magical thinking.

              “Tho’ I’m not sure I’m a liberal.” Another Phillip Cole or merely a liberal who says that he is very moderate…no, really? Liberals are always “moderate” and conservatives are always extremists. Whatever.

              Either way, I repeat that no we have no argument for advocacy of s.s. relationships that doesn’t imply advocacy for incestuous relationships.

              •   
                Either way, I repeat that no we have no argument for advocacy of s.s. relationships that doesn’t imply advocacy for incestuous relationships.

                 “Imply” stands out. Unfortunately, if we’re being logical, and a simple matter of historical fact, then one can say the same thing about the “sexual revolution” and Christian acceptance of the primacy of recreational over procreational heterosexual sex.

                 Talking of history, one can also think of Gore Vidal (no theologian of course but a famous “liberal”….whereas the “best” the liberal-demonising team has to offer is Rush Limbaugh and Mark Driscoll. It is to lol) and his point that, if one considered the entire span of human history, monotheistic views on sexuality are the aberration not human homosexuality and the acceptance of it. One can be a monotheist and still concede this – noting that without monotheism people were immoral and debased. 

                That state of affairs (human nature/monotheist ideology contrast) is clearly not true of the widely-held incest taboo, yet more evidence that the same-sex/incest analogy is nonsense.

          •  Actually, I gave one. One of the many, many points you ignored (hence the wikipedia rope-a-dope; permissable in the context I feel). Note especially the point on “consent” and incest charities’ critique of it.

             But the greater problem is that when Peter says “Biblical” he really wants some Sola Scriptura fundamentalism from a ‘liberal’. Sola Scriptura fundamentalist liberal is a nonsensical straw-men. 

            Peter is asking ‘liberals’ to use a methodology that he knows they don’t subscribe to. If I asked YOU or any other conservative to use a liberal methodology to justify x would you not respond with a varition of “no, why would I argue using a methodology that, as you know fine well from my ideological position, I regard as fallacious?” ? I think you would be right to do so.

             See elsewhere in this thread where I ask Peter if sex involving a 14 year old is necessarily wrong. He says ‘no’. There is no proof text for this area. Whereas, in contrast, one can “biblically” cite  Psalm 137:9, Samuel 15: 3 etc etc to “support” all sorts of unethical positions.   

      •  “Historians tell us that loving, long-term homosexual and incestuous relationships simply did not exist in Canaanite culture.” Really? And these “historians” know this how about these people whose only written record was from scant Biblical texts?

        *cough*

         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaanite_religion#Sources

        •  From the font of knowledge (wikipedia) cited:

          “As a result, the accounts contained within the Bible
          were almost the only sources
          of information on ancient Canaanite
          religion. This was supplemented by a few secondary and tertiary Greek
          sources (Lucian of Samosata’s De Dea Syria (The Syrian Goddess), fragments of the Phoenician History of Philo of Byblos, and the writings of Damascius). More recently detailed study of the Ugaritic material, other inscriptions from the Levant and also of the Ebla archive from Tel Mardikh, excavated in 1960 by a joint Italo-Syrian team, have cast more light on the early Canaanite religion.”

          And were talking about the statement that “loving, long-term homosexual and incestuous relationships simply did not exist in Canaanite culture.” So we have some info on the early Canaanite religion, but zero on population studies of sexual orientation demographics.

          *cough, cough*

          • Almost the only source means that there are, in fact, other sources. No? 

             Perhaps harvard.edu is a more respectable web address than wiki (to give but one example http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~semitic/ashkelon/learn/publications.html )

             Good to see you finally address points, O guest. Perhaps you could cover some of the many, many others you ducked?

             Out of interest, are you the same “guest” who pops up, chap-door-and-runaway style, every few weeks or so either under that name or with a new trolling-conducive alias, or are you new around here? My apologies and a warm welcome from the opposite side of the ideological spectrum if it’s the latter of course.

            •  And if we’re doing “Fake Liberal Straw Man” wouldn’t your own interpretation support Philip’s sockpuppet position? It could be formulated thus:
               ” Historians tell us that we frankly lack the hard historical data necessary to establish that the Canaanite people were aware of loving, monogomous incestuous relationships, whereas the information they provide on comparable cultures makes it highly likely that any such relationships were founded on abusive, cultic power relationships that are in no way comparable to contemporary, loving, monogamous incestuous relationships”
               etc

  7.  Let’s put it another way. Rick Santorum, perhaps the most high-profile figure to make the ol’ gay marriage-will-lead-to-incest-and-bestiality point said that (and this is taken from evangelical website Christianity today; Santorum’s responding to Dan Savage’s successful redefinition of “Santorum” being reflected in Google rankings):

     “Do you regret what you said that made you a target?
    The dissent [in the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision] said virtually the same thing I said, which is if you create a constitutional right to consensual sexual activity you can’t draw the line then and say, “Well, we’re only going to allow some consensual activity and not allow other consensual activity.””
     
     If that is so, then surely the right to HETEROSEXUAL consensual sexual is what led to the other points on the societal slippery slopes?  

     

  8. Well, I managed to pop in for a few minutes to see what’s going on.  But I was hugely disappointed!

    I haven’t seen *any* liberal arguments based on generalised principles – from Scripture or any other general reasoning – to support gay marriage (never mind an attempt to explain why gay marriage would be good but adult incestuous marriage would be bad).  

    Are there no liberal contributors capable of explaining their beliefs on right and wrong sexual relationships in a clear, reasoned way?

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