I listened to another of the Infidel Guy's podcasts yesterday. This was one of his 'Debate Hour' shows rather than a conventional IG show. The distinction is that the IG show generally takes the form of an interview about religious or atheistic subject matter, whereas the debate hour is generally a fairly formal debate between two parties with opposing views on a topic, which may not be related to religion at all. Generally each party has an opening statement then a chance to comment on the other's opening statement than a period of rebuttal and finally a question and answer session. This format was intended here but, due to the debaters, did not happen.
Anyway, the subject of the show was 'Alternative Relationships' - specifically Polyamory.
For those of you who don't know, the dictionary definition of polyamory is:
"participation in multiple and simultaneous loving or sexual relationships"The two debaters were 'Rayven', an atheist living a polyamorous lifestyle, and 'Deacon Greg Cooper' a Presbyterian with very strict bible-based beliefs. However, Rayven didn't really get the chance to say much as the bible-thumping deacon ate up most of the airtime.(Webster's New Millennium Dictionary)
In between Greg's rants, the Infidel Guy, Rayven and folk calling in managed to make some quite valid comments, which the deacon ignored or dismissed without thought. He really was an awful advert for Christianity. Anyway, I want to comment on some of the issues raised.
And just to be clear on this point, just because I am raising the issue and posing the questions here does not mean that I am in support of the alternative lifestyle or the opinions expressed. OK?
Greg made it quite clear that his opinion was entirely based on the bible and it is this: that the only non-sinful sexual relationships are those between one man and one woman within the confines of a marriage. Greg also voiced the opinion that his interpretation of the bible could not possibly be wrong on any issue. He was that kind of guy. In fact, his attitude and manner made me inclined to take the other side in the debate when I really don't agree with it.
The others pointed out to him that many important characters in the old testament: patriarchs, kings and prophets, had multiple wives and were not condemned for it at any point in the bible. Indeed many of them were held up as being 'men of faith' and even 'righteous'. Indeed, the sins that the Kings David & Solomon were taken to task about had nothing to do with their multiple wives. Furthermore, in Exodus 21v10 there is a law which clearly governs the behaviour of a man taking a second wife. This practice is not condemned in the old testament, it is regulated.
This is true, whatever Greg said to dismiss it. If we believe that the old testament law came from God, then we must accept that God allowed and regulated multiple marriages. Also if God does not change his mind then this allowance still is in place... right?
Or is it one of those cultural things that God allows because it neither helps or hinders his agenda? Is it morally neutral?
During one of the moments that she was allowed to speak, Rayven said a few things that really surprised me. These related to the beliefs of 'polyamorous Christians' - I wouldn't have thought that such a group would exist, yet apparently it does. A simple websearch took me to their wesite too... Rayven took their side in the debate, primarily to annoy the fundamentalist, even though she said that she cannot see how you can reconcile the bible to a polyamorous lifestyle. The poly-Chrisitian apparently accepts that when people are united together to become 'one flesh' this needn't necessarily be a union of only two people - they see no biblical reason why three or more people cannot enter into a commited relationship with each other... I'm so gobsmacked there that I actually can't come up with a rebuttal!
But anyway, as I was generally inclined to find fault with the fundamentalist's position, I was quite miffed that nobody pointed out one of the key beliefs of the fundamentalist's belief structure - that of the Trinity. While the concept is not made fully explicit in the bible, the generally held belief amongst Christians is that there are three distinct characters in the Godhead - God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit - and these three are eternally united in a loving, intimate relationship. Now I'm not saying that sex is involved there, but from my understanding of what was said on the show, sex is not an essential of the polyamorous relationship either - it is a loving union of more than two people... sounds like the Trinity to me...
So how can we defend the position that our loving relationships should only involve two people, when our God apparently exists in a three-way relationship?
(and yes, I know what some answers to that question might be, but I thought I'd ask anyway...)