Polygamy/Polygyni/Plural Marriage

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by brucegdc, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    Ok - just to open a can of worms....

    ASSUMING no same-gender sex in the relationship (which would fall under the Homosexuality thread - so let's keep it over there, shall we?), what's the ethical and religious problem with plural marriages (multiple adult males &/or multiple adult females in a committed relationship)?

    The legal aspects could be, to say the least, interesting, in a breakup (although if the marriage was large enough, the kids could be better protected financially than in a dual marriage - and that's the key thing in a breakup).

    Certainly there seems to be no biblical or Torah prohibition - in fact, the opposite (at least for polygamy), and if I recall correctly, Islam permits up to 4 wives to one husband. So why the 1:1 these days? Is there a religious basis, or is this just a hangover from the Romans?
     
  2. Bandit

    Bandit Well-Known Member

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    I guess you can have as many as you want especially if someone travels a lot.

    I know Bishops and different postitions in the ministry expect one wife.

    The biggest part for me wanting one on one is trust, an honest companion, faithfulness and one kid which I have.
    I think kids have it harder in some ways when they end up in too many families with too many moms and dads. Seems this has had an impact on the latest generations for people to remain faithful. There are a few who still remain faithful even today.

    I had to reinsure one of my nephews recently that two homes and two bedrooms and two moms and dads is better than only having one. He is only 5 years old and is not comfortable with the change of going back and forth between homes.

    There is some bible for all this and why one way is better. Someone else can leave those if they want to. It is different in the OT and the NT.
     
  3. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant Well-Known Member

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    Just for the sake of discussion Im going to post a few of those scriptures..

    Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

    -I believe that God intended man to have one wife but when he commanded man to propagate the earth is when they began marrying more than one woman. I dont believe it was supposed to last beyond that point.

    Matthew 19:5 "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'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'? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." 7 They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality,and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."

    -If man was allowed multiple wives why would this be an issue? Rather than divorce the wife which Jesus is speaking against.. couldnt a man just marry another? He also mentions how 2 become 1 flesh.. not 3, 4, and 5 becoming one flesh.

    1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

    1 Timothy 3:12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well

    -This is speaking of how the church is supposed to be led.. and the elders of the church are supposed to be with One wife.. as they are supposed to set examples for the congregation.


    The Bible says that God’s original intention was for one man to be married to only one woman, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). Mankind quickly perverted the concept of marriage to allow for multiple wives (Gen 4:19). The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of polygamy until the New Testament (1Tim 3:2), but that does not mean God approved of polygamy before.


    We see in Deuteronomy 17:14-20, that the kings were not supposed to have multiple wives. Ultimately the case can be made from Genesis 2:23-24, I Timothy 3:2 & 12 and Titus 3:12 that nobody should have multiple wives. Although the New Testament passages relate to elders and deacons we can apply it to all Christians men because these are worthy standards for all men and we should all seek to be Holy as God is Holy (I Peter 1:16), and if these standards are holy for elders and deacons then they are holy for all.



    Ultimately, everyone who had more than one wife was in sin and against God's will. However, God does not constantly admonish us for all sins in the same way. Everyone sins every day and sometimes we do not see the immediate response in relation to that sin. I can speed and not have a direct chastising from God, although I would certainly have conviction. In the same manner I can commit other sins and not feel the response of God, however I should always know that God hates sin and that as a Christian I know that Jesus bore my sins on the cross and I do not want to multiply those sins. I can also sin and see that God is responding immediately to cause me to stop my rebellion, repent and return to Him. It is God's decision how and when He admonishes His children and those who are unsaved.
     
  4. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    polyandry (multiple husbands) was never an option under Torah law (nor am i particularly interested in the whys and the wherefores of whether that's "fair" or not) but polygynous relationships have, obviously, been sanctioned, whether through concubinage (abraham) or through multiple marriages (jacob). if you know the halacha that deals with marriage, it's terribly, terribly complicated. for a start, it's expensive if you get divorced, secondly, the man can be divorced by his wife if he fails to perform to standard, which with more than one wife, will probably be problematic unless he is somewhat on the priapic side. as for kings, that was more about amassing personal power than sexual considerations.

    nonetheless, it is abundantly clear from even a cursory examination of the Mishnah (see tractates yebamot and ketubot) that the rabbis were not massively keen on polygamy, from the prohibitions with which it is hedged about. eventually, the german authority rabbenu gershom (mainz, C13th) pronounced a herem (ban) on it based on the fact that the law of the country prohibited polygamy and that it would be a cause for friction and that ban was adopted across the jewish communities of christendom and still stands. it was adopted much later in the islamic world because polygamy was still accepted but the only people still doing it by the twentieth century were some of the yemenite community. their polygamous marriages were accepted by the religious authorities when they arrived in israel in the 50s, but no further ones were allowed. so, now, it has effectively died out in fact as well as in theory.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  5. Blue

    Blue Member

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    What about wives who might wish to take more than one husband?

    If they do this and get called 'slag' or 'whore', why shouldn't the man be treated in the same way?

    This seems to be an awfully one-sided debate.
    :)
    =============
    As to ethical legalisation regarding multiple or plural marriages, I am more concerned about the harm that might result, whether it be through jealousy, or the atmospheres detrimental to the raising of children.
     
  6. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    like i say, i don't agree with either of them, but it's of no interest of me to engage in "have you quit beating your wife?" discussions.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  7. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    So far as I understand it, polygamy at least partly a way of providing social protection - ie, especially in the instance of a widow being married to her dead husband's brother. I figure in a bronze age reality at least, it's a way of making sure that the woman was provided for - social responsibility beginning at home, literally. Polyandry not being an issue because we're talking about patriarchal societies where the man was the social provider in a heirarchy of extended family.

    But in a modern day context - OMG - I can only imagine it would be utter sufferance to have multiple wives. I really want to comment on hormones, here, but I fear that if I do I'll suffer death by handbags. :D

    EDIT: Polyandry would probably be just as tortuous, too - all that whining and football. :)
     
  8. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Kindest Regards, Brian!

    :D
     
  9. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

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    It is true that within most socieities it has been the male that has had the multiple partners - married and otherwise and this has been accepted.

    Circumstantial evidence points to the facts being a little different. Now, in the industrialised G8 area, we are seeing the growth of female sexual proglifacy (I think the figure for 'fathers' not being actual 'fathers' ran at 40% in one survey). Before the idustrial revolution, the evidence points to a much less rigid sexual code (in rural England, because of the importance of having a family, in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was normal for marriages to take place after known conception - parish register research).

    Recent work on the 1950's has shown that women were little less sexually active than now, they just didn't brag about it.

    Marriage involves a committment however and even in polygamous societies, there tends to be a heirarchy of husbands and wives.
     
  10. KnightoftheRose

    KnightoftheRose Well-Known Member

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    Ok, aside from religious reasons ("God didn't create Adam and Eve and Eve and Eve"), I can only think of one solid reason why polygamy is a bad idea.

    Its unfair to the poor.

    Simply put: poor men can't afford multiple wives, only the wealthy can. I mean, suppose you had five wives, and each gets pregnant, and each has a kid - that's what, ten mouths to feed, ten bodies to clothe, ten people to take care of, besides yourself? That's way too much of a financial burden for the average man to deal with. So, only the wealthy can really engage in polygamy. And once the wealthy starts grabbing all the eligible women, how many wives will be left for the poor?
     
  11. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Actually, that sounds more like an argument for polygamy. :)
     
  12. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    I think you're right, Brian. My wife is saying we need a wife... while we're out earning our paychecks, the other wife could be keeping up with the house chaos. :)

    I think the economics today are such that the more adults in the family group the better, as it opens up the possibility of one or more not working outside the home and being there to take care of the family & homestead. The house prices & costs of living on most of the coasts in the US are such that it's rare to be able to have a couple being able to afford only one working spouse these days except for top executives.

    Of course, there's also the "line" marriage Heinlein used in some of his novels - keep adding spouses to the family over a long period of time, so you get a broad variety of age groups in the family, with the elders there for their knowlege, the youngsters there to produce kids & income, and continuity over time that's not possible with the nuclear family.
     
  13. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Seeing as industrialised society has effectively destroyed the extended family, and as someone with 3 very young children, I definitely agree that more adults are required for such families. :)

    Maybe polygamy isn't the answer - but the idea that both parents should be pushed towards work, simply to pay a third party to look after their own children, is frankly insane.

    Viewed only in that light, polygamy has definite advantages in creating extra child-cares - a sort of accelerated creation of "extended family". Which I guess is one reason for its use in the first place.
     
  14. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

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    Polygamy is certainly not a product of weath, as many parts of the world can attest. Some of the comments here could be seen as advocating female slavery - an *extra wife to sort out the house*!

    A lot depends on how many children a society need - some have high mortality rates - how long the young are a 'fiancial commitment' (wonderful western terms).

    Biologically speaking, the femal child is more likely to survive in harsh climates than the male is (sorry, I can't remember the research but it came out a couple of years ago. Might have been Oxfam or CAFOD, done on life expectancy in the Horn of Africa). This means that there would be more females than males, so having more than one wife would not be harsh, it would be a way of distributing the scarce resource - males, who are sickly as children anyway - around the more abundant females. This also helps boost the birth rate, thus increasing population at a time when the 'economic' and environmental conditions are trying to reduce it.

    I'm not aware of research carried out to look at a correlation with the historic popularisation of manogamy with improved living standards, although more recent historico-sociological work by Foucault etc on sexuality during the Industrial Revolution in France would point to an increase in governmental interference, so maybe monogamy is a form of state control, not as an attempt to 'equalise' gender disparity but to control the population?
     
  15. Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine Junior Moderator, Intro Moderator

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    This reminds me of a court case here in the States concerning a woman who was divorcing her "husband". She was wife #8 and his other wives had 20 children between them, every one of the other wives and every child was on welfare. The judge "blew her stack" at how shallow the male was (he was talking about getting another wife to help support the family, the sister of two of his then-current wives.) The judge didn't even take the time to render a decision, but stormed out of the courtroom at the idea that she, her colleagues, her bailiff, his colleagues, etc., were supporting this one male's neverending rut. The male had a job at the time, but he just couldn't support his family, not even slightly.

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
     
  16. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Heh, not intentionally - but there's always that danger in these sort of discussions of that being perceived. :)
     
  17. blob

    blob New Member

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    To Banana Brain - the very fact that you do not wish to engage in discussions surrounding numerous husbands in a polygamous relationship points to your own ignorance and sexism. I am truly saddened to see human equality squashed in the name of religion and male ego.

    Polygamy - in a modern sense - is a male concept concocted to verify the status of masculinity in societies that are Patriarchal. Wives are verified in relation to a male subjects rather than actual human beings and as such are seen as possessions not humans. Therefore I would probably suppose that Polygamy is more often than not a projection of insecurities surrounding masculinity. By gaining more wives, a man might be seen as more virile/controlling/rich which are still regarded as indicators of true masculinity.

    I am really astonished that almost every post on this discussion board points to the fact that women are regarded not as equal humans but as some sort of aquisition a man might possess. - In fact most of the men on this page seem to be in secret awe of polygamous relationships - as if the thought of sharing sexual relations with more than one women might increase their masculinity.

    In sum to dismiss the idea that Polygamy is intrinsically linked to Patriarchal subordination is ridiculous. Considering that Christianity teaches equality of ALL human beings I would like to know how anyone on this page who calls themselves a Christian can condone polygamy?
     
  18. community

    community New Member

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    we have to check why we doing this for first! We here to reproduce and spread our good seeds so it only make sens for men to have more than one wife since he can make as many babies as he need throuhout the year, women cant make more than one baby a year so the all purpose behind getting other guys wouldnt make no sens, she would just be doing it out of lust
    and polygamy out of lust is despicable!
     
  19. Muslimwoman

    Muslimwoman Coexistence insha'Allah

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    Hi Blob

    Why do discussions about polygamy always centre around sex? It seems such a short sighted view. A man who marries a number of wives has to provide for them all and their offspring, deal with their jealous infighting, etc .. hardly the image of a constant orgy.

    Whilst I wouldn't want to be in a polygamous marriage myself they can be a solution to a number of problems different societies face.
     
  20. Dogbrain

    Dogbrain Well-Known Member

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    "Polygamy"--more than one spouse (at a time), REGARDLESS of genders.
    "Polygyny"--a type of polygamy with more than one female spouse (at a time), one male spouse (at a time).
    "Polyandry"--a type of polygamy with more than one male spouse (at a time), one female spouse (at a time).

    Polygamy can but does not have to be patriarchical. Polygyny is more likely to be patriarchical.

    Polyandrous Asian tribes, where a few men marry one woman and are all her husbands, are every bit as polygamous as are the folks who break off from the Mormons and hand out sect members' daughters like party favors to sect leader.
     

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