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Adultery


Here is an email I received in response to one of my essays.

Adultery : Sara Edwards : edwardssara77@gmail.com : 2011-04-24

Hello Mr. Green,

I was searching online for a definition to a Java term and came across your comment below:

A thousand years ago, adultery was a serious crime for three reasons:
  1. A woman needed a man to support her. Without him she would die.
  2. There was no birth control. Adultery meant babies without anyone to support them. There was no way for woman to bring up a child without a husband.
  3. There were no condoms. Adultery meant incurable venereal disease would soon follow.
Christians overreact to adultery today as if these conditions still applied. Adultery should be worked out privately by the couple. It no longer requires the intervention of the entire community.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)

I think you are mistaken on a few points and would like to offer some clarification. I'll just start out by saying I and my two children have experienced quite a bit of emotional pain and suffering due my ex-husband’s adultery and also when he subsequently left us for the other woman. I am also a Christian. I have revealed my biases to you now, but I am a firm believer in being honest upfront.

Your children suffered because of the divorce, not the adultery. They would likely not even have known about the adultery had you not told them. My parents divorced and got along even better after the divorce than before. We continued to have family gatherings, with both my parents and their new partners. To us kids, it was the more the merrier. My parents were happier with more compatible partners. The new partners were like an extra set of loving parents.

Granted, divorce is a problem for kids. It often means moving away from friends, a lower standard of living, less access to one parent, over-control by the other. Sometimes younger kids blame themselves. But, adultery is not the same as divorce. Consider the Kennedys.

Your comments about why adultery is illegal from a Christian perspective is that Jesus specifically states that God created the institution of marriage.

There is no evidence whatsoever for that view. That is just a social myth used to frighten people into behaving well when they cannot appreciate the logical importance of doing so. It is in the same vein as claiming there is bogey man in the attic to keep children from wandering around up there.

In this relationship a couple becomes one flesh, they are no longer two, but one.

I have been to dozens of weddings and I have never seen any such merging. It is just a metaphor for the promise of exclusivity. Those who take the metaphor too seriously and cut their spouse off from all social contact, drive them away.

When adultery is committed, it is a betrayal of the highest kind an a pollution of that pure relationship instituted by God.

That is just your religious belief and a rather rare one these days. You pretend these are facts when all evidence points to humanity’s gods being fictitious.

This act hurts the wife, husband, children and the entire community as you put it. For this reason and not for the corollary reasons you cite above, does it require intervention from any who can prevent it.

It does harm, but not nearly so much as you assert and not for the reasons you claim. It is a breaking of a contract, the breaking of promise, not the breaking of some universal law. Very few species are monogamous and adultery is the norm in humans. No other primate even pretends to be monogamous.

Perhaps when you were still too young to reason, you picked one religion in 60,000 and without examining any alternatives and arbitrarily decided that everything it said was true, even though you saw no evidence to support those claims and atheists presented plenty of evidence the claims could not possibly be true.

Matthew 5 and  Matthew 19 address this if you care to read about it.

I think you are referring to Matthew 5:25 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. which is such an impossibly high standard, that the only people who have not committed adultery by that definition are women and gay men. I also think you are referring to Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery, which claims wife-beating is not a valid grounds for divorce, only adultery. You don’t really believe that do you? Get serious! If you truly do believe that, you are suffering badly from an abuser who beat these crazy ideas into you.

I can only imagine how calloused you must be inside to write about something so hurtful in such a glib manner and I am sad for that. I’m not sure what analogy I could offer to help you understand the exquisiteness of the pain I felt over what my ex-husband did. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Other people have gone through what you did and sailed through unscathed, e.g. my parents. You create the pain! You do this by endlessly nursing your sense of betrayal and injustice. You can’t change your husband. You can’t undo the past. You can let go of your attachment to playing the martyr. Most of your misery is self-created. You cling to victimhood. You want to be morally superior so badly that you are willing to torment yourself and your kids for the rest of your life. You appear to have no concept of forgiveness, a central tenet of Christianity. You are playing the martyr game and ruining yours and your kid’s lives in the proceses.

Your pride in your rigid fundamentalist beliefs leaps from the page. These are the pillars you use to support your belief that you are superior to everyone else. I don’t know if this applies to you, but such beliefs are highly attractive to people without special talents. They boost esteem without requiring accomplishment. People unused to feeling good about themselves are then tempted to lord it over others and became insufferable. Ironically, these false beliefs that you are so proud of have sabotaged your life. They have made you into a self-centred, self-righteous, patronising scold. You are the author of your own misfortune. You drove your husband away with your hectoring. You made your children miserable by poisoning them against your husband. These archaic beliefs in vengeance, blame and self righteousness are holding you trapped in misery. Try converting to a different style of Christianity, one that focuses less on the sins of others and instead focuses on verses such as Matthew 18:21-22. That is a pretty stinging rebuke, but if you let even 1% of what I said sink it, it could turn your life around and end the extreme emotional pain you are feeling right now. You are even lashing out at me when the real target of your anger is your husband. Presumably, you are also doing this to other well-meaning people is your life, sinking into a black hole of misery. So ironically, it is your religious beliefs that you cling to so strongly that have done you in and created your excruciating pain. They have tricked you into seeing yourself as a waif, a helpless victim of circumstance, god, your husband and even me. They have blinded you from taking responsibility for what you did that helped create your predicament. You will be stuck until you give up your belief in your victimhood.

I thank you for at least reading this far and hope some of what I said made sense to you. I will pray that perhaps God will get through to your stoney heart and you can begin to understand things of this nature through His eyes and not your own.

Blessings to you,

Sara

When a lover leaves you it is not so much he is rejecting you as being attracted away by someone else. It is not the end of the world that you are not the world’s most attractive person.
~ Roedy (born:1948-02-04 age:68)

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