Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

What Do I Do With This?

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To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.    ~ 1 Corinthians 7:10-11

 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.    ~ Matthew 5:32

 


 

 

Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”“What did Moses command you?” he replied.They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”  ~Mark 10:2-10

 

Every time I think I’m about to shake all this religious dogma all this comes flooding right back into my mind.  I’ve read every view imaginable from John Piper to David Instone-Brewer to Craig S. Keener.  It’s unbelievable the amount of controversy there is over this issue within Christian circles.  I went to my pastor and this is what he said:

 

“You didn’t have a “biblical” reason for divorce.  So you may not remarry unless your ex-husband does.  At that time you will be released from him because you can’t remarry him since he has married another, even if he got divorced or his new wife dies. Divorcing your husband was a sin.  Have you repented?”

My reply was kind, but not what he expected.  I’m sorry for a lot of  things.  I’m sorry my marriage didn’t work, I’m sorry I couldn’t want it enough for two people, I’m sorry I didn’t walk away from him the day I met him when he was wearing the Peanut Comic Strip sweatshirt.  I’m sorry we are divorced, but I’m not sorry I divorced him.  If God is all knowing, won’t he know it if I’m lying when I repent for something I’m not sorry for?

 

I’ve been told everything from I should be standing in the gap, praying that my husband would repent, and then welcome him back with open arms to go and do what I want and walk in God’s grace.  I’ve been told I can never remarry and that I can remarry under certain conditions.  It all gets very muddy.  I’ve tried very hard to understand every view available.  The problem is, I do understand where each person gets their view when looking at scripture.

 

When I began researching this topic on my own I went to the New Testament first, then worked back into the Old Testament.  As I was reading the Old Testament laws what really struck me was all the care and detail given to treatment of slaves:

“And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth.”    ~Exodus 21:27

If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money. ~Exodus 21:7-11

Hardly any mention is made at all about treatment of wives.  What am I to make of all of this?  I am supposed to deny myself, take up my cross and follow Jesus.  I’m supposed to give up my desire for a loving relationship and children, children I was denied in my first marriage. How can I possibly drag someone else into adultery? All of this because remarriage is considered adultery and we all know adulterers don’t inherit the Kingdom of God.

 

I have such inner conflict about all of this.  I’m not even sure there is a God, but what if there is?  Do I deny myself?  What if there isn’t?  I deny myself for nothing.  I fear being alone, and I fear judgement otherwise.  If you really want an eye opener go to cadz dot net.  (I won’t link directly because I don’t want to invite trollers).

 

I spent quite a lot of my married life praying.  Mostly praying to be everything God wanted me to be, praying to be a good wife, praying for God to change me and mold me into Christ-likeness.  I prayed the armor of God onto both myself and my husband.  I prayed that we’d both have a desire to grow in knowledge of God and His character and righteousness.  I prayed for God to give me a heart for my husband and his best interest.  I don’t remember ever praying to be “delivered”.

 

All of this is the reason I stayed in my marriage for so long.  I stayed because according to scripture it was the will of God. Then I was told by a friend the other day that God had delivered me from my marriage.  That’s not the way I look at it at all.  I delivered myself from that marriage by going against what “the word of God” says, for which I’ve heaped condemnation onto myself.  I’ve even considered going back to my husband for this very reason, but I’ve talked myself out of it.  That’s a ridiculous thought to me at this point.  I thought I could never leave and now I know I can never go back.

 

Do I try to pursue a fulfilling life without a significant other?  I know it’s possible.  This is what fundamentalism does to people.  It paralyzes them.

 

I’m also quite well aware that this post may come across as whining.  It is absolutely not intended that way.  This just adds to my confusion and doubt that something so critical would not be crystal clear.  Yet there will be some who feel that it is.  The question here is not how many views are there, it’s how do I know which one is right?

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56 thoughts on “What Do I Do With This?

  1. Do what makes you happy. I know how hard it is to shake fundamentalist teaching. No matter how hard you try that junk is still in your mind. Life is too short. Do what brings you happiness and peace.Bruce

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  2. I did not struggle with issues of marraige and divorce when I began my doubts of Christianity – but I did struggle with other things. In order to bring peace in my life, I had to learn one hard lesson:The Bible is not inerrant. There are contradictions. It speaks with many voices. There is no reason to assume the authors of the Gospels and the Episles agreed with each other, and that is why the diverse Scriptural passages are so hard to mash together into a single coherant view.As hard as it is for Fundamentalists to believe, many Christians, my wife included, hold that view. When I finally accepted that fact, the burdenous millstone of inerrancy and authority was lifted from my shoulders. It took time, and it was not easy, but once the trajectory was set, there was no turning back. I was finally free!The only authority the Bible has over your life is the authority you decide to give it.

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  3. There are even more diverse views of what exactly you have to do to be saved. Yet I think you could take stock in a few Biblical principles if you want to still cling to the faith:1) everybody sins – "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"2) saved people sin – Romans 7, Paul sins despite not wanting to3) Jesus forgives all sins, except for blaspheming the Holy Spirit.4) If divorce is a sin, and remarriage is a sin, then you've got possibly 2 more sins to add to a whole pile of them. (I'm assuming you are somewhat normal and have life-long struggles to do the right thing.)In the faith, all of your sins, past, present, and future are washed clean by the blood of Christ. So relax, and just try not to sin any more.

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  4. When you doubt, you have both intellectual doubts, and emotional guilt and baggage carried over from fundamentalism. I know b/c I can't seem to shake them either. But I think in your situation, I would be very encouraged by attending and knowing that many (if not most) other Christian denominations would never prescribe you to remain in that horrible abusive marriage, and would not look down upon re-marriage. My father-in-law recently had an affair and divorced my mother in law, and she attends a methodist church and seems happy there. Come to think of it, my cousin, who attends a rather fundamentalist Southern Baptist Church, also divorced and remarried. Her husband also committed adultery. What you have lived through seems worse than adultery to me!

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  5. Believe it or not, even under Christianity, you can re-marry. Apparently the biblical scholars you have reviewed don’t know their Greek. And exegete terribly.According to Matthew 19:9 (and if they want all the Bible to be inerrant, inspired, authoritative—any passage saying differently must be interpreted to give this verse full meaning), whoever divorces his wife, EXCEPT for pornea (sexual immorality) and marries another, commits moichao (adultery.)Now, in modern day, we have reduced pornea to being ONLY adultery, but if God wanted it to be that singular sin, then he would have inspired moichao instead of pornea as being the exception. Indeed, God obviously knew how to limit it to moichaoas it is in the very same sentence!Pornea is broadly interrupted as any sexual immorality (it is where we get “pornography” from.) Spouse look at porn?—you can divorce ‘em. Spouse look at someone else with lust?—that there is some pornea–you can divorce ‘em.From what you described, your ex clearly engaged in pornea. (Rape is absolutely pornea.) You can divorce him. You can get re-married.Obviously I don’t subscribe to Christian morals, and Matthew 19:9 has no moral code on me—but even under Christianity, you can be remarried.

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  6. Bruce, HIS, TWF, and LAC,Thank you all for your encouragement. With this post I was basically getting at the fact that with such important issues one would think there would be more of a consensus, as TWF so aptly pointed out with salvation itself.It's been a roller coaster year for me. Having just completed my "testimony" I guess I was emotional when I wrote this post, so a lot of that came out. I probably should have saved it as a draft and ruminated on it a bit more before posting it. Intellectually I'm becoming quite agnostic, emotionally I still have a lot of baggage. There is a lot of guilt associated with fundamentalism. Not to mention the fact that that is a personal character trait for me. I'll probably write about that in a future post. While in person I don't tend to wear my feelings on my sleeve, here I can be a bit more raw and transparent. Sometimes I feel like a crazy person. :~)

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  7. DagoodS,I have researched it quite a bit. The view you present here is but one in a litany of them, though I have seen this one presented elsewhere. There are about as many interpretations of that verse and what pornea means as there are socks in my drawer at home. *grin*There are some scholars who say pornea is only sex before marriage. So if the woman is caught in premarital sex the male fiance can terminate his marriage contract(divorce). Then there are others who share the view you present. Ugh! It's enough to do a person's head in. And if you visit that website I mentioned, that'll really do your head in. 😦

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  8. I think you've denied yourself long enough. Let's say there is a God. This Bible God of your past belief. The one who wrote the Bible. Consider the "N.T." verse where the man is to love/care/honour his wife as Christ loves the church. In my opinion, (recognizing you've done a lot of research on this) your husband committed adultery against Christ and you the moment he first put his hands on you. And it's likely that you've been in shock ever since, hence the inner conflict and I think your past beliefs further traumatize you in a way that your husbands violence against you, did. It's like being continually scared to death. Scared he'd hurt you and scared to death that the Bible's words will also hurt you, eternally.There is no doubt one would be in conflict. This conflict is to be expected considering all you've been through. Thankfully, you talked yourself out of going back to him. I've got a feeling, if the shoe had been on my foot, you would have counselled me to not go back. I'm not surprised that you appear to carry blame or self-condemnation for your choice to leave. Isn't that the set-up we women get in the Bible. Remember Eve? D'ma, for a moment, set aside the will of God concerning marriage. Let's turn this around just a bit and ask yourself this:Is it the will of God to have you strangled?Is it the will of God to have your hair removed from your scalp and your head bashed against an object, wall, bed, headboard or wherever?Is it the will of God to have your husband violate you sexually against your will or even if consentual at first, ending up in a degrading manner, reflecting his selfishness and lack of love and honour for you?Is it the will of God that you live in fear?Is it the will of God that you are controlled by this man and your fear?Is it the will of God that you are denied children?Is it the will of God that a man controls you financially.Is it the will of God … (insert all manner of stuff that you've endured.)?If it is the will of God, then who is this God and is he worth keeping? If it is the will of God, how is this God any different than your husband?You freed yourself from an abusive husband D'ma. It takes great courage to do so, and you showed great compassion towards yourself by removing yourself from someone that neither loved you or Christ. There are going to be times that you will feel the paralysis of shock and trauma. It's part of healing. It's like the cycle of abuse D'ma. Remember your fear and shock and paralysis when he first put his hands around your neck … and then you reasoned it away or tried to adjust your behaviour so it wouldn't happen again … but it did, again and again. Sorting through your beliefs from past fundamentalism brings about the same sort of fear and shock and paralysis. Try not to think of this conflict as a weakness or failure. As you well know, healing is a process. It takes time. You're doing a great job and asking the right questions. It's time to stop denying yourself. (((Hugs)))

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  9. I echo Zoe, and add that it began before he put his hands on you. Emotional scars go deeper and heal more slowly than physical ones.Also, the god of the bible says that divorce is fine in the OT, as long as the woman doesn't end up with her first husband again. It also says women should marry their rapists. And, god apparently tells some husbands that they should send their wives and children out to certain death for the fault of not being born Jewish. Not the kind of god I want to follow for marriage advice, especially considering that marriage was an economic arrangement and women were property. (Why else would a rapist have to pay the girl's father?)I read those marriage books, Love and Respect and others. Some good points. Some poison. There are better ones.My biggest hurdle to overcome wasn't the inerracy of the Bible, since simply reading it proved its contradictions. My biggest hurdle was the authority I gave to certain interpreters of the bible. I still struggle with doubting myself. It is a journey. Your journey, painful as it is, is inspiring. Thanks for having the courage to leave and thanks for having the courage to share.

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  10. Zoe,I am much harder on myself than would ever be on anyone else. I do carry a lot of guilt and self-condemnation over ending my marriage. While I don't miss him, and can't imagine myself back in that situation, I still feel like quite a failure. I am learning to get past that, though. I had always found comfort and strength in reading the scriptures. But it was the strength to keep existing in the marriage. Once I got divorced and the initial relief sort of wore off reading the scriptures only made me feel guilty and condemned. I've had a very hard time reconciling an all-loving God with one who would demand I stay in that marriage, or even one who would say, "It's a one-shot deal honey, sorry you got a bad apple, but now you're on your own". Those thoughts are incompatible to me. Not only that but the condemnation I felt and continue to feel along with the perpetual silent treatment make me feel abused all over again. Having said all of that I still wasn't questioning the authority of scripture, or inerrancy of it until I was pressed for some answers from someone I was witnessing to. Yes, I was still trying to witness and tell someone else how great this God is. They had done their research just asked a few poignant questions. When I researched what I thought would be simple enough answers, that's when my doubts started. Because those simple answers were nowhere to be found. So my reasons for doubting have little to do with my suffering or anyone else's because I just knew God had a divine plan in all of it. Now that I'm starting to see it's all a farce, well, I'm just pissed.

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  11. Prairie, You are right. I could have taken to physical violence because it wasn't every day. It was once every few months or so. The thing that really drove me away was the emotional abuse. It makes you feel like you're loosing your mind and once it's at that stage you really can't think rationally, as demonstrated in my response to you elsewhere. And just as you rightfully pointed out, I can see the fallacy in scripture now, I can see intellectually it isn't inerrant, but I've given an awful lot of authority to interpreters of that word. For some reason it's not as easy to dismiss them. As I've mentioned elsewhere I listened on a near daily basis to Focus on the Family broadcasts and bought into what James Dobson had to say. That's just one example of many.

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  12. D'Ma,My heart goes out to you. These questions aren't easy.Not to be critical of your pastor, but seriously? He has no clue about reality.The Bible was written in a patriarchal society. Over time, obviously. Some things in there are cultural. Our culture is vastly different now.Again with the Jewish thing- but women have a right to divorce in Judaism if the husband isn't keeping up any part of his end of the bargain- the household happiness is held in high regard. Somehow I think we should hold it in high regard too. It's where we live our lives. We should not have to "gut it out" especially in abusive situations. And you should have the chance to be happy.

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  13. Thank you, IsToo. My pastor when counseling with me, said that I should have filed a legal separation, which would have exasperated my husband, and let him file for the divorce. Then he would have been acting as an unbeliever abandoning me. Sheesh, really? Yeah, that's what it was about his behavior that would have been making him act as an unbeliever.*drips with sarcasm* Anyway the pastor used Deuteronomy 24:1-4 as scripture to back up the whole reason I couldn't remarry him once he takes a new wife. I'm not a rocket scientist, and I'm certainly not a bible scholar, but that is definitely not applicable to the man.Instone-Brewer argues out of Exodus 21:7-11, which applies to slave wives, for a less to greater than approach. In other words, if a slave had these rights then certain a free woman would have even greater rights. But then as a Christian I felt I had to contend with Jesus' and Paul's words on the subject which, quite frankly, leave a lot of room for a plethora of interpretations. Oddly enough the Rabbi I spoke with did tell me that it is the guilty one who is punished in Judaism, so in an abusive situation, the abused spouse does have the right to divorce and remarry.There are so many teachings out there it's enough to make a girl go crazy. That's when I have to wonder….is the "word of God" so inspired? I was ingrained and indoctrinated with the idea the scripture was absolute truth. But with rampant relativism out there, kinda makes ya have to wonder.

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  14. Oh and Prairienymph, those books are actually quite good. I got a lot out of reading them. They would be excellent enrichment tools for a normal marriage. Unfortunately they are additional weapons in the arsenal of someone who is manipulative and abusive.

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  15. This very issue was what prompted my most recent faith crisis. I am a Christian counselor, and have done a lot of marriage counseling. My general tack has been that we do what we can to strengthen the relationship and have a good marriage; but if it still is pretty broken, go ahead and divorce. You're not honoring God to stay in a loveless marriage. Then one of my clients challenged me on it. He said, "I'm not sure I can continue with you. Ultimately, we have different views of God's will in this matter."And so I read the new testament cover to cover in a month. And it couldn't be more clear. ONE exception for divorce; adultery committed by your spouse. THAT'S IT!! It couldn't be more clear by Jesus or Paul.And to go even further, if you divorce for ANY other reason, and then get remarried, you're committing adultery. ANDDD… you are causing your spouse to commit adultery if he/she gets remarried… even if THEY had been completely innocent in the original divorce. And there was no way I could intellectually chalk this up to "cultural." The reasons given in the bible for this teaching had nothing to do with culture. They had to do with Adam and Eve and Christ and the Church.I had to finally admit it. I either had to follow and teach this, or ignore it and continue with my "principles," or question whether this is the inspired/inerrant "word of God." I can't quite come to direct my clients to follow this advice… it is repulsive… especially when there is abuse, neglect, addiction, etc. etc. I still don't see how it honors God for the spouse to stay married in those cases. Unless you're going to say stay married, but live separate lives. But again, how does that honor God? And is that a sentence to impose on an innocent spouse? What if they are "burning with lust?" No wonder the text records Jesus saying, "This is a hard teaching."In addition, in reading the whole NT in a month I was struck with another obvious teaching. EXTREME pacifism and EXTREME obeissance to authority… both of which smack codependent recovery in the face! (Another of my counseling specialities.) Since those are off topic, I'll address them more in my blog. (I'll be stealing some of what I wrote here as well! Is one allowed to steal one's own writing??)So, I am tapering off my clients, as I really don't know what to tell them anymore, and while I reevaluate my faith; to wit, is it really the word of God, what does it really say, and how does one correctly apply it to life today. I just found your blog today, and subscribed with google reader. When I figure out how to add a blog roll to my blog, I'll add your site! 🙂

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  16. I'm just sorry that you still have to contend with guilt and self condemnation over your marriage ending, esp. after living with guilt and self condemnation brought on by the abusive marriage for almost 20 years. It just saddens me that we continue to rely on scripture and various interpretations of it even when the conclusions we reach fail to make sense and fly in the face of reason. Choosing to leave your marriage=choosing life and self preservation. You are worth saving. I'm glad you thought so too.

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  17. I'm sorry it's taken me a bit to respond here. For some reason I could make a new post, but the computer I was using wouldn't allow me to comment. Weird! evangelically incorrect,Yes, the teaching in the New Testament does seem to be pretty cut and dried. I will add that a wooden reading of the scriptures also leads one to the conclusion that it's not just adultery by your spouse that is the only reason for divorce. It is "pornea", whatever you can determine that to be, committed by the wife that can land her a divorce by her husband. Then her reputation is tarnished and who would want her. There is NO circumstance in which it is permissible for the wife to divorce her husband. He can do whatever he likes, up to and including bringing a new wife into the mix, and the first wife is to remain married. If she does separate from him her options are to remain unmarried or return to him. I am not codependent by nature. I'm actually pretty independent. Having been raised in my teenage years with no father around we had to be pretty resourceful. I can change my own tires, move a piece of furniture across a room, tile a floor, do minor electrical work. You get the picture. The fact is I bought into the entire New Testament picture of how marriage should be and tried my darnedest to live it out even when it went against what common sense told me to do. Now even after the fact I have guilt issues, though not as frequent, about going against the authority of scripture. That is how much importance I placed on it even when it didn't make sense to me.

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  18. DoOrDoNot said: "Choosing to leave your marriage=choosing life and self preservation."I'll add this:Choosing to leave your marriage=choosing life and self preservation=SELFISHNESSThat is what is ultimately taught in scripture. You should turn the other cheek, you know 70*7, and you should give up your cloak if someone asks you for your tunic, and you should go with someone two miles if they ask you to walk with them one. As evangelically incorrect stated, EXTREME pacifism. That is what I became. I completely lost myself in the process which, according to scripture, is exactly what we are supposed to do. The only problem is I'm not sure how long it is sustainable under some circumstances. Clearly I didn't have what it takes.

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  19. Clearly "scripture" is WRONG.

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  20. Clearly it took me way too long to figure that out. 🙂

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  21. I echo your sentiment above that the NT teaches EXTREME pacifism… Don't stand up for yourself at any time with any one for any reason. If you are a wife or slave that is being treated unjustly, grin and bear it.Funny, how as a counselor, I help women recover from codependency in pretty dramatic ways. The only trouble is, when I started looking at scripture, I found no support for what I was doing. I used the book "Boundaries in Marriage" quite a bit. Although it is by the famous christian authors, cloud/townsend, I found the biblical support they gave for their position rather weak. For several years I didn't look into the issue real closely because I was so nervous that the bible would not support the "codependent recovery process." It doesn't.l The current christian counseling culture tries to justify it, but not very well.

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  22. Clearly it took me way too long to figure that out. 🙂

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  23. This very issue was what prompted my most recent faith crisis. I am a Christian counselor, and have done a lot of marriage counseling. My general tack has been that we do what we can to strengthen the relationship and have a good marriage; but if it still is pretty broken, go ahead and divorce. You're not honoring God to stay in a loveless marriage. Then one of my clients challenged me on it. He said, "I'm not sure I can continue with you. Ultimately, we have different views of God's will in this matter."And so I read the new testament cover to cover in a month. And it couldn't be more clear. ONE exception for divorce; adultery committed by your spouse. THAT'S IT!! It couldn't be more clear by Jesus or Paul.And to go even further, if you divorce for ANY other reason, and then get remarried, you're committing adultery. ANDDD… you are causing your spouse to commit adultery if he/she gets remarried… even if THEY had been completely innocent in the original divorce. And there was no way I could intellectually chalk this up to "cultural." The reasons given in the bible for this teaching had nothing to do with culture. They had to do with Adam and Eve and Christ and the Church.I had to finally admit it. I either had to follow and teach this, or ignore it and continue with my "principles," or question whether this is the inspired/inerrant "word of God." I can't quite come to direct my clients to follow this advice… it is repulsive… especially when there is abuse, neglect, addiction, etc. etc. I still don't see how it honors God for the spouse to stay married in those cases. Unless you're going to say stay married, but live separate lives. But again, how does that honor God? And is that a sentence to impose on an innocent spouse? What if they are "burning with lust?" No wonder the text records Jesus saying, "This is a hard teaching."In addition, in reading the whole NT in a month I was struck with another obvious teaching. EXTREME pacifism and EXTREME obeissance to authority… both of which smack codependent recovery in the face! (Another of my counseling specialities.) Since those are off topic, I'll address them more in my blog. (I'll be stealing some of what I wrote here as well! Is one allowed to steal one's own writing??)So, I am tapering off my clients, as I really don't know what to tell them anymore, and while I reevaluate my faith; to wit, is it really the word of God, what does it really say, and how does one correctly apply it to life today. I just found your blog today, and subscribed with google reader. When I figure out how to add a blog roll to my blog, I'll add your site! 🙂

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  24. Thank you, IsToo. My pastor when counseling with me, said that I should have filed a legal separation, which would have exasperated my husband, and let him file for the divorce. Then he would have been acting as an unbeliever abandoning me. Sheesh, really? Yeah, that's what it was about his behavior that would have been making him act as an unbeliever.*drips with sarcasm* Anyway the pastor used Deuteronomy 24:1-4 as scripture to back up the whole reason I couldn't remarry him once he takes a new wife. I'm not a rocket scientist, and I'm certainly not a bible scholar, but that is definitely not applicable to the man.Instone-Brewer argues out of Exodus 21:7-11, which applies to slave wives, for a less to greater than approach. In other words, if a slave had these rights then certain a free woman would have even greater rights. But then as a Christian I felt I had to contend with Jesus' and Paul's words on the subject which, quite frankly, leave a lot of room for a plethora of interpretations. Oddly enough the Rabbi I spoke with did tell me that it is the guilty one who is punished in Judaism, so in an abusive situation, the abused spouse does have the right to divorce and remarry.There are so many teachings out there it's enough to make a girl go crazy. That's when I have to wonder….is the "word of God" so inspired? I was ingrained and indoctrinated with the idea the scripture was absolute truth. But with rampant relativism out there, kinda makes ya have to wonder.

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  25. It is so sick that a minister will tell you that you sinned for getting out of an abusive marriage. I am glad that you figured out that you didn't have to put up with abuse.

    Anisah

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  26. Wow — talk about a narcissistic post, but it certainly isn’t anything I haven’t read before — over and over and over by the same narcissistic and sociopathic people who need to control others. More evidence that biblical Christianity (is there any other?) promotes mental disorders, family dysfunction, and wreaks havoc on societies.

    “Many divorces are caused by rebellion on the part of the wife, i.e., her refusal to work with her husband and submit to his authority.”

    I’d be wealthy if I got 5 bucks for every time I was called a lesbian, selfish, and/or a feminazi while advocating for girls and women brainwashed into believing this harmful indoctrination. I can see that you studied the Bible extensively, as did I. I knew my Bible better than my pastors, and certainly my Christian partners. In your blog post you linked me, I was glad to see that you got, for the most part, positive feedback.

    You made an excellent point that slaves in the Bible were treated better than wives. And, most people, Christians, don’t seem to care that women are listed as property in the 10th Commandment (Protestant) along with slaves, livestock, material possessions and land. But they are hellbent on displaying these commandments in the public squares and school walls.

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen this site yet, but it helped me to understand why my deconversion was so painful, the after effects, and why I had triggers and flashbacks for years. Sometimes I still get them — so I’m not sure I’ll ever be rid of the damage caused by Christianity, but I’m in a much better frame of mind than I ever was as a Christian — that’s for damn sure.

    http://www.babcp.com/Review/RTS.aspx The articles on Religious Trauma Syndrome were published in the British journal, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Today, Nov. 2011

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    • Yes, I have seen it. I have Marlene Winell’s book as well. I even did a couple of Skype sessions with her well after the fact and before my re-marriage. She also facilitates a support group which I’ve participated in. Excellent material.

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      • That is great to read. We beat the odds, Ruth. It takes great strength to swim against the cultural current, especially given the fact that the two largest Christian denominations in America promote these “Christian values”. I have no issue if people want to believe in a personal god. But such belief has, historically, come at a great cost for so many.

        In his article,Religion’s Harm to Women<, Adam Lee, a contributing writer on Big Think , wrote:

        “It is tragic, but understandable, why so many men throughout history have supported these sexist and patriarchal belief systems. More incredible is how many women have willingly taken part in their own subjugation by joining and participating in religions that have done their utmost to deny them the full equality and equal rights which they deserve.”

        “The reality is that sincere religious beliefs and legitimate interpretations of scripture can, and very often do, cause immense evil and harm. And when a more enlightened future age arrives to tote up the harms done by religion, I am certain that the systematic oppression and denial of basic rights to one-half of the human race will rank near the top.”

        I believe that it will rank at the top, considering the negative ‘trickle down effect’ it’s had on humanity.

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        • Sometimes I feel like I’m still dog paddling. No matter, I’ll get there. Great quote!

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          • Dog paddling is a good analogy, but at least you are keeping your head above water. How long has it been since your deconversion? I started mine around ’98, but it took until 2005 to complete the deconversion process. Then I had to start working on pruning neural pathways and networks that were working against me. I’m still a work in progress, and I’m sure I always will be.

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          • I finally admitted(to myself) toward the end of 2010 that I had serious doubts and could no longer call myself a Christian by late 2011/early 2012. I’m still reading and researching and firming up my positions on things and probably will be for some time to come.

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          • Well, I must say that just engaging in discourse with you has been quite cathartic. This is something one never fully gets over. I went through my deconversion completely alone, without any support from my family or community, nor online support. At the time I was going through my it, I didn’t know there were support systems in place for people going through deconversion and religious trauma.

            Feel free to drop me an email any time. I’m happy our paths crossed, and I’d love to stay in touch. Hope you have a fantastical weekend.

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          • I don’t think I’ll ever be entirely “over it” either. Believers wonder why we’re here, why we care what they’re putting out there, why it matters to us what other people believe. This is why. This bullshit, right here, is why. So no one else has to feel alone.

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          • To be honest, by the point I wrote this post I was really struggling mentally. I had to throw the whole thing off rather quickly because of the anguish it was causing me. I seriously was devastated by my choice to divorce. At the time I still believed. The point I had gotten to in my marriage was, “I’m getting out of this and God will just have to forgive me.” Then when I started doubted that God would forgive such willful disobedience I started having panic attacks because I knew I could never go back and if a God did want me to live that way then I didn’t want anything to do with him anyway. So to hell with him. Then when I started really researching I wondered what the hell I’d been doing all along.

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          • Yeah, talk about mind-fuck, right? I can remember going back and forth, tormented by doubt, and at times, fear. Fear of God and fear of being an outcast. I didn’t fear hell, though, because I was already living it. Death seemed dear to me at times.

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          • ” I didn’t fear hell, though, because I was already living it. Death seemed dear to me at times.”

            Ooh..do I know that feeling! There were times I sat in my bath and cried praying for it. One colossal mind-fuck, I’d say.

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          • Well Ruth, this is not easy to admit, but I did try to end my life just before I started my deconversion. I was in ICU for a week, but the doctors told my parents that I probably wouldn’t make it through the night. It all started when I admitted to a doctor that I was experiencing depression. I was prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds, and the combo of both triggered major flashbacks, and at the time, death seemed to be the only relief.

            So the advice from the counselor “is death better than divorce?”, should give you a better idea as to why she said that — and all along Christians were telling me over and over that I had no grounds for divorce. I was also working for a Christian radio station as co-host and office manager so it was reinforced. It’s so embarrassing to admit this, and the vulnerability feels so raw. I’m not a weak person, but being a Christian nearly killed me. It did kill my 1st husband.

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          • Oh honey, I’m so sorry. When I prayed for death, and then imagined ways to accomplish it, I knew I needed help and called a psychiatrist. I knew my Christianity was killing me. I told a friend I’d had to put the Bible down because it only made me feel worse and none of it made any sense anymore. Her advice was to keep reading it until it did make sense again. The fact of the matter was, I understood what it was saying, I just couldn’t believe it anymore – for my own sanity. And for a while I couldn’t expose myself to it. It only made me sadder.

            I wish you weren’t embarrassed. I don’t think it’s something you need to feel embarrassed about. I think it takes tremendous strength to talk about it.

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          • Thank you, Ruth. I did seek help from professionals and it backfired. I’m so grateful for therapists like Marlene Winel who understand the complexities of religious trauma. I wished I had known about her back then. I’d say that many counselors, psychotherapists tend to use band aids rather than getting to the core of the problem. As Dr. Winel has said, it’s taboo, even within the psychological profession, to talk about the harm that authoritarian religions, like Christianity, cause. I did a post on how Christianity and the biblical teachings were the catalyst that drove my late husband to commit suicide..

            I’m posting this for educational purposes for any followers of your blog or lurkers out there who have had similar experiences and indoctrinations regarding teachings in the Bible. And if people think this is not common teachings and beliefs, and embraced by most in society in America, let alone the Christian world, they’ve had their head in the sand or clouds.

            In an interview with New York magazine:

            “You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.” ~Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

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          • Thank you for linking to your story here. I just had a chance to go over and read it. *Hugs*

            As for the Scalia quote: it’s spot on. The non-religious have no idea how rampant belief in spirits, both good and evil, actually is. Depending on which poll you believe somewhere between 54 and 57 percent of Americans believe in a real Satan. This Newsweek article talks about the effects of that belief.

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          • That Newsweek article was interesting. This part stood out:

            “People still believe in the Devil because there’s still a need for him to exist. He still plays an important role in many people’s belief systems and even daily lives.”

            I think the same could be said about belief in ‘God’. People rarely need God when things are going hunky dorey, unless their aim is to get filthy rich off of those who need to believe.

            They also need to believe in the Devil because he becomes the scapegoat to those who can’t comprehend that humans (for what ever the biological/neurological cause) can bring untold harm to others. Science has a good idea why ‘evil’ exists. Many people are still living in the Dark ages. Self-imposed ignorance. There’s no excuse to remain illiterate in this age of information.

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          • You and makagutu just made almost identical comments on two different threads.

            It’s funny how they applied that “need for him to exist” to the Devil and didn’t make the same analysis of God. Compartmentalization at it’s finest.

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          • LOL — Go Mak. It’s not the first time we’ve been on the same wave length. Now I must go see what he’s been up to. What thread was that?

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          • You’re welcome! 😀

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      • Ooops, I apparently messed up a tag. The 1st link still works, but the last link was also the result of that tag error. It take you to the same article.

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  27. You know, I may go through and read the whole blog from here to present. It sounds like you had a really powerful trip.

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