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» Ship of Fools   » Special interest discussion   » Kerygmania   » Fire in the hole (so to speak)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Fire in the hole (so to speak)

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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Paul famously (in 1 Cor 7) said:

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn.
What does that mean? Is he saying that the horny person's only choices are to get married and bonk, or stay single and burn with unrequited passion because they sure as hell (literally) aren't going to be bonking outside holy wedlock?

That's how I've heard the passage interpreted.

Is that right? What do our biblical scholars, and/or people who know more than I do about the Bible, and/or people who know less about the Bible than I do (if there are any) say?

This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

Posts: 63536 | From: Washington | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
# 16378

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Paul felt that the second coming would be in his lifetime. Consequently, he saw no real need to procreate. It did not take long for the church to realize this would be unworkable (about 20 years tops).

There was one cult in America that tried to take Paul literally, the Shakers. They survived for about 100 years because they took in orphans and abandoned children. As I recall the last of them have died. All we have remaining of them is their furniture and some of their songs (Lord of the Dance, for example)

Martin Luther used to tell seminarians, "If you can't keep it in your pants, get married."

I think both Paul and Luther had to agree the sex drive is more powerful than the ideal co celibacy.

Posts: 2193 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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I think he's just saying that someone who can't control his/her sexual urges ought to deal with it by getting married. That is IMHO one of the reasons marriage was created.

Certainly this contradicts the romantic ideal of marriage as well as the common Western belief that marriage ought to be a major meeting of soulmates or what have you, but this was a culture of largely arranged marriages made for many reasons, most of them practical; and there's a lot to be said for that view of marriage. Wasn't it Johnson who said that the man who was happy with one woman could be happy with dozens? Meaning, I think, that one major determiner of married bliss is one's own self control, courtesy and kindness.

As for the bit about only choices--well, what other options were there for those who could not be satisfied with masturbation? Adultery is right out, and fornication too, if for no other reason than because it involved so much uncharity to the woman (who would be risking pregnancy while at the same time forgoing her right to support and reputation in the community). Prostitution--can you honestly see Paul recommending that, especially given the OT view of it?

I think Paul is simply being sensible. If this area of your life is driving you nuts, deal with it properly, within the Law, and get on with other things that matter more. You don't need the distraction and you certainly don't need the extra temptation. Go find a yenta.

Full disclosure: I think Paul's advice is still sensible, though anybody who is marrying primarily because of the lust thing ought to give a non-lust-crazed responsible person a veto over bad spouse choices. In other words, concerned parents, a professional matchmaker, or relatives who really care about you. Which would head off the problem of teenagers who are so sex-crazed they grab the first warm body who'll have them and regret it later.

And yes, if it were me (as I once thought it would be) I'd be willing to enter in to such a "sensible" marriage.

Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 20059 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
# 13815

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Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I think he's just saying that someone who can't control his/her sexual urges ought to deal with it by getting married.

I think that's a valid interpretation and perhaps the more common. It's also possible to see it as Paul saying that time and energy be spent chasing marriage ought more properly be spent in prayer, preaching, visiting the poor etc.

Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

Posts: 7028 | From: Warrawee NSW Australia | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
Latchkey Kid
# 12444

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For some reason, I have never heard this scripture read at a wedding. [Devil]

'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
Mika; in Hello? Is Anybody There?, Jostein Gaardner

Posts: 2592 | From: The wizardest little town in Oz | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged

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