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Posts Tagged ‘Protestantism’

Okay, Catholics.  I know you’re out there.  I want to know why you think the Virgin Mary died a virgin.  After all, she was…married!

*

I studied theology at a Catholic seminary that trained monks and nuns for one semester.  I was the only non-priest, non-monk, non-nun in this class, which in theory was supposed to be about the history of the modern in church.  In practice, the coursework reached the Reformation during the first week and never advanced beyond it for the entire semester.  Periodically, my professor would beseechingly ask me questions about why I was a protestant heretic.

My favorite such encounter was when he stopped mid-sentence during one lecture and said to me, “FierceLinguist, why don’t you love the Virgin Mary?  Your church is motherless!” *cue much gasping from the nuns and monks in the audience*  I offered a halting explanation in Spanish at to why Protestants think the Virgin Mary is a Very Nice Lady and yet not someone who can help you with prayers.

I’m actually a big fan of the Virgin Mary, but I’m really not sure why it’s so abhorrent for people to think that she eventually had sex with her husband.  My husband has requested that I not  ask our priest about this at mass this weekend.  I’m pretty sure he’d just start talking about Tradition with a capital “t” anyway.  Or say it’s a “mystery” of the church, which means, “Bless your heart, it’s rude to ask about the sex lives of saints.  This is why you’re one of the separated brethren.”

*http://blasphemes.blogspot.com/2009_11_01_archive.html

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I’m really interested in alternative family life styles, particularly when they are connected to religious beliefs.  I’ve been thinking a lot about polygamy of the type that is practiced by Fundamentalist Mormons.  I believe that it is none of the government’s business how consenting and informed adults structure their marriages.

Why are modern Christians so opposed to polygamist marriage?  (I just used “Christian” in a way that excludes FLDS members, but that’s a post for another day.)  Many of the important biblical patriarchs like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and David practiced polygamy, and nowhere that I know of in the New Testament does the bible state that polygamy is a practice of the old covenant, but not of the new.  (I read the bible every day.  I’m kind of a Pharisee.)  For that matter, why are modern day Jewish people opposed to polygamy?

To clarify, I am not personally interested in practicing polygamy.   However, I’m deeply interested in the extent to which Protestants rely on extra-biblical tradition (rather than “sola scriptura”) when defining church doctrine. It seems to me that the Catholic church has a very coherent position opposing polygamy since they can call on Tradition with a capital “t” to justify their doctrine, but that people who believe that the bible is the literal and infallible word of God with nothing to add or subtract are standing on shakier ground when it comes to this issue.

Do you think polygamy should be legal?  Protestants, what are you basing your (presumed) opposition to polygamy on?*

*Yes, I ended that sentence in a preposition.  It’s okay – I’m a trained linguist.

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