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Old 01-16-2005, 11:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Christians? Fornication and Gambling.

Im not sure if this should go here or not but this sounded the most fitting Basically I have two seperate questions.

1. My girlfriend of 5 years has been reading more into the Bible (we are both Christians) and she is becoming a bit worried about fornication. The Bible says its a sin, and it is basically defined as having sex before marriage. Basically, I want to know what marriage is as far as the Bible is concerned...

We have all intentions of getting married but we want to finish school first. We honestly dont really have sex -that- often but we dont want to feel guilty and be sinning every time we do, even though 90%+ people do it before marriage anyways.


2. Second is gambling. After reading some more into the Bible, my girlfriend decided to bring it up to me that I am sinning when I gamble. I play low stakes games online and am going to Vegas for the first time in May; I dont gamble more than I care to lose and I just enjoy it as a leisure activity. Is gambling just that no matter what? Am I in the wrong? :/



After looking at these two sins, I cant help but think about Gluttony and how nobody without a disorder has ever avoided being a glutton. I know that doesn't make the others right, but Its just that its another one I would question the translation, exact meaning, etc. of.

Someone please clear me up
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Old 01-17-2005, 12:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i've just breezed through some of the major biblical arguments on gambling and the only one that i saw that held some reasonable water was the idea that it is a greedy/covetous practice to gamble for money when you could just as easily gamble for no money for fun.

this is not necessarily true. you can't gamble for fun in vegas. if you're a responsible person and fully recognize the fact that you're going to come out of the experience with less money than you started with, i don't see how its covetous or greedy. as long as you have a budget and spend no more than you're willing to lose and gambling smart to try and maximise your personal enjoyment, not taking the risk for the possible return, i personally don't see much harm.

as for the fornication thing, yes the bible says something to that effect. googled <a href="http://www.libchrist.com/bible/fornication.html" target="_blank">this</a> and it might be worth your read.
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Old 01-17-2005, 06:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would recommend you both sit down and read the entire book. One of the biggest issues people have with the scripture is interpretation of what is written, and context manipulation.Taking the literal translations of many passages would mean severe limitations placed on what is by todays standards, normal societal interaction.
If indeed you wish to take these texts literally, she will need to be subserviant to you, and avoid certain clothing and foods. There are many things in the books that run counter to common sense and need to be taken with the appropriate grains of salt.

Just my opinion.
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Old 01-17-2005, 07:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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IMHO, tecoyah is right in that taking the Bible literally will cause you some major problems, especially the Old Testament. I think a better approach would be to consider the time and place it was written and realize that the authors probably did not consider our modern approach to life such as women's equality, etc...

If I were a Christian, I would simply ask myself what would a benevolent God consider a sin in today's world and act accordingly. Something like all things in moderation, including sex and gambling.

Perhaps other Christians would be able to give better advice, I haven't been one for quite some time now.

Last edited by flstf; 01-17-2005 at 09:38 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-17-2005, 08:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If you're going to start picking and choosing which scriptural passages to live your life by, you're going to open a major can of theological worms. Rather than looking for "rules" in the bible, how about taking one of the most basic tenets of all religions - do unto others as you would have them do unto you - and letting that be a guide to your actions?

Just remember that a lot of biblical proscriptions fall into one of the following categories:

1. They had really good reasons when the Bible was written, like dietary rules and such. They were there to protect the tribe from eating things that were bad for you.

2. Cultural superstitions that were particular to the societies in which the Bible is contextualized, like taboos around menstruating women.

3. Man-made rules that people in power wanted to codify beyond challenge so they said "it offends God."

The whole "sex before marriage" thing makes a lot of sense when you consider that this was a patriarchal society without access to DNA paternity testing, and that the survival of your tribe might depend on passing on your property (goats, cattle, tents, water jugs) to your sons. It also makes a lot of sense when you consider that disputes over women (essentially considered property at the time) could cause a hell of a lot of strife that could put the welfare of the tribe/clan at risk. Hence the emphasis on adultery, inheritance, sexual behavior, etc.

Does your girlfriend want you to start a retirement account? Ask her to explain the difference between gambling online or in Vegas and putting your money into the stock market.

I would recommend an interesting book called "The Bible Tells Me So" that points out a lot of the contradictions in Biblical proscriptions of "hot topic" issues and explains a lot of the reasons why debating factions have chosen this or that scripture to support their point of view.

There are a lot of good, practical reasons to avoid sex before marriage and gambling, but "the Bible says so" is not really a logically sound one. (It also says to stone disobedient children and adulterous wives. And does she plan on keeping Kosher?) Definitely give some serious thought to your actions and their likely moral, spiritual and practical consequences, but remember that thinking for yourself is not a sin.
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies so far guys, I appreciate it very much.

The biggest thing that helps is how women in that time were considered property, people were to be stoned for different crimes, etc. Just a few examples of things that have changed with time.

It's just difficult trying to be a good Christian and not knowing what still applies today and what doesn't.
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Old 01-17-2005, 10:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I find that the "best" Christians are the ones who focus least on the letter of the Bible per se and most on the spirit of it. Stick to the stuff about forgiveness, kindness, charity, love, and respect, and you should be fine. That's the kind of thing that applies in any age and in any culture. Figuring out the details is up to you.
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I would expand on what Lurkette says and point to the teachings of Jesus and what he said about the Law.

The two greatest laws are to love God with your whole heart, your whole mind and your whole body. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Now what does this mean in light of your questions?

To me it means that anything that comes between you and God or you and your fellow person is 'sinful'.

When I care for someone and am committed to them, then sex is the most holy gift we can share.

On the flip side, sex for personal gratification with no thought of the consequences or other person is extremely hurtful and sinful for the people involved.

Likewise with gambling.

So in short, to me there is no simple "yes" or "no" answer to your questions. I think that you must examine the issue and ask yourselves honestly how ALL of your actions affect you both and your relationship with God.

Good luck and God Bless!
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Old 01-17-2005, 04:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I am a devout Christian, so I figure I should throw my two cents in here.

I will never understand why most people equate Christianity with a list of rules. In the Old Testament, God handed down the Law to Moses and that indeed was a list of rules. At that time, the way to atone for these sins was through sacrificial shedding of blood.

When Jesus was sent to Earth, He was sent as the ultimate sacrifice, so that all sins were paid in full, if you just accepted Him for who He was.

Now as for the original question, why do you need clarification from a bunch of people on the internet? Being a Christian means you are supposed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You desire to do what is pleasing to Him. The Bible does state that sex is a gift from God in marriage, and it seems that you believe that to a point since you are feeling a sort of guilt or unsure-ity(that's not a word I suppose). If you consider yourself a Christian, pray about it. Ask the only one who will give you your answer. You believe that God loves and cares for you, so why would he not answer your question?

I know someone here can try and point out places where they think I am wrong in this, but all I am simply saying is that you believe that Jesus is your Savior and that you should live your life for Him right? So ask Him how He wants you to live your life.

My wife and I waited to have sex until marriage and are extremely happy we did. My advice to you is to pray about it.
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Old 01-17-2005, 05:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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First of all, shouldn't this thread be in Philosophy?

Anway...Christianity is not black and white. You have to decide for yourself what parts of the Bible to obey and which to ignore. Take the whole thing literally, and you will have to throw out all your clothes made from blended fabrics and break any pots your girlfriend touches when she is having a period. You go to church on Saturday, like Jesus did? Pray on it. Meditate on it. Consult with clergy that share your overall faith.
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Old 01-17-2005, 06:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank you guys all for the great replies I was browsing online and ran into this sermon:

http://www.firstchurchseattle.org/yourti83651.html

Belonging to a Methodist church myself, I found this very interesting.
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Old 01-17-2005, 09:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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To build on what lurkette and tecoyah said: You might want to look into reading some "histories" of biblical translation and revision. One can gain a lot of insight into how the Christian Bible has been used and changed over time in order to match or shift the zeitgeist of the ear. Take a look at Benson Bobrick wonderful popular history called Wide As the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired. Bobrick lays out an easy to understand history of how the bible was translated into English and the editing distionions that were made to keep both the Anglicans and the Puritans happy.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:33 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Personally, I would agree with the idea that the Bible proscribes sex before marriage, but a good many people read it slightly different. The idea is that sex IS marriage - the joining of two fleshes to become one flesh. So, at the end of the day, what the Bible teaches is that (barring divorce and death), you should only have one sexual partner your whole life. So sex before marriage isn't wrong (as long as it's with the person you're going to marry). It may be unwise, but it's not wrong.

On gambling; I don't think there's anything wrong with gambling in moderation. We have regular texas hold 'em games, and I spend less on those than if I spend the night out at the bar. The only complaint anyone should have, I think, is if you're spending more than you can afford to lose.

On the interpretation of scriptural proscription in general; if you hold to the standard Christian view, that the Bible is divinely inspired (whatever you might happen to mean by that), I think it's important not to just write off proscriptions as "what a patriarchal tribe thought 2000+ years ago". My general rule of thumb is that, if something proscribed in the Bible seems perfectly alright to me, I try to think about what the general principle behind it would be. For example, there are certain passages in the NT about what a woman should wear. It's clear to me that these don't really apply, but the general principle behind them, that one should not dress in an ostentatious manner, still does.
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:01 AM   #14 (permalink)
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God doesn't just make up rules for amusement. There are reasons, moral, logical, ethical, behind his laws and rules. Why no sex before marrige and gambeling?

No sex before marrige: How many people who abstain from sex have STDs, or AIDs? How many people who abstain have teenage pregnancies (besides Mary the mother of Jesus)? God is trying to protect us from ourselves. If you are responsible enough to have kids, and you KNOW your partner doesn't have any STDs, you're probably alright. "We have all intentions of getting married but we want to finish school first." You are not ready for kids. If you have intercourse 100 times each time using a condom, there is a chance some of your sperm will get through. Spermacide, male/female condoms, the pill all have failure rates. It's thbat simple. Until we have a perfect contraceptive (besides castration or abstainance), you are running a risk. If you are married, you are usually stable enough to support a child. If you are still in school, you are not.

Actually, the word "gambling" never appears in the bible. The church uses inuendo and far fetched interpretations about this one. Gambling can be addictive, so be careful, but have fun. Go with a certian amount to spend, win or lose, and leave knowing you had fun.
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Old 01-18-2005, 11:21 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I want to add the obligatory "you're-wasting-your-time-there-is-no-God" post here. I've said this before, but I just can't fathom why anyone basis life decisions on a book that was written two-thousand years ago.
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Old 01-18-2005, 08:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
The idea is that sex IS marriage - the joining of two fleshes to become one flesh.
i don't think that's biblical at all. Judges 19? Is the servant married? To whom?

Or Tamar? Who is she married to? What about Judah?

There are many theologies of marriage in the Bible...lifting one up and calling it THE answer is not very transparent.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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It may be just me, but I personally find it ludicrous to ask for religious advice on a forum that is filled with mostly non religious people.

I don't mean that as a slight to anyone, religious or not, but wouldn't you be better off asking someone from your church or something? After all, that is what pastors are for: to teach and guide. Why ask a group of people, the majority of don't even believe the Bible is true?

EDIT: and if you talk to someone at your church, and they judge or condemn you for having sex or gambling, find a new church. You should be loved at your church, not judged.

Last edited by Carn; 01-18-2005 at 09:34 PM..
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Old 01-18-2005, 10:00 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carn
EDIT: and if you talk to someone at your church, and they judge or condemn you for having sex or gambling, find a new church. You should be loved at your church, not judged.
This may be some of the most practical advice one could give about religion. I could not of said it better myself
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