Book Review: Lying

Lying (Kindle Single) By Sam Harris, 2011, $2.99 Kindle Edition.

Lying CoverOne would not typically think of Sam Harris agreeing with Christians about something. Harris, after all, is the author of books such as The End of Faith and has made a career of being antagonistic towards Christianity, the Bible, and faith in general. However, in Lying, a Kindle Single on the importance of honesty, Harris promotes an idea that is very biblical: that lies (even small, white ones) are always wrong.

This principle of total and complete honesty that Harris tries to live out was instilled in him by a college course he took at Stanford called “The Ethical Analyst,” after which he was convinced that “lying, even about the smallest matters, needlessly damages personal relationships and public trust.” The rest of this short book is devoted to explaining exactly how lying causes those damages and explaining why being honest is always the better option. Continue reading Book Review: Lying

Marriage, Singleness, & Sex

    1    Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.
    2    But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
    3    The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
    4    The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
    5    Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
    6    But this I say by way of concession, not of command.
    7    Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.
    8    But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.
    9    But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
(1 Corinthians 7:1-9)

We often think of ancient Greece as a bastion of culture and the birth place of Western civilization, but in reality, the Greeks were really messed up, especially when it came to sex. At various times and in different city-states, men were allowed (even expected) to have sexual relationships with adolescent boys in exchange for educating them, soldiers were encouraged to have homosexual relationships with each other under the belief that one would fight harder if on the same battlefield as his lover, and women were made into temple prostitutes where men would sleep with them to “worship” their gods. As sexually depraved as our culture has become, Greece was probably still much worse.

By the time Paul wrote to the Corinthians, at least 2 incorrect views of sex had started to infiltrate the church at Corinth, a city known for its sexual immorality: Continue reading Marriage, Singleness, & Sex

Divorce & Remarriage According to Jesus

They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” (Matthew 19:7)

a letter of divorce dating back to the 1st century AD (source: 1000 Bible Images, German Bible Society)
a letter of divorce dating back to the 1st century AD
(source: 1000 Bible Images, German Bible Society)

Jesus had been confronted with the question of divorce. The Pharisees, trying to trick Jesus into painting himself into a corner on a controversial issue, asked if a man could divorce his wife for any reason. Jesus responded by pointing them back to Genesis where the man and woman became one flesh, says they were made so by God, and declares that no man should separate what God has joined together.

The Pharisees think they have Jesus trapped. Jesus declared in verse 6 that man should not separate what God has joined together, but the Law clearly allowed for the possibility of divorce. They think their knowledge of the Law was finally superior to Jesus’. In the succeeding verses, we see how Jesus responds to this follow-up question, but for now we’ll look at the passage from Deuteronomy that the Pharisees were referring to: Continue reading Divorce & Remarriage According to Jesus