Saturday, June 28, 2014

Vitriol From Pro-vacs

It is common when there is an outbreak of so-called "vaccine preventable diseases" that there will be news articles attempting to shame those who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children. Actually, they really only get upset with those who won't vaccinate their children because Nazis people just love to tell others how to raise their children or have the government force parents to do what the Nazis people want. Rarely do I see a call for adults to get themselves vaccinated because it violates the liberal mantra to interfere with the "choice" of an adult. Anyway, this article from The New York Times is a classic example. It was stimulated by the resent outbreak of measles in Ohio.

The text of the article itself is entirely predictable and not noteworthy. What was shocking to me were the comments. There are comments that stop just short of advocating violence against parents who don't vaccinate. The common theme is that unvaccinated children should live their entire lives under quarantine inside of their homes. The humorous comments are the ones that start out with, "I was vaccinated against X and still got X... " which then go on to talk about how all children should be forced to get vaccinated. Huh? And it seems as though big pharma has succeeded in convincing a great number of people that measles is deadly.

This is disturbing, of course. But what frustrates me more is that at the same time that these people are accusing anti-vacs like me of getting my information from Jenny McCarthy and not being able to do my own research and not knowing any facts about disease or vaccines, they remain blissfully (or in this case angrily) unaware that over a single 12 year period in the United States only 4 people died of measles. None of them were children. Nearly all of the "victims" of the current Ohio outbreak of measles are adults.

Predictably, there was one pro-vac commenter who stated that big pharma can't use double blind studies to prove the safety and efficacy of vaccines because it would unethical. I guess it is more ethical to simply start giving the vaccinations and use everyone as test subjects?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Against Disease

I want to continue the conversation started here about vaccinations. In that piece I mentioned that pro-vacs tend to mischaracterize what it is that anti-vacs actually believe and say. If I understand the terms of logic, this represents a straw man argument, where one party provides a counter-argument to an argument that was never even presented. It is like setting up a straw man and then knocking it down. Anyone can defeat a straw man. It is much more difficult to address the actual arguments being made.

Recently I was accused of believing that getting diseases is healthy and that I am hoping that my children contract all sorts of illness because I believe it benefits their immune systems. Let me be clear here -- disease is the opposite of health. When a child is experiencing a diseased state of the body it is always, in my estimation, not a good thing. I have no wish or desire for my children to get diseases. I do not think only in terms of healthy and unhealthy but rather whether my children exist in a general state of wellness.  Over the past year my children have been exposed to and some of them contracted both pertussis (whooping cough) and chicken pox. How do I feel about that?

Their short term discomfort from those illnesses caused me to sympathize with them for sure, but at no time did they become seriously ill or need a doctor's care. They certainly were never anywhere near death. And now they have a lifelong immunity to whooping cough and long-term immunity against chicken pox. In addition, the entire family received a varicella zoster booster, in the form of exposure to active chicken pox, which will hopefully help us keep shingles at bay. I don't view this as being "good for the immune system". The immune system is good on its own. The fact that no one dies in our home from their daily exposure to viruses and bacteria is a pretty good sign that their immune systems are functioning well.

On the other hand, I do believe that the lack of live chicken pox virus floating around the populous is resulting in an increasing rate of shingles and the appearance of shingles in younger and younger people. Let me explain. When I was growing up in the 1970's and 1980's, shingles was nearly unheard of. The general understanding was that after having chicken pox, usually as a child, that a person was then immune to the illness of chicken pox for life, however, the virus would remain dormant, possibly hiding within nerve cells, and inexplicably would occasionally manifest itself as shingles. When I say "occasionally," I mean rarely. I never knew anyone with a case of shingles while I was growing up. Today, shingles is practically common. It seems that we are always praying for someone at church who is suffering from a painful case of shingles.

Is there something different about today's elderly people that makes them more susceptible to shingles? Yes there is. They don't get regular "boosters" of exposure to live cases of chicken pox. Because of the use of chicken pox vaccination, there are fewer young children running around with chicken pox than there used to be. In addition, the elderly tend to spend less time surrounded by lots of children, choosing instead to live in isolated communities and homes with other elderly. If they do have grandchildren that visit them, it is probably only  one or two, rather than 10. In contrast, when I was a child, we were around our grandparents all the time. And children who had chicken pox did not isolate themselves because everyone older had already had chicken pox and everyone younger was bound to get it. It was not considered a serious illness, because it isn't. This means that nearly everyone in the population who had any contact with children, including in public places like stores, was getting continual re-exposure to the virus that causes chicken pox.  This probably stimulated their immune systems to keep the varicella virus in check within their bodies, protecting from an outbreak of shingles.

Once an elderly person withdrew from exposure to children, he also withdrew from re-exposure to chicken pox and so his chance of getting shingles increased. How long does a person have to be away from chicken pox before she becomes vulnerable to a shingles attack? I can't find this information anywhere, but from personal experience in our family I know it can be as soon as 10 years. How did I discover this? Because my oldest son, who had chicken pox when he was about 7 got shingles when he was not yet 15. My second daughter had chicken pox when she was around 5 and got shingles at 20. My second son had chicken pox at around 3 and had shingles at 18. The pharmaceutical industry's answer to the massive increase in shingles is just another vaccine, recommended for the elderly. The shingles vaccine contains 14 times the strength of the chicken pox vaccine.

Have you heard anything about shingles in younger and younger people. Probably not because people do not go to the doctor when they have a small shingles lesion.  People don't go to the doctor for shingles until they need help with the pain or develop a secondary infection. So shingles, like most disease, is under reported. Younger people don't develop complications from shingles at the same rate as the elderly. How long before shingles is no longer classified as a disease of the elderly? How long until the shingles vaccine is recommend for all adults every 5 or 10 years?  A problem created by the combination of lifestyle changes plus vaccines is "cured" by yet another vaccine.

So, I don't want my children to have the diseases for which there are vaccines. But at the same time, I don't fear those diseases either.

The Scientific Method Has Fallen Out Of Favor

Full disclosure -- I am not a scientist. I don't pretend to be a scientist and I don't play one on television. Some may describe me as an evangelical fundamentalist Bible-thumper and declare me to be, therefore, anti-science, but that is untrue: at least the "anti-science" part. I love science. I love discovery. I love how science has been used in the development of technologies that make my life better. I hate that under the guise of science certain entities have furthered their agendas and done damage to liberty, public and individual health and the reputation of true science. Of what do I speak, you ask? Vaccines.

If I have to hear one more accusation that I am brain-washed, that I only know one side of the debate or that I just don't "understand the science" I am going to scream. It is particularly irksome to hear these accusations from anyone who has never even read a single article, let alone an entire book, which questions the wisdom of vaccinations and cannot even reasonably state the objections against vaccines. These accusations almost always start with the straw man "I know you think vaccines cause autism, but this has been proven to be false." I have yet to tell a single person that I don't vaccinate my children because I am afraid the vaccines will give them autism. 

Besides being frustrated by the pro-vac crowd always telling me I'm ignorant and that my children live under a continual threat of death from the looming, evil chicken pox, I am also frustrated that almost no one in the anti-vac crowd confronts the underlying theory upon which the entire vaccine house-of-cards is built. I reject that theory and the vaccines that flow from it.

At the risk of having a bunch of scientists tell me I'm an ignoramus, I'm going to talk about the scientific method and why I admire it. I've taken several science classes in both high school and college. In most of those course I had to be able to demonstrate that I understand the basic concept of the method. It is called a method because it is a particular process, a series of steps, used to make discoveries. It isn't so much about proving things as it is about eliminating ideas that are not accurate. This is not how vaccine science works because the very foundation of this method is undermined. Using the scientific method any given hypothesis can be supported by testing or it can be eliminated  by testing. If the hypothesis is not tested (using the rules of the scientific method) or if testing is accepted as valid only when it validates the hypothesis, then whatever is being done is simply not science. It might be technical, it might involve scientific subjects, it might involve studies, but it is not science.

When a hypothesis is presented, a true scientist does not become so invested in the hypothesis being correct that he is unable to design or unwilling to use tests which will lead to the destruction of the hypothesis. For example, I will describe in very simple language the hypothesis behind why vaccines prevent disease. It goes something like this: In nature, if a person is exposed to a disease pathogen such as a bacteria (pertussis, for example) or a virus (chicken pox, for example), this exposure and subsequent disease process in the body cause the body to develop a resistance so that future exposure to the pathogen does not result in illness in that individual. The individual is said to be "immune." A vaccination is a process whereby the disease organism is introduced into the body in a manner that does not cause illness but stimulates the body to create the same or similar immune response as if it had contracted the illness, resulting in the individual becoming immune.

The hypothesis does not need to attempt to describe how the body creates an immune response or what the factors are within the body in order for the hypothesis to be tested. In the case of vaccines, another related hypothesis was developed which says, roughly, that the way the body exercises immunity is by creating antibodies which recognize and attack the disease organism if it should present itself to the body after the original exposure and that the existence of these antibodies is a legitimate test of immunity.  This hypothesis has already been disproved,  although support and belief in this hypothesis remains high within the pro-vac community.

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has posted an article this month dealing with the measles and the measles vaccine which shines a light on what happens when your hypothesis isn't testing out to be true and you persist in using it as a basis for dealing with disease. The information shared in this article has been around for over 50 years, that is, it is dealing with vaccine events that happened as far back as 1963 when the measles vaccine was first introduced in the United States. Reading this article just strengthened my suspicions that the whole vaccine theory is flawed.

My basic objection to the theory behind all vaccines is that the mechanism behind immunity is not fully understood by medical science nor can it be. As the above article points out, even children who have a disorder whereby they cannot produce antibodies are able to become immune to measles (and other diseases) by being naturally exposed to the virus and experiencing some level of illness from the disease, even though they did not produce antibodies against the virus that allegedly causes measles. Without knowing fully the cause of disease or the mechanism of immunity development, how can pharmaceutical companies justify creating and injecting potentially harmful chemicals and disease causing organisms into humans in the attempt to create immunity?  Additionally and also pointed out in the article is the fact that any immunity created through the use of vaccines does not mimic natural immunity and is short-lived at best and non-existent at worst. To date, not a single vaccine has been tested and shown to be as effective in creating immunity as natural exposure and none have been shown to create a life-long immunity as originally promised and as continues to be promised in the case of some vaccines.

Pro-vac folks tell me that double blind studies on humans would be unethical and that is why they are not done. But doesn't that make all humans test subjects who submit to the vaccine? In the case of measles vaccine, we see that a killed measles vaccine was introduced into the U.S. and was used for several years until it became obvious that it didn't work and was dangerous, or rather until another vaccine could be approved for use. That is the way of the vaccine market. Untested products are used on real human subjects until they are shown to be dangerous AND there is a replacement waiting in the wings. We saw the same thing with the live polio virus in the U.S. I was telling my doctor that I didn't want my children to have it because they would be shedding live polio virus for months and I was poo-pooed. 15 years later, it fell out of favor in the U.S. for that very reason, but not until a replacement was ready. If I knew about the dangers in the days before the internet, the medical community knew about it, too. But the agenda said to keep going regardless of what the science says.

So this is my beef, the theory behind vaccinations doesn't pass scientific muster. The hypothesis that injecting pathogenic organisms into humans causes an immune response that is similar to or identical to the natural immune response to actually contracting the disease is flawed. It has not been proven through scientific testing using the scientific method. There is no scientific evidence that vaccines reduce the rates of disease or the rates of death from disease.

This is enough for me. Even if I didn't have genuine concerns about the safety of injecting poisonous chemicals and dangerous disease organisms along with foreign proteins into human bodies and even if I didn't have genuine concerns about the damage these vaccines cause to the immune system and the contributions they make to auto-immune disorders, I wouldn't vaccinate my children because I have no confidence that they do any good whatsoever. Our bodies were not designed to learn to resist disease that enters our bodies by injection, which is not the normal path of infection with the possible exception of tetanus.

The theory behind vaccines also relies heavily on the questionable "germ theory" which states that exposure to pathogenic organisms is the primary mechanism behind disease rather than the theory that the state of the body, its health and vitality, determine whether a body will become diseased and the extent to which it will resist and recover from disease. There is also no consideration in the vaccine industry about whether there is any disease for which the risk of death is so low that the risks of the vaccine are greater than any benefit that could come from avoiding the disease. This is most obvious to those of us who grew up in an age where everyone we knew had the chicken pox with no apparent danger to life and limb. But as the above article documents, this was also true for measles at the time the vaccine was introduced. Not only did very, very few people die or even need to be hospitalized for measles, modern medicine had discovered very effective vitamin treatments which completely cured measles in a matter of days.

I am always open to discussion of this issue as long as there are no ad hominem attacks. I am not afraid of any facts. Scare tactics don't work on me, so keep those to yourself. There are so many more aspects of this issue that are not discussed. Please surprise me with an argument I haven't yet heard.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Does Physical Contact Lead to Sex?

This is the second in a two-part series addressing the claims of Lily Dunn that the Church taught her lies about sex. In my first post I agreed with two of her claims and gave my own solution for how the Church or her parents could have done it better. This time I'm going to disagree with her assertion that the Church (it is Churchianity really, not the orthodox teachings of the Church that come from Scripture) was wrong to teach her that "Any and all physical contact is like a gateway drug to sex."

I'm going to quote a paragraph here where she sums up her idea on this issue and sets up a straw man:

If you are committed to waiting until you’re married to have sex, there are many valid reasons to set boundaries on your physical relationship, but the fear of accidentally having sex shouldn’t be one of them.

The straw man in the above paragraph is the use of the word "accidentally." In her own analysis of the issue she accurately describes, I believe, the things she was being told. One of them was that kissing and petting become a "slippery slope" to more sexual activity, including intercourse. I am not sure why she would characterize this warning as her teachers saying that holding hands would lead to accidentally engaging in intercourse. I'm pretty sure, as a matter of fact I'm positive, that her teacher meant that a girl who engages in small sexual behaviors is more likely to choose to do more. Sex isn't something that happens to a woman, it is something she does. A dog bites a child. But a woman is a participant in sex. 

While Lily accuses her teachers of saying that "(g)irls don't care about sex" (Her point number 3), what they were very clearly saying in teaching her to avoid physical contact is that women care very much about sex. They care about it as much as men. At no point did she accuse her teachers of telling her to avoid physical contact because a man might misunderstand her willingness and thus force himself upon her. They were saying that when you want to bake bread, you first heat up the oven. If you have absolutely no intention of baking bread, why are you heating the oven?  I wonder if Lily expects her husband to preheat her oven before having sex with her? Does she not consider that when he is petting her and kissing her that he is hoping or wanting to move on to intercourse? This is not craziness and it is not a concept that only Christians believe. The difference between Christians and the world on this issue is not whether sexual contact begets more sexual contact, it is whether sexual contact between non-marrieds is appropriate. The world says it is ok, as long as the woman wants to do it, so naturally they aren't going to be saying, "don't hold hands" or "don't kiss."

This opens up her whole blog post to the criticism that while she may have believed the wrong things about sex, it was not because of what she was told but because of how she interpreted what she heard. Her teachers said that some sexual contact (physical touch) leads to more, she heard, "you might accidentally have sex." That is as ridiculous as it sounds, and it isn't what they said. She heard, "girls don't care about sex," but what they said was "you young women care about sex and will do it if you get aroused."

Here might be an appropriate place to discuss what IS a permitted amount of physical touch or romantic involvement between an unmarried man and woman. Lily certainly gave no guidelines as to what the Church should have taught her or whether the Scriptures address this issue. She seems to be saying that each woman should be free to decide that for herself because she knows herself and will make good decisions. Of course, all of history would be against that idea and all women, even old ones, need to have good boundaries to keep them from sin. We flee temptation, not revel in it to see how close we can come to sin without really doing it.

There is no Scripture saying how much physical contact non-marrieds can have. Perhaps the Word is arguing from its silence on the subject? After all, this is a very modern question. The answer to our ancestors was apparently obvious. I shall endeavor to address it by asking a question. What level of physical contact is acceptable between me, a married woman and a man who is not my husband? Would it be acceptable for me to sit in the back pew at church and hold hands with a man? Why not? What about kissing another man? What about letting him fondle me over my clothing? Put his arm around me while we walk on the beach? What is the reason that we cringe when we read those things? What is wrong with them? I am not talking about having sex with him, right?

Here is the answer. As far as we know from Scripture, romantic or sexual contact is only permitted between married people. A woman is to reserve her romantic and sexual behaviors (and they are the same thing) for her husband exclusively. If she is not married, she has no one upon whom she can bestow these behaviors. They are no more appropriate to shower upon on a man who is not her husband before she gets married than after she gets married. Sex is for married people, don't we all agree? It is wrong to include only intercourse in the definition of "sex". If so, fellatio is in the same category as hand holding. That is the "not sex" category. No serious person can say, "I can hold hands with this young man because the Bible doesn't prohibit it" unless she is also willing to say, "I can suck on the penis of this man because the Bible doesn't prohibit it." But then, maybe that is her argument to which I throw up my hands and say, "I get it, you won't have your behaviors restricted by anyone." The feminist imperative at work.

Churchianity's Teachings on Marital Sex

On facebook the other day I came across this blog post, 4 Lies The Church Taught Me About Sex , and it made me feel sad. Call me idealistic, but sex is wonderful and Christians should be enjoying it to a higher degree than any one else on the planet. Only Christians can immerse themselves fully, body, soul and spirit in what it means to be married, to be one flesh, to be living out the picture of eternal union with Christ. Amen?  I don't mean that every time a husband and wife come together it should turn into worship (that's pagan) or that it should be a transcendent spiritual episode, but simply that we should be absolutely free to abandon ourselves to the physical pleasure that is sex. It should be triumphant, not guilt ridden. So what went wrong?

I'm going to skip over her point number 1 completely for right now. I don't agree with her and I want to author another post addressing her complaint that she was taught "Any and all physical contact is like a gateway drug to sex."

So we move on to point number 2, "If you wait until you are married to have sex, God will reward you with mind-blowing sex and a magical wedding night." There is so much wrong with this idea, especially the part that follows "God will reward you." God (or nature) WILL reward you for keeping your sex life exclusive to your husband. In the same way that a woman who doesn't do this has the opposite of reward, which may manifest itself as guilt, regret, disease, emotional distress or some other negative issue.  But who or what would tell young women that marriage night sex is "mind-blowing" or "magical"? Assuming the authoress of this post was actually taught that and that she herself didn't teach it to herself, this is just irresponsible and downright cruel.

Here is the big rub for me. Truth. Truth. Truth. What do Christians and especially Churchians have against truth? What do we fear? Do we secretly believe that premarital sex is fun and exciting and that if we let young women know that they will all run off and start fornicating? So we feel compelled to build some sand castles in the sky for them about marital sex that will only come true if they abstain before? Nothing in the Christian walk is an incantation or spell. We don't do or say the right things and therefore obligate God to give us prizes. The reason that woman should reserve sex for marriage is because it is the only context in which God gives us permission to exercise that joy. It is obedience. The fact that there are consequences for not doing it is only secondary, because frankly, in a practical sense, there may very well be benefits that come from disobeying. Can premarital sex be fun? Of course. Can premarital sex give us a deep sense of bonding with a partner? Of course. Can premarital sex cause a partner to stay with us when he would have otherwise moved on? Of course. Do all of those benefits justify the transgression of God's law? Nope.

Now, to the credit of this young woman's teachers, she was told some accurate things about the first marital sex experience. She was told that honeymoon sex is not going to the best sex. She was told it might be uncomfortable. She was told it takes work. I think what was really lacking were the specifics, the mechanics. She claims that her body was "locked up tighter than Maid Marian's chastity belt." No one warned her about that. Or did they? Perhaps that is what her teachers were trying to convey with their veiled language about "not the best," "hard work," and "uncomfortable." But her teachers were too vague. I think the actual problem was not with her body or inexperience at all, but with her brain.

I believe that her problems on her wedding night actually stem from what she reveals about herself in her point number 4, "When you get married you will immediately be able to fully express yourself sexually without guilt or shame."  This should be true. This is a teaching, however, which can't come in as one sentence at a youth conference. Unfortunately, this truth is only going to true for a specific woman if she has not spent her childhood being taught that anything at all about sex acts is dirty, evil, gross, sinful, shameful, bad, naughty, etc. The shamefulness of sex is never based upon the act itself, which is neutral, but upon the context in which it occurs.

Examining the law of God we see that there are no prohibited sex acts. God never says, don't do this thing or that thing. In the New Testament Paul says that the marriage bed is undefiled. This was not a new teaching. He was giving us a commentary on the Old Testament teaching about sex, which is that it is always appropriate in marriage and whatever/however it occurs in marriage it is good and right. So what DOES God condemn in the area of sex? Not acts, but rather certain relationships. Regardless of how they do it, if a woman has sex with an animal they are both to be put to death. If a man has sex with another man, that is a shameful, sinful, dirty, naughty. Not because of the nature of the act, but because it is the wrong context for that act. A penis is a sex organ. It has other purposes, of course, but it is completely normal and within the design for it to be used for sex. It is not a perversion to use a penis for sex even though it is also used for urinating. Urinating is no more perverted than sex. But sex with a wife. It isn't the penis that sins in homosexual sodomy, it is the man.

A man is prohibited from having sex with his mother. Does that make sex bad? Does that make his penis evil? Nope. Sex is not shameful. Sex is not bad. Sex is not evil. Marriage is, at its very core a sexual relationship. Sex is what makes marriage different from other relationships. Anyone can cook for your husband or clean for him. Anyone can care for his children. But if anyone who does those things for him is not his wife, and she has sex with him, she sins. Not because of the act, but because of the context.

This is the same reason that Christian woman have hysterics about a woman breastfeeding her child in public. The use of the breast for feeding a child is perfectly normal use of the breast. The mother is not having sex with her child, she is feeding her. Breasts are multifunctional. They are sensual during sex, for sure. Even the Bible endorses enjoying a woman's breasts during sex. ALL of the uses for the breast are equally valid. Breasts are not evil. Women are not evil for having breasts. A breast that is exposed for the purpose of feeding a baby is not scandalous. This is an historical truth. But when we teach that sex is evil and shameful, we start piling on to that wrong teaching and we begin to teach that breasts are shameful, a penis is shameful, the vulva is shameful. We must not look at these shameful things or touch them, even on accident, or talk about them! If we do, we might be tempted to use them, and they are NAUGHTY!  Do we see how ridiculous that is?

I beg you, fellow Christian mothers, do not instill a sense of shame into your daughters (or sons, although they don't necessary buy into this delusion so easily) about sex! If anything, you should be getting them interested and excited about the day they get to let it all hang loose!  You will have to tell them that sex can be messy and they should not see that as disgusting. "It is sort of gross when your baby brother poops all over your lap, but don't ever associate that with your husband sharing his seed with you." Sorry to be so graphic, but there it is and her husband will thank you. A husband needs a wife to be not only "not grossed out", but he wants her to be welcoming and eager to take what he offers. She should look forward to it and desire it.

In her closing paragraph she says this:

If our reason for saving sex until marriage is because we believe it will make sex better or easier for us, we’re not only setting ourselves up for disappointment, but we’re missing the point entirely. 
And I couldn't agree more. There are good and right reasons for abstaining until marriage. But a young woman shouldn't be spending years and years "keeping their sex drives in check." Particularly when having that sex drive is seen as a sin itself. The apostle Paul said that if young people can't contain, let them marry. Let's teach our daughters that the presence of their sex drive is sign that they are ready for marriage and we will get Daddy to work finding a husband right away. 
Stop teaching your daughters that their body parts are naughty. Stop teaching them that sex is sinful. Tell them the truth. And if you don't know the truth, get your Bible out and actually read it. Stop listening to the lies of Churchianity, which has a form of godliness but denies the power thereof.

Sophie's Choice - Why Can't She Choose Her Own Husband?

I have been doing some more reading over at In this post, a young woman by the name of Sophie is arguing in the comments that she should not be prohibited from choosing her own husband. She claims that she isn't insisting on doing the choosing, but rather should simply have the veto if her father wants her to marry a man that she doesn't "like." In other words, as long as her father picks a man that she chooses, she will obey her father and marry him. That reminds me of a woman who obeys her husband in everything, as long as she agrees with him.

The heart of her issue, which she herself doesn't even realize, is that she is as solipsistic as the typical woman. She is the measure of all things. Absolutely no one, no man and not even God, are going to put any limits on her. They are not going to limit her sexuality, for sure. This is the essence of  feminism. A woman can do anything she pleases without limitation and without guidance and it is the duty of others, including her God-given authorities to embrace her choices and to finance them. I'm sure that Sophie would deny being a feminist, but she is believing and practicing the core principles of feminism, therefore she is a feminist, even if she would protest.

No one should miss this post over at Vox Day's Alpha Game Blog. It sums up the solipsism of women very concisely.  And why should women read this and understand it? Because if we don't understand the evil residing in our nature, we are bound to either excuse and dismiss it or outright embrace it. Don't be put off by the strong language. It won't hurt you.

What follows is my response to Sophie and the other commentors over at True Love Doesn't Wait. I wanted to save it here for future reference, you know, for that book I'm going to write someday. It deals with the arguments which say that betrothal is not a command or that any way of getting a wife is ok. On the contrary, I believe that betrothal or an outright purchase are the only ways of getting a wife that conform to what is taught about marriage in the Scriptures. I also wanted to point out that while I agree with much of  what Vaughn Ohlman (the writer/owner of True Love Doesn't Wait) says about betrothal, I also have very serious differences of opinion with him. I do not accept his definitions of either betrothal or marriage, for example, which are pretty big differences.  Ok, my comment follows:

I don't think that Sophie really does have (or that she should have) choices. I think the Bible shows us that a woman does not have the authority over her own sexuality. Her father is the guardian of it until she marries, and he decides to whom and when she will be given in marriage. Once she is married the authority and control over her sexuality passes to her husband.

While there is no single passage of Scripture where this is explained and set forth, it is revealed all throughout the Scriptures. Obviously Vaughn has already written two books on the subject, and even in those he wasn't able to cover every verse where these principles are either mentioned or implied. When we say "show me the verse....!" we are demanding something we don't demand of other principles. For example, where is the verse in the law of God which commands parents to feed and clothe their children? What? There is no such command? But we see parents doing it. Is that just cultural?

In the case of betrothal, we not only see that it is implied as the natural and normal way of doing things, we also see that God, in his law, gives remedies to fathers and husbands when other men, or even the daughter/wife herself decide to exercise their sexuality outside their authority. We see a law wherein a man who suspects his wife of being adulterous can have the priest test her for it. If she is guilty, either by admission or by failing the test, she ends up dead. There is no such test for husbands. A husband's sexuality is not under the control or authority of his wife. He has a duty to her sexually, but it is not exclusive to her. God calls this "just". Is that cultural?

But the real convincer for me came after I became reformed. When I came to understand that the grace of God is irresistible to me. The father chose me for Christ and neither Christ nor I have any choice in the matter. God, Himself, uses betrothal for His Son. And then He created the institution of marriage as a picture of the marriage of Christ and His bride. Every aspect of the marriage, including the betrothal is pictured in how men take wives. The way we do this speaks the gospel. When we ignore betrothal we lie. We are hiding the gospel. When Christians let women choose or not choose their husbands we are using a picture of marriage that lies about the gospel.

There is nothing about marriage from its institution in the Garden until today that is cultural. It was created for the purpose of illustrating the gospel. Not the other way around. God didn't look around the earth and try to find some earthly thing that would help him explain what He is doing, instead, He invented marriage and gave us marriage as an aid to our understanding. When we accept the analogy as created we see that election is from the beginning, we see that betrothal is from the beginning. It is a vital part of the message of the gospel and therefore should not be excluded from the manner in which God's people express marriage.

Perhaps Sophie believes that she chose Christ? Or that she at least had the option to reject Him if she didn't like him? The Scriptures don't teach this. We are to love the God who first loved us, not just say "no" if He doesn't get our motor running. In the same way, we are to love our husbands and if we don't, the older women can teach us how. We don't "marry the one we love", we "love the one we marry". Huge difference. We have no business loving men who are not our husbands.