When it comes to sex, the Bible is like cannon-fodder for the men and women who seek to continue the hostile, puritanical sexual status quo in the United States. The Bible has been used to mobilize the Christian Right to do savage battle with everything from pornography to escort services to sexual themes in movies, music, and books. But there exists a fundamental flaw in the Fundamentalist’s doctrine that composes their fundamental moral compass — the Bible, in terms of literature, is perverse as shit.
Hell, in some ways, the Bible is more taboo than interracial sex during Jim Crow.
For a book that is put on a moral soapbox, the Christian Bible sure as shit has some raunchiness within what one could assume might lead to sticky pages. Aside from the passages that condone the murder of nonbelievers, the murder of sinners, God’s homicidal tendencies, slavery, racism, rape, the murder of people who wear two kinds of fabrics, the apparently virulent nature of periods, the blood-price of female virginity, and divine torture solely to prove a point, the Bible also contains some passages that seem to condone one of the most taboo sexual practices ever seen in humankind — incest.
Interestingly, for being a book that is said to be the basis of human morality, the Christian Bible is pretty ambiguous on the whole fucking a close blood relative thing.
But first, how about a bit of context as to why this is even being written?
About a month ago, a story briefly broke about a mother and a son who were separated, reunited much later, then began engaging in a relationship. It wasn’t one of those stories of long-lost children being reunited with their parents so as to be a family again, well, unless the definition of that trope actually involves the reunited child and parent deciding to do all of the things romantic couples do, up to an including the act of physical intimacy. The story was a flash-pan tale — it fizzled out just as quickly as it appeared — but it left an impression on those who happened to stumble across it.
It left an impression on me, but instead of leaping to my keyboard and writing about this affair, I opted to sit and ferment the information. I need to some time before I was comfortable writing this.
Alas, 51-year-old Kim West and her biological son, 32-year-old Ben Ford, are happily carrying on an intimate relationship with one another. According to their story, Kim gave up Ben right after he was born and the two wouldn’t be in contact with one another for 30 years, when Ben reached out to her. After some time communicating, the two began to feel amorous toward each other, ultimately culminating in their relationship that was briefly a huge deal last month and drew the ire of some Internet writers and social media users who get news sent to their feeds.
However, according to West and Ford, this isn’t just some “I want to fuck my mommy/son” fetish that is glamorized in the porn industry. They firmly believe they are experiencing “genetic sexual attraction (GSA),” a psychological phenomenon that occasionally occurs when two genetically-close relatives meet for the first time as adults.
In terms of both societal and religious attitudes, incest is a condemned practice and if the public perception of the West-Ford story was any consolation, both the religious and secular communities were “repulsed” (for lack of a better word) by the tale of the mother and son who have started an intimate relationship. In strictly religious terms, incest is widely disregarded in “pro-life” legislation as means to obtain an abortion. There exists a pervasive “all life is sacred, regardless of the circumstances” approach to religious attitudes on abortion, justifying the dismissal of incestuous pregnancies as even a potential reason why the Religious Right would step back and not throw darts at a woman seeking an abortion.
At the end of the day, when we choose life partners, or potential life partners, we tend to choose people similar to ourselves. This is why we place so much emphasis on our similarities, sometimes at the expense of our differences. If a mother and son had been separated right after the son was born for over thirty years, it’s almost unreasonable to assume the mother would view her son as her son. In the West-Ford case, they were similar enough in terms of appreciations, views, and ideas that they formed a relationship just like anyone else would.
Despite that, attached to this story is a common attribution that the two are engaged in incest. That’s how this all ties together.
Religious attitudes on incest, which, while condemned, is rarely condemned in such a way that is beneficial to those who are victims of it, are at their base — the Christian Bible — wildly inconsistent. While popular culture toys with the taboo nature of incest (*cough* Game of Thrones *cough*), the conflict between what are considered acceptable depictions of incest (if there is a such a thing) and the outright, clearly-defined social rules surrounding the practice of incest is just as prevalent in the Christian Bible.
This is easily explained with logic.
Taking Biblical scripture into consideration, the entire human race is a product of incest. If there was only Adam in the beginning, with Eve to follow, then the population of humanity spawned directly from them. It would have been a “keepin’ it in the family” free-for-all in Eden and beyond. Adam boned Eve, who was likely boned by her sons Cain, Abel, and Seth. Adam and Eve are said to have had sons and daughters beyond those three, but the fact still remains that every single one of them would be directly related to each other biologically. No halves, steps, or any other familial qualifier would have existed at that point. Since the Bible gives no indication that God created any human life outside of Adam and Eve, there is no possible way that humanity could exist without being a product of incest.
It has been suggested in the Talmud that Ham, having saw his father, Noah’s, nakedness, sodomized Noah. Or, according to some religious sch0lars, Ham may have had intercourse with Noah’s wife, which would have been Ham’s mother.
Lot’s family is just fucked up. Lot is seduced by his daughters, they get pregnant, and give birth to sons, making them his son-grandsons (I guess) who were, to themselves, half-brothers.
There are just a few of the many instances when incestuous acts are committed within the Bible. Yet, there are many who would charge that these acts were committed in defiance of God’s laws and moral values. After all, various incestuous actions are condemned in the Old Testament, notably in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
But these happenings in the first place cannot be logically based on the idea of sin, but instead on the notion of a fallible God. God’s omnipotence is paradoxical, for an omnipotent God cannot exist so long as there is free will. Free will is, for lack of a better term, God’s “Achilles’ heel,” for an omnipotent God, who is also benevolent and omniscient, would not allow sin to exist, for sin contradicts God’s benevolence. God would render that sin nonexistent, blink it from the fabric of time, if you will, and would be able to do so as an omnipotent deity. The fact such sin existed, and continues to exist, show the fallible nature of believing in God as an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent deity.
In short, God is one of three things:
- Impotent (which calls into question the entire existence of God);
- Evil (which blows apart the entire basis of Christian belief or designates Christian belief as an “evil” belief system by modern society’s definition of good and evil);
- Nonexistent (evil exists against the will of an alleged omnipotent and benevolent God, thus the existence of evil means God logically cannot exist).
It’s one of the three, for incest exists in the Bible and was engaged in by some of the Bible’s most prolific figures. If we were to accept the Bible as a rational basis for moral aptitude, then incest cannot logically be treated as inherently bad or good, for the Bible is contradictory in matters of incest. On the one hand, the practice is explicitly condemned in Abrahamic law, but on the other, many figures engaged in incestuous action because God either a.) endorses such behavior (an “evil” God), b.) is powerless to stop such actions (an “impotent” God), or c.) just flat out doesn’t exist.
Whatever the case may be, the existence of incest is problematic for Christian scriptures and presents a bit of a logical inquiry: while society condemns incest as a practice, as they rightly should, the mere existence of such a practice severely damages the argument for God. Either God cannot stop incest, condones incest, or just isn’t around to make a judgement on it.
Featured image “Lot and his Daughters (1616)” by Hendrick Goltzius, available in the public domain.
h/t Raw Story