Incest is best … or not

Why is incest or brothers having sex with brother’s widows etc depicted in the bible but in Lev. 18:6, 9, 15, 16, 20 it clearly says it is a no-no? “None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness:… The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover … Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness … Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness … Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.”

8 Responses to “Incest is best … or not”

  1. Context. While you bring up lots of good points and questions that do need to be wrestled with (and that Christians should not shy away from nor get angry about), you bring up lots of others (I have commented on a few here) that show your discrepancy comes from failure to pay attention to the context. In other words, you are doing what you say you don’t like Christians to do, pull verses out to prove a point. Proof texting is not the way to go. It may seem convincing to those who have never read the Bible, and maybe that is your goal. But if your goal is to illuminate and educate, then do a better job of research before you post something that makes you look silly. I can personally think of several other seeming discrepancies that are more perplexing than these. Get some good evangelical commentaries so you know if your inconsistencies are valid.

  2. Michael,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on my site. However, I must take issue with your repeated “context” complaint. It is a lazy and typical complaint from Christians when a non-believer uses passages from the bible to reveal the ugliness of the Christian religion. It’s clear that theists (god worshipers) are MASTERS at picking and choosing which passages from their holy books they want to follow/accept. But then I’m pretty adapt at ‘picking and choosing’ the ones I think are most revelatory of the contemptibility of their god and belief systems. Now I would argue that their selective preferences are the result of a careful, stubborn, WILLFUL naivety, while mine are the result of a determined desire to reveal the REST of what their holy books have to say. In other words, I wish to bring to light all the ugly stuff they purposefully ignore or even refuse to acknowledge/accept. So the out of context argument never holds any weight with me. I VERY CAREFULLY choose passages that were blatant, obvious and as black and white as they could be. Nothing written before or after could possibly ‘redefine’ what they were saying. But Christians just HATE it when you confront them with the undeniable truth that their holy book clearly depicts a god that can only be described as a bigoted, petty, vile, cruel, merciless, brutal, bloodthirsty, depraved, petulant, monster Yes, There are many beautiful passages in the bible as well, but I REFUSE TO IGNORE the ugly parts. I just wish more Christians would take a more honest look at this particular book. Especially if they are going to dedicate their whole lives and every decision they make in their lives on its words. I take the bible literally. I believe it must be either accepted as the genuine word of God or dismissed as a fairy tale. The concept of God, any god, is ALWAYS a personal one shaped by personal desire. Depending on the issue your god may be all goodness and light or vengeance and wrath. But how do you keep your own personal desire to view him one way or the other from shaping him? Those who find the bible loathsome need not take anything out of context to support their position. Only those who defend it need do so.

    So I ask that you don’t simply comment with this single word but with a full explanation of how these passages could mean anything else. To simply state that what something means is actually NOT what it means and offer NO details to enlighten our sad, confused minds serves no purpose at all.

    Take Care,


  3. You don’t give any verses of where this occurs, but since you use the word “widow,” I am assuming you are referring to the practice of levirate marriage, which is described in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. The key word, which you have used is “widow.” Certainly it was wrong for a man to sleep with his brother’s wife when he was alive. If he had died and left no children, his unmarried brother was to marry his widow and the children that would be produced would be considered the dead man’s children for the sake of inheritance. Strange custom to us Westerner’s, but a custom none-the-less and not at all contradictory. The context shows a big difference between a dead brother and a living brother.

    Thanks for the conversation,


  4. I’ll happily concede on the widow thing, although, clearly modern Christians would not be cool with this practice. But what about the incest?

  5. I would agree. Had my brother died before having children, I would not have wanted to marry his wife.

    I guess my definition of incest would not include a dead brother’s wife. Or did I misunderstand your question?

    Thanks for the conversation,


  6. No, the depictions of incest in the bible. Ignore the brother’s widow thing

  7. Oh, ok. I am sure there are some, but nothing is coming to mind right now. There is the story of Tamar (I think). I’ll have to look. I’ll get back to you on that one.


  8. Oh, one more thing. I seem to be getting behind on working through your responses to my responses. That’s what I get for responding to so many threads at once. 🙂 Poor planning on my part. Not forgotten, just busy.

    Again, thanks for the conversation and for making me think,


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