Tonight, I want to write about the National Geographic article on child brides. It will make you cry, whoever you are. Here is the part which relates to my view of the Bible,
"If there were any danger in early marriage, Allah would have forbidden it," a Yemeni member of parliament named Mohammed Al-Hamzi told me in the capital city of Sanaa one day. "Something that Allah himself did not forbid, we cannot forbid." Al-Hamzi, a religious conservative, is vigorously opposed to the legislative efforts in Yemen to prohibit marriage for girls below a certain age (17, in a recent version), and so far those efforts have met with failure.Just because something is not in the scriptures, does that mean that it is okay? Is it right and proper to allow girls under 18 to marry? But Jesus did not rail against this, nor Paul either. Isn't it right and proper to grant a divorce to a woman who has been beaten by her husband, even if such an allowance is not in the Bible?
Islam does not permit marital relations before a girl is physically ready, he said, but the Holy Koran contains no specific age restrictions and so these matters are properly the province of family and religious guidance, not national law. Besides, there is the matter of the Prophet Muhammad's beloved Ayesha—nine years old, according to the conventional account, when the marriage was consummated.
Sure, we here in the west would say that the Koran is not sufficient, but is the Bible sufficient? Perhaps what I mean is, is the Bible explicit enough? I don't think so.
On the other hand, the Bible clearly articulates the ethos that we should love the one next to us as ourselves. We should love our fellow human being as ourselves. We should treat our husband or wife in such a way as to give them the happiness they desire, at the same time respecting our own dignity and integrity. We should care for those who lack food, education and health care, at the same time guarding our own power and ability to be helpful, to provide.
These are the big questions, the ones I am struggling with. The Bible is not sufficient, we need to interpret the Bible through the prism of the command of Christ. Ironically, this command is also found clearly articulated in all the great religions.