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What constitutes adultery?

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Katzpur, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    A man who works for the same company I do, but in another state, is in the middle of an enormous investigation involving charges of theft, drug abuse and sexual harrassment. I have known him mostly through phone conversations over the years, but we did get to know one another in person when I went to his place of work for three or four days a couple of years back. He is a very committed Christian (not LDS), although I don't know what church he actually attends. He is married and has six children.

    Anyway, he is currently on paid leave while the investigation is taking place. I spoke to him on the phone for a few minutes this morning and he told me that things are getting worse and worse for him every day. Then he absolutely left me speechless by saying, "Kathryn, I committed adultery." I honestly didn't know what to say, but I do like him a lot and am not about to pass judgment on him. We talked for a few more minutes after he told me this, and I eventually asked him how much the president of the company knew. I said, "Does he know you two (meaning he and his co-worker) were sleeping together?" He answered, "Oh, we weren't sleeping together." I sat there for a minute, confused, and said, "Uh... You just said you committed adultery. Now you're saying you never slept together. What exactly do you mean?" He said, "Oh, we never had intercourse. I just 'touched' her. But I think that's adultery. Don't you?"

    I honestly don't know for sure what I think. What do you all think? If both this man and the woman he was "involved" with are married and engaged in what I would imagine must be some pretty heavy petting of some sort, did he or did he not commit adultery?
     
  2. SoyLeche

    SoyLeche meh...

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    I'm not sure. He was definately unfaithful, but I would consider adultery having intercourse.
     
  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Should this be judged on what consequences his "afair" had on his marriage and that of his co workers marriage? I mean, to the extent that it hurt marriages might be the key issue for deciding if it was adultry. But I'm not sure. I'm just asking for ideas here.
     
  4. evearael

    evearael Well-Known Member

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    I would certainly say that consentual sex of all types outside marriage is adulterous. I agree with SoyLeche that heavy petting is unfaithful, but I'm not quite sure if it qualifies as adulterous... I suppose it depends on how heavy it is. Personally, I do not have tolerance for unfaithfulness or adultery.
     
  5. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Well, I don't either. And if it were my husband, I say it would really be splitting hairs for him to say he hadn't actually committed adultery. This whole incident really has upset me. As absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong as I believe his actions were, I can't help but feel terribly sorry for him. He is absolutely overwhelmed by grief and I don't know what to say to him.

    (By the way, evearael, congrats on your "promotion." :bow: )
     
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  6. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
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    Biblically, merely thinking of another woman "in that way" constitutes adultery...

    Matt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
     
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  7. Karl R

    Karl R Active Member

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    Let's look at the opposite situation.

    I know a couple that has an "open" relationship. They're married, but they have agreed that both of them are allowed to have sex with whomever they want. (Both of them mentioned this to me independently.) When they have extramarital sex, would you consider that to be adultery?

    In my opinion, it isn't. There has been no breach of the trust between them. Neither one has betrayed the other. (I consider this kind of arrangement to be foolish, but I don't consider it to be adulterous.)

    The man in the OP apparently feels that he betrayed his wife. His wife would probably feel that he betrayed her. In my opinion, betrayal of trust is the crucial point. He committed adultery.


    If you want to go by strict old testament interpretations, adultery occurs when a man (single or married) has intercourse with a married woman. (I think this is one of the reasons Bill Clinton claimed that he hadn't committed adultery, according to the bible.)

    I feel that my definition of adultery is more appropriate to our society than the definition in Leviticus, but that's just my opinion.
     
  8. SoyLeche

    SoyLeche meh...

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    a·dul·ter·y ([FONT=verdana, sans-serif] P [/FONT]) Pronunciation Key (n. pl. a·dul·ter·ies
    Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse.

    Yes, your example is definately a textbook case of adultery. Now, were they unfaithful....?
     
  9. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    This is the same kind of hair-splitting that went on in the Clinton case. If he's married, then he has no business touching another woman. Period. We Christians shouldn't be about what's "legal," or "how far across the line can I go?" Who cares what exactly constitutes "adultery?" We should only concern ourselves with what's fair and loving. It was unfair and unloving for him to treat his wife (not to mention the other woman) in this way.
     
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  10. angellous_evangellous

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    I'd have to say "adultry" is consentual sexual intercourse, and "infedelity" is any consentual frolicing that the spouce would not approve of, especially petting.
     
  11. sahra-t

    sahra-t /me loves frubals

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    I'd have to agree about it being more about trust.

    He thought he had, which means that he wouldn't have wanted his wife to do what he did. Of course, that definition doesn't quite stand up- he'd probably just be jealous if his wife was having an innocent lunch with another man, which plainly isn't adultery.

    If he knows his wife wouldn't be happy, I say he's betrayed her.
     
  12. SoyLeche

    SoyLeche meh...

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    I don't think there is any doubt that he betrayed her.
     
  13. Lindsey-Loo

    Lindsey-Loo Steel Magnolia

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    I absolutely agree. Enough said!
     
  14. Mister_T

    Mister_T Forum Relic
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    I'm siding with Mr. Emu.

    It's one thing to find a person attractive. It's quite another to entertain those thoughts.
     
  15. egroen

    egroen Member

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    Interestingly, in Luke 16:18, Christ defined any man or woman who has divorced and remarried as also being an adulterer.

    Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

    Though Matthew 19:9 makes an exception if the divorce was because of 'fornication'.

    -Erin
     
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