In examining polygamous practices, these must be considered within the context of the times. Values and norms can be variable depending on the time periods as people and societies change their perceptions on the things which are acceptable or not. Various practices such as slavery, torture or cannibalism were once considered as perfectly normal, in the same way that polygamy also was thought to be perfectly natural for people to engage in (Walton & Walton 330) for self-perpetuation. There is an explanation why this is so and it is because there were instances where barren women failed to produce an heir for their husbands or lifetime partners. It was thought that infertility was exclusively due to women only and that men were somehow always fertile. So without the benefit of modern medical knowledge, the men whose wives were barren were implicitly allowed to engage in polygamous relationships for the sole purpose of having heirs who can inherit the wealth and perpetuate their tribe or lineage. Examples of barren women include Sarah, Hannah, Rachel, Elizabeth (wife of Zacharia) and Michal (daughter of Saul) who was the first wife of King David of Israel. Without passing moral judgment, polygamy was considered as perfectly acceptable in line with the injunction of “go forth and multiply” as a nation that fails to produce the next generations is under the threat of extinction from its enemies or their line will pass out into oblivion with no descendants. Discussion It is quite amazing how people under the strong influence of religion can be made to do certain things which can be considered as not normal anymore. This is why Karl Marx had once famously said that religion is the opiate of the people because religion can twist values. People with strong religious beliefs can sometimes fail to see what is wrong with them due to their fears of being punished if they do not follow certain strictures. This can even degenerate into some sort of sect in which mainstream religion is narrowed down to personalities and no longer follows religious doctrines or dogma. The compulsion to follow religious instructions can be quite strong at times despite some common sense dictating to the contrary as religion, much like opium, can put people into a haze that they can no longer think coherently. Pastors, priests and preachers can twist religion to a great extent to suit their own or some hidden agenda. With polygamy explicitly mentioned in the bible and other major texts, it is therefore not very surprising for some persons to justify their actions on polygamy. Their followers most often do not see anything wrong with this practice and may acquiesce to it. A fine line indeed separates religion from society as regards to what are acceptable practices. In the case of polygamy, society in general had long ago banned this as an anachronism. Under the disguise of religion, polygamy can be made to appear to be sanctioned by God and religious followers forced to engage in it, especially the women and young girls. It is a form of sexual exploitation that seems justified using religion as a cover or a perfect alibi. A case in point was that of Tom Green who had once belonged to the Mormons or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who took seven wives and split from the main church and in due time formed his own fundamentalist group. He was convicted for bigamy and statutory rape (child sex) with his life made into a documentary on the topic of religion and ethics. Polygamy as a lifestyle is only an adaptation in more modern times. The
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