It’s a Different World Out There

02 Mar

For the crime of adultery, Hester Prynne spends time in jail, is  forced to stand before the people of the town in disgrace, and forever after must wear a reminder on her bosom of her sin.   As if this isn’t punishment enough, her scarlet letter separates her emotionally, spiritually and socially from the community for most of her life.   So, I have a few questions to discuss. Adultery as a sin was treated so publicly in those days, as if it was a sin against society.  Today, we treat it as though it were a private sin – one that affects a family or a couple, but not the community.   How or when did we, as a society shift our thinking on this issue?   It seems that if one is in a position of authority (president – we won’t name names, only think them -, pastor, pro golfer or senator) the sin of adultery is noticed more, but still tolerated and at times almost expected.  Perhaps there are a few consequences for some, but not always.  Among most of society, however, it seems to be often swept under the rug.  Movies joke about it, celebrities expect it, and divorces because of it are easy to procure.   Let’s chime in.   What are your thoughts?  (Now I will try to stop picturing some of the adulterers in our society today with embroidered scarlet “A’s” on their chests.  Wouldn’t that go nicely with a golf polo or a $5,000 business suit?)


Posted by on March 2, 2012 in The Blog, The Scarlet Letter


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3 responses to “It’s a Different World Out There

  1. reverendbuki

    March 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Well, by Adultery I’m guessing you mean sex outside of (before) marriage? Or are you talking about extra-marital sex? Societies have looked upon it based on the prevelant religions of the society, which bled into what became the accepted way to consider it, even though little thought was given to the origins.
    The thoughts regarding adultery, especially in the judeo-christian religions, the Abrahamic religions, were merely a way to for men subjugate women with the authority of a supernatural being. Ie: you really don’t here about male adulterers in the ancient texts much… by nature males want to be the prime inseminators, so they made religious rules forbidding women to be with other men.
    It’s all about men controlling women, really.
    The idea of monogamy is an evolutionary form which works for a very few species (people, certain birds, and a few aquatic mammals), but is necessary in none of them. The control of monogamy is man-made in people, with the threat of “sin” as described in the ancient, often politically re-written, texts of the major religions.
    If, however, you mean to talk about cheating… that’s a little different, and has more to do with individual trusts being broken, and both men and women share that equally.
    The idea of adultery, as described theastically, is an outdated and useless man-made (truly MAN-made) condition that serves no benefit.
    Relationship issues are far better served with counseling, honesty, and being forthright than with any artificial and resentful branding (like scarlett A’s) which only serves jealousy and misunderstanding.
    So, there’s a few of my off the cuff thoughts… you asked…
    Peace -Buki

    • reverendbuki

      March 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      oh boy…here instead of hear…lol sorry

  2. Ruth

    March 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    This is a good question! I am going to think about this. “When did we as a society begin to shift our thinking on adultery?” I do not even think that society could agree on a definition of the term adultery, as it has changed meanings over time and is different offenses to different people. Some would say adultery is only damaging once a physical relationship is established, and then others would say adultery is lusting in your heart. At least that is what Scripture says.

    I probably did not answer the question, but anyway, I cannot wait to get to The Scarlet Letter. I read it in fifth grade, but that was soooooo long ago!


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