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The Bible and Dowry!

26 Jul

Question Text:  Is it Biblical to ask Dowry and what is the basis for Dowry system which we see in the Christian Circle today?  I hope you will give me a bible based answer.  Thanks.

Answer Text:  Your question begs a bigger question. Does the Bible address itself directly about all cultural aspects of all communities in the world? The answer obviously is a big `NO`. Now you have to use a Biblical principle to come to a decision about any thing of which the Bible does not specifically talk about.

Answer to your first question is clearly a `NO` based on the principle that one should NOT be greedy. Surely the Bible does NOT give any place for any one asking for dowry at all. I think you have no doubt about it as well.

Your questions obviously imply that you are against the dowry system because you think that the Bible is against it. But you need to do a bit of rethinking when answering the second part of your question. You are asking for the (biblical) basis for dowry system as found in Christian circle today.

I think there is a very strong biblical basis for dowry system. The Indian Christian law is clear when it says that boys and girls must have equal share of the family property. This is based on the Biblical principle that both genders have equal status in life. When a girl gets married, she legally becomes the member of another family. She has every right for the family property she grew up with. So in India our culture devised that the girl is given her share as she gets married and goes away. There are people who give away the share of landed property of the family which she deserves at her marriage. But most often it is given as cash and as jewels. I think it must be so and I think it should not be challenged.

But when it comes to demanding dowry and when it comes to people who do not have any property, this becomes a real problem and a real evil. And Christians should fight against this evil practice tooth and nail.

The New Testament or our Lord NEVER tried to change the social order of their time though slavery was there (1Cor.7:20-21). Yet it is the Biblical principle of equality of all men which wiped away slavery from human society. Ok.

Thirty five years ago when I got married I told my parents NOT to make dowry an issue at my marriage. Then one of the first proposals was for the daughter of an evangelist of whom every one knew he had no money to give as dowry. Though my parents had a bit of a difficult time agreeing to the proposal, I stood by my decision and the Lord honored me for the same.

Now I, as a father of four married children, two boys and two girls, we NEVER made dowry an issue at the negotiations at all. Boys came forward to marry our girls with out a dowry demand. Yet we sold a part of our property and gave the girls their share. Our sons volunteered to marry girls with out any dowry demand. And we as their parents we just gave to the boys what ever was given to us by girl`s parents. It helped them to begin their new family. Yet we are keeping their share of property for them.

I think, when looked at from Christian conviction, dowry has its plus points. But when misused, it is one of the worst evils of our society and Christians must fight against it at any cost. Please read a related article from our already published materials. http://www.gotquestions.org/church-social.html  God bless!!

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1 Comment

Posted by on July 26, 2009 in Christian life, Marriage

 

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One response to “The Bible and Dowry!

  1. lissyverghese

    July 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I completely agree to your point of view. But, if considered as an evil, it is a deep rooted one. It happens in such a way that, if both the boy and girl are working and financially independent, the question loses its value in people’s minds. Otherwise, if girls don’t bring anything from home, it becomes a real issue and a matter of comparison if the other member of the in-law’s family has brought huge amount of money or great assets like land. So, it becomes almost a question of survival. Reading today’s newspaper, no parent will dare to send their daughter to any family without giving her anything. Still, exceptions are there. Anyway, there is no doubt that the system of dowery as we see today is an evil and has to be eradicated. I feel that it started as a good practice, giving a share of property as mentioned in the article. Anyway, every custom has its its negative and positive aspects. If done with love and care, it is I’ll bring great joy! I am not a good reader, so my comments might not be up to the point.

     

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