Paul's social views and Christian doctrine

Paul's writings on social issues were just as influential on the life and beliefs of the Christian culture ever since as were his doctrinal statements. In fact, being part of the texts that were generally accepted as inspired scripture, these views were and still are considered part and parcel of the broader Christian doctrine by the more conservative Christians.

Paul condemned sexual immorality, including homosexuality, apparently based on the strict moral laws of the Old Testament, as well as presumably his own private revelation from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:9f; Eph. 5:21-33). (Paul is traditionally considered a virgin.) Some of his other dictums included advice to his contemporaries not to marry in the expectation of the near return of Jesus and the Apocalypse; permission to marry, or at least to stay married to, an unbeliever, in the hope that the spouse of a Christian will be converted sooner or later; the recommendation for women to obey men (based on the story of Eve—"man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man") and raise families; the "he who does not work, neither shall he eat" dictum; and the command to young men who have trespassed by sleeping with a woman to marry her, a notion that remained prominent in the European culture and the English Common Law until relatively recently.

Paul may have been ambivalent towards slavery, saying that pending the near return of Jesus, people should focus on their faith and not on their social status (1 Cor. 7:21f). Due to his authority, these views have had an influence in Western society into modern times; Paul's apparent failure to explicitly condemn slavery in his Epistle to Philemon may have been sometimes interpreted as justifying the ownership of human beings. (Wikipedia)

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