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It's a well known and almost universal social taboo, and likewise almost universally reviled, to commit incest. In many countries it's even a crime punishable by jail time. However, if you ask what people think of Genesis in the Bible, you'll probably hear a far different story about their opinion of incest.

What's you guys' opinion on this? Should it be taken as an almost comical allegory, should it be seen as revealing the opinions of the day (when the Bible was created) on incest, or what?

ErichZannIII 7 Jan 8

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I ran away from home because I didn't like the way my father was rearing me but went back because I couldn't leave my brothers behind...That's a joke.

I see what you did there.


Somehow there must be some kind of genetic or cultural memory that guides us here because people seem to be hardwired to be repulsed by incest. Kind of like standing at the edge of a big drop off. It just makes a person queasy to think about it. It was probably something that humanity learned the hard way very early on in human evolution.

Except they weren't really as recently as the early 1900s in most countries. Edgar Allen Poe married his second cousin (technically legal, but made weird because he was almost 30 and she was 13). And in Japan, cousin marriage is still legal and incest in the immediate family is technically illegal, but I gather that they don't really do much about it if it does happen and they keep it quiet.


I'm not so sure there is hypocrisy in believing bible stories, just an ability to suspend disbelief and satisfy the human need to be a part of Something Bigger.(Why else did we form/join this group?)

True. True. Religion was about more than just believing in something bigger though. It was and is still a powerful method of social control that has been exercised by government and leaders since ancient Mesopotamia.


TBH, Genisis never even happened. It's just a theory that can't be backed up with empirical evidence. Evolution is just a theory also, but there is more evidence backing that theory up. I just finished a 3 hour YouTube video titled, " The Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism." It goes in depth into Evolution, as well as Creationism.

It's true. It never did. But that doesn't stop millions of people from believing it.

And Evolution is called a theory not because it doesn't have enough evidence, but because of what it describes. A Law describes specific physical effects in the universe. The law of gravity, the law of thermodynamics. A theory describes a slightly less specific area of nature. So Laws describe the universe, and Theories describe nature.

It has nothing to do with how valid a claim it is. Both could theoretically be disproven.

@ErichZannIII Okay, thanks.


Reveals ethics of the day

True. The Bible was pieced together mostly in the Middle Ages when royal families married their brothers and sisters to each other to keep the bloodline pure, not realizing that they were in fact polluting it by keeping genetic anomalies in the blood and exacerbating them because the genetics of the two parents were so similar that basically an error message showed.


I still assert these stories are about the Jews, and don't necessarily exclude the existence of other peoples.


There are so many stories in the bible that are just weird that way. Lot and his daughters, David sleeping with really young girls when he was old. For that matter David's daughter Tamar being raped by her brother. There is just a huge ewwww factor. However, we have established the bible is very patriarchal, women/girls don't matter.

Abraham having children with his children.


I saw a documentary on the discovery channel once about a small group of Germans in the early 1900's that moved to South America and wanted to keep their race pure. They did not mingle with the local population because they considered them inferior beings. They intermarried within that small group, and as a result the few children that have been borne for the last two generations are mentally retarded and suffer from hemophilia. So within a few generations the gene pool is insufficient to propagate the species. There is no way mankind descended from a mythical Adam and Eve or Noah's family.

I'm aware. That's what I'm pointing out, the absurdity of such a claim.


Incest doesn't allow for genetic recombination that helps fuel evolution. Even the first mutants of any species would mate with the non-mutant that was unrelated, giving rise to the half-mutant mutant that breeds with either another unrelated non-mutant or if they had siblings then the cousins would mate.

Somehow, instincts as seen in Tigers, even the most 'simple' creature knows incest is not the way to go. But then this raises the question, how closely related do you have to be to still be committing incest. I think with higher order creatures starting with, maybe, Australopithecus on our ancestral tree started to gather that mates as unrelated as possible were better for the survival of all.

@DreadlySmart I have read but not studied that the Australian First Nations People have some interesting rules regarding marriage and coitus. They have successfully survived in very small numbers for some 50,000 years....even white man's genocidal behaviour has not wiped them out but genocide continues to this day. Contrasted to this is society recent migrant society particularly in sparsely populated areas in remote places where as one wag recently put it to me "the horse and cart has a lot to answer for!"

@FrayedBear, I find that interesting and will likely look into myself later.

Depending on how large the small the numbers are, it's possible to survive with minimal to no harmful genetic defects(honestly every mutation is a genetic 'defect'😉 but it also raises the question; did any new adaptations arise?

Technically brother and sister mating could continue indefinitely without hazardous errors generation to generation but the probability is slim because we know that the chromosomes even swap bits of their limbs to further genetic recombination.

And for the record, not saying that you, @FrayedBear, were saying this to me but I see no universal immorality in incest, just that it can hinder genetic recombination and stunt the evolution of a species.


It's just more hypocrisy.

Almost all of human history is "just more hypocrisy". That's kind of our thing, we humans.


I think it was a way to justify an idea that certain lineages were blessed, giving rise to the idea of royal families. It also belies the early crafters' beliefs towards women.

Incest isn't for the lowly people.


I just read a biography of Cleopatra. Incest was a common practice among the ancient Egyptians. I think the biggest problem with incest biologically speaking as I understand it, is that the bloodlines become too close together and create problems such as hemophilia. Genetically, I think it's healthier for the offspring if you do not intermarry. It seems that mixed race kids are healthier and better looking. My observation anyway. Not scientific.

Because the genes are so similar, it creates sort of an error message if you will. In addition, DNA recombination through marriage and breeding generally weeds out bad genes. But recessive genes that exist in a certain family clearly aren't going to go anywhere if the family members only marry each other. As a result, diseases and other problems that existed in the family become set and end up being exacerbated by the "error message". Eventually, the family gets the metaphorical Blue Screen of Death.


I question 'You will hear a far different story", IMO it is simply, again,willful blindness to the facts as presented...who Did Abel marry, exactly?........but so much of biblical belief requires blindness/deafness /oblivion, what else is new. I doubt you will find many believers who will actually argue in favor of incest!

As you state @AnneWimsey hypocrisy, cognitive dissonance and reward cover up many things...incest amongst them. Many will argue against it whilst practising it.


It's not until after you leave the church/religion that you realize the hypocrisy of it all.

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