Wilson’s novel, pretty much forgotten now, tells the story of a writer called Bernard Sands who is married but homosexual and ends up living next door to a woman, Mrs Curry, who procures children for paedophiles. The book was deemed shocking on publication and would perhaps be thought even more so today, given the way the subject grows and grows to become our chosen national nightmare. Whatever else it has been in the past, paedophilia was always an institutional disorder, in the sense that it has thrived in covert worlds with powerful elites. Boarding schools and hospitals, yes, churches certainly, but also in our premier entertainment labyrinths.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
JROctober 26, 2012 at 3:14 pmSo, to restate my position, as posted in TGC blog, this difficult issue ought to remain in the arena of Christian conscience. 1 – I do not see a command in scripture that requires it and 2 – a legal requirement for a woman to make this decision goes beyond what is ethically right to impose on another.JROctober 26, 2012 at 12:56 PM…it's no wonder that even fair-minded and moderately conservative people regard our blanket application of Biblical principles to very difficult issues such as this as irrational and possibly laughable.My assertion is that this decision is a matter of Christian conscience and is not governed by a specific commandment in the scriptures. Thanks.JROctober 26, 2012 at 7:12 PMIf we are going to bind consciences and hold people legally accountable, we have to make sure that we are not simply applying a principle, as we choose to practice it.JROctober 26, 2012 at 7:38 pmThe thing that we cannot get away from is the fact that the extreme position that doesn’t allow for exceptions requires us to make matters of conscience a legally binding requirement.Here’s a key point:
At the end of the day, only the Christian worldview would compell someone to act in the way we are trying to mandate for all people. Very different from natural law issues, which are obvious to all regardless of whether they have a Christian basis or not. (Of course, that sort of two kingdom thinking, which I know some people here don’t really buy into.)
[JR] "My assertion is that this decision is a matter of Christian conscience and is not governed by a specific commandment in the scriptures."
If we are going to bind consciences and hold people legally accountable, we have to make sure that we are not simply applying a principle, as we choose to practice it.
Steve, now you're veering into unChristian discourse and personal attacks.Would you please understand that not everyone is seeing the issues exactly as you have seen it?
Why don't you go back and read my comment and then apologize so I can forgive you and we can try to talk to each other like grown-ups.Otherwise, we're done here.
[JR] "It's only hard to believe if you live in an insolated bubble. Read Russ Douthat's article. This position that doesn't even allow exceptions is the extreme minority. There are moral objections that resonate with most pro-lifers who do believe that government needs to leave room for conscience."
"Plus, the thought-experiment of Judith Jarvis Thomson is exactly what is brought up in philosophy and ethics courses in ivy league colleges. So, if you can't deal with the argument, you haven't thought thru the issue credibly."
[JR] "personal sympathy with 'her agrument'?I'm talking about Russ Douthat's article (via Denny Burk) I think you misread what I wrote! Let's try to be more charitable, okay?"
"Steve Hays, Why are you so hateful toward JR?"
"You think he has demonstrated a "lack of committment to Christian ethics", but you have demonstrated a total lack of commitment to Christ."
"JR has stated that he is open to being convinced and having a debate, but you have ruined your opportunity to be helpful in any way."
“Steve, JR stated that he is pro-life.”
“And he stated that he wanted to have a discussion with other Evangelicals that went deeper than what is typical, and in the process he said he was open to being convinced otherwise.”
“Calling him Jack Kevorkian…”
“I don’t think he’ll waste his time with you anymore. I don’t think I will either.”
"You have been both unreasonable and unChristlike in the way you have conducted yourself in these comments. Disgraceful."
Angela, that’s an excellent point! I sure hope that our culture warriors will consider Dr. Mohler’s wisdom to consider compromise for the sake the unborn, rather than insisting on an all or nothing strategy. Thanks for your example
“Fatally equivocal?? Haha.”
“Or we being just a tab bit melodramatic, eh?”
“What relationship does the ‘mother’ of the unborn child have with the baby in the womb?”
“Especially in the early days of pregancy? None.”
“And why would you assume that she couldn’t develop a caring and nurturing relationship with man also?”
“The illustration doesn’t have to be perfectly analogous to make the point.”
“An honest person would at least admit the point that has been made, which is that the legal requirement to force the woman to carry the baby is not firmly supportable.”
“As far as Jeremy Pierce’s argument regarding secondary moral obligations, certain those issue come into play here, but again, at the end of the day, what we’re dealing with is what is the neighbor’s LEGAL requirement in dealing with the baby left to their care?”
“The thing that we cannot get away from is the fact that the extreme position that doesn’t allow for exceptions requires us to make matters of conscience a legally binding requirement.”
“When liberals do it on social issues, we’re the ones who are outraged. But for some reason when we do it with our own convictions (as wonderful as they may be), we’re blind to our own self-righteousness.”
“Here’s a key point: At the end of the day, only the Christian worldview would compell someone to act in the way we are trying to mandate for all people.”
“Very different from natural law issues, which are obvious to all regardless of whether they have a Christian basis or not.”
“the degree to which people like you can be morally warped”?Wow.Really?Good bye, Steve Hays. Have a good life.
Honest question. Why would a Calvinist find anything to disgree with in Mourdock’s statement? If God controls every particle of dust in the universe (as Piper has stated he believes), then why isn’t the rape of a woman what God intended to happen? It seems like a perfectly reasonable description of the Calvinist stance to me. It’s not just that God intended for good to come from an evil act, but that God ordainded that the evil act should take place. That’s what the media is reacting to. It seems that Calvinists are shying away or distancing themselves from the logical conclusions of their theology.
“BTW, I don’t feel the need to attack Calvinism.”
Great question AJG. I hope my response is helpful. As I read the Scripture I have yet to find God ordaining (decreeing) a heinous evil, or any evil for that matter. That would pervert his goodness and justice … and he would no longer be God.Rather, I see God permitting evil to occur (if he didn’t none of us would be here) to work toward good for his purposes. Outside of the Passion, the story of Joseph may be the clearest story that illustrates this point. This is his story of redemption.
Friday, October 26, 2012
I was raised in an orthodox Jewish household. I went to a private Jewish day school until my freshman year of high school, when I made my first Christian friends. It was only then that I realized how incredibly sheltered my life had been. Throughout high school and college, I gained a deeper appreciation for science and became fascinated by evolutionary theory. After I graduated, I went back to school for a degree in evolution. As I look back on it now, I feel like I got a good grade school education and learned enough about religion to know that it wasn't for me. I respect faith and the myriad benefits it has for people, but somewhere along the line I lost the capacity to believe in anything that I can't see for myself or prove with scientific inquiry.
When I see otherwise healthy, active, innocent people waste away with diseases like cancer or have their lives suddenly taken from them in tragic accidents or random acts of violence, it's difficult for me to believe that some benevolent deity is letting that happen. I have religious friends who argue that people have free will and god isn't necessarily watching over every aspect of our lives. But if that's the case, why devote time, energy, and faith to someone who isn't listening to your prayers?
Thanks for your post. I am religious but I also respect the beliefs of all religions as well as non-religious people.
That said, might I please comment on a few statements you've made (with, of course, the utmost respect)?
somewhere along the line I lost the capacity to believe in anything that I can't see for myself...
1. There are many things which we can't "see" but which we are warranted to believe in. For example, numbers. We can't "see" the number 2 (for example) with our physical eyes because the number 2 doesn't exist as a physical entity. Nevertheless there's no good reason for me to doubt the number 2 does exist. It exists in a non-physical sense, but it does exist even though I can't see it.
2. After all, if we imagine a world where there was no writing, perhaps prehistoric humanity, would this mean numbers did not exist then but numbers only existed once there was a species (homo sapiens) around to think about them? If so, then that would wreak havoc on a lot of other beliefs we hold!
or prove with scientific inquiry
1. This depends on what we mean by "scientific inquiry." How would you define "scientific inquiry" or "science"?
2. Does "scientific inquiry" refer to the scientific method? Yet the scientific method as traditionally understood has its limitations. For starters, check out what the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says here.
3. How do we use "scientific inquiry" to "prove" the rules of logic? Deduction, induction, inference, etc. Don't the rules of logic have to be assumed in order for "scientific inquiry" to get off the ground in the first place? Don't we have to assume logic works in order to conduct science? As such, how can we use science or scientific inquiry to prove the rules of logic?
4. Likewise take the rules of mathematics. These surely exist even though we cannot "prove" with "scientific inquiry" that they exist.
5. Or take aesthetics. How do we use "scientific inquiry" to "prove" something is beautiful or ugly? Yet doubtless some people find certain things beautiful and other things ugly.
6. Or take morality. How do we use "scientific inquiry" to "prove" murder or rape or stealing or whatever is morally wrong (or right)?
7. Or take science itself. How do we use "scientific inquiry" to prove that the universality of scientific laws? It's not as if we've observed the entire universe.
8. Or take absurd ideas like how can we use "scientific inquiry" to "prove" the entire universe and everything in it simultaneously grew twice as big in size (or shrunk half in size), say, exactly 10 minutes ago. If everything grew twice as big in size all at the same time 10 minutes ago, then how would we notice any difference?
9. Or how can we use "scientific inquiry" to "prove" we don't live in the Matrix? Or that we're not brains in a vat, as the philosophical conundrum has it?
When I see otherwise healthy, active, innocent people waste away with diseases like cancer or have their lives suddenly taken from them in tragic accidents or random acts of violence, it's difficult for me to believe that some benevolent deity is letting that happen.
1. Here you're raising the problem of evil and suffering. Of course, various religions have their various responses.
2. However, let's say physicalism or naturalism is true. Let's say there is no God. In that case, how can you ground objective morality? How can you say what's objectively right or wrong if there is no God and physicalism is true? How can you say "healthy, active, innocent people waste away with diseases like cancer or have their lives suddenly taken from them in tragic accidents or random acts of violence" is objectively wrong? Isn't this simply the way nature is? It's just neo-Darwinism in action. But there's nothing objectively right or wrong about neo-Darwinism in action. After all, reasonable people don't think there's anything objectively right or wrong if a few bugs are randomly killed by other bugs or by a stone accidentally falling on the bug or whatever. There isn't anything objectively right or wrong about a few bugs dying, is there? In the same way, if there is no God, and physicalism is true, then what's wrong with a few humans dying of cancer even though they are young? Isn't this just neo-Darwinism in action? And how can a process like the neo-Darwinian process be morally right or wrong? Facts are facts, there's nothing right or wrong about facts, is there?
Please note what I'm not asking. I'm not asking how we can know what's objectively right or wrong. I take it most people - religious or irreligious or otherwise - know what's right and wrong. Nor am I asking whether moral people can behave immorally or immoral people behave morally. I accept this can be the case. Rather I'm asking how you can ground objective morality in a naturalistic universe?
But if atheism and naturalism can't ground objective morality, then given atheism and naturalism, how can the atheist or naturalist even raise the problem of evil in the first place?
3. Finally, this will sound extreme, but I'm being extreme not because I actually believe this but rather to point out a problem. Let's say there is no God and neo-Darwinism is true. Currently we consider rape morally wrong. But why isn't it possible for humans to evolve and believe rape is morally right?
R.I.P. Paul Kurtz. We all owe you a great debt of gratitude for making the world a better place. You will be missed.
If it's true that it causes people to feel despair, that's tough. It's still the truth. The universe doesn't owe us condolence or consolation; it doesn't owe us a nice warm feeling inside. If it's true, it's true, and you'd better live with it.
Then I think about the long history of humanity, reaching back many tens of thousands of years. People with unique stories, who have thought and believed so differently from each other, and continue to do so. And I wonder if God even exists, or, if he does, what possible connection he could have to all of this–and why I bother going to San Francisco to talk about God.
The Small Catechism
On Faith and Coming to Christ
On Confession and the Lord's Supper
Of the Office of Preaching
Excerpt from Luther's Tower Experience
The Last Written Words of Luther
I’ve listened to a bit of this, and the performance really is excellent.
Scholars have long debated the relative importance of printed media, oral transmission and images in rallying popular support for the Reformation. Some have championed the central role of printing, a relatively new technology at the time. Opponents of this view emphasise the importance of preaching and other forms of oral transmission. More recently historians have highlighted the role of media as a means of social signalling and co-ordinating public opinion in the Reformation.
Now the internet offers a new perspective on this long-running debate, namely that the important factor was not the printing press itself (which had been around since the 1450s), but the wider system of media sharing along social networks—what is called “social media” today. Luther, like the Arab revolutionaries, grasped the dynamics of this new media environment very quickly, and saw how it could spread his message....
The unintentional but rapid spread of the “95 Theses” alerted Luther to the way in which media passed from one person to another could quickly reach a wide audience. “They are printed and circulated far beyond my expectation,” he wrote in March 1518 to a publisher in Nuremberg who had published a German translation of the theses. But writing in scholarly Latin and then translating it into German was not the best way to address the wider public. Luther wrote that he “should have spoken far differently and more distinctly had I known what was going to happen.” For the publication later that month of his “Sermon on Indulgences and Grace”, he switched to German, avoiding regional vocabulary to ensure that his words were intelligible from the Rhineland to Saxony. The pamphlet, an instant hit, is regarded by many as the true starting point of the Reformation....
The media environment that Luther had shown himself so adept at managing had much in common with today's online ecosystem of blogs, social networks and discussion threads. It was a decentralised system whose participants took care of distribution, deciding collectively which messages to amplify through sharing and recommendation. Modern media theorists refer to participants in such systems as a “networked public”, rather than an “audience”, since they do more than just consume information. Luther would pass the text of a new pamphlet to a friendly printer (no money changed hands) and then wait for it to ripple through the network of printing centres across Germany.
Unlike larger books, which took weeks or months to produce, a pamphlet could be printed in a day or two. Copies of the initial edition, which cost about the same as a chicken, would first spread throughout the town where it was printed. Luther's sympathisers recommended it to their friends....
Amid the barrage of pamphlets, ballads and woodcuts, public opinion was clearly moving in Luther's favour. “Idle chatter and inappropriate books” were corrupting the people, fretted one bishop. “Daily there is a veritable downpour of Lutheran tracts in German and Latin…nothing is sold here except the tracts of Luther,” lamented Aleander, Leo X's envoy to Germany, in 1521. Most of the 60 or so clerics who rallied to the pope's defence did so in academic and impenetrable Latin, the traditional language of theology, rather than in German. Where Luther's works spread like wildfire, their pamphlets fizzled. Attempts at censorship failed, too. Printers in Leipzig were banned from publishing or selling anything by Luther or his allies, but material printed elsewhere still flowed into the city. The city council complained to the Duke of Saxony that printers faced losing “house, home, and all their livelihood” because “that which one would gladly sell, and for which there is demand, they are not allowed to have or sell.” What they had was lots of Catholic pamphlets, “but what they have in over-abundance is desired by no one and cannot even be given away.”...
The surge in the popularity of pamphlets in 1523-24, the vast majority of them in favour of reform, served as a collective signalling mechanism. As Andrew Pettegree, an expert on the Reformation at St Andrew's University, puts it in “Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion”, “It was the superabundance, the cascade of titles, that created the impression of an overwhelming tide, an unstoppable movement of opinion…Pamphlets and their purchasers had together created the impression of irresistible force.” Although Luther had been declared a heretic in 1521, and owning or reading his works was banned by the church, the extent of local political and popular support for Luther meant he escaped execution and the Reformation became established in much of Germany.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end (Eccl 3:11).
What I expect will most probably happen is that my body will fail, my mind will cease to function, and that will be that.
Sometimes the key to one movie can be suggested by another one. We know that the title refers to early drawings of the shapes and behavior of clouds. Not long ago I saw a Swedish film, "Simon and the Oaks," about a day-dreaming boy who formed a bond with an oak tree. In its limbs, he would lie reading books of imagination and then allow his eyes to rest on the clouds overhead. As he read a book about desert wanderers, the clouds seemed to take shape as a ghostly caravan of camels in procession across the sky.I was never, ever bored by "Cloud Atlas." On my second viewing, I gave up any attempt to work out the logical connections between the segments, stories and characters. What was important was that I set my mind free to play. Clouds do not really look like camels or sailing ships or castles in the sky. They are simply a natural process at work. So too, perhaps, are our lives. Because we have minds and clouds do not, we desire freedom. That is the shape the characters in "Cloud Atlas" take, and how they attempt to direct our thoughts. Any concrete, factual attempt to nail the film down to cold fact, to tell you what it "means," is as pointless as trying to build a clockwork orange.But, oh, what a film this is! And what a demonstration of the magical, dreamlike qualities of the cinema. And what an opportunity for the actors. And what a leap by the directors, who free themselves from the chains of narrative continuity. And then the wisdom of the old man staring into the flames makes perfect sense.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Richard Mourdock is being attacked for believing Genesis 50:20. It's not about abortion or rape but divine sovereignty, goodness.
Jeremy Pierce I would have thought it was pretty obvious that what he was saying is that God has created a life, and that life is a gift, regardless of its origins. It's perfectly compatible for good to come out of something bad, and therefore it undermines the argument that abortion is all right merely because the pregnancy resulted from rape. That makes quite a lot of sense. It basically identifies the genetic fallacy in the argument for abortion in rape cases.
Jeremy Pierce It's not a sexual ethics argument. This isn't an issue of whether the sex or rape is allowed but what's morally allowable afterward. His point is that not being responsible for being in a situation doesn't remove responsibilities that incur merely from being in that situation. Like the baby on the doorstep situation except that you're also the biological parent and thus have at least a prima facie responsibility to care for the child.
Jeremy Pierce On the specific point of Mourdock, though, I think some of the complaints assume he's speaking of the rape as good and not the more obvious antecedent, the child. And there's also a further confusion of something's being good in itself vs. used by God for a good. You have to take it the former way also to get their interpretation, and if he did mean to refer to the rape as intended for god he'd almost certainly mean the latter. Standard theodical point in discussions of God and evil.
Jeremy Pierce There is another assumption, though, that we have a responsibility to take care of what God entrusts us with.
His comments assume he means the pregnancy. That's what I've been saying. But some of his critics are taking him to mean the rape.
Jeremy Pierce He's not trying to argue against the person who doesn't think a fetus has moral status. He's trying to argue on behalf of the view that once you have that the rape exception isn't justified. And he isn't arguing for passivity but for proactive care for those entrusted to us.
The reason to your question in the second comment is that he's a politician, and people who can just give the simplest and most careful argument are usually incapable of getting elected to public office. I don't pretend that politicians are going to make the best arguments for their views. But I do get irked when their opponents take them to be saying something totally implausible when there's a much more charitable and likely meaning. The idea that he thinks God must endorse the rape as good flies in the face of what Christians have always believed about theodicy, going back to Gen 50 but also including the very cross itself, which Peter twice in Acts says was an evil act on the part of Jesus' murderers but was part of God's very plan. So accusing him of thinking the rape is justified is also accusing him of not partaking in the very great tradition of theodicy that his statement sure sounds like it stands within.
The last few sentences of your second comment seem to me not to distinguish between something's being good in itself and something's being bad but allowed because it serves a higher good. Suppose Mourdock meant to affirm the rape itself was something God deliberately allowed. I suspect he might believe that. Anyone with a view of divine sovereignty that's stronger than open theism must do so, since they accept that God knew it would happen and didn't stop it. I don't think that's what Mourdock's actual statement was about, but suppose it was. It doesn't follow that he endorses rape as good, because it doesn't follow from taking God to have allowed it to happen to serve some higher purpose that God endorses the evil act itself as morally allowable. It's only open theists and hyper-Calvinists who would disagree with that. And I think these critics of Mourdock must be assuming there's no view in between hyper-Calvinism and open theism, because the argument makes no sense unless there is no such middle ground. But that middle ground is exactly where we find the majority of Christians both historically and now.
Jeremy Pierce I'm not trying to evaluate his argument, just complaining that he's being grossly misinterpreted and strangely being taken as outside the mainstream. The things he's saying are well within the mainstream.
Jeremy Pierce And these same critics say nothing about Mourdock's opponent's co-sponsorship of the infamous "forcible rape" bill, which for Ryan means he approves of rape and can even be used against Buerkle, who got them to remove that language.
Jeremy Pierce Gen 50:20 has to do with being sold into slavery by one's own brothers and being separated from one's family for decades. I wouldn't say we can compare easily which is worse when you compare that to rape, but surely it's a great evil that the Bible nonetheless can say quite clearly was intended by God for good, even though the people who did it intended it for evil. What it shows us is not anything directly about rape but that God can intend evil by someone's greatly evil act. The cross is the prime example of this principle. In one sense it was the most evil act in the history of humanity. Yet it was fully intended by God as the most good act of God in all of history.
Our valuation of our circumstances is perspectivally-located, and sometimes our circumstances and perspective can lead us to be sensitive to truths that others cannot see, but sometimes they can lead us to ignore truths that others can see. Someone in that position is seeing it as good or bad in terms of what she would normally expect, how evil what happened is, how the results differ from what she would normally and should normally expect, how easily she can bear it, and so on. She is not thinking from the perspective of the one whose existence began through that terrible act. There are real people out there who were conceived as a result of rape. I'm not going to tell them that their very existence is an evil or that God didn't want them to exist. Ideally someone commenting on such issues would be able to take into account the experiences of both people. Mourdock didn't do that, and he can be faulted for that.
But his critics have completed failed in taking account the existence of these real people whose origins lie in a very evil act but who nonetheless are created by God, made in his image, and have the full worth of any person. They are also the children of the woman who was raped and not just of the rapist, despite how this issue is usually presented (as if they're his child, and their mother ought therefore to have no connection with her own child because of that fact), which just furthers the notion that there's something wrong with them that children of rape can often have.
As I've said above, his reasoning falls short of a good argument. As Jonathan said, would need to bring in other things to make it work, and once those are there this stuff isn't necessary (but I do think they add something, even if they're not necessary). But I think the critics are being unfair, and I think they're criticizing not just this particular view of his but something fundamental to Christianity.
The Lord hates divorce. That was one of the messages of the prophet of Malachi…So, naturally, I also hate divorce - and you should too.
Before we get further, though, it is perhaps important to provide a little background into what divorce is, in Biblical terms.From a Biblical standpoint, a divorce is the husband putting away the wife. The classical passage is this: Deuteronomy 24:1-4…There is no similar provision for wives in the Old Testament law. A wife could not decide that her husband was unclean and write him a bill of divorcement and put it in his hand and send him out of her house. There was no category of women divorcing their husbands.
This is important to remember when dealing with the text of Scripture. It is easy to anachronistically apply contemporary cultural norms to the text. In an age when people are redefining marriage to include reference to same sex couples, one might think that Christians would be on their guard to remember that this is not the first redefinition of marriage.
Regardless of what the practice may or may not have been, the "bill of divorcement" passage was inauthentically interpreted by the Jewish leaders, and this wrong interpretation was corrected by Jesus [Mt 5:31-32; 19:3-10; Mk 10:2-12; Lk 16:18].Jesus' argument relies on the authority of the institution of marriage [Gen 2:22-24].The apparent rabbinical view was that the "uncleanness" mentioned was anything that the husband found undesirable. Jesus, however, tightly confined the exception to adultery/fornication.So, what the law says is that there is one legitimate ground of divorce, and that is fornication/adultery (see Jesus' own interpretation of Deuteronomy above). Moreover, it was not supposed to be the mere suspicion of that fornication/adultery (for mere suspicion there was a remedy in Numbers 5).
In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul describes marriage and provides for the case of a believing spouse married to an unbelieving spouse. Jesus and Paul command:So, Paul announces the general rule that husbands and wives should stay together and if, despite this command, they separate they should only remain unmarried or be reconciled to their spouse.Paul then turns to the specific case of unbelief. Husbands are not to divorce their wives and women are not to leave their husbands over disbelief. However, if an unbelieving spouse desires to break the marriage, the believing spouse is allowed to permit this.This provides a second exception to the general rule. The general rule is "no divorce," and the two exceptions are a breaking off of the marriage by an unbeliever and adultery/fornication. For those of us who are Presbyterian, our confession of faith also affirms this (Westminster Confession of Faith 24:5&6).There are no other grounds for divorce authorized in Scripture. So, it gives me great sorrow to read Christian brethren promoting the idea of divorce in other cases.For example, I recently read a Christian brother's blog, in which he tried to argue that "domestic violence" is a legitimate ground of divorce. The Scriptures don't teach this, and our confession doesn't recognize this ground.P.S. It might be interesting to get into the question of whether women should be permitted to divorce their husbands at all (given that the law does not provide for it), but that question goes beyond the scope of this post.
Turretinfan10/18/2012 2:50 PM
Where does the Bible ever speak of a woman divorcing her husband?
In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul addresses the issue of the attempted desertion of a believing spouse by an unbelieving spouse. You are right that a kind of gender neutrality is maintained. Neither a Christian man nor a Christian woman is to prevent the desertion of the unbelieving spouse. You should notice, however, that divorce is not mentioned. May I encourage you to re-read the context of the verse you quoted, and you will see the contrast between men divorcing and women leaving.
Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, gives just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract. In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead (24:5).
It is allowed by Paul to the Christian husband or wife deserted by their heathen partner.