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Defrauding? Where did the term come from?

Mountain Girl

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Who came up with the term "defrauding" and what is supposed to be the actual definition? I know it basically means don't show your knees or hug someone of the opposite sex because you'll cause some poor, innocent manboy to stumble into lust, but why are fundies so anti-defrauding rather than just pro-modesty?

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I don't know who came up with it, but I think the idea is that a woman, by showing some part of her that they consider tempting, is "cheating" a man by offering "merchandise" she's not going to deliver.

So, to them, it is much as if she offered a financial profit, then cheated him out of it.

Nice way to think of women, eh?

And, although we here at FJ jokingly use the term about attractive men, the fundies seem to only say it about women.

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As far as I have been able to determine, "defrauding" was first used to mean "causing sexual arousal" by U.S. fundamentalist Christians, although I have not been able to locate a primary source. To everyone else, defrauding is a legal term. It refers to entering into a binding contract to provide goods or services and then refusing to adhere to it.

Of course, this implies that a woman (usually) who does something that a man (usually) finds arousing has thereby caused an implicit and binding contract to come into existence--and then broken it by not fornicating! Of course, if she does fornicate with the man, she's a bad person. Women are just plain screwed in the U.S. fundamentalist Christian system.

Also note that some fundamentalists are concerned about making sure that their toddling girl children don't defraud anybody. Jesus wept!

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From etymonline.com


"criminal deception," early 14c., from O.Fr. fraude "deception, fraud" (13c.), from L. fraudem (nom. fraus) "deceit, injury." The noun meaning "impostor, humbug" is attested from 1850. Pious fraud "deception practiced for the sake of what is deemed a good purpose" is from 1560s.


early 15c., from M.Fr. fraudulent, from L. fraudulentus "cheating, deceitful," from fraus (see fraud).


mid-14c., from O.Fr. defrauder, from L. defraudare "to defraud, cheat," from de- "thoroughly" (see de-) + fraudare (see fraud). Related: Defrauded; defrauding.

I googled "defrauding sexual connotation".


FUCK: To harm, confuse, hinder, cheat, betray, defraud. (Notice that nothing has been said about God’s people. So if you defraud a pagan, you only FUCKED him. But if you defraud a fellow Christian, your FUCKING is also FORNICATION. Note also that, unlike in common usage, the sexual meaning in FUCK has been removed for the purpose of illustration.)
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How wonderful, it's creepier than I thought. It sounds eerily like victim blaming in sexual assault cases.

Also, are they completely unaware that women are sexual beings? Why don't they harp on men to keep their sexiness under control?

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How wonderful, it's creepier than I thought. It sounds eerily like victim blaming in sexual assault cases.

Also, are they completely unaware that women are sexual beings? Why don't they harp on men to keep their sexiness under control?

Ah, Mountain Girl, welcome to the weird, wacky world of fundies. Logic, science, reality, women having desires and opinions -- none of that is permitted!

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The subject of defrauding: Creepy? Yeah. Off the mark from their philosophical bent? Not really.

I don't know exactly when the connection between defrauding and sex was linked, but it wasn't in a purely Biblical context. I grew up in ATI, and I remember actually looking up the word "defraud" in the dictionary because it didn't make sense to me in a literary perspective. However, it DID make sense to me from a philosophical perspective at the time.

The issue is divided into two parts:

1. Issue of their view of lust and sex

From a fundamentalist's perspective, you cannot appreciate physical beauty without it becoming covetous lust unless (in some cases) you are married to the one you are attracted to. This is one of two core problems that results in the application of their lifestyle toward "defrauding". They basically believe that the actual viewing of (a) nakedness or (b) an alluring person or image is sin. To take this up a level, their definition of "nakedness" or "alluring person or image" is entirely relative to their own psyche or understanding/interpretation/eisegesis of Scripture. Some will take the position that viewing skin in certain areas of a woman is a problem (legs below or above the knee; upper arms/sleeveless underarms or sides of upper torso; shoulders; neck and upper chest to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. fingers width down toward the breasts from the chin). Others take the position that viewing the form of a woman is a problem (hence the reasoning for skirts, loose fitting dresses and blouses; no tight clothing or pants). Yet others take the position of viewing portions of skin close to and including genitalia as nakedness.

An alluring person or image is defined relative to the person's psyche or understanding/interpretation/eisegesis of Scripture as well. It can range from a woman in a bikini or lingerie to a modestly dressed woman (by fundamental standards) that just happens to flip her hair in a way that is attractive to one man that she is around (this was an actual issue in one IBLP group).

My point is that there are a wide variety of positions held on what is nakedness and what is alluring. This is why there is a lot of inconsistency amongst the individuals: the application of these principles is all based on an individual's perspective of what is nakedness and alluring.

Furthermore, the simple fact that humans are attracted to physical attributes of another person is always characterized as covetous lust. There isn't an inbetween ground of being physically attracted to someone and full-on lust. Therefore, people in these groups consider that internal sense of attraction immediate sin and by extension, sexual impurity. The only way to prevent that sin is to force those around you to dress or act in a way that is "modest" to your individual attractions or "weaknesses" (if I can use that word lightly...or not so lightly depending on the situation). Because men carry authority in these situations, they can usually enforce their interpretation of modesty on the women around them fairly easily.

2. Issue of their philosophy of responsibility of sin and ability to be pure

The second issue to address is the fact that most fundamentalists believe that on some level they are pure by following certain actions. Hence the reasoning for following someone like Bill Gothard who provides a set of principles and rules that allow a person to be "pure" in their own conscience. He has the ruleset, it makes sense to my mind if I want to be "pure", so I am going to follow these rules and it appeases my conscience by doing so. The thought is that I feel closer to God because I know I have not done the things that make me impure.

The Bible does teach of the sinfulness of humanity and also states that humans cannot attain holiness in and of themselves. This is one of the reasons for Christ. The Bible also teaches that Christians are to live holy lives. The problem comes up in that the Christian believes himself to still carry the sinfulness of humanity with him even after he becomes a Christian. Romans 6 teaches that Christians should not continue in sin and should make choices to avoid sin. Other areas of the Bible specifically state to be holy (I Peter 1:15-16).

The paradoxical problem increases when fundamentalists attempt to mix their perspective of what holiness means for humanity and apply it to their philosophy regarding lust and nakedness. If I am to be holy, then I must not sin. If I am not to sin, then I must not lust. To avoid lust, I must not set anything before my eyes that would cause me to lust (Psalm 101:3). I must not allow the evil thing before my eyes, therefore the women around me must not be alluring or show nakedness because it will cause me to lust. Attraction to another person = lust, so I must avoid all instances of being attracted.

The justification for female modesty is found in verses such as I Timothy 2:9. However, this verse is very vague in direct and cultural application for our day. Other verses are used (Deuteronomy 22:5), but there are a lot of cultural struggles here as well. The concept of "defrauding" comes in to justify these positions and is best understood through these two verses (KJV):

I Corinthians 7:5 -

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

I Thessalonians 4:6 -

That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified

The first verse (I Cor. 7:5) is in contextual reference to male and female relations, particularly sex and and physical intimacy. The word here literally means to rob from, as the Bibilcal perspective of marriage is that both husband and wife are to be fully given to each other. Holding back sex or physical relations would be considered robbing the other in this context. (Disclaimer: the Bible also talks about husband and wife submitting to one other's needs [Ephesians 5], which should include sexual relations or the abstinence thereof based on the couple's situation. These verses do not condone marital rape.)

The second verse (I Thess. 4:6) is a stretch to apply to sexual relations, but this is the closest reference to sexual defrauding outside of the marriage relationship that a fundamentalist can claim. Yet again, I personally believe this to be in reference to a "robbing" or "fraud" as the word literally means that in the Greek. I believe it is referencing financially scamming fellow Christians.

However, the sexual twist is found here: the thought is that a person (in most instances of defrauding it is a woman) "puts herself out there" by wearing certain clothes or by being "alluring" and cheats the offended person out of his sexual (and at times "emotional") purity because of the simple viewing of said "nakedness" or "allurement". It ties to the thought of "defrauding" in that the defrauder is robbing the defrauded of his/her purity by causing the person to sin. Hence the need for modesty and "nike": (1) modesty to take care of the sin problem with those immediately around you and (2) "nike" to address the sin problem of those around you that you can't control. All of it comes back to the individual's relative perspective of nakedness, lust, and responsibility for sin.

My personal opinion is that the problem lies in that the fundamentalist believes that being physically attracted to another person is sinful. In most instances this changes once a man and woman are married in that they are allowed to be physically attracted to one another, although there are those who believe allowing physical attraction in oneself to be evidence of sin nature and therefore repress such feelings even in marriage (these are extreme cases). The fact that there isn't a difference to them between physical attraction and lust causes a whole realm of issues, and quite frankly results in a wide variety of obvious fetishes that are rebuked by those in authority. Often the very things that are rebuked are the things that they personally find attractive, and unfortunately because these feelings are repressed, it expands into multiple fetishes that can come off very creepy.

One thing that might ease the creepy factor is that while these things may be overboard and creepy to someone who has a better sexual balance, most fundamentalists hold themselves in check. As in all situations there are exceptions, and I do personally believe they are out of balance regarding sex and physical attraction, but MOST (not all) don't take sexual advantage (read molestation of children or sexual advances toward women) with this creepiness. (Disclaimer 2: This last statement isn't a defense of the lifestyle. It is a simple acknowledgement of what occurs in the movement and how it is perceived within and without.)

Bottom line: the concept of sexual and emotional "defrauding" is derived from multiple philosophies that force an explanation of their interpretation and application of the Christian life. "Defrauding" is that explanation that helps enforce "sexual purity" and is hammered heavily within movements that utilize the concept.

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I had never heard the term used for immodest clothing until I found this board. I googled it and found this explanation:

There is a passage in Scripture when speaking of sexual morality that exhorts all believers to not defraud a brother. It reads: “. . . and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification" (1 Thessalonians 4:6-7). To defraud a brother is to defeat or frustrate them wrongfully (definition taken from Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.) Men do have a battle with their eyes, and they have a responsibility to guard their eyes. And as women, the way we dress has a profound impact on the men that are around us. As women of God, we should earnestly seek to dress in a manner that helps our brothers in Christ (as well as other men) guard their eyes and hearts. We should seek to not defraud them, but to help aid them in their walk with Christ. Dressing in a manner that draws attention to our form (tight and/or form-fitting clothing, low-cut tops, sheer outfits, slits in skirts, etc.) is contrary to this. Our clothing should reflect our desire to clothe ourselves modestly and discreetly. It should draw attention to our countenances and not to our bodies.

from followinhissteps.blogspot.com/2009/04/modesty-in-dress.html

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