Thursday, June 03, 2010

The ERV posse on rape

It's a bit of a spectacle watching ERV's flock of betas flounder around in search of a way to substantiate their accusation that the God of the Bible condones rape in Deuteronomy 21.  Let the record show, by the way, that 'twas the ignorant commenter Jesse @16 who brought up the issue of rape, not me.
Here's the passage: 10“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take them away captive, 11and see among the captives a beautiful woman, and have a desire for her and would take her as a wife for yourself, 12then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13“She shall also remove the clothes of her captivity and shall remain in your house, and mourn her father and mother a full month; and after that you may go in to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14“It shall be, if you are not pleased with her, then you shall let her go wherever she wishes; but you shall certainly not sell her for money, you shall not mistreat her, because you have humbled her.


I paste here some relevant portions of my latest comment there.
I'd said:

Being married sort of usually implies consent to sex.
Prometheus responds:  That is repugnant beyond words. You can't believe that.
I reply:  Please provide evidence that what you intuit as "repugnant" should apply to anyone else. Is the statement "I, Prometheus, find this view repugnant" similar or identical to "This view is morally wrong"? If not, why should I care? If so, please offer your argument to that effect.
Prometheus:  Please provide evidence that what you intuit as "repugnant" should apply to anyone else.
No.  Not because I can't but because your prose is also repugnant.
Is the statement "I, Prometheus......yadayadayada    Again no.

I answer: So, no answer to my question.  Didn't think so.
Tell you what, to help illustrate, let's swap the terms a bit but keep Prometheus' "argument".

Raymond:  I believe in young-earth creationism.  It is my intuition that YEC is true and that to believe in evolution is repugnant beyond words. You can't believe that.
Prometheus:  Please provide evidence that what you intuit is true.  Please provide evidence that what you intuit as "repugnant" should apply to anyone else.
Raymond:  No. Not because I can't but because your prose is also repugnant. For, as always, you are pointlessly prolix, fatuous and florid with no interest in the fruit of discourse.

Wow!  What an impressive argument!  I mean, you even used some big words; I'll bet your 6th grade teacher would be proud.
Anytime you feel like actually trying to substantiate your assertions, I'm willing to listen.

------
Tyler DiPietro tried to answer my "If not, why should I care?"
--Because you're not an island. You live in a world with other human beings and their collective subjective opinion of you affects your life, sometimes in profound ways.

1) So what?  What's the prescriptive and normative power of the statement "you live with other humans"?
2) Maybe I'm glad to live with other humans, b/c that means more slaves to do my will.  What is morally wrong with that statement?


--In other words, a negative hasn't been proven.
Exactly!  Now you're getting it.  Maybe those who were so hasty to try to make this statement should be more careful in the arguments they use.


--As has been explained to you before, the evidence is the fact that they were ----ing war brides and the Bible never says anything about getting their consent first.

And it doesn't say anything about NOT getting it either.  You're assuming 4 problematic things:
1) You can't prove the sex was forced.  All you can make is anachronistic judgments from your comfy chair 5 millennia later.
2) You have no idea of the state of mind of the women or the men in question.
3) Deut 21 is not an exhaustive treatise on how married men are to treat their wives.  After all, these are wives, not sex slaves, not even concubines (which themselves had legal rights).  Deut 21 is dealing with redeeming some women from their self-destructive communities whom God had judged, putting these women into a situation where they could know God and have legal rights under God's Law, and by which some Israelite men could obtain wives.  You want laws governing how to deal with one's wife, look elsewhere.
4) If some men forced sex from the women in question, you have even further to go to prove this would be God's fault.  God lays down laws; it comes as zero surprise to the Christian that some people might actually --gasp!!-- sin and deviate from His Law.

In short, you've got nothing, that's been clearly seen here.  Despite all your attempts, even you had to admit that a negative hasn't been proven.
When that's all you have, maybe you should move on.



Finally, Stephen Wells chimed in:

If you don't share my premises, then at least we all know to avoid you like the backstabbing weasel you would be if you dared.

I'm devastated, shedding hot tears.  Just so you know.
Look, maybe you're not getting this - I'm after facts on these questions, not your opinions, as if you were some sort of Pope of Morality.  I don't know where you think you got your authority to make moral pronouncements that you think should prescribe and proscribe behavior for anyone else, but that's why I asked you to provide the factual basis for it.  If you can't provide that substantiation, then I don't see why I and everyone else shouldn't dismiss your judgmental attempts to tell us what we get to and don't get to do.


for rape to have occurred it suffices for even one of them to have not given consent. Nice attempt at a goalpost-shift but you're not getting away with that one.

So prove one of them didn't give consent.  It's not like I haven't asked for evidence 12 times now.


all we have to do is say: here are my standards of judgement, and by these lights, the thing is wrong.

Um, I think I knew that already - that your standards of judgment are self-referential and tautological. I'm looking for the prescriptive power, the justification of the standards you use.


This raises the terrifying spectre of taking responsibility for your own moral judgement

Prove that it is morally a good thing to "take responsibility for my own moral judgment".  Don't assume it.  Prove it.


26 comments:

Paul C said...

They're not floundering, Rhology. That's all in your mind. Anyway, perhaps you could answer the question that I posed there.

I'm not suggesting that God would ever command you to rape a woman; but if he did, would you carry out his command?

It doesn't need a complicated answer - a simple yes or no will do.

Rhology said...

God never has commanded rape. God never has condoned rape. As Tommykey said @147, since God's commandments are expressed in the Bible, God is not going to suddenly appear or speak to Christians today and tell them to act in ways that are not in accordance with what has already been laid out in the Bible.
With that firmly in mind, this is me being consistent, as opposed to everyone else on the ERV thread so far (except for bossmanham): I'm not sure if I *would* b/c I'm a sinner and often don't carry out God's commands, but it would be objectively morally right to do so and objectively morally wrong to refuse.
That's what "being consistent with one's position" looks like. You should try it sometime.

Walter said...

It is objectively moral to rape, murder, steal, and barbecue kittens for lunch as long as God orders it. How fortunate for the rest of us that God went mute after the little chat that he had with Paul!

Rhology said...

Someone forgot there are other books in the NT...like the epistles of Peter, of John, Revelation, Jude...

Walter said...

God is not going to suddenly appear or speak to Christians today and tell them to act in ways that are not in accordance with what has already been laid out in the Bible.

Why can't God do whatever he pleases? Who are you to say he cannot show up and order some of his elect to do things that are not "in accordance with what has already been laid out in the bible"?

In fact, why can't sovereign God change his mind about anything he wants to?

Rhology said...

No one said He CAN'T. It's that He WON'T.
Besides, why change a perfect plan?

Walter said...

No one said He CAN'T. It's that He WON'T.

You speak for God? How can you say with certainty what a transcendent God will do?

Rhology said...

Not this facile stuff, seriously. I don't speak for God. I repeat what He already said, especially to ppl who are a bit too lazy to do their own Bible reading.

Walter said...

Not this facile stuff, seriously. I don't speak for God. I repeat what He already said, especially to ppl who are a bit too lazy to do their own Bible reading.

Why should God's supposed revelation end with...Revelations?

And it is a serious question--why can God not change his mind? It may be to his greater glory to damn all of humanity to fiery torments despite his promise to save a few.

BTW, I was raised as a full card-carrying fundy. I have read the bible from cover to cover, although I will admit that is has been awhile.

Rhology said...

It ends there b/c that's what God decided - that's what He had to say. It's good revelation, perfect, complete.
God can't change His mind, if for no other reason than that He never needs to. Perfect plan from the beginning = no change of mind necessary.
If you read the whole Bible and were a fundy, why are you asking such low-level questions? My guess is you were more like a Dan Barker, with a big rep about where you've been but never with any understanding beyond the surface.

bossmanham said...

Paul, if that's not floundering over there, then I don't know what is.

bossmanham said...

I assume ERV is an aspiring scientist or something. I wonder if she realizes how silly she sounds with all the cursing? You think the scientific community will take her seriously?

Tyler DiPietro said...

OH NOEZ, CURSING!!!!!!!

Seriously Rhology, what is the point of copypasting portions of a comment thread on your blog? Are you that insecure about your performance?

As to some of your answers, I'm just going to imitate you for a moment:

"1) You can't prove the sex was forced."

Prove it.

"All you can make is anachronistic judgments from your comfy chair 5 millennia later."

Prove it.

"2) You have no idea of the state of mind of the women or the men in question."

Prove it.

"3) Deut 21 is not an exhaustive treatise on how married men are to treat their wives."

Prove it.

After all, these are wives, not sex slaves, not even concubines...

Prove it.

"Deut 21 is dealing with redeeming some women from their self-destructive communities whom God had judged, putting these women into a situation where they could know God and have legal rights under God's Law, and by which some Israelite men could obtain wives."

Prove it.

"4) If some men forced sex from the women in question, you have even further to go to prove this would be God's fault."

Prove it.

"it comes as zero surprise to the Christian that some people might actually --gasp!!-- sin and deviate from His Law."

Prove it.

Man, that was easy. I can sort of see why you are so adept at convincing yourself that you're winning an argument!

bossmanham said...

Well usually people, especially smart people, can communicate without cursing, Tyler. Why do people find it necessary to use these simple single syllabic words in their sentences? Do you really think it looks cool or something?

Tyler DiPietro said...

"Why do people find it necessary to use these simple single syllabic words in their sentences?"

I never said it was necessary. It does, however, feel good sometimes.

thechemistscorner said...

Tyler,

I just looked up your webpage. I like the LaTex inserts but the link that describes how to do it is dead. Do you have another link for it?

Tyler DiPietro said...

I haven't been to that site in ages, it's mostly up for archival purposes. I can try to dig up some info for you later, but I don't know where it is off the top of my head. Sorry :(

thechemistscorner said...

Don't worry about it. I am fairly new to the blog-o-sphere. I would like to be able to post equations and such in a more convenient way than making a picture out of it and inserting it.

Paul C said...

Rhology, can you guess why I asked you for a simple yes or no answer?

Paul C said...

Because I knew that you couldn't give a straight answer because you can't live with the logical consequences of your belief system - which of course is exactly what you accuse atheists of.

Paul C said...

How is my answer 1) not straight and 2) inconsistent?

1) I specifically asked for a yes or no - anything else counts as "not straight", particularly if it doesn't answer the question.

2. Since I didn't accuse your answer of being inconsistent, this does not require a response.

Paul C said...

OK, so yes or no: When was the last time you had sex with a space alien?

I've never had sex with a space alien – that's a straight answer to that question. If you'd asked “would you have sex with a space alien if God commanded it”, I would have answered “no” - again, that's a straight answer to that question. Your answer, on the other hand, was not a straight answer to the question that was asked.

Fine, in what way does my answer show that I can't live with my system's logical consequences?

You said I'm not sure if I *would* b/c I'm a sinner and often don't carry out God's commands. I assume that there are reasons why you don't carry out God's commands, which raises the question: for what reason wouldn't you rape if commanded so by God?

For example, if I'd asked you if you would help an old lady across the road if God commanded it, then, presumably you'd be able to answer without hedging. There are many commands from God that you would carry out without any hesitation – so what's different about this one?

I can only guess – and please correct me if I'm wrong – that you would hesitate to commit rape because you personally don't want to commit rape. But why? If all actions are morally neutral until God commands one way or another, then presumably you don't have any opinion on it.

This is why I think that you're unable to live with the logical consequences of your beliefs. That doesn't mean that your answer was inconsistent, but as I've said before, our actions – or in this case, your inaction – reveal our true beliefs.

Rhology said...

I've never had sex with a space alien – that's a straight answer to that questio


NNNOOOOOO, sorry! I demanded a yes or no answer. I knew that you couldn't give a straight answer because you can't live with the logical consequences of your belief system - which of course is exactly what you accuse Christians of.



Your answer, on the other hand, was not a straight answer to the question that was asked.

Anyone can read my answer. If it's not straightfwd enough for you, sorry; I can only assume you were asking with motivations toward sthg other than knowing the truth.



For example, if I'd asked you if you would help an old lady across the road if God commanded it, then, presumably you'd be able to answer without hedging.

Maybe b/c God commanded us to love our neighbor and help people. This is disanalogous.


There are many commands from God that you would carry out without any hesitation – so what's different about this one?

1) B/c God didn't command it.
2) B/c I'm a sinner. As if I carry out EVERY command of God that He HAS commanded with the same alacrity! Sometimes He wants me to do things I don't want to do. So I don't do the dishes with as much joy as, say, I make love with my wife. Crazy.



that you would hesitate to commit rape because you personally don't want to commit rape.

Correct, I don't naturally want to. But what does "naturally want to" have to do with morality?



This is why I think that you're unable to live with the logical consequences of your beliefs.

Oh, a bunch of disanalogous, inaccurate free association? OK, fine, you can have it.

Paul C said...

NNNOOOOOO, sorry! I demanded a yes or no answer. I knew that you couldn't give a straight answer because you can't live with the logical consequences of your belief system - which of course is exactly what you accuse Christians of.

Look, this is playground stuff. I didn't “demand” a yes or no answer from you. I merely pointed out that the question didn't need a complicated answer. I specifically said that because I really wanted you to give a yes/no answer, rather than flounder around trying to avoid answering the question. And I've never accused Christians of anything – I'm accusing you of something which the vast majority of Christians do not have a problem with.

Anyone can read my answer. If it's not straightfwd enough for you, sorry; I can only assume you were asking with motivations toward sthg other than knowing the truth.

No. My only motivation was to ensure that I've understood you correctly. With that in mind, let's go back to your response, where you said that you're “not sure” if you would rape. I'd be happy to help you to explore this and help you come to a firm position – would you be open to that?

2) B/c I'm a sinner. As if I carry out EVERY command of God that He HAS commanded with the same alacrity!

But I didn't suggest that you should carry out every command of God with the same alacrity. I suggested that there are many things that you – as a sinner – would not hesitate to provide a yes/no answer to. For example, if I asked whether you would rape your baby daughter if God commanded it, can we assume that you would respond no without any hesitation?

Correct, I don't naturally want to. But what does "naturally want to" have to do with morality?

The question is, why don't you want to rape your baby daughter if God were to command it? Where does your innate desire to not rape your baby daughter come from? Is it your sinful nature?

I realise that you think that I'm trying to catch you out, but please believe me when I tell you that you are projecting your own motives onto me. It won't be the end of the world for you to admit that there might be flaws in your position, whether practical or theological, and to discuss them here.

Rhology said...

With that in mind, let's go back to your response, where you said that you're “not sure” if you would rape.

And why did I say that I wasn't sure?


I suggested that there are many things that you – as a sinner – would not hesitate to provide a yes/no answer to.

so you're asking whether I like certain things better than other things. Yes - I eat ice cream with much more alacrity than broccoli. This has nothing to do with the morality of the action in question, nor whether I disbelieve something just b/c it's distasteful.



Where does your innate desire to not rape your baby daughter come from? Is it your sinful nature?

I'm not sure, but I know that my disobedience is from my sinful nature, yes.
Anyway, you can keep on asking these irrelevant questions, but I'm tired of talking about empty hypotheticals. God has never commanded nor condoned rape, and since He has said that sexual immorality is evil, that will not change.
"thou shalt not murder" and "you guys kill all those Amalekites" are not analogous; the genocide of the Amalekites was not murder. It was justified killing, and murder is UNjustified killing. So you havent' shown any connection to reality here, and since I find the subject matter distasteful, having done my due diligence, I excuse myself from the convo unless and until you come up with sthg relevant.

Paul C said...

And why did I say that I wasn't sure?

Your glib answer was “because you're a sinner” but that is not the proximate cause of your disobedience, otherwise you'd be disobedient about everything all the time. I'm wondering what the specific thing that troubles you about raping is, compared to, say, praying.

so you're asking whether I like certain things better than other things. Yes - I eat ice cream with much more alacrity than broccoli.

I don't for a moment think that you're comparing raping your baby daughter to eating ice cream, so no, I'm not asking you whether you like certain things more or less.

Where does your aversion to rape come from? Is it social convention? Moral intuition? Animal instinct? Aren't you curious to understand the reason for your disobedience, and perhaps overcome it?

God has never commanded nor condoned rape, and since He has said that sexual immorality is evil, that will not change.

You don't seem to have realised that this discussion isn't about whether God would command rape; it's about how you make moral decisions. Trying to ignore the question doesn't make it go away.

"thou shalt not murder" and "you guys kill all those Amalekites" are not analogous; the genocide of the Amalekites was not murder. It was justified killing, and murder is UNjustified killing.

Genocide isn't murder (that's why we use different words) and the question of justification is irrelevant, since the definition of genocide does not rest on justification. If God commands genocide, it may mean that genocide is justified (at least in your mind), but it remains genocide.

since I find the subject matter distasteful

As you have repeatedly pointed out, your distaste isn't relevant to discussions about morality.