American Senate candidate Richard Mourdock is in hot water this week after saying during a debate that pregnancy caused by rape is “something that God intended to happen.” Understandably, this pissed everyone right the fuck off. It seemed to imply not only that God sometimes sanctions rape, but also that it serves some purpose. So, silver lining, 14-year old girl who is gang raped in an alley and wakes up pregnant: turns out God wanted that to happen! Just like he wanted Richard Mourdock to have a nice, rape-free existence and become a Senator. Guess you just drew the short straw, metaphysically speaking.
But I’m not writing to pile on Mourdock. There’s been more than enough outrage to go around. I’m writing to point out that, if you’re Christian or Jewish, your outrage at Mourdock’s comments are completely hypocritical, and it may be time for you to reexamine your spiritual views.
First, Mourdock was only expressing what I have heard Christians say countless times: That “everything is part of God’s plan.” Often we say this to a child whose dog has died, or a friend who just got dumped. “Oh, don’t be sad. It’s all part of God’s plan.” Most people have the good taste not to say it to a recent rape victim, as they might not be in a “glass is half full” kind of mood. But I’ve never seen a Bible quote from God that says: “I am all-powerful…except when it comes to pregnancy caused by rape. That was someone else’s bad.” You can pass the buck to Satan if you like, but this is a meaningless exercise in faulty logic, since any all-powerful God who created the entire universe also clearly created evil, created Satan, could stop Satan, describes vividly in the Book of Revelation how he will someday stop Satan, and yet for whatever reason chose not to do so while you were being raped by your uncle. Again, vile as it may be, Mourdock should actually be given credit for accurately describing this obvious theistic reality.
Most religious people I know are very good people, disgusted by rape, and they find it easy to reconcile their moral views and their religious views. They can do this because the cheerful, modern preachers of their churches describe a God with a non-interventionist policy…he is abstract and distant, concerned with our well-being but not directly responsible for every moment of our lives.
Unfortunately, that is simply not the God described in the Bible. I don’t care if you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Mormon. Your notion of God—one all-powerful being who created the Earth, Moon, Sun, stars, people and animals—is the God of the Old Testament. That book, and the oral tradition that inspired it, is 100% of the basis of your God. When Jesus Christ was talking about God, that was the God he was referring to. I know many religious moderates have been taught that in 2012, God is sort of a chill, happy, hands-off guy who answers the occasional prayer and takes care of Grandma when she dies. Sounds lovely, except that guy must have been made up somewhere along the way by your church; the God of record is the one described in the Bible.
And that God DOES intervene in human affairs, DOES condone rape, and DOES act like a complete fucking prick, rarely with greater evil and bloodlust then when his ire is directed at women.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s read his official, authorized biography:
If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.
Got raped? No problem. Your dad gets fifty bucks, and you get to marry your rapist. Hopefully you got raped by Johnny Depp, or else that might suck!
But let’s cut to the chase, in this passage about Moses’ legendary journey out of Egypt:
They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet [the victorious Hebrew army] outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.
Yes, that’s beloved hero of the Bible, Moses, ordering the Midianites (a peaceful people, mind you) to be slaughtered after a battle and their virgin women—probably a bunch of 12-year olds—enslaved by the Hebrews. Their only crime was not worshipping the Hebrew God. And who would blame them! If this happened somewhere in the world today, the Midianites would be martyred victims, and Moses a genocidal war criminal the likes of which we only see during civil wars in Sub Saharan Africa. And yet this story, of Moses leading his people to the promise land, is the crown jewel of the Old Testament, although Jews tend to leave this passage (and the dozens of others like it—I omit them for brevity) out of Passover stories. For some reason, the fact that Moses ordered the slaughter and rape of tens of thousands—on God’s direct orders—just isn’t important enough to get mentioned.
I could stop there, but then you might say “he just cherry picked a few passages.” Well screw you, here’s several more:
If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.
Penalty for rape is the same as the penalty for getting raped: death. Taliban-tastic!
As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.
“Thanks for stopping by to exterminate our people Moses, don’t forget your free gift bag of rape and goats on your way out.”
Starting to feel kind of icky yet about The Bible’s view on women’s rights? Here, let’s do just one more, for good measure. This is God’s punishment for King David (who committed adultery):
2 Samuel 12:11-14
Thus says the Lord: ‘I will bring evil upon you out of your own house. I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor. He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.’
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan answered David: “The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die.” [The child dies seven days later.]
God sure is fair. He realized that the perfect way to punish a cheating husband was to deliver his wives (plural) to a neighbor so they could be ravaged in public. And then God killed his innocent kid for good measure. Divine justice? ‘Done’ and ‘done’!
Noticing a trend here? No, not that rape and murder might be part of God’s plan…it’s quite obvious that rape and murder are, literally, PART OF GOD’S VARIOUS PLANS, usually plans centered on revenge against people who don’t worship him. No, what’s interesting isn’t the rape itself, but the fact that women are nothing more than extras…worthless characters in God’s divine play. In these passages, rape is only even bad in the sense that some other guy damaged your goods. Any human with a vagina is essentially on par with livestock, property that need be mentioned only insofar as it relates to the rewarding/punishing of men.
I do not know any Christians, Muslims, or Jews who condone these horrific passages. This speaks highly of their morality, but poorly of their bible knowledge, and to be honest, even more poorly of their taste in deities. How any woman—or decent man, for that matter—can swear allegiance to this type of God, and to people who use this book as a guide to governing, is simply beyond me. You modern-day, non-extreme churchgoers can sugarcoat your religious affiliation all you want, but understand, you’re lying to no one but yourself: Your God is a jerk. He did bad things, he bragged about them, and he had Moses (or someone else) write them down, and then he ordered everyone to worship him for it. If you’re Jewish, this is your God. If you’re Christian, this is the God that Jesus was raised to worship. If you want to tell me that these passages are outdated, that they are just metaphor, be my guest. It just makes your blind allegiance to a deity all the more astonishing—why choose this all-powerful God, who speaks to you only in metaphor, and only in the most horrific, vile metaphors at that? Do you pick and choose which metaphors and passages apply to you? Did your priest or rabbi tell you this is okay, to take a red pen and just cross out the nasty bits you don’t like? Is it okay to you that priests and rabbis have been doing that very thing—parsing and modifying this sacred text—for thousands of years, before it was ever even translated into English, before it ever got into your hands? Does it give you pause that the only evidence for your God is this book, a book which you may even admit to be full of exaggerations and outright fiction? Is this book—one of the most amoral books ever written—really where you want people to think you get your moral views from? And if you don’t agree with the morality of these passages, is it maybe time to think about what else in this book you don’t agree with? Can’t you follow the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth—a man recorded by history as a peace-lover, a teacher, a defender of the poor—without subscribing to all this other hatred, pettiness, violence and vitriol? Have you actually read the book that is the foundation of your views for the entire universe, or have you just had it summarized to you by others? Is it maybe time that all of us, as a species, take a closer look at this one book that has so much control over the western world and say to ourselves: Hang on, we’ve been basing our entire civilization on this?
Christians do not own a monopoly on following the teachings of Jesus—all humans are free to help the meek, to do good onto others, to turn the other cheek, without having to defend outright fairytales like the first woman hanging out with a talking snake, or Jonah living inside a whale, or Jesus walking on water. And, yes, the most abhorrent fairytale of all: That our creator’s plan is to have scores of innocent women and children be raped, enslaved, and murdered for no sin other than being born into a world where God is an all-powerful tyrant and humans are powerless to stand up to him.
The Bible is a book written a long time ago, about people who lived a long time ago. I don’t fault the authors for their violent ways; it was the only world they knew. And I don’t blame them for making up myths to explain the world around them; they were born thousands of years before the advent of modern science, before Charles Darwin explained the origin of human life through evolution, before astrophysicists explained the origin of the universe through the Big Bang. But I refuse to stand by while brainwashed rape defenders like Richard Mourdock are elected to govern me, to serve on Senate committees that take Bible passages like the ones above into account when deciding whether or not my sisters or daughters can control their own bodies. Rape is not part of God’s plan. Global warming is not part of God’s plan. War in the Middle East is not part of God’s plan. These are the plans of men, and they can be prevented by men, and women, should both decide to release themselves from the shackles of ignorance and stop outsourcing responsibility to priests, presidents, deities and dharma. There may in fact be a higher power out there, an all-knowing, all-loving universe creator that started this all, and if you are one of the many, many Americans who feels like finding a way to reach out to that power, please do so with my blessing. But I would suggest that you start your search for that being in a different book; whoever told you that’s what The Bible was about was lying. And every day you spend scouring this book for moral positives while ignoring its moral negatives is another day you drown in absurd contradictions, written thousands of years ago, by men who would probably have worshipped an ice cream truck if they saw one driving by.
The only people who have a right to be outraged by Richard Mourdock’s comments are atheists. For those who want the freedom to judge morality without the hypocrisy of worshiping an amoral God, simply give your Bible away and join the decent, caring, freethinking non-religious masses. Our ideals may not be perfect, but at least we don’t claim them to be. Plus our membership is open to all, we demand allegiance to no one, and you don’t even have to cut your foreskin off.
Adam Farasati is a screenwriter and author of the fiction novella The God Killer, available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.