God Doesn’t Watch Rape

Woman Attacked

An excerpt from Francis Collins’ book, The Language of God, spurred a particular realization for me some months ago, when I first read it:

I know a young college student who was living alone during summer vacation while she carried out medical research in preparation for a career as a physician. Awakening in the dark of night, she found a strange man had broken into her apartment. With a knife pressed against her throat, he ignored her pleas, blindfolded her, and forced himself on her. He left her in devastation, to relive that experience over and over again for years to come.

The perpetrator was never caught. That young woman was my daughter. Never was pure evil more apparent to me than that night, and never did I more passionately wish that God would have intervened somehow to stop this terrible crime. Why didn’t He cause the perpetrator to be struck with a bolt of lightning, or at least a pang of conscience? Why didn’t He put an invisible shield around my daughter to protect her?

Collins, Francis S. (2006-07-17). The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (p. 44). Free Press. Kindle Edition.

I have two daughters of my own. And I’ve spent many long years in training as a martial artist and a self-defense instructor. So while this particular crime has not touched those in my family, I have spent a great deal more time studying and trying to help prevent such situations than most people are likely to. Actual accounts of such crimes are truly horrific. And my heart breaks for Collins and for his daughter.

But Collins hasn’t really thought through the implications fully. Nor had I, despite my long exposure to the reality and measures for prevention. What are the real implications?

God is omnipotent. He could have stopped the rape yet did not, just as Collins has grappled with. But we’ve not really touched on the full reality by nodding to this point.

God is omnipresent. He was in the room when it happened. He was standing over the bed. And as He sees all things, we must accept that He watched. And did nothing.

Perhaps we console ourselves that God was a source of inner strength during this trial. People say things like this without ever asking the victim if they felt an inner strength or comfort. Our solipsism demands that we take liberties with their accounts and fill in our own self-comfort. Yes, God must have been a strength to the victim; she was a believer. Perhaps we could therefore think of God has having had a hand on her shoulder while the rape took place.

But our doctrines imply something further. God wishes that all would come to a knowledge of Him, even the reprobate and abominable. Was he, in that moment, also communicating somehow with the perpetrator? What whispered drawing was taking place in that moment? Was this event a stepping stone toward eventual repentance for the one who committed the crime?

Our Christian assertions about God come with a price. God is all-powerful. God is all-present. God sees all things. God is with His people in trial. God wants all to come to a knowledge of Himself. Francis Shaeffer spoke famously of “The God Who is There.” But the prospect of a God who is there leaves us with little chance for a God who is Good.  The Christian price comes, and it is a cost we work hard not to see:

Where was God? Why, don’t you know? He was there, in the room, with both of them. The whole time. Watching. Holding. Whispering. God could have stopped the rape but did not. God watched it as it happened. God was in the room, with a hand on her shoulder. God was there with the rapist. There with the victim. And God is good.

We only like our doctrines when we’re on the sunny side of them.

~~~

No. What happened to Collins’ daughter was an abomination, and every effort should be made to protect young women and bring such perpetrators to justice. I am convinced of the horror of such crimes. But the additional load that Collins and his family have borne in this circumstance is a further dimension of tragedy. The trauma of the crime ought to be enough; the further layer of reconciling God’s part in all of it is a gratuitous burden of anguish that no person should have to bear. And the truth is simpler and far clearer to the mind:

We can be thankful that God doesn’t watch rape. God doesn’t stand in the room with rape and do nothing. God doesn’t place his hand on the shoulder of the victim during rape. And God doesn’t whisper to the attacker during rape. God didn’t preside over the rape of Collins’ daughter. The Good God doesn’t do these things.

Dogma does these things. Our claims about God and our portrait of God don’t add up. We may view the stones of our hallowed narrow path in the light of a warming heavenly glow. But turning the crag face exposes the raven-dark madness beneath.

Comments

  1. The post below was excerpted from a book but I have, unfortunately, lost the reference. (sorry)

    “We have to lay at Adam’s feet, in the spermatogenic evolutionary strategy, responsibility for all the unstable features of competitive and exploitative instability society is displaying. Instability which compromises our future viability and sustainability – an endlessly exponentiating relentless industrializtion, extinction-risking boom and bust economics, winner-take-all exploitation of natural and non-renewable resources, population crisis, environmental impacts which are never addressed until the damage is possibly irreversible, and the devastation of a billion years of evolutionary diversity. The use of controlled violence combined with reproductive competition has led to war, atrocity and genocide as well as the development of industrial civilization and post-modern culture. These features began with the patriarchal dominion of large city states, exacerbated by patriarchal religious leaders who insist on the male right to reproduce as well as man’s dominion over nature. They have resulted in war and genocide to the point of final end-game ‘solutions’ such as sheol and the nuclear madness of mutually assured destruction. For this reason it is necessary to exorcise the doctrine of original sin which has cursed Eve throughout the history of patriarchal monotheism.”

    Does anyone know the source?

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  2. Indeed I think it is easier to compartmentalize our beliefs about things like omnipresence and omniscience. A believer wants to think of God as close and all knowing when they need comfort and want retribution in the aftermath of earth-shattering events like this, never thinking about the implication of those attributes while the actual event is taking place. Rather they twist those attributes. Yes, God was there, but we live in a fallen world so he doesn’t intervene. Unless he wants to. And then he does. Such a tortured logic.

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  3. Yes. If we’re to hold to the (Christian) theistic worldview then we must conclude their god favours the free will of the rapist over that of the victim.

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    • My heart goes out to rape victims, such as Collins’ daughter. I hate that there are such sick people in the world who commit this terrible crime.

      I am led to wonder though–in the Christian framework (worldview)–if the perpetrator were prevented from committing the crime, then does that rob his free will of meaning? Suppose every attempted rape is thwarted, and that this is widely known.

      I’m not sure where to go with this, and I’m not suggesting it’s a defense of the problem (theodicy?). Just a thought that might be worth fleshing out.

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      • It’s a feedback loop, isn’t it? Exposes the illogical nature of the “free will defense” which attempts to absolve the Christian god from responsibility for suffering caused by the free will choices in that it isn’t responsible for the consequences. The problem here is it only works if this god isn’t aware of what the choices will be, but that makes this god temporal, which contradicts the omni-everything claim made by theists.

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        • John, exactly so. The defined infinitudes of the Judeo-Christian god all wind up getting in each others way. Unless we take away the proposition that “God is good,” which increases the compatibility a great deal. Not entirely though, but the remaining conflicts are more abstract (to my mind).

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          • The only Biblical explanation of this rape scenario is Isaiah 45:7 , “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

            This pretty well describes the “bible god” but Christians don’t want to acknowledge this.

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            • kcchief, yep, exactly so. Calvinists – like I used to be – might nod at this and own up to it. But that is a far cry from the visceral admission that god routinely stands in the room with rape, child molestation, etc. Our mental imagery always seems to turn to a god “up there” to whom we can pray and hope that he will intervene. The notion that god was always there inside the halls at Abu Ghraib is disturbing. We abandon our notions of omnipresence selectively and routinely, don’t we?

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      • Perhaps this has occurred. The Black Madonna icons found in regions of eastern Europe may be an attempt to prevent rape. Her black countenance may be a visual sign that she carries the guardian of sacred spaces protecting her womb (serpents guarding the way to the tree of life). These serpents have sharp (black obsidian) swords and are also fiery.

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      • Rata, that’s a good question. The average Christian steers well clear of even engaging with such difficult questions, falling back to “mystery” well before that point.

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        • > good question.

          It dovetails nicely with my existential crisis.

          Or should I just say “thanks”?

          It seems to me that we must have free will in order for love (and perhaps other…sentiments?) to have meaning. Some of that freedom would entail the ability to hurt each other.

          However…must that freedom extend so far? 😦

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    • John, yeah, the whole free will angle is such an ad hoc patch on the proposition of a divine orchestrator who is in control (but not really), isn’t it?

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  4. archaeopteryx1 says:

    That’s the most powerful piece of yours I’ve read to date.

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  5. Excellent! Every Christian should be exposed to this kind of thinking. If God is omnipresent as claimed, then yes, he was present in every aspect of the incident, not just as a “comforting presence” to the victim in the aftermath.

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    • Thanks Nan. Yep, no more quarter granted to one-way island-of-me thinking. The god proposition is one of our own definitions. We define god as doing this and being that. But the definitions are, of course, entirely self cancelling. I’m by no means the first to observe this – but I hope to make the reality of it visceral.

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  6. Maybe their god is simply a sick voyeur?

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    • Ark, yep, that’s the other option. And few have the stones to say, “Oh yes he does watch rape.” Though some would do that. But its important for people to have to face down what they are actually proposing about their definitions of god.

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  7. Charity says:

    Well, in Biblical times if no one heard this young woman scream out for help she would be the property (marriage, etc) of the rapist until he got rid of her. The Biblical God does not seem concerned with rape and actually seems to support it, as we see with Abram/Abraham and Hagar.

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    • Charity, right on. And the same with concern over the life of the unborn… Nearly every genocidal command in the OT would necessarily have involved the killing of the unborn, and in many cases directly by god’s hand: Sodom/Gomorrah, Noah’s Flood, the Conquest, etc. I’m hoping to head there next.

      We Christians really don’t worship YHWH. In truth, we don’t like him at all. We like a fluffier and less monotheistic deity. And Christians need to be reminded of this.

      The nonsense about there being no contradictions between the Old and New Testament can be disproven with little technical contradictions. But I prefer to start with the character of God, which shows so much discontinuity between the Old and New that Marcion insisted that YHWH was a nefarious deity that Jesus came to jailbreak us from, only to be excommunicated for the “favor” he was trying to do the church. Ironic.

      People look to the Bible for an eternal moral guide, an ultimately grounding for moral ontology, something more unchanging that mere relativism. And I tell them that such an objective moral guide is not to be found in its pages.

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      • Charity says:

        Absolutely, Matt! I know that people are in love with the idea of God, not so much with God himself.

        The only time I remember God getting upset about a rape is in the book of Judges. I believe someone of the tribe of Levi was visiting a man who lived in an area where the tribe of Benjamin resided.. His slave girl slept in the town square. The townspeople beat her (and I believe raped her) until she died. God was so pissed he had her body divided up into 12 parts, sending one part to each of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was so upset with the tribe of Benjamin that he had the other tribes just about kill them all off. Interestingly enough, this is the same tribe that King Saul and the Apostle Paul descended from.

        Jesus clearly states throughout the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, that when you see him you’ve seen his father in heaven. He also clearly states that everything he does is to give honor to his heavenly father, If that’s not enough, Jesus makes it plain that he didn’t come to condemn the Law (Teaching, Testament, Torah, etc.), but to fulfill it. Sometimes Jesus showed compassion …. the adulterous woman, the woman at the well and in healing the sick. Other times he was mean and spiteful, calling a Samaritan woman a dog, telling his mother to get off his back about performing what became his first miracle and taking the time to make a whip to beat people out of the temple. (Evidently, people profiting off of “worship” doesn’t seem to phase him now.)

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        • archaeopteryx1 says:

          I don’t even believe that people are necessarily in love with the idea of God, but rather, with a loving, caring, forgiving Father. If our society produced enough REAL loving, caring, forgiving fathers, there’d be far less need for imaginary ones.

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          • Charity says:

            I agree, Arch. I’d take it one step further, if ALL parents were more loving there’d be less of a need for fake ones. I am floored by the number of moms who abuse their children (sexually included) and/or severely neglect their children. As a Christian I often looked to Holy Spirit for comfort because I never got it from my mother. I had hoped to have a loving relationship with God because my own father was/is mean and angry. As a woman who didn’t marry until my 30s I looked to Jesus as my lover/husband. That’s what sells with Christianity..”whatever you’re lacking, God is. He’s whatever you need…..a father, mother, brother, lover…whatever you’re lacking, he fulfills it.”

            This isn’t always true across the board. There are Christian adults who actually grew up with loving Christian parents. Since their parents seemed to be shiny examples of Christ like love, they eagerly follow their parents’ religion.

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            • archaeopteryx1 says:

              Charity, have you read Diana Lesperance’s story, above – if that doesn’t turn you against some types of parents, nothing will.

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          • Wow, very interesting observation. Yet I think the fear of death still drives a great deal.

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        • “Evidently, people profiting off of “worship” doesn’t seem to phase him now.”

          Brilliant!

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      • Ah, yes, but they did give Marcion back all his money, so technically all bets were off, right? 😉

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        • Yes, yes, it was all fair in the end. You get your money back, and you’re excommunicated and damned forever. Lets call it even, shall we?

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          • Sadly, the Liars for Jesus Club wrote their own version of the bible, then, afterwards had an impromptu show of hands, a quick game of One potato, two potato , declared Marcion and his followers (of whom there were a fair few), heretics and hunted them down.( or suggested they worship their version of god, complete with official handbook)

            And yet, if it wasn’t for Marcion, some reckon it is doubtful the Church would have gotten its arse into gear over the bible quite so sharpish, believing as they did that writing stuff down some how sullied the Word of Big J and his Pa.
            Gotta love them Crispyuns, right? lol…..

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            • I suppose you’re right. Marcion was a sort of catalyst. Hadn’t really remembered that half.

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              • I’d never even heard of him until a couple of years ago.
                God(sic) bless my Encyclopedia.

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              • We studied him back at the very Christian JBU.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Ark – suggest you read Ehrman’s Lost Christianities.

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              • Go on then, tell me why?

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                So you could learn more about Marcion.

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              • More than what’s currently available?

                Ehrman grates me a bit on occasion and I am in two minds how ”on the level” he is, especially after his Jesus of Nazareth book

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Yeah, I know that Ehrman believes Yeshua existed, while I don’t, but hey – except for me, nobody’s perfect!

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              • This is why I find him suspect. Not a
                suspect, but his former Christian leanings were definitely calling when he penned that book, especially in thy he reviled those who consider JC made up.

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              • Oh, and why can’t I get on your blog anymore
                Your Gravitar won’t link to it. Wo’sup?

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Ark – I didn’t know my gravatar ever did point to my site, gnus to me! Anyway, here it is – come on down!

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              • Great. But one is supposed to hover over your blog name and that should link to your blog. It did before then you had to change to Arch 1 or something, I think?
                I just want to be able to pop over now and then and swear at you.
                Your gravatar needs sorting out…

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                I originally opened the account under archaeopteryx, then chose to go with another website company and totally forgot about my WP account, then, years later, when I ran into blogs on WP, on which I wanted to comment, I tried to log into my WP account, so I could do that, only to learn that I had forgotten my old password – the only alternative was to go with archaeopteryx1, but I have never posted under any other name, so that couldn’t be an issue. I have no idea what might be different from the way things were, except from time to time, your log-in times out and you have to log back in again – I can see how, under those circumstances, all of the features might not be available.

                Has no one taught you about book marking? Or is there a crayon shortage where you live?

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              • I just like to keep things simple…like moi.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                “I just like to keep things simple…like moi.”

                That’s less and less easy to do, once one evolves upward from a single-celled organism.

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              • “limkited” – see, in the format used on Think Atheist, Atheist Universe, or my site, I’d have 15 minutes go back in and correct that.

                Yeah, but you only know the difference because this site underlines all your cock-ups, otherwise you’d never notice, so what does it matter, really?

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Maybe I’d rather not share my cock-ups with the world, thank you very much!

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              • I tried to comment and it booted me out…problem with your host.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                “I tried to comment and it booted me out…”

                The site is far too mechanical for me to ascribe that behavior to good taste, so we must look for other explanations, such as your browser, or possibly even your ISP, but John Zande once made the same complaint, without the whining, of course, but has since posted, so obviously, he overcame it – you might ask him how. To me, it appears to be working perfectly.

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              • It said it was your fault…well not you personally, but your host.
                I just wanted to say the Joseph post was excellent as it has been ages since i read this part of the bible and you added footnotes were excellent.

                There..phew!
                Don’t be surprised if Matt doesn’t get teed off and deletes these comments for jamming up his perfectly good blog post.

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              • Oh, I’m fine. You guys bring too much good thought to the commentary for me to get fussy with over Ark’s sound evangelism to the WP world. 🙂

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Darn, I was hoping you’d kick him off – ask Stanley about the fine mess he got us into over on Fluid Theology! Go ahead, ask him!

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              • LOL, I guess I need to head over there. Link?

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Link? Fageddaboudid! He ruined it for all of us, now she’s closed her blog, and you can only get on by invitation. And before she kicked us off, she said she hated to see me go, because I was the GOOD one! Do you know how long I’ve waited, to be called, the good one? ANYwhere?

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              • 🙂

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                “Don’t be surprised if Matt doesn’t get teed off and deletes these comments for jamming up his perfectly good blog post.

                Oh, surely he’s accustomed to you by now —

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              • Me! pah….

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              • Maybe you should open a WordPress blog? Widen your readership a bit?

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Too limkited – commenters can’t bold, underline, italicize or quote without knowing HTML, can’t upload pictures, just way too constraining. If you’ve ever been to Think Atheist, for example, you can do nearly everything on that format, including going back in and editing your comment for a full 15 minutes after you’ve posted it, as well as the ability to cancel it, should you change your mind.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                “limkited” – see, in the format used on Think Atheist, Atheist Universe, or my site, I’d have 15 minutes go back in and correct that.

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              • Yes!

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            • archaeopteryx1 says:

              Actually, orthodox Jews won’t even write the word, “god,” much less the biblical name by which he claimed to be called, instead, they prefer to write, “g-d” – sure, like their g-d doesn’t know what the f–k they’re talking about!

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              • LOL

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              • I always understood they omit the ”O” because they consider it a waste of white ink filling in the middle so rather just put a dash there instead.
                But what do I know?

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                “But what do I know?”

                Ah, how often have I asked the same thing about you –? 🙂

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Hey, Ark, talk to John Zande – he was having trouble too, then all of a sudden, he wasn’t and commented – ask him what, if anything, he did differently. I called the company, and they didn’t know of any common, obvious issues, and I don’t have an abrasive personalities filter, so that couldn’t be it. Hope you can work it out, as I always look forward to snarky comments, and like the song says, nobody does it better –:)

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  8. It comes to mind that god doesn’t allow for his temple to be defiled. Jesus was incredibly angry at the money changers, accusing them of turning the temple into a den of thieves. Aren’t Christians the temple of the Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Jesus didn’t put up with the money changers, but are Christians to believe he silently stands by while a woman – his child – is being raped? Seems sick and twisted to me.

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    • Damn. Good point. I love any bible verse than can be used as a good counter to a believer’s position.

      I can talk all day about logical inconsistencies and falsifiable claims, but it’s using their holiest of books against them that is the most powerful.

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      • Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

        It is hard to argue that he isn’t there during a rape. Except the ‘help’ part. Once again, we have to choose attributes. Either he is present and not helpful or he is helpful but not present. Or not existent.

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  9. Normally, when talking about god’s inaction in such cases with believers I like to throw in the good old hypothetical.

    “If you came upon a woman being raped in an alley at night, what would you do?”

    Nobody ever responds with, “stand there and watch.” Which leads me to congratulate them on having a better grip on justice, free will and decency than their god.

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    • Yep, simple and to the point. Both tacks help demonstrate that a person who asserts God’s existence has to choose between the attributes we give him. Either he isn’t really there, isn’t really powerful enough, or isn’t really good. But we can’t have all the traits.

      Its like in the contract work that we do: we quip that you can have it fast, good, and cheap. But hold on – actually, you have to pick two. 🙂

      Even with a god proposition, we simply can’t have everything on the menu. It is absurd to maintain that he is good, powerful, and present for such events. But most people would rather have him good I think.

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  10. Arch, Ark, and John (and anyone else) – a friend just queried me about Jonathan Cahn and “The Harbinger”. Do any of you have resources or debunk articles on this? I have found a few, one from ABI, one from Pew Creek. You guys have anything to say on the subject?

    Thanks!

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    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      I found this interesting:

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      • If this is just the message he gives, I watched a 40 minute one already. Any critique in there?

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        The key word here, is fear – the man is a fear-monger.

        “It is fear that first brought gods into the world.”
        Petronius

        So yes, let’s go back to the old ways, let’s take our rebellious children to the city gates and stone the little bastards to death in obedience to the word of god. He’ll be SO pleased! Ye-yus!

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        • Oh I agree. I’ve seen his kind many times. And he’s playing it by the numbers… and he’ll make his coin too. Seems to play it safe – no explicit predictions, all the “magic” is on rear-view mirror prophecies that are seen after the fact.

          Still, I’m on the prowl (kinda) for any thorough debunks. I don’t feel like doing one myself.

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          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            Does anyone ever check to see if an actual sycamore was hit? And if so, was it the only kind of tree that was hit? And does he realize that going back to the Bible, like a government run by an American Taliban, means following ALL of the Bible, not just cherry-picking the parts that agree with your own philosophy?

            Did people pay to be there? And if so, how much did he rake in? Surely it was a GREAT book promotion! (Copies were probably on sale in the lobby.)

            Interesting, that there was no monetary compensation for the fanatics that made the Biblical prophecies, but Cahn clearly didn’t get that suit off the rack at Sears.

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            • Preach it man, preach it. Can you believe we’re talking about a sycamore? Hell, those prophecies weren’t authentic the first time they were written down, much less recycled on 2500 years interval.

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              • Charity says:

                My dad gave me this guy’s harbinger book for Christmas the year I deconverted. He didn’t know I was an atheist at the time, now that he knows that I am, he thinks I need deliverance. I saw Cahn a couple of years ago on the program “It’s Supernatural” with Messianic Jewish host Sid Roth.

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              • Fun. Is he as scary without overlay music?

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              • Charity says:

                I wouldn’t know. Sid is a big fan of spooky music himself.

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  11. Sid Roth is another “Hoot” ! I can’t believe he can actually interview some of these qwacks with a straight face ! 🙂 The likes of David Herzog who claims people’s fillings turn into gold or people have extreme weight loss at his meetings. 🙂

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    • Charity says:

      I still have a Jewish Bible from Sid Roth. It was the last Bible I bought. I was hoping for theological clarity, only came up with more questions. It was a big part of my last final search for the truth in scriptures.Three months later I deconverted.

      As Margaret Becker sings “a hungry man does not pick or choose, he just goes where there’s bread.” I was such a hungry Christian, but all I seemed to find was drought and famine.

      Thanks Matt for this write up. It is all about standing back and looking at everything, isn’t it? I’ve enjoyed everyone’s comments as well.

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      • I can recall my own “final search” stage. And its funny, I didn’t really read the famous atheists – like Hitchens – till I knew the score and saw the handwriting. Kinda glad for that. I let our own scholars convince me that we were wrong. But if I’d read Hitchens sooner, it might have accelerated it still the more. But the quest was a sort of desperate time.

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  12. You overlook the message of the Bible! It clearly indicates that most rape is either the girl who, having been caught messing around, claims that it was rape, or that she must have asked for it by being immodest. All in all, all rape is the fault of the woman being raped, that’s the logic of the Patriarchy. If you’re not sure, check with the Taliban, they are experts on this subject. In fact, you don’t even need to go to the radical fundies of Islam, many followers of this splinter group from the original Abrahamic cult can tell you all about this. Just so with many of the Western Christians, and don’t forget that politician who explained that women can’t get pregnant from rape, their bodies protect them from that.

    Where any representation of a “god” is portrayed as male, you will find rape used as a major technique for controlling women. India? lots of female gods, but Brahma is male. Get the joke?

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    • Mariah, You certainly have a point… rape in the OT was decidedly an oddly handled crime. But things are different now, don’t you know… why, all that OT stuff was just “their culture” and the law has been fulfilled. We get to forget all that. And that’s one reason why its important to underscore that our God propositions are still incoherent, right now, today, all OT dodges aside. I get tired of the OT dodge, don’t you?

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  13. Smut, this piece. Successfully so. See above replies.

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    • 2.0 – hard to read between your lines. More specificity would help…

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      • The drive behind the piece is emotional. Very easily it touches the sensitive barriers that people call something else. People X and people Y were going to respond with A or B and you knew that. It is a fueled article and brings in the specific breeds. You knew that too.

        It’s also a load of conjecture. Pure and simple. The article has not been discussed.

        “Smut” was a poorly chosen word but I have to stand by it since I cannot edit my comment.

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        • Ah, I see. Well, that helps clarify.

          The purpose of the piece is to – in visceral fashion – discuss the unavoidable conflict between claims for the (1) goodness of god and (2) the omnipresence of god. Too often discussions of theodicy focus on god’s omnipotence, though the conflict there is no less real. Yet when considering such cases, we generally think of god as being “up there” and choosing not to come to the situation and intervene. Conversation tends to take place along those lines. I deliberately wanted to bring omnipresence into focus.

          The question is, where is the error in this?

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          • The error in this was remarking on what an omniscient and omnipresent mind “should” do. It’s the opus of your method/mind.

            Regarding omnipresent – What exactly is His role? And who the F are you to say? Who are you to expect something from Him? You who rebels from Him? The corrupt mind that harms the ones it loves certainly cannot attack the “good and love” that he/the mind fabricates and attributes to a perfect God. That is foolishness.

            Regarding omniscience – “And did nothing.” to quote you. Are you so sure of that? It is plain obvious that you are capable of thinking. Have you not thought on how much worse the possibilities of the situation could have been? Perhaps death, a dreadfully mutated child, or a long long perverse torture that was worse then a quick death? What I mean is that the worse case did not happen and we can call it coincidence or the merciful hand of God. But it is too difficult for so many to see any mercy in the event. Again, we do not know God’s job, if it is or is not his job to restrain evil.

            BTW – the flashy timeline of the gospels, acts, and revelation are grossly off on their dates. I’m not interested in debating this. The fact is, you have your sources and I have mine. You know your sources are think that you are correct, while I know mine are correct. There is a volume of doubt in yours and the same volume of doubt in mine. Yet, to you, yours are the correct ones. I’ll question my facts, but you (in this case of the time line) do not question yours. It is a dreadful error on the “seamless” way that you think you are building upon. At the least you should throw your hands up and say, “We do not know.” That would be professional. But you have a drive and are blinded by the information that agrees with your direction.

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            • 2.0 –

              Well, your comments kinda range here. You’ve hit on several different posts all in one place. Makes things sort of messy, but…

              As to the omnipresence thing, the entire point is that the burden of sorting out how the “Omni” properties of god can coexist without contradiction simply isn’t my problem. I consider it intractable, but if you have a solution, by all means, please disclose.

              Thanks for considering my timeline flashy, I appreciate that. 🙂

              On the timeline, it is worth observing that the really, really important points from it are not terribly in flux. The majority of scholars believe that Paul was written first, and then the gospels, in the order presented. Dates can shift depending on who you consult – which I DID state quite clearly in the description. Those are the essential requisites to illustrate the progression. If you have specific disputes for the core points, please state. But please state on the timeline post, if you don’t mind. Lastly on this point, Brown is considered a fairly middle-road guy among critical scholars. I think starting from him is a point of moderation that deserves a nod. I’m sorry you don’t like the message. I didn’t choose the NT books.

              I’ll question any facts for which serious evidence is brought to the table. I don’t see any here.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                then the gospels, in the order presented” – I believe you’ll agree, Matt, when you have a sec to think about it, that “Mark” actually preceded “Matthew.

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              • Clarification: In the order presented on the timeline.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Thought you meant the NT.

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              • Was referring to the NT timeline, which has Mark first, unless I have an unnoticed type in there!

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                OK, I’m confused – are you talking about the order of presentation? Because that would be Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Or the timeline in which they were written, which would be Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.

                It would have been SO much simpler if they had just put in Mark first.

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              • Have you seen my NT timeline? On the right column under NT. That’s what 2.0 was hassling me about and it has Mark first. That’s what I was referring to when I said the order presented.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                No, sorry to say, I didn’t see it – so many to zing, so little time —

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              • Well, it’s my number one page without question. Useful to pass on I’m told. Definitely check it.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Well, why didn’t you SAY so?

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              • I figured you knew. 🙂

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Wait a minute – I read THAT, and liked it – I assumed you were talking about something with the Gospels listed, which, unless I wasn’t looking in the right place, I didn’t see —

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              • The graphic Arch, the graphic.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                I’ve scrolled down the page three times, and I don’t see a graphic. And yes, I’m sober – ish.

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                I swear that was not on the page I was looking at, and I have no explanation. Cool, I pulled it off onto my desktop, so I can examine it at greater length –

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              • LOL. But to probe the technical side, were you on a phone, tablet or computer? What browser?

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Phone? As much as I comment? I’d wear my thumbs down to nubs! Mac laptop, Firefox.

                Interestingly, some time back, on Atheist Universe (not a WP site), instead of uploading an image, I simply copied and pasted it into my comment (their format allows that), but others said there was no image there. I was looking right at it, but they couldn’t see it – much like Bill OReilly and the tides, I can’t explain that —

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                Wait a minute! There’s a link to the graphic in the sidebar – you didn’t tell me to look for a link, or that it was in the sidebar – I was looking for an actual graphic, in the body of your post! I suppose that could possibly explain why I didn’t find it. To quote Gilda Radner as Roseann Roseannadana – “Never mind –“

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              • Ah…Senor Matt. 2.0 is a live one, alright. To use a vernacular term, a real Plonker.
                There are just so many SOM’s to go round, right? 🙂

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              • What’s an SOM?

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              • Silence of Mind.
                Have you not encountered him/she/it yet?

                A real Peach. Ask John Z lol.

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              • Ah, yes I have seen exchanges with him. He doesn’t rise to acronym level on my radar yet.: -)

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              • archaeopteryx1 says:

                That would be “SilenceOfMind,” or as I like to call him, “SillinessOfMind” – we’d all be so much better off if he practiced Silence of Mouth.

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            • archaeopteryx1 says:

              “You know your sources are think that you are correct, while I know mine are correct.”

              Is THAT the kind of “professional” you’re suggesting he be? You have no reliable sources, while he has the considerations of biblical scholars – who should be throwing up their hands, saying, “I don’t know?”

              2,0? I’m thinking more like 0.2.

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        • Matt brings up some good points in his reply to you here. I’m interested to see your response.

          If you want to discuss the issues raised by this post, consider also reading and (potentially) replying to my comments (1, 2).

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  14. Jbars says:

    Ark, “Have you not encountered him/she/it yet?” – LOL

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  15. This looks interesting: Sacred Witness: Rape in the Hebrew Bible.

    No, I haven’t read it.

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    • You guys are hysterical. Rubbing each others’ tummies to feel good on a blog that can be more or less be boiled down to hate. If I were a Christian I would have to say something else. If I was an atheist I would have to say something else.

      Per Matt’s last comment to mine, last paragraph. “Facts.” You don’t have them, so there is not anything for you to discuss. You are intelligent enough to know you don’t have facts. Capable of admitting it, I don’t know.

      I could be a Christian and say I have the facts. But I would be a liar. I could be a pagan and say I have the fact. Again, I would be a liar. Your facts are just as faith based as the Christian’s. You’ll argue “science” most likely. It’s as immoral and deformed as the Catholic Church. I can view each, science and the Catholic church, as equally wrong with rigged records written with impure motives.

      This post, this thread, is purely emotional in nature and personifies this blog more perfectly than any of your other threads.

      To whoever commented about me being silent. Sure, silent, if you forget some people don’t care too much about getting online, or if even responding on a site like this is worth the time. But something that simple cannot occur to you because you think the thoughts in your head are the right ones.

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      • Any particular reason your comment was in reply to mine?

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      • 2.0 –

        I’m assuming you’re talking about the NT Timeline comment from a month ago, with reference to facts? I honestly wish I knew what you’re talking about here, but I don’t. If you are stating that I’ve listed things as factual that are not, I need you to specify exactly what facts you are referring to. Otherwise it just comes across as a rant.

        Like

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