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Austin Cline

Christian Argument: Rape Not So Bad Because Female Bodies Belong to Men

By June 7, 2010

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The idea that women aren't fully equal to men is far too common; the idea that men have the authority to control women's bodies is also sadly common. It's rare, though, to see these two beliefs taken to such an extreme that a man essentially becomes an apologist for rape. Such a position used to be somewhat accepted or unremarkable in that there was a time when the only "crime" committed in rape was a crime against the woman's nearest male relative.

Today, though, most men are enlightened enough to not believe this or are at least smart enough to not say it aloud. Most men... but not all.

IamAnAtheist quotes a Christian who keeps writing to them:

You made fun of what I said about Christian women rather being raped than commit murder by saying that I haven't asked a lot of women about this. That was snide but it didn't answer my point, which is that rape doesn't justify murder. Rape is nasty and it's a sin (it's adultery because they aren't married and if the woman is a virgin or married it's theft) but you can't kill someone because of adultery or theft. Would you kill someone who your husband had relations with? That's murder. Would you kill someone who stole your car? That's murder. If killing for rape is murder than killing for just attempting to rape is even worse. The person's dying for something they haven't even done.

Atheists always use rape as an argument for justifying killing because they want to justify abortion. But is rape really that bad? It's a horrible experience but you get over it with time. If you use it to justify murder you're never going to get over it. Imagine you have a painful divorce. Would you murder your children after because they remind you of your ex husband? Of course not. I think any woman would easily tell you that a painful divorce is worse than rape but it's not an excuse to kill your baby, so why is rape?

To be fair, I would agree that murder is worse than rape. If I had to pick one or the other I'm pretty sure I'd go with the latter, not the former. But that tiny bit of reasonableness is far outweighed by the extreme amount of irrational unreasonableness in everything else this person writes.

Just in case it wasn't made abundantly clear in the above, this Christian later reinforced their view of woman as property in another message:

Yes, I know that rape is bad but you have to admit that there are a lot of worse things, like terminal disease, loss of a limb, or despair. I know it's humiliating but when it's over it's over, not like cancer.

Yes, a Christian woman suffers less from rape than another woman. Are you asking me if I think rapists should go after Christian women? Well if they do they will be faced with the strength and will of the Lord and may even come to His side when they see how little their pathetic abuse can do to a woman of faith!

No you didn't misunderstand about why rape is a sin. It makes no sense for it to be a sin for a man to rape his wife since a man can't rape his wife. It's just not logical, like stealing your own car or pocking your own pocket.

It only doesn't make sense to say that a man can rape his wife if you assume that a woman's body belongs to the man -- that a woman is an object to be owned, like whatever junk you keep in your pocket. This isn't a view you see espoused very much today, but many people may not realize that, not too long ago, there was no legal or even social category of 'spousal rape.'

When a woman married a man, she essentially consented to sex whenever he wanted it -- and if he forced her, it wasn't "real" rape like it might be if they weren't married. It's important to understand that this was an integral part of the "traditional" conception of marriage: men were in charge and women were subservient in all matters, including sexual matters that involved their own bodies. This is the "traditional" sort of marriage which anti-gay-marriage activists wish to preserve for everyone.

I'm a man and frankly I have a hard time imagining that I'd be traumatized for life if a woman forced herself on me. Maybe it's really different for women but you have to admit that on the surface it doesn't make a lot of sense for something to be incredibly pleasurable if one person does it to you and horrible if another person does it to you. I admit I might be wrong but I still think it's probably overblown. There are a lot of worse things (like abortion).

I wonder if this Christian male would be traumatized if a man forced himself on him? And if abortion is really worse, then maybe he should offer to let himself be raped by a man in exchange for every woman who agrees not to have an abortion? After all, if abortion really is that much worse than rape and if rape really isn't so bad, then he'll endure something very minimal in exchange for preventing something really awful.

I think that one of this Christian's problems lies with basic reasoning skills. A good demonstration of this comes from an earlier message where they tried to explain how "all Christians" understood the same meaning behind the commandment not to murder. They provided a list of examples, including:

1. You can't kill another human being without just reason.

6. You can kill enemies in war. Somewhere you talked about just and unjust war but there is no such thing, all war is unjust.

So it's wrong to kill without just reason, but you can kill in war. However, all war is unjust -- which mean that no war is a just reason to kill. Thus, it can't be licit to kill in war. The entire list is a morass of contradictions and incoherence, but I think it helps reveal the quality of thinking behind all the theological arguments they are making.

Comments
June 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm
(1) P Smith says:

Of course some christian males (I wouldn’t call them “men”) view rape as acceptable.

With that attitude and without rape, those losers would never be able to have children. It’s also why the most willing to commit the violence of rape are the most willing to be violent against abortion clinics.

June 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm
(2) Tige Gibson says:

Calling Vox Day are we?

September 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm
(3) Amy Hartley says:

Raping your wife does not go over well with God, When you look at things as a big picture, you need to have a understanding that, God is what is good, what is love. the devil is what is bad and what is hate, the devil can mask his self in many people, but God is always as one. with saying this, you need to understand, the bible that we have does not have all the information in it, because if it did it would never end, (really a never ending book,) and the sad part of this is the christian bible non-catholics bibles, has missing words,versus,chapters and even whole books, I’m not saying this because i’m trying to start a war, but information is power, when you look at topics such as rape, or drugs, you need to ask your self, If Jesus was my husband would he do this to me, the answer would be no, he would not. Men should model there self after Jesus and woman should model there self after Saint Mary, the holy virgin mother of Christ, why is simple because, Jesus is God’s son, Mary was made to be a mother of Jesus, God gave her a very good heart.

March 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm
(4) poop says:

you don’t know what god wants.
you also don’t know that the bible is god’s word.
there are thousands of other, more reputable, holy books.

also rape isn’t for everyone. but when one person loves another person very much, but that person does not love the first person back, rape is excusable, as it is still an act of love. hopefully after being raped the second person will change their mind :)

April 26, 2011 at 5:38 am
(5) t says:

ok if god is love why has he kill the people of the earth. and you need to read your book more. in parts its ok to rape. and if a woman who is not married and is rape by a man he must pay her father 50 sliver coins and marry her without divorcing her
tell me how that good. and as far as the devil who says that he is bad beside god dont forget that he was a head angel to him at one piont he rebelled against god. that not always bad there have been many rebellions against injustice thats has been going to long

June 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm
(6) Larian LeQuella says:

I have to wonder, how common is marital rape in xtian households? Sadly that is a statistic that I would bet is vastly under reported, but probably a hell of a lot more common than people would dare to consider…

June 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm
(7) Anna Johnstone says:

This idiot needs a reality check. If this is a demonstration of Christian morality I certainly won’t allow my son to be indoctrinated by the morass of idiots who are trying to now force Christianity into UK schools. I am disgusted.

June 10, 2010 at 12:24 am
(8) Josh says:

you know what, its funny how people can bash christians and say crap about my faith all they want but if i speak out against GAY marriage or HOMOSEXUALITY its just the end of the world. your lame. trying to make these people look bad by saying thier views are twisted some how just because they may feel rape isnt as bad as abortion. i would go as far as to say your trying to make them look stupid. also if you get married your making a commetment. and heck, if you both LOVE eachother then there shouldnt be any question about sex because you both will want it. so maybe to eliminate rape, abortion, and any question you have about women being controlled by men we should all just read the bible… cause all the awnsers are there. your just not looking. so in return you complain and poke fun.

June 10, 2010 at 7:12 am
(9) Austin Cline says:

you know what, its funny how people can bash christians and say crap about my faith all they want but if i speak out against GAY marriage or HOMOSEXUALITY its just the end of the world.

So, you don’t recognize the difference between criticizing an ideology or opinion and criticizing an inherent characteristic?

According to your argument, if people can criticize conservatism, then you can criticize other people’s race. If people can criticize liberalism, then you can criticize other people’s physical disabilities.

Yeah, that’s a lot of Christian compassion you have there.

trying to make these people look bad by saying thier views are twisted some how just because they may feel rape isnt as bad as abortion.

Hey, if you think you have a substantive argument in defense of why rape isn’t so bad why don’t you present it?

i would go as far as to say your trying to make them look stupid.

No one has to try to make such people look stupid.

also if you get married your making a commetment. and heck, if you both LOVE eachother then there shouldnt be any question about sex because you both will want it.

Right, because no married person is never in the mood.

Just how old are you, anyway?

so maybe to eliminate rape, abortion, and any question you have about women being controlled by men

Funny how the ones who want to do the controlling are always volunteering others to be placed under their control.

we should all just read the bible… cause all the awnsers are there. your just not looking.

I’ve looked. I’ve just never had any questions that could be answered by a collection of bronze-age fairy tales.

so in return you complain and poke fun

No, we complain and poke fun when authoritarian bigots try to present their views as if they were natural, normal, and reasonable.

June 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm
(10) morgan says:

OK, dumb f*** christian, I HAVE been raped and know women who have. It ISNT over when its over, stupid! You cant sleep in your own bed at night, cant take showers alone, cant stop checking wondows and doors, stop going to parties, out at night, trusting your husbands touch, blame yourself, have to go to counseling, I can tell you dont know sh** about women, probably never been with one. Your ignorance is astounding.

June 14, 2010 at 1:04 am
(11) SalopianJerel says:

Morgan . I am so sorry to hear of your expereince my , entirely secular , heart is with you.

Many of these people who rely on ‘revealed absoloute truth’ and direct conversations with God have for many gnerations in the past been able to justify slavery, cruel and unsual punishments for crimes or ‘heresy’ as well as past and continuing repression of woman and gays and much more that is cruel. Happily some of these things are now considered barbaric even by religous folks – did God change his mind or was the god phone broke before?

June 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm
(12) MrMarkAZ says:

From the article:


Rape is nasty and it’s a sin (it’s adultery because they aren’t married and if the woman is a virgin or married it’s theft)

But … if you’re a virgin and the rapist is a deity, then it’s called “Salvation.”

June 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm
(13) MrMarkAZ says:

Arguments such as the ones presented in this argument illustrate the serious cognitive dissonance that takes place in the minds of the so-called culture warriors who assert that “Amurika iz a Krizchun Nayshun and our lawz iz bazed on dah Ten Commandmintz!!!!!!!!”

If we took the Ten Commandments as the basis for our laws, rape would be prosecuted as a property crime, like burglary or arson. It isn’t. (Yet one more piece of evidence calling into question the .

Instead, our godless and secular Criminal Code designates rape as a type of violent crime. Further, certain classifications of rape, such as those involving threats or use of violence against the victim, carry with them the possibility of life imprisonment. When coincident with another violent crime, such as murder, the perpetrator, if convicted, may face the death penalty. No property crime carries with it such harsh punishment.

I guess it is safe to say that in a civilized society, it is not only possible to be good without God, it is pretty much a requirement.

Also, morgan: though I’m a bit late with the response, you have my respect and admiration for speaking up and speaking out on this subject. Silence is the enemy.

June 23, 2010 at 12:43 am
(14) Anon says:

My body belongs to NOONE except me. I was raped at 17 and 18. Both men said the same thing after it was over, ‘You’ll forget about it in the morning.’ NEWSFLASH – You do not forget. It clouds your life and perceptions for many, many years. I am 54. I NEVER lock my driver door of my car as I was forced at gun point to drive for 15 miles. To this day, I get spooked if someone tries to lock that door for me.

July 27, 2010 at 4:47 am
(15) Stacey says:

Rape is traumatic especially when Rohypnol is used. We are not suppose to hurt one another. The reason a person who is raped is justified in murdering the perpetrator is if 3/4 of his or her thoughts are preventing another rape. Also, protecting yourself is natural when a victim can fight (with rohypnol and even alcohol things are different). What causes man to feel they have power to rape? The Bible? In Biblical times the fathers of the daughters were the ones who granted permission in marrying (without say of the daughters). This was not rape. The daughters new how society worked. Women cooked, cleaned, and raised children (made babies to expand the Christian family). Men are given control in being the providers and protectors of the family. But, it is 2010 and many women equally share the role of providing and protecting. Who gives anyone a right (which I consider sociopaths–any rapists) for a person to traumatize someone else? Who? Rape is murder. Rape kills the inner soul to where it is a struggle to water the soul and will to live. God is love. The Old Testament is not the same as the New Testament. The Ten Commandments are what I still pull from the Old Testament. But, God was angry with His people in the Old Testament. I believe God chose anger and it did not work to control His people; then He chose love to control His people…and love worked…love prevailed!! Blessings!

August 9, 2010 at 2:55 pm
(16) benito says:

Why must everything be about Jesus Christ? I’m sick and tired about everything being about JC. Why not Tammuz or Adonis? Why, oh why always, always must everything go back to this individual?

November 1, 2010 at 6:16 pm
(17) misterzgy says:

i think it’s ironic that when it comes to abortion, the father has absolutely no say so. mothers claim the right to do what ever they want with their bodies…overlooking the fact that the seed implanted in their wombs carry the father’s dna. men who wish to raise their child risk the chance that the mother can legally murder it before its born.

November 1, 2010 at 6:52 pm
(18) Austin Cline says:

i think it’s ironic that when it comes to abortion, the father has absolutely no say so.

So, it’s your position that men should have a say in what happens to women’s bodies?

mothers claim the right to do what ever they want with their bodies…overlooking the fact that the seed implanted in their wombs carry the father’s dna.

And that gives men ownership rights over a woman’s body?

men who wish to raise their child risk the chance that the mother can legally murder it before its born.

Men who want to raise a child should get the consent of the woman first.

November 6, 2010 at 3:51 am
(19) Eh. says:

This sounds like a sockpuppet designed to criticize Christians.

January 5, 2011 at 11:07 am
(20) fighting atheist says:

Christians are some of the most misguided people on the face of the earth. So many sects, so many different belief systems, and not a damn one of those systems is plausible in today’s society. Anyone, christian or not, should not for a second believe rape is ok. My three year old neice was raped. I have seen the effects. Much like I have seen the effects of my fists on a rapists face.

February 24, 2011 at 5:19 am
(21) True Human says:

Don’t be like dogs who don’t have understanding. Read the Bible with human spirit and not a beast’s spirit. Then you’ll know who are Truly Christians(not the namely so-called christians like how many of you are and were. Never dare to speak about Christians lest you be destroyed.

November 3, 2012 at 5:06 am
(22) Shannon says:

Wow. All I can say is that I am going to start killing all of the Men that raped me! Maybe others that haven’t. I am so tierd of waiting for a so called “God” to avenge me when in the bible he only avenges weak little men that only feel bad that they got couaght! I will avenge women in many way’s and all of you that think we are weak, just watch the news because your little dicks will be frying………………. LOLLOLLOLLOLLOLLOLOL

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