Friday 10 January 2014

Creationism apologist supports rape in marriage

In August 2013, a church group called Zion Praise Harvest held several lectures in Perth by young earth creationist, John Mackay. This included a few lectures in churches, as well as one at Curtin University and one at the University of Western Australia. Entitled “Exposing Evolution, Confirming Creation”, the lecture at UWA had no substance and presented no evidence.

The lecture was essentially a collection of straw man arguments against examples of evolution that one might find in a high school biology textbook: peppered moths, finches, etc. This attack on science was punctuated by absurd tangents, such as calling former Prime Minister Julia Gillard a “rank atheist feminist”.

After the lecture many of the attendees stayed for a BBQ and to talk to John Mackay. He made various homophobic comments, including using homosexuality as his go-to example of “immorality” in modern society. In a conversation about the Bible after the lecture, a student pointed out that the Bible condones rape in the following passage from Numbers 31:
17 Now therefore kill every boy, and kill every woman who has had sexual intercourse with a man.
18 But all the young women who have not had sexual intercourse with a man will be yours.
Mackay argued that this is not rape, because the girls were forced to enter a “legitimate Jewish marriage” first (after having their family murdered by their soon-to-be husbands), and obviously you can’t rape your own wife. Not only is it not rape, but Mackay believes this is apparently not even immoral for God to command this and for the Israelites to carry it out.

After the event, Mackay wrote an expanded answer on the 32,000 Midianite virgins captured as the spoils of war by the Israelite army, arguing that forcing women into marriages in which they are raped is moral, because rape inside marriage used not to be illegal, or considered wrong.

Mackay sincerely believes that even today, rape within marriage is a contradiction, and that forced marriage can be legitimate. The idea that rape is wrong is apparently a recent secular invention. Mackay claims that atheists have no moral opposition to rape, despite the claim being soundly refuted in 1997.
“The modern atheist mind wants to use modern their [sic] definition of rape as an absolute, such that a woman both before and after marriage is an autonomous being who has rights to resist any man including the man she married, and if he insists on sex, then that is rape and the male is legally guilty of a crime.”
Mackay has sidestepped one of the most egregious issues of Numbers 31, not just that the virgins were raped, but they were treated as chattel property in the same class as livestock. Consider the surrounding text in the myth:
9 The Israelites took the women of Midian captives along with their little ones, and took all their herds, all their flocks, and all their goods as plunder.
10 They burned all their towns where they lived and all their encampments.
11 They took all the plunder and all the spoils, both people and animals.
12 They brought the captives and the spoils and the plunder to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the Israelite community...
Moses then commands the slaughter of every woman that has ever had sex, presumably using the highly scientific methods that were available at the time. Yahweh then specifies how the "plunder" of captive women are to be divvied up, including 32 for his temple. The bible then gives numbers for how many thousands of sheep, cattle, donkeys, and virgin girls the Israelites plundered:
32 The spoil that remained of the plunder which the fighting men had gathered was 675,000 sheep,
33 72,000 cattle,
34 61,000 donkeys,
35 and 32,000 young women who had never had sexual intercourse with a man.
The treatment of the Midianites is just one of examples of brutal killings and barbarity in the Old Testament that hicks like William Lane Craig and Mackay defend as absolutely good, while simultaneously railing against the imaginary harm in tolerance of same-sex relationships.

Make Love, Not Rape from Slutwalk Toronto (Shot by Eric Parker)

Via the UWA Atheist and Skeptic Society

1 comment:

  1. It is just beyond sickening that Christians - people I used to call friends! - defend this stuff as "good", even when you get really specific about these passages and expose how heinous they are. It's chilling. That "god said to" is considered acceptable justification for even such atrocities as war crimes, and when you think about what counts as "god speaking to me" among Christians ('I heard god say "Go to China" in the rustling leaves' is one of my favourites from a former friend), I shudder to think how dangerous such beliefs could become.