CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Many atheists react strongly against the idea that God is judgmental. They balk at the idea that God is a God of justice as well as mercy and will reward everyone according to their works. How can God be both a God of love and of judgment? What kind of insulated, utopian world do they live in?

In Congo, a doctor keeps helping as rape victims keep coming

When I read stories like this I hope with all my heart that God is a God of justice and that the wicked will not go unpunished. When an army uses gang rape as a weapon of war, this is not a matter of poor upbringing or having the wrong genes: this is cold, calculated atrocity designed to humiliate, traumatize and keep people under control. Those who perpetrate it are in full, rational command of their actions, and deserve the harshest justice one can imagine.

This is not to say that the motive of God's justice is revenge. God's justice is fundamentally corrective, not retributive. But something has to happen to balance the moral books on this tattered, war-torn planet. The greatest injustice of all would be for gang-rapers to simply be admitted to Heaven free of charge. First they must atone somehow for their misdeeds.

So to atheists who don't like the idea of a God of judgment I say this: I hope one day you have the chance to look into the eyes of one of these rape victims and see if you have the guts to complain about the justice of God. Try telling them that it wasn't really the rapists' fault, it was their brain circuits that were to blame.

19 comments:

I really believe the consequence in regards to decision making is one of greatest weaknesses of the naturalistic argument. As you point out, if we're just matter - nothing beyond the physical - then we are at the total mercy of the physical realm. There's no such thing as choice - we're just part of a chain of reactions, and anything beyond that is an illusion. And if that's true, why hold anyone accountable for anything? It really destroys the foundations of our reality. And if something doesn't correspond to what I experience on a daily basis, why should I believe it?

Incidentally, while actions of rape are heinous to say the least, I sure hope those guys repent. I hate the idea of somebody being that stooped into evil. What a sad life.

'They balk at the idea that God is a God of justice as well as mercy and will reward everyone according to their works.'

What reward do you get for your good works?

None?

What reward do you get for stealing a pencil from the office?

What reward do you get for taking part in gang-rape?

But don't these gang-rapers go straight to heaven if they just believe in Jesus and repent, while the non-Christian victims will be tortured further forever in Hell.

JD Walters wrote,
Many atheists react strongly against the idea that God is judgmental.

I would thay that many atheist react strongly against the idea that "God of Love" is judgmental and tortures non-Christians forever in Hell. I would also say that many atheists react strongly against the Christians being judgmental.

But don't these gang-rapers go straight to heaven if they just believe in Jesus and repent, while the non-Christian victims will be tortured further forever in Hell.

Not if they are caught by the law. What's the problem with a person being forgiven by God if they are sory?

you think hell is cruel unjust and stupid right? so why do you want them to go there?

HINMAN
What's the problem with a person being forgiven by God if they are sory?

CARR
A gang-rapist is 'sorry'.

Well, that's OK then.

If you are part of a gang-rape in New York, just tell the court you are sorry, and they will forgive you and you can walk free.

That is justice, and don't let gang-rape victims tell you otherwise.

I am really looking forward to my reward for my good works.

Walters says we get rewarded according to our works.

Hooray!

I don't know that I dislike the idea of a god of judgement or object to God's justice, and I've yet to find a single atheist who objects to the idea of rapists being punished.

I think a lot of atheists would agree that, if there is a god, then he should reserve some of his most serious punishment for those who rape people-- I'd add in particular those who rape children. Assuming God exists, I'm not sure any atheist would say it would be any more wrong for god to punish rapists than it is for human beings to punish them or lock them up for the rest of their lives.

The objection atheists have is to the idea that there is such a god who carries out such punishment, or, perhaps more to your point, that many christians appear to believe that atheists will be punished for coming down on the wrong side of the debate on god.

I'm an atheist (gulp) and a lawyer (gulp) who has represented sex offense victims and (gulp) even some offenders. I've seen first hand the unbelievable damage these guys do and I have stared straight into the eyes of victims. If a god exists, let him punish those who wreak such destruction.

But it strikes me as a little odd to say an atheist lacks guts unless he can stare a sex offense victim in the eye and complain about the justice of a god he doesn't believes exists inflicting punishment on a predator. In fact, most of us would probably support that person being prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Just a follow up. Many of the new sex offender committment laws popping up throughout the United States are predicated on the notion that sex offenders do, indeed, have mental illnesses (paraphilias, anti-social personality disorder) that predispose them to offend.

In other words "it was their brain circuits."

No one claims this excuses their criminal behavior or that they should not be punished, but it's an acknowledgement that this behavior has a cause that we can study and learn something from so that we can reduce the number of such crimes.

I imagine most sex offense victims support these laws.

Was there a point to this post? Besides the ignorant attempt to smear atheists as somehow pro-rape, I mean?

As an atheist and a humanist if I saw someone being raped I would do everything in my power to stop it.

Why does your God (if it exists) stand by and do nothing?

herm,

This may be hard to accept, but God has a different role in the universe than you do.

And I reject the notion that he has done "nothing." That is sophmoric rhetoric at best. God has established governments who have the responsibility of stopping such actions if they can and punishing them if they cannot so as to discourage the practice and prevent repeat offenders. He's given us his moral law so that people like you and me a) don't do such things, and b) would try and stop those who do. God has also Himself worked to discourage such evil by informing us that such evil will meet divine punishment unless we change our hearts and ways and stop doing such thing.

You may find this inadequate, but it is not doing nothing. It is, in fact, doing quite a lot.

When did God establish governments, bearing in mind that Americans make free will decisions at the ballot box.

Steven,

Calvinists would balk at the notion of free will decisions at the ballot box. I tend to think the middle knowledge route offers a way of God guiding history in a sense with people exercising their will. It is not perfectly free as it is bondage to sin.

As for when, I will use the term ordained if you prefer. God has ordained the concept of a government that protects its people and commended it to humanity as a means of alleviating man's separation from God.

"God has established governments who have the responsibility of stopping such actions if they can and punishing them if they cannot so as to discourage the practice and prevent repeat offenders."

How is this distinguishable from a natural world in which no God exists and morality is simply the product of our humanity?

If rape is evil, and yes, even an atheist like me would say it is, wouldn't any moral being do whatever it takes to prevent such an evil? How can God be a reliable source of morality if He is exempt from it Himself?

And by the way, if you're looking fro someone to rail against over what's happening in Africa it has everything to do with the mineral wealth of the Congo, the West's desire for those minerals and tribalism (with all it's religious baggage) and nothing to do with atheism. JD's use of this horror as a club to bash atheists like me with is frankly despicable.

One FINAL point (from me anyway). I'll start with a compliment and head into a slightly different discussion that might interest you.

First, this was a very thought provoking post, partly due to the subject matter itself and partly (for me) because it raises some issues I deal with in a professional context. That I've even continued to think about this days after is a credit to the post, I mean that.

Secondly, don't you think, as a Christian, that it takes even more courage to look a rape victim in the eye and say "If the man who rapes you repents, then he will join you in heaven. In fact, your failure to forgive him may well be a barrier to your salvation. He may end up in heaven, while you may end up being punished or in purgatory due to the hardness of your heart." I can hardly think of a more moving expression of Christian love than forgiveness in this context, and isn't that, therefore, what Christ calls the victim to do? And, if the perpetrator repents, then isn't he forgiven-- can't he, too, be saved?

I'm not asking that to pick a fight, but I think it's at least the other side of the coin when it comes to your post, isn't it? Frankly, I think saying such a thing would be very courageous-- the most courageous thing you could say, I think, if you believe in Jesus' message.

Just a thought.

Thanks again for an interesting blog entry.

How is this distinguishable from a natural world in which no God exists and morality is simply the product of our humanity?

This is getting annoying. I didn't offer the examples I did to prove that God exists. I offered them pursuant to you hypothetical, "if" God exists, why does he do nothing. My points all stand. Your response is not even close to on point. If God exists, then He established government, a moral code, and divine punishment of evil, all to discourage evil. So far from doing "nothing," God has done a lot.

If you want to argue about something else, have at it. But you have failed to respond to my refutation of your assertion about God doing "nothing." Perhaps you mean "nothing more" or "not enough." Those are different discussions. But we cannot really move on to them until you admit you were wrong about the subject of discussion.

Layman, one point here is that any moral agent worthy of the title should do everything possible to prevent something as evil as what's described in this post. If God exists and has done nothing more than we would expect to see from a world in which no God exists than He may as well have done nothing at all; His actions in this case are indistinguishable from no action at all.

The other point is that it is a cheap, cowardly and ignorant tactic to take this issue and use it to smear atheists. The truth is I would do everything I could to stop such evil, but your God, if He exists, does less than He could. If JD wants to chastise someone besides the rapists themselves here maybe he should have a few words with his God instead of attacking people like me.

His actions in this case are indistinguishable from no action at all.

You still seem to forget that you were granting the hypothetical that God exists. If He exists, then he ordained government, created moral law, imprinted to some extent that moral law on humans, and informed us of divine punishment for evil acts. That is a lot, not "nothing."

Ah, but you say that doesn't get God anything because all that would exist without Him. No, it would not. Not if we assume God exists, as you did. If God does not exist, then there would be no government, no divine punishment, etc. But there would be no world either. So we have to play within each others world views with these kinds of questions.

I can't tell if you are trying to be clever or are missing the fundamental point here.

Layman, the point is simple; IF your God exists than what he does in this case is indistinguishable from (and therefore no better than) nothing. And even if we grant that God exists and establishes governments and some sort of judgement in the afterlife this is still far less than he presumably could do. If you saw a woman about to be raped, and had the power to stop it from happening, wouldn't you do it? Or would you be content to wait, testify at the rapist's trial and feel that that was enough? I can't believe you, or any other non-sociopathic person, wouldn't intervene to prevent the crime in the first place. Surely a moral and compassionate God, if such a thing existed, would do no less?

Oh, you haven't responded to my second point, by the way. Do you feel it's appropriate to use these hideous crimes as a rhetorical device with which to smear atheists?

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