God is a moral relativist

Since every Christian loves to apologize for their god’s evil acts, God gets a pass for his Old Testament wrath. No one dares stand up and say, “What God did was wrong. We should admonish bad acts regardless of who commits them.” Aside from implying that morality does not come from God, such a statement would show imperfection in God. So rather than admit the obvious truth, Christians do some mental gymnastics so that their claims about God will stand up despite his contradictory actions.

And where does that leave Christians and their god? It leaves them wallowing in moral relativity. They have to argue that what God did in the ancient past was somehow not evil, and the way they accomplish this is to say that his actions and commands were particular to a time and place. If that isn’t moral relativism, I don’t know what is.

Let’s take Deuteronomy 22:28-29 as an example:

28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. [NIV]

I am struggling with how I want to word my objection. Instinctively, I want to express that it is obviously wrong to force a rape victim to marry her rapist, but that does not adequately reflect how messed up this passage really is. The idea here is that it is the rapist, not the victim, who is being punished. He must marry her. What’s more, he is stuck with her for the rest of his life. The poor fella.

But all that aside, the way Christians overwhelmingly choose to get around this problem is to say it was a different time and place. I agree, and we need to have some perspective when we go to judge past cultures, but this isn’t about the particular culture. God told people that the punishment for rape is a fine and marriage. Even if I grant that at least he said rape is wrong (even if the punishment is inadequate), he still said marriage was an appropriate solution. I don’t care what the time or place is, that is wrong. It is wrong because it robs autonomy from the perfectly innocent woman. (It can be said it robs autonomy from the rapist as well, despite his guilt and everyone’s desire to not care about his rights.)

If we say forced marriages, especially one’s of a rapist-victim nature, are wrong today, it is because they have always been wrong. Christians don’t get to play on both sides of the fence, first claiming their god is an objective source of morality, and then second turning around and excusing him on the grounds of moral relativism.

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3 Responses

  1. Oh, wait! There is another explanation.

    There are no gods. Rape is wrong because human evolution and culture define it as wrong to be able to belong to a civilization that thrives. Cooperation and altruism is a result of evolution. Is rape wrong for insects? No, the question can not even be asked.

    The ignorant, fearful, uneducated bronze age people created the myths and fairy tales of religion to attempt to make sense of the world. Today’s ‘sophisticated’ theologians bend over backward to place their head up their own ass to attempt to justify the childish silly myths.

  2. Any allegedly “objective” or “absolute” moral standard has an implicit relativism. People are supposed to obey the standard, and in so doing, they judge themselves right or wrong relative to that standard. Whether that standard itself changes over time is a different issue.

  3. He’s not stuck with her the rest of his life. There’s another passage that says that if she’s not a virgin on her wedding night, she gets stoned to death. So, he rapes her, she’s forced to marry him, she gets executed. Praise!

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