Atheism, the Bible, Rape, EvilBible.com and Dan Barker, part 1 of 6
Upon learning of a website entitled evilbible.com I thought that I had more important things to do with my time such as oh, I do not know; watching the hair on my knuckles grow, perhaps pocking my eye with a stick or attempting to break the Guinness Book of World's Record's record for most belly button lint collected. My reading time already consist of circa 90% spent on reading people who are trying to get me to see just how wrong I am. Yet, my attention was drawn to evilbible.com due to a, sadly, typical example of the atheistic pseudo-skepticism modus operandi de jour. I responded to Dan Barker's claim that the Bible does not condemn rape but actually commands it. Keep in mind that Dan Barker positively affirms that rape is not absolutely immoral, as we will see in part 6. During a debate he premised his argument as to the Bible's commanding rape upon a Hebrew word which, self-servingly conveniently, he purposefully chose not to translate. I, being a true skeptic, did not take his word for it but look up the passage and did two things which no atheist of whom I am aware would even imagine doing: I actually read the text for myself and I look up the word that Dan Barker chose not to translate (see results here).
Now, I hate to write a post premised upon a comment to this blog because I never want to use my position as this blogs author in order to embarrass or call anyone out-to use the posts as a bully pulpit. Thus, I will attempt, for whatever it is worth, to keep the references generic in pointing out that the first response by an atheist (the second comment) I got was indicative of the deleterious effects of the New Atheist movement (although, this is very, very common to anti-theism-atheism's entire history). The response was by an atheist who stated that they did not know anything about different Bible translations and did not want to know. Let us note that "ignorance" is merely lack of knowledge and is something that is quite easy to remedy. Yet, when one purposefully chooses to be ignorant we are into an entirely new category.
The typical atheistic pseudo-skepticism modus operandi de jour is threefold: 1) It was to not acknowledge that Dan Barker was suspect for purposefully not translating the very term upon which his argument hinged. 2) It was to not do what I did-actually practice skepticism and conduct research. Rather, it was something to the likes of typing "the God of the Bible loves rape and Dan Barker is an ex-preacher whom no one ought to question" or some such thing. Well, evilbible.com did not disappoint, at least to this level of pseudo-skepticism. 3) The pseudo-skepticism "reasons" that since evilbible.com claims that the Bible "often condones and even approves of rape" it must be true! Look, they even offer quotes and, most importantly, tell me what I should think about the quotes, they infallibly interpret them! Answer that believer!
The second response by an atheist (the second comment) was also indicative of unscholarly gut reactions that consider neither Dan Barker's argument nor my counterargument. The comments asserted, in a sarcastic manner, that on the Judeo-Christian view Dan Barker, or any ex-Christian/ex-Pastor, may automatically be labeled as not understanding the Bible. Furthermore, it was asserted that I simply "dismiss his [Dan Barker's] argument." Need it be pointed out that the inverse is that it is only Dan Barker, or any ex-Christian/ex-Pastor, who truly understand the Bible and that it is only Judeo-Christians who may automatically be labeled as not understanding it?
Indeed this is quite fallacious. And yet, the greater point is that the quip missed the point entirely: Dan Barker presented an argument and I responded. Moreover, he purposefully left the hinge upon which he premised his argument undefined while I presented the definition and further evidence. I would actually be shocked if the second commentator even bothered reading the post. Just how is responding in detail dismissing Dan Barker? Such emotive gut reactions allow one to excuse their lack of skepticism and ignore their own "faith" based trust on Dan Barker like arguments from authority to the likes of "I'm an ex-Christian/ex-Pastor so I must really know what the Bible says so just listen to me and do not ask any questions." Dan Barker has premised his entire "career" as an atheist anti-Christian activist on his alleged authority as an ex-Christian/ex-Pastor. In fact, two of his books are premised upon this claim.
After reading the second comment I absconded from the comments section and chose to conduct the research presented in this parsed essay rather than getting bogged down in the nether regions of the comments section.
Let us consider the evilbible.com webpage specifically dedicate to Rape in the Bible. Interestingly enough, the alleged biblical rape prooftext that Dan Barker cited in the debate was not cited by evilbible.com.
When considering any and every atheist condemnation of any action whatsoever it is of primary importance to keep in mind that they are expressing personal opinions about the act(s) they are condemning. They are merely telling you their personal preferences in the form of morality borrowed from the Judeo-Christian worldview. They are piling unfounded assertion, upon unfounded assertion, upon unfounded assertion, and building a tel of arguments from outrage, arguments from personal incredulity, arguments for embarrassment, etc.
For interested parties; they are quoting the New Living Translation which some will not consider very scholarly and yet, evilbible.com's views are so erroneous that you could use your Precious Moments Bible to defeat them.
Note that the webpage is, refreshingly, very basic consisting of only an intro the interpretation, the quotations and a line or two of commentary. As to the interpretations and commentary; these consist of one sentence and yet, are very telling and suggestive to the reader, particularly the undiscerning, un-skeptical, reader. Apparently, since they offer the interpretation first they seek to ensure that they first tell you what you should think and that you then read the text with their preconceived notion in mind. This is hermeneutically inappropriate and so I will quote the text first, then quote their interpretation (in the way of a title), they quote their erudite and scholarly elucidations and finally offer my elucidation. Although, premising this essay upon evilbible.com's views on biblical rape poisons the well from the outset.
Ultimately, we will see that the most telling text in the Bible about its position on rape is, for some unknown and odd reason, missing from evilbible.com; it is simply not addressed-muse as to why this is and we will come to it as we progress.
The evilbible.com webpage begins by positively affirming absolute morality. Therefore, they begin their condemnation of the Bible by borrowing biblical precepts.
Rape is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. Yet few people know that the Bible often condones and even approves of rape. How anyone can get their moral guidance from a book that allows rape escapes me_
Next, we are dissuaded from coming to logical and grammatically contextual conclusions as the author of the evilbible.com webpage appears to clearly understand that their arguments fail from the get go and so urges you not to come to the obvious, non-rape, conclusion,
Note that in many places in the Bible there are references to "taking a wife". Don't be fooled into thinking that these were voluntary marriages. This first quote clearly shows that murder and force were used to "take" these wives.
With this intro in mind we will move directly to the texts in question in parts 2-5
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