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  • Writer's pictureCarrick Ryan

The Crime God Forgot...

As an act it is the most basic and incontrovertible standard of evil. It is so universally abhorrent that there is not a legal system in the world that doesn’t seek to punish its purveyors. It is so irrefutably indefensible that even in the brutal theatre of war it earns its own merit as a ‘War Crime. Yet not one of the world’s major religions make an overt or concerted effort to unequivocally forbid it.

No person today of any reasonable moral sanity would suggest rape was ever ethically permissible under any circumstances or qualifications, yet when one seeks to confirm this affirmation from God we are forced to seek an interpretation of obscure verses just to conclude that it is, probably, at least frowned upon… sometimes… maybe…

Christianity hails itself as a beacon of morality built upon the bedrock of the 10 commandments, a simple and black and white check list by which any God fearing Christian can attain eternal joy in heaven. Amongst the crimes that God clearly outlines as forbidden amongst his worshippers? Idolatry… misusing the Lord’s name… not keeping the Sabbath Holy… to me this would have seemed like an opportune time for God to advise humanity from the start that rape, especially the rape of children, would definitely, incontrovertibly, and without chance of redemption, earn you a spot in eternal damnation. But no, instead God felt it more important to utilise one of these commandments to warn people off screaming his name in pain when they stub their toe.

Rape was of course addressed in other pages of the bible. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 for example clearly stipulates what God demands happen to a man who rapes a virgin, and it is pretty brutal… yes… he must marry her. Now defenders of the faith are quick to point out that this is more a sign of the times in which the bible was written considering an unmarried girl deprived of her virginity could become destitute without a husband, however I can’t help but feel that just because humanity’s morality was a little under done at this point in history, surely God knew better? Even back then?

Could God not have said “If a man rapes a woman put him to death, meanwhile I will look kindly upon any man that then marries a rape victim as it clearly isn’t her fault she isn’t a virgin anymore”? I mean he would have no doubt said it in a much more ecclesiastical manner but surely the opportunity was there to deter all potential rapists with a black and white ruling that a fiery eternity in hell awaited all that succumbed to their immoral instincts?

Islam, condemned by many in the west as propagators of rape culture actually seems to more clearly condemn the crime of rape… assuming she’s Muslim… and she’s able to prove it (a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man so it can be difficult to find additional witnesses). Unfortunately for non-Muslim women though, throughout his military conquests Mohammed made it repeatedly clear that the raping of captive non-Muslim women was not only acceptable by his own moral standards, but clearly permitted by Allah himself (Sura 4:24).

Hinduism and Buddhism don’t claim to present ‘sins’ or clearly defined rules with the threat of eternal damnation so they don’t necessarily possess the same opportunity to deter mankind from this crime in the same manner as the Abrahamic faiths. However the fact that in predominantly Hindu India a woman is raped every 15 minutes, and the Buddhist soldiers of Myanmar have engaged in a the systematic rape of Rohingya women, shows at the very least that these religions are also incapable of clearly prohibiting this vile act.

Predictably I will expect defenders of all religions to highlight the manner in which rape is implied to be a bad thing within their religion, and I accept that most religious people interpret their religion in such a way that it is understood to be forbidden. However, can you imagine if every true follower of the Christian and Islamic faith over history held the genuine belief that the act of rape would irreversibly send them to hell? How different would humanity’s history be if all the armies that ever marched with the contrived consent of God were unavoidably obliged to refrain from the rape of civilians? Would we still today be struggling to educate our men on the concept of consent if we had been afforded the last 2000 years to grasp God’s mandate upon our behaviour? Imagine if both Jesus and Mohammad had uttered even a single sentence about the crime of having sex with a child…

Is this failure to unequivocally recognise the impact that rape has upon females and children the greatest moral failing on God's behalf? It’s almost as if these laws were written by mere men possessing a flawed morality instead of an omniscient, omnipotent, and entirely benevolent supernatural being… funny that…

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