Board index Specific Bible verses, texts, and passages Isaiah

Isaiah 13.16, and God telling his followers to rape women

Postby Newbie » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:02 pm

Isaiah 13:16: Their infants also shall be dashed in pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be rifled, and their wives ravished. (ASV)

Can any Christian justify raping woman / the commands of your god?

If so, when do you believe woman should be raped?

Do you feel uncomfortable worshiping a god that employees raping woman / sex crimes as one of His tools?
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Re: Isaiah 13.16, and God telling his followers to rape wome

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:09 pm

Well, your question is definitely loaded, and it doesn't seem to be a legitimate desire for debate. God never ordered the raping of women as justifiable. (The Isaiah text is a prophecy, not a command.) Nonetheless, the Herem law (kill them all) has these arguments (for debate):

1. We cannot assess whether justice is being done unless we know the nature of the crime. If it is a punishment levied on a corrupt society, we must know the facts of the case before rendering judgment. The OT makes it clear in many places that the people of the land were guilty of unspeakable crimes and worthy of justice being served.

2. Remember that under *herem*, escape and mercy were always possible. Rahab in Joshua is an example, and she herself explains that people knew the power of God, and yet they resisted.

3. The justice of God, as a pure expression of what humans are supposed to imitate and emulate in their courts of law, is not to be taken casually or mitigated with emotional elements. If God is going to do justice, those who commit the crimes are going to be punished for it.

4. There was a strong sense of corporate identity in the ancient world, and the nature of the crimes called for the punishment of the entire corporate group. The guilt belonged to the corporate group and extended to every member of the group.

5. We know that unless you pull out the whole root of the dandelion, it will come back. Unless you get all the cancer out, it will return. The total destruction of the godlessness that can ruin millions of lives and ruin entire cultures cannot be accomplished simply by defeating the army. The influence that is being avoided is transmitted by a culture, and therefore, for the preventive measures to be effective, the culture must be destroyed, lest it infect even more cultures.

6. Provided that there is a legitimate basis for it use, and a vigilant precaution against its overreaction in practice, a qualified use of force is not only necessary, but justifiable as a tool of justice. Force, as a controlling discipline of truth, justice, and authority in action, is sometimes the legitimate action if it issues from principles of justice and is exercised to achieve justice.

So saying...
1. No. No Christian can ever justify raping women.
2. No. Women should not be raped.
3. No. God doesn't ask his employees to rape women or use sex crimes as one of his tools.
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Re: Isaiah 13.16, and God telling his followers to rape wome

Postby DB Cooper » Fri May 29, 2015 1:12 am

My replies to Jim Walton's points in bold

jimwalton wrote:Well, your question is definitely loaded, and it doesn't seem to be a legitimate desire for debate. God never ordered the raping of women as justifiable. (The Isaiah text is a prophecy, not a command.) Nonetheless, the Herem law (kill them all) has these arguments (for debate):

1. We cannot assess whether justice is being done unless we know the nature of the crime. If it is a punishment levied on a corrupt society, we must know the facts of the case before rendering judgment. The OT makes it clear in many places that the people of the land were guilty of unspeakable crimes and worthy of justice being served.
What unspeakable crimes specifically? And collective punishment - really? This is punishing people for the accident of their birth. Exemplified by '...infants....

2. Remember that under *herem*, escape and mercy were always possible. Rahab in Joshua is an example, and she herself explains that people knew the power of God, and yet they resisted.

3. The justice of God, as a pure expression of what humans are supposed to imitate and emulate in their courts of law, is not to be taken casually or mitigated with emotional elements. If God is going to do justice, those who commit the crimes are going to be punished for it.
Cart before the horse here? Besides he seems very selective about dishing put the punishment. So selective he seems blind to pretty egregious behavior

4. There was a strong sense of corporate identity in the ancient world, and the nature of the crimes called for the punishment of the entire corporate group. The guilt belonged to the corporate group and extended to every member of the group.
Collective punishment again!

5. We know that unless you pull out the whole root of the dandelion, it will come back. Unless you get all the cancer out, it will return. The total destruction of the godlessness that can ruin millions of lives and ruin entire cultures cannot be accomplished simply by defeating the army. The influence that is being avoided is transmitted by a culture, and therefore, for the preventive measures to be effective, the culture must be destroyed, lest it infect even more cultures.
The culture must be destroyed? So kill people who you disagree with. Just silly

6. Provided that there is a legitimate basis for it use, and a vigilant precaution against its overreaction in practice, a qualified use of force is not only necessary, but justifiable as a tool of justice. Force, as a controlling discipline of truth, justice, and authority in action, is sometimes the legitimate action if it issues from principles of justice and is exercised to achieve justice.
Legitimate basis? Capital punishment was similarly allowed in my old school Chatechism, and was similarly ridiculed by pretty much everyone in the classroom except the dim RI teacher.

So saying...
1. No. No Christian can ever justify raping women. Glad to hear it
2. No. Women should not be raped. Thankfully prophecy was just as unreliable then as today
3. No. God doesn't ask his employees to rape women or use sex crimes as one of his tools.
Not so fast...until quite recently it was impossible to rape your wife. She might not consent, but that doesn't count if you married her.
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Re: Isaiah 13.16, and God telling his followers to rape wome

Postby jimwalton » Fri May 29, 2015 4:30 pm

DB, thanks for writing. Isaiah 13 is not so much an attack on historical Babylon as it was on what Babylon stood for: immorality, idolatry, and demonism, as well as human deification. In the ancient Israelite mindset, Babylon represented all that was rotten and corrupt—the very embodiment of evil as demonstrated by a whole empire. Their history reaches all the way back to Genesis 11 as a culture of arrogant self-deification and power opposed to God. The story of Babylon is the story of nation that defies God. Even outside of the religious context, Babylon was an empire known for its brutality, such as flaying people by removing their skin. this was part of their psychological warfare and was a foreign policy of the empire. They kept their vassal peoples under control through terror.

As far as "collective punishment," we're guilty of regressive anachronism is we read the individuality that is so natural and common in both our mindset and our culture back into the ancient world. The ancients knew nothing of "individuality" in that sense, but perceived their lives in the context of family, clan, and culture. Perhaps a light modern analogy would be that of a sports team: They win or lose as a whole. No one would ever say, "Well, the team lost 84-45, but I won because I scored 30 of our team's 45 points." No, that doesn't matter. You win as a team or lose as a team. In the ancient world, individuality was never a part of the culture. They didn't even think that way. Everything was about the family, clan, tribe, and nation. Everything. They stood together, they fell together. It was an honor-shame culture. If someone did something wrong, it shamed the whole city, for instance, and they would all expect the whole city to be judged by the gods for the sin. They weren't at all being punished for the accident of their birth, but by their complicit participation in a culture defined by systemic evil.

> He seems very selective about dishing put the punishment. So selective he seems blind to pretty egregious behavior.

You'll need to explain what you mean here. Remember that when the Babylonians sinned, God judged them, and when the Israelites were guilty of the same sins, he judged them too. So some explanation from you would be useful to the discussion.

> The culture must be destroyed?

Yes. Some cultures collapse and become nothing but corruption. The closest example we see of this today might be in present day Somalia. Between the warlords, the government, and drug runners, the sex trade, and ISIS, the whole culture has become intractable and incorrigible. Hope for justice, reform, and morality is low. It needs a complete overthrow, overhaul, and replacement which could only happen through very drastic measures.

> So kill people who you disagree with?

Oh, not at all. This is far from an accurate assessment of what Isaiah is calling for.

> Legitimate basis for the use of violence.

I'm not speaking of capital punishment, but military intervention. ISIS today cannot be stopped by diplomatic conversation, but only by the use of greater force to create peace and justice. If you go back and read my #6 in a previous post, it's explained there.

Hope that helps to begin a reasonable conversation. Talk with me. The point is that when a society or culture becomes incorrigibly corrupt and systemically unjust and steeped in violence (much like Germany of the early 1940s), sometimes the only way to bring about moral reform is the use of moral force via military action to bring radical and systemic change to the culture. That's what Isaiah is talking about.
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