Where Do You Find a Theology of “God-Intended Rape”?

Where Do You Find a Theology of “God-Intended Rape”? October 26, 2012

When you hear a Senate candidate make a comment like this,

 “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that’s something God intended to happen.”

you may wonder where it comes from.

What kind of theology would espouse such a horrific position?


We prayed during our family devotions. Talitha (11 years old) and Noel and I prayed earnestly for the families affected by the calamity and for the others in our city. Talitha prayed “Please don’t let anyone blame God for this but give thanks that they were saved.” When I sat on her bed and tucked her in and blessed her and sang over her a few minutes ago, I said, “You know, Talitha, that was a good prayer, because when people ‘blame’ God for something, they are angry with him, and they are saying that he has done something wrong. That’s what “blame” means: accuse somebody of wrongdoing. But you and I know that God did not do anything wrong. God always does what is wise. And you and I know that God could have held up that bridge with one hand.” Talitha said, “With his pinky.” “Yes,” I said, “with his pinky. Which means that God had a purpose for not holding up that bridge, knowing all that would happen, and he is infinitely wise in all that he wills.”

Talitha said, “Maybe he let it fall because he wanted all the people of Minneapolis to fear him.” “Yes, Talitha,” I said, “I am sure that is one of the reasons God let the bridge fall.”

Found here.

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  • “Anyone who has ever had a real relationship with God will have to struggle with the necessity of forgiving Him. It may not be theologically sound, but it’s true nonetheless.”


    • Evelyn

      Thanks Rebecca. Now I’m angry at God because I don’t have all the things that that blogger has.

      • Oh don’t be jealous, Evelyn – that blogger is me. I only listed the good parts in that particular post. I left out that our gas is turned off and we have no hot water or heat, the truck’s transmission is going and we have two years of payments left on it, my daughter was molested, my husband has lost 4 jobs and a business in the last 7 years, my marriage is in shambles, most of my family hasn’t spoken to me in over a year because my life is too hard for them to deal with (their words, not mine), my husband and I have both been hospitalized in the last 6 months, he got rear-ended and sustained a bad back injury 2 days after getting out of the hospital, etc, etc, etc. Feel better now? 😉

        • Evelyn

          No, I don’t feel better now. I feel sad. When people list all the things they are grateful for, it always sounds so good and gives me hope that at least >someone< has it all together. I guess that most of us have pretty messy lives when you look down into them. I'm sorry your family won't talk to you – it sounds faithless of them but maybe their lives are so messy that they don't have anything left to give. Sometimes all we can do is pray … When I explain my life to people (rarely) it always sounds so messy but, at the same time, I feel the presence and companionship of God and in the words of Mother Theresa "I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much." I hope it is the same with you.

          • I think that I’ve come to see it as training – I hate that my life is such a mess and there are certainly days when the thought of another 40 years of this crap is depressing beyond words. But I am learning. I think of it like spiritual weightlifting. It helps to remember that no matter how many times I fall down spiritually, I can always get back up.

            And I keep telling my mom (who thankfully has stuck by my side the best she can) that if wherever I’m going to is this hard to get to, it must be someplace really great. I’m just hoping I get there this side of the grave.

            My family is filled with a lot of people who have never had to deal with real difficulties and they aren’t comfortable with vulnerability. I think they (like a lot of people) try to keep their distance from people with messy lives because it’s too hard to look at the reality that life does get this hard – often for no discernible reason.

            I mean, getting back to the conversation at hand, sometimes people are raped and sometimes conception occurs as a result. It feels safer to live in little bubbles of denial where really bad things only happen to other people. You know – where women’s bodies magically prevent conception from sexual assaults which can be divided into “legitimate” and “she was asking for it” versions of rape. In Jesus’ day, people asked whose sin caused the blind man to be blind. In today’s world we’re more likely to say, “don’t they have programs to help blind people? I’m sure they’re fine now.”

            But, tell you what – I’ll put you in my prayers and you can do the same for me? 🙂

  • Jeremy Shoulta

    I am thankful for bloggers like Tony who call a spade a spade.

  • Dave Burkum
  • Dave Burkum

    Argh…. And here:

    The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren—A Synopsis (continued).
    Chapter 2—You Are Not an Accident (pages 22-26)

    Each person, his make-up (every distinguishing feature), and his abilities were no accident of nature. All of these and more were planned by God before time. Each person is alive because God wanted him to exist and to live according to God’s purpose. He planned every detail about every human being’s life in advance. Nothing about any person is an accident, his form or his days of life.

    Just as God planned each individual, He also planned his parents and created through them the correct DNA for each person’s birth and development. Even though many children are not “planned” by their parents, every child is planned by God. God’s purpose took into account both human error and sinful behavior.

    God never does anything accidentally. He never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything. Everything, both inanimate and animate in His creation, has a purpose within His master plan.

    God’s motive for creating an individual was His love for him. God in fact created this world especially for mankind, the focus of His love. A detailed study of the universe will make obvious just how uniquely suited and custom-made it is for mankind. The universe, this world and every person on it were planned and created with great precision.

    “You are not an accident.” (pg. 22)
    “While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children.” (pg. 23)
    “We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives.” (pg. 25)

  • Phil Miller

    I hate deterministic theologies as much as anyone, but I feel like the reaction to this senator’s statement have been pretty over the top. He did come out and clarify that what was meaning to say was not that God intended or condoned the rape, but rather that conception that results from rape was something that God intend. Now, that in in and of itself is still a pretty logically incoherent statement, but I think it’s not much different than what a lot of Christians would say in one way or another.

    Debates about what God allows versus what He directly will can be interesting or nuanced, but unfortunately none of the coverage of this statement has gotten beyond the shallowness of “OMG! THIS MAN HATES ALL WOMEN AND THINKS GOD WANTS THEM TO BE RAPED!”

    • Dave Burkum

      “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended.” –Richard Mourdock


      • Phil Miller

        The point of posting this again is? Tony cited the quote in his original piece. I’m well aware of what the senator said in the debate.

        • Dave Burkum

          Just don’t understand how you can nuance yourself out of this incoherency. How can God intend a conception via rape but not intend the rape?

          • Phil Miller

            I’m not saying that is the position I’m taking. My personal position leans more towards an open theistic view where God created a free universe where humans share in some of His creative abilities.

            But the traditional Christian view has been that God doesn’t foreordain evil acts even though He foreknows them. I would think the idea that God is able to bring good from evil events would be relatively uncontroversial, actually. As far as what His intentions and plans are, I’d say most non-Calvinist Christians would simply say that’s beyond our understanding and remains a mystery.

          • Carl

            God intended the rape. Just as God intended his Son to be murdered. He controls everything. If a rape happens out of his control, then he is an impotent god. Or he doesn’t care.

          • Carl

            Job suffered because of God. Sure, you could make the argument that it wasn’t God’s idea to bring calamity on him, but He gave the go-ahead, so he’s ultimately the one responsible. We wouldn’t let a person off the hook for responsibility if he gave the order to allow something bad to happen, so why do we want to make up excuses for God? God is GOOD, so no matter what happens, we know that he has good things in store for His Kingdom (and for us, if we are part of that Kingdom).

          • Carl,
            You ask a really good question, “why make excuses for God?”, then you come back with a simplistic answer that ignores the question. I’m not sure what you are trying to say here. Should we not be asking questions of God? That seems to be the lesson Job got. But others in the Bible argued with God and won, so there’s more to it than just Job.

          • Carl

            “God is good” is a simplistic answer??

            The Bible is full of examples of God telling his people they have no clue what they’re talking about, so they should stop questioning him. That’s not to say that we can’t ask God questions, but there are respectful, faithful ways of asking questions and foolish ways to do so.

            We don’t know why any rape is in God’s plan (though sometimes we do get a glimpse, such as in the case of a resulting life that comes from the rape), just as we don’t know God’s many reason to let the bridge collapse. All we really need to know as little ants in this world is that the Maker is good. What he does from that goodness is up to Him, not us. It’s the height of arrogance that we can pretend to either make excuses for him or claim to know God’s reasons. That is part of what was so wrong about Job’s friends, they claimed to know His reasoning.

          • “What he does from that goodness is up to Him, not us.”
            I would be okay with that if it worked both ways. That is, if a guy like Mourdock said, “A woman chooses what to do about her pregnancy. Doctors do what they are capable of doing. It is done safely, humanely and in a healthy environment, surrounded by capable care givers providing physical, psychological and spiritual care. It is all in God’s plan.” If he said that, and it was non-controversial, then fine, someone could say rape is somehow in the plan too and I would consider it as a philosophical discussion.

            Instead, it is a woman’s right to have control over body that is controversial and the idea of “God is good and we shouldn’t question it” is used to justify forcing her to have a rapist’s baby. It is Mourdock and his ilk that are claiming to know God’s reasoning and they are attempting to legislate it to the rest of us.

          • Carl

            Life is life, you can’t just take it because you don’t like how it began. Exactly HOW is an abortion “safe” for the child?

            Your “logic” means that I can kill someone because it’s in God’s plan. Where exactly in Scripture do you find human culpability for sin ignored? God intended the Jews to kill Jesus but still held them responsible. He can intend a rape but still hold the rapist responsible.

          • Curtis

            Exactly how is an embryo a child? By this logic, many people who undergoe invitro fertilization are murderers

          • Carl

            Curtis, you’re fully aware we’re talking about more than just an embryo when it comes to abortion.

            Not that it matters, since yes, it could be argued that in vitro involves killing innocent life. Which is why I view in vitro as not something Christians should do.

          • Curtis

            When is an embryo more than “just an embryo”?

            We are not talking about Christians. We are talking about officials elected to national office, who will be creating laws for all people, regardless of their religion.

          • Carl

            The definition of life doesn’t depend on religion. Life begins at conception, that has been established by science and rational thought. It is our Constitution that innocent life is protected by the government. Thus, it follows that our government should not be in the business of letting people end innocent life.

          • Phil Miller

            I’m not sure how one reads the book of Job and comes away thinking that the point was that God caused Job to go through the things he went through or there was some higher reason for them. Actually, the point of the book is more unsettling. It was that Job went through these things for no apparent reason, and that asking God to explain why they happened or discerning purpose in them wasn’t what Job needed to do.

            As far as embryos, there’s no denying that they are alive, but I’m not entirely convinced that the Christian position can’t leave for some wiggle room as far when we should consider an embryo a human being with rights and protections of law that come along with that. After all, a large percentage of embryos, anywhere from 30-50%, never implant. Even a few days after implantation, there’s a somewhat high chance of miscarriage. A woman could actually miscarry and never know she was pregnant. It just seems to me that our humanness goes beyond our physicality. I say that not to support a dualistic view of the world, but just to state that what sets human apart from other animals (at least in Christian theology) is the fact that God breaths into us to create us in His image. I’m willing to say that this could happen sometime between conception and the very early stages of pregnancy.

          • How far does this go Carl? The rule of “no abortions ever” just doesn’t work. What about a threat to the life of the mother? When an abortion could save her life, how do you choose?

            I’m not going to bother addressing issues of when life begins or what it means for God to “intend” something but hold someone “responsible” for it. I’m trying to point out how a simplistic rule like “God is good, it’s all in the plan”, doesn’t work. It is easily abused.

          • Carl

            The only “abortion” that is valid would be when it is done to save the life of the mother, and even there, it shouldn’t be an abortion with the intention of killing the child, but a procedure done to save the mother and, as much as possible, save the child. Obviously, sometimes that’s impossible. But it’s not pro-life to say that both lives must die in the name of not having an abortion.

          • Curtis

            It must be frustrating for a person with such “pro-life” views to have no presidential candidates to vote for. Even Romney allows for abortion in cases of rape and incest. According to this strict pro-life view, this makes Romney an advocate for murder. No pro-life voter could possibly vote for a pro-murder candidate in good consciousness. So what candidate is a pro-life voter left with?

          • Frank

            That’s easy Curtis. The one who will do the most. A GOP’er. Certainly not a party with abortion on demand in their platform. That’s an anathema to the Christian faith.

          • Carl

            Curtis, you are right, Romney is not pro-life. However, at least he doesn’t promote abortion on demand like Obama does. That’s a huge step in the right direction, even if he stops short of a truly pro-life position.

          • Curtis

            There is not contradiction in a pro-life Christian voting for a pro-murder candidate? Then why is abortion even a political issue?

            If it is a matter of degree, then even Obama could be considered pro-life.

            I can’t fathom voting for a candidate that I believe sanctions murder. Such pro-life folks voters 1) aren’t really serious about their views or 2) are morally corrupt to vote for a candidate who favors murder.

          • Frank

            You are welcome to vote or not vote if that’s where the Spirit leads you. The Spirit leads me to vote for the unborn, even if the candidate is not perfect.

          • Carl

            Curtis, don’t be morally obtuse. So you’re saying if you were given the choice to vote between someone who makes a legal allowance to have 1000 people murdered and someone who wants to pay to have 10 million murdered, you don’t have enough moral discernment to make that choice?

      • Evelyn

        Thanks for posting, Dave. I hadn’t seen the Daily Show’s reporting on this issue. It was (wryly) hilarious.

  • Pax

    This is not meant to be a defense of Mourdock’s statement, but I think it is interesting where you choose to cut the quote. If you watch the video that you linked to, you’ll see that with the words just preceding that part, the quote reads

    Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that’s something that God intended to happen.”

    To suggest that the antecedent of “that” is “rape” and not “life” is a completely dishonest interpretation. Normally, I would assume the misinterpretation is a mistake rather than deceit, but in the very article you linked to, it says “Mourdock explained after the debate he did not believe God intended the rape, but that God is the only one who can create life.”

    I expect this kind of crap on campaign commercials and partisan blogs, but good grief Tony, you’re better than this. Do you think you can’t make whatever theological point you’re trying to make about predestination/free-will/whatever without turning your political opponents into straw men?

    • Curtis

      Still, I think the idea that God intended life to begin as a result of rape is troubling. I certainly wouldn’t categorize concern about that concept as “crap”.

      To me, I think this kid of “look on the bright side” response is nothing more than a clear attempt to minimize the crime, and a failure to validate the victim.

      I am a Christian who firmly believes God intends life to happen when the mother intends it to happen. God does not intend life to be imposed, unwillingly, on a woman. But there are clearly some political leaders who believe women should be subjected to any pregnancy, for any reason, because the life is a gift from God. This is very dangerous theology, and very dangerous politics. But this is exactly what Mourdock, and the GOP party platform are saying, and it is right for these leaders to be called out on their views.

      • Pax

        I’m not suggesting that it would be crap to talk about whether God would intend/allow life to be created during a rape. I’m suggesting that it’s crap to say your political opponents hold a position that they don’t hold so that you can more easily tear them down.

        Tony’s post is about “God-Intended Rape”, an interpretation of Mourdock’s statement which is utterly dishonest and explicitly rejected by Mourdock.

        • Curtis

          But Mourdock, and the GOP party platform, says it is okay for life to be forced on a woman. This is very troubling, and deserves to be pointed out.

          • Phil Miller

            Well, Obama’s platform says it’s OK for death to be forced upon people in the way of drone attacks… tomato, tom-ah-to…

            Picking sides in a war between two fools always leaves us with a lot wanting.

          • Pax

            If you really think that Republicans think that rape is okay, then I don’t know what to tell you. Do you really think that, or is this just some kind of deceitful rhetoric used to get other people to think that your political opponents are monsters?

          • Curtis

            I didn’t say Republicans think rape is okay. Now you are twisting my words. Republicans think it is permissible for life to be forced on a woman. It is in their party platform. If you don’t think so, they what option is Mourdock and others leaving for a women who gets pregnant against her will? None.

            Voters need to understand this. Clearly.

            @Phil: I’m not sure why you are switching subjects. Romney is in full agreement with Obama on drone attacks in Pakistan.

          • Phil Miller

            My point is that usually in this discussions someone snarkily brings up the fact that Republicans are only pro-life while babies are still in the womb because they’re also usually pro death penalty, pro-war, etc. At the present time, though, I would say both parties are towing the pro-death line pretty heavily.

          • Pax

            No. Your rhetoric is “Republicans think it is permissible for life to be forced on a woman.” How does life get forced on a woman if you’re not talking about rape?

          • Curtis

            @Pax, Now you are making the same mistake that you accuse everyone else of making. You are focusing on the “forced on” part, not the “life” part.

            I’ve already phrased it anther way for you. What option does the Republican party platform allow for a women who has life force on her?

            The clear answer is “none”. That is all people need to know. If that language makes you squirm, it probably should, but it is a fact.

          • Pax

            Curtis, I’m focusing on the “forced on” part because that’s the money word that you used. You said “Republicans think it is permissible for life to be forced on a woman.” Your rhetoric is specifically intended to highlight that Republicans think the act of forcing is ok.

            The way you’ve rephrased it now is better (“What option does the Republican party platform allow for a women who has life force on her?”) because that way you can agree with your opponents that the real monsters are the people who do the forcing – the rapists. If you’re willing to jettison the other language in favor of this, then you may be at the beginning of an honest debate.

          • Frank

            Nobody’s forcing life. We have a choice whether to engage in behavior that produces children or not. We know how children are created so everybody goes into it with their eyes wide open. People just don’t want to have personal responsibility. It’s a tragic symptom of a selfish culture.

          • Curtis

            See how quickly people pull off these Mourdocks? And you guys keep blaming liberals. We couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried.

          • Pax

            @Frank: are you denying that rape happens?

          • Frank

            Pax of course not. I was responding to the fallacious statement that the GOP forces life. NOT talking about rape.

          • I think ‘forcing life on a woman’ is vastly different from preventing the ‘forcing of death on a baby’. You think it’s ok to force a death on a baby? That’s what we’re really talking about, isn’t it?

          • Curtis

            @Frank: You said, “We know how children are created so everybody goes into it with their eyes wide open”. You denied, at least at the moment you wrote that, that rape exists.

            @Jonathan: A very small minority of people would consider an embryo a “baby”. I do not consider an embryo a “baby”. So no, we are not talking about forcing death on a baby. We are talking about forcing life on a woman. That is what the Republican party platform calls for.

          • Frank

            I did no such thing. I only proved how ridiculous this statement is: “But Mourdock, and the GOP party platform, says it is okay for life to be forced on a woman.”

          • Curtis

            Don’t worry, you are in fine company of people who make outlandish comments to achieve a political agenda, then run away from the statements as fast as possible after they are made.

          • Frank

            Suffering from transference much?

  • seth c

    Perhaps isn’t it more correct to say that despite the tragedy that surrounds a circumstance, God can still bring out hope and life? I assume that is what the vast majority of all politicians who have this line of thought is thinking and assuming more is quite ridiculous. I don’t think anyone assumes that rape is the means in which God gives life in these situations, but rather pointing to the hope that is life can be located amidst tragedy.

    • Curtis

      So what response should a woman who is raped be legally permitted to have? It is quite ridiculous to state that a woman who is raped has no right to end the pregnancy, and that she must, literally, have the pregnancy forced upon her.

  • Evelyn

    I’m sorry to tell you this but if God intended a life to happen and that life is conceived through rape then I think it means that God intended the rape as well. Why didn’t God make the parents feel physical attraction first and then trick them into having consensual relations if he didn’t intend the rape?

  • David R

    God Doesn’t Make Bad Things Happen – The New Church http://j.mp/KoJaEE

  • Carla

    Maybe it’s worth asking why Mourdock (and Akin, etc.) find themselves on the wrong end of a soundbite. Why are the particulars of rape up for political debate in the first place? Yes, I know it all boils down to abortion, but for the love of Pete, is it really so hard for these men to say something simple like “rape is a horrible crime” and then stop talking? This need to keep picking rape apart as though it’s an abstract concept is so weird and troubling and discouraging.

  • Lee P.

    What am I missing here?

    There are some babies that come about due to rape. The people who claim that rape-babies were intended by God cannot divorce the baby from the rape. Without the rape there would be no baby. So if the baby is part of “God’s plan” and the baby is also, then the rape is part of “God’s plan”. Pretty straight forward. and a pretty stupid thing to defend.

    I suppose you could say that God had originally intended for that couple to be together and to make that baby but due to certain bad, unintended choices they never met, so god “course corrects” this by allowing a rape?

    I mean how do you defend this crap? This is like the trouble Calvinists always get into by emphasizing God’s sovereignty over everything else. Really disturbing stuff.

    • Pax

      Why is it so hard to see how someone could imagine God intending/allowing something good (like a life) to come out of something bad (like a rape)? Because God turns something bad into something good, that means we must accept that God intended the bad? It just doesn’t follow.

      • Frank

        You shouldn’t expect sound theology here or in the media.

        Can you tell the Dems are nervous? They should be.

  • Lee P.

    What am I missing here?

    There are some babies that come about due to rape. The people who claim that rape-babies were intended by God cannot divorce the baby from the rape. Without the rape there would be no baby. So if the baby is part of “God’s plan” then the rape has to be part of “God’s plan”. Pretty straight forward. and a pretty stupid thing to defend.

    I suppose you could say that God had originally intended for that couple to be together and to make that baby but due to certain bad, unintended choices they never met, so god “course corrects” this by allowing a rape?

    I mean how do you defend this crap? This is like the trouble Calvinists always get into by emphasizing God’s sovereignty over everything else. Really disturbing stuff.

    (Sorry about the double post. erase the first?)

  • Craig

    Once we jettison the idea that God is good, God-intended rape isn’t so difficult to accept. I’ll say it again: we too often and too readily give the assumption of God’s goodness a pass.

    • AJG

      True. An omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God is a logical fail. It’s like that old engineering axiom about fast, good, and cheap. Pick any two.

  • Brian

    And of course, when you follow the link to Piper’s blog, there isn’t an option to comment. To call him a coward is to state the obvious.

  • Mourdock’s statement is something along the lines of what you would say to a child of a rape victim, if they found out that is where they came from at a very early age. We tell children that they are special, that they were wanted, that they are loved, that they have a place in the universe, that they belong. Children can only absorb so much, so we have to keep the explanations simple. When we complicate them with God talk, we just make it more complicated for them to figure out later.

    Rick Warren and John Calvin think/thought that this is adult talk. Someone forgot to tell them it was a story made up to provide them with a protective bubble while their brains were forming. No matter what you believe about theology, you can’t make a coherent argument out of this. Either God is evil, or He is something that you haven’t figured out yet, and you should admit that it doesn’t make complete sense, and that it is a belief, and you can’t prove it. Especially if you are running for public office in a secular society.

    I’m fine with politicians having beliefs. I’m fine with them not having an answer for everything. I’m not fine with them having a reasoning process like Mourdock’s.

    • Phil Miller

      So are people simply ignoring Mourdock’s later clarification of his statement? I agree the statement during the debate was pretty stupid, and, honestly, I don’t think he meant to say that God intended for the rape to happen. I think he meant to say something along the lines that God intended for the that baby to be created.

      This certainly does present a logical inconsistency, but if we’re going to be honest, we have to admit that it’s something Christian theologians have tried to struggle through for centuries. There are all sorts of reasoning paths one could take out of the conundrum. I think most Christians would say something like God foreknew the choice the rapist was going to make but didn’t cause it, and because of that foreknowledge He planned for the baby to be conceived.

      Ultimately, though, it’s a theological question, and I don’t think political debates are the best places to hash these out.

      • “I think most Christians would say something like God foreknew the choice the rapist was going to make but didn’t cause it, and because of that foreknowledge He planned for the baby to be conceived.”

        That is not an improvement over the original stupid statement. Nor were any of his follow ups. Why can’t he just say, “rape is bad”, and stop right there. I want leaders who want to prevent rape from happening and want to help the victims, not come up with convoluted explanations and excuses for supporting their stand on abortion.

        • Phil Miller

          To me this is almost a non-issue. Democrats making a deal of this is a bit like Republicans calling Obama a Muslim or demanding his birth certificate. It’s simply political theater. Mourdock was asked if thought there should be any exceptions for allowing abortions (I believe the question specifically mentioned rape even), so that’s why he was talking about it. And the fact is that there are many pro-life people who would take the same line as him as far as not allowing an exception for abortions where the pregnancy is the result of rape.

          I mean, honestly, do you really think that he is taking a pro-rape stance?

          When we assign positions onto our ideological foes that they themselves don’t actually adhere to, all we’re doing is muddying the waters and making actual debate about the issues nearly impossible.

          • Evelyn

            When someone says that the life resulting from a rape was willed into being by God and then turns around and worships this God who willed a life into being through rape, then, yes, that person is taking a pro-rape stance.

          • Phil Miller

            Well, that’s ridiculous, then, Evelyn. I guess each side should just go on painting the other as monsters, then. That always ends well.

          • No, he is not pro-rape. He is pro-some weird position about what to do about rape. He can’t reconcile his hard-line stance on abortion, because it comes from someone’s bad interpretation of a book about morals. It’s a book that discusses the nuances and subtleties of difficult life choices that we all need to make. He has interpreted it to mean “no abortions ever” and he hasn’t thought much about the consequences of that. That makes him a poor leader. I don’t care what party he is affiliated with. It is impossible to debate someone when they haven’t really thought about what their stand is or the consequences of their decisions.

          • Phil Miller

            Basically, you’re saying that it’s impossible for you to debate anyone who comes to a different conclusion than you about abortion. His position isn’t all that extreme in the pro-life community, really. He’s said the only exception he would allow for is if the health of the mother is in danger. I’d wager that most evangelicals will say something like that. It just isn’t usually discussed so explicitly.

            What made this incident weird is that entangled in all of this was the issue of free will and determinism, which is an in-house Christian debate that makes people uncomfortable. Had Mourdock simply said that he didn’t think there should be an exception to allow abortion because of rape, no one would have batted an eyelash. Certainly people would disagree with that position, but it’s not an uncommon position, really. Because he gave he attempted to give his motivation for his position, somehow it becomes this huge deal.

            I should also say, I’m not really a hardline pro-life person. I think in the case of rape, I wouldn’t be against providing something like the morning after pill to a woman. I just find the level of disingenuous surrounding this issue to be maddening. I don’t believe for one minute that any politicians care more about women than any other politician, to be honest. I believe they care about the votes associated with their positions, mostly.

          • Curtis

            What is disingenuous about saying that most evangelicals, and Republican politicians, think it is permissible for life to be forced upon a woman?

          • Phil Miller

            What I’m saying is disingenuous is people saying that Mourdock is actually taking the position that God intended the rape to happen. He actually clarified that wasn’t what he meant to say shortly after the debate. But his opponents see the opportunity to pin his misstatement on him, and they’re pouncing on it. Had that issue not come up, this would have remained a relatively unimportant debate between two senatorial candidates in South Dakota.

            Both sides do it anymore. Most campaigns come down to opponents trying to find gotchas they can pin to their opponents more than debate about the actual issues.

          • Curtis

            “it is disingenuous is people saying that Mourdock is actually taking the position that God intended the rape to happen.”

            That is not what people are saying. People are just reading Mourdock’s full quote, and his response afterward, word for word, and saying WTF?

            Republican ideology is so much more stark when put into real-life context, like in this case.

          • Pax


            That is indeed what people are saying. The title of this blog post is Where Do You Find a Theology of “God-Intended Rape”?

          • Curtis

            Tony is speaking in general. There are theologies that hold that God is omnipotent, even over rape. Mourdock’s statement, even in context, rightly cause people to wonder if Mourdock might be among such believers, notwithstanding his attempt to clarify his statement later.

          • Pax

            Tony is speaking in general?!? What? This post is about God-Intended Rape and Mourdock specifically. And, nobody has to wonder what Mourdock’s position is here. The context and his subsequent explanations are unambiguous.

          • Phil Miller: I’ll debate anyone, and I’ll point out flaws in their facts as well as flaws in their reasoning. Arguments need to be both sound and logical. I find it abhorrent that you think people would just shrug their shoulders if he said abortions should be illegal in the case of rape. People feel strongly about that on both sides. So that’s bad enough. Then he gives his reasoning, which is ridiculous to many mainstream Christians and to non-religious people and arguable for even many conservatives. So, yeah, it’s a big deal.

            I’m pretty sure that the people I’m voting for care considerably more about women that Mourdock does. That’s why I’m voting for them.

          • Phil Miller

            I find it abhorrent that you think people would just shrug their shoulders if he said abortions should be illegal in the case of rape.

            As it pertains to the particular Senate race, it probably wouldn’t have been that big of deal. The Democratic opponent is pro-life as well. South Dakota is a pretty conservative state, generally.

            I’m pretty sure that the people I’m voting for care considerably more about women that Mourdock does. That’s why I’m voting for them.

            We you’re more optimistic than me.

            I wouldn’t assume any person in congress cares for any group any more than they can use that group to help keep them in power.

  • Jenn Tafel

    I am so angry thinking about “God-Intended Rape” that I might just spit fire now. This concept is beyond fathomable to me. Maybe I’m just a bad Christian then. I would rather have that be the case then to think that God would intend something that horrific to happen. I know what it feels like to want to blame God for events like this. Forgiveness can happen, but it’s a process.

    I just watched “The Invention of Lying.” When the main character delivers the lies about the afterlife, it turns into a huge blame-fest…not unlike what’s happening now.

  • Evelyn

    I get around this issue by separating “GOD” into two parts: The God that I might worship (if I were into idolotry) and the Godhead. The Godhead includes everything including the God that I (might) worship but the God that I worship only includes the things I believe in (love, compassion, ethical actions, etc.). I think people, like Piper, make these seemingly outrageous statements when they and their readers confuse God with GOD. The God that I would exhalt is a subset of the Godhead and the Godhead is beyond good and evil.

    However, I believe the Godhead to be orderly and intelligent and to operate by rules excepting the rare case of miracle (because we exist and our universe is not totally chaotic). I hope that the function of the Godhead is to reduce collective human suffering. I assume that the Godhead is all-knowing and therefor has knowledge that I don’t have and that the Godhead drives us in an evolutionary fashion.

    When something like rape occurs, it makes me angry at GOD because I can’t justify it in terms of something that should happen to anybody. I don’t think it is morally or ethically right and any God that I might want to worship would not allow it to happen. However, a part of GOD that knows things that I don’t – has the facts and information about the collective relationships between people’s intentions and actions – may have a perfectly justifiable reason why occurrences of rape could induce order in the entire population and reduce collective human suffering. One reason would be that the act of rape illustrates the connection between sexuality and aggression and forces us into conversation that elucidates on how we should each, personally, handle our sexualities so we don’t get taken advantage of.

    I wrote a bit more about this here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/2012/10/23/what-i-hated-about-last-nights-debate-hint-everything/#comment-46890

  • toddh

    I see the correlation between the statements, but I think we should call a moratorium on taking shots at old Piper material. Inevitably he will provide new fodder, like perhaps next week, when God defends his glory by devastating the east coast with a hurricane.

  • Dave Burkum

    I thought Tony was making the point that untenable theology makes the things you say untenable things about God that are bound to sound wacky. Mourdock’s statements, both initially and in attempted clarification, all flow out of his theological understanding. I think Tony is fair in pointing out possible sources for that theology.

    • Dave Burkum

      I thought Tony was making the point that holding to untenable theology makes you say untenable things about God that are bound to sound wacky. Mourdock’s statements, both initially and in attempted clarification, all flow out of his theological understanding. I think Tony is fair in pointing out possible sources for that theology.

      • Pax

        Except that Tony is being utterly dishonest about Mourdock’s position. Mourdock’s statement is about God intending a good, and Tony is talking about God intending a bad.

  • Marti

    I think God made us to have relationship with him. He gave us free choice because he wanted our love to be from us not dictated. People make very bad decisions at times. I think God knows us so well He may have known it was going to happen. But did not wish it. Rapist made the decision. Not God. God can take bad decisions and help us learn from them. He can use any situation If we allow Him to guide us

  • Babies: God intended for sperm to fertilize an ovum. Science.

    God did NOT intend for children to be conceived out of this social canabalism, the consumption of another human in order to feed an appetite (rape, or any sex outside a committment).

    Bridges: God intended for mathematical patterns and formulas, laws of physics and nature to keep the earth moving. They were all part of His mind.
    People study engineering.
    Engineers are God’s finger that hold up bridges.

    People explaining EVERYTHING as ‘God did this’ and ‘God did that’ is so last 3,000 years. All ancient civilizations explained things by blaming or giving credit to their deities. Why are we still doing that?

  • Pingback: The predatory providence of ‘pro-life’ Richard Mourdock (part 2) | Getting Hammered()

  • Carl

    This whole discussion shows how important it is to have a sound view of God’s sovereignty. The impotent God shown in most of this thread indicates a very low view of God (or a very high view of the importance of man’s comfort). Do you possibly think that God may have a better idea of how to turn something bad into good? His ways are not our ways. Who has been his counselor?