Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rape and the Republican God

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Richard Mourdock's Rape Comment
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Do you wonder why Republican men keep talking about rape? Do you wonder why they keep saying such idiotic things?

Sure, partly, I suppose, it's because they tend to be Republican men. I don't mean that all of us men - or even a majority of us - agree with them, certainly not! But Republicans tend to have no empathy for anyone else. If it doesn't affect them personally, they just can't understand why it matters.

Republican Tom Smith knows exactly what it's like to get impregnated by a rapist, because he suffered through all that himself. I mean, he suffered through the shame of having a daughter who got pregnant - through consensual sex - out of wedlock. That's the same thing, right? Clearly, it's all about him.

But it's also because they're Republican men. Republicans these days don't 'believe' in science, don't 'believe' in reality, don't 'believe' in anything they don't want to believe. This is a pattern of thinking which applies to rape just as much as it applies to anything else. You might as well ask why they keep saying such idiotic things about everything.

But we need to dig into this a little deeper. The problem is that Republicans are faith-based. That's not just when it comes to religion, but it definitely includes religion. And these people are stuck with a big, big problem: why would an omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent God let rape victims become pregnant, or even allow rape at all?

Of course, that's easy to answer. Their 'God' doesn't really exist - at least, there's no good evidence of that, so no good reason to believe it. But these people aren't evidence-based, they're faith-based. They start with the assumption that a god exists - and not just any god, but the Christian God (only because that's the one they were raised to believe).

So now they've got a problem. How do you reconcile an all-powerful, all-knowing, all good 'God' with rape? And sure, this is a subset of a larger problem which I talked about here - why do bad things happen to good people? But it's especially difficult when it comes to pregnancy, which these people believe is specifically a gift from God.

And it's that problem, that conflict between faith and reality, which causes most of this babbling idiocy. Some Republicans - almost entirely men, for good reason - just deny that rape ever really happens.

I mean, the woman is usually asking for it, right? She's just a slut who later tries to change her mind? Or she deserves it for dressing so provocatively? (After all, how are us manly men expected to control ourselves?) Or she makes some other kind of mistake - maybe just not attending church frequently enough - so that God needs to teach her a lesson?

Now, I suspect that even most Republicans tend to reject that argument. Oh, they seem to be sympathetic to it - way, way too sympathetic - so they accept it in far too many cases. But in other cases,... well, it's just very hard to believe that a 13-year-old girl who's beaten bloody by a violent rapist really deserved that. Even true believers often have some difficulty with that idea.

Unfortunately, it's easier - apparently - to believe that such a horrible experience was actually a good thing, for some strange reason that only 'God' knows. You just have to have faith, right? But then, when that poor victim gets pregnant by her rapist, how can you possibly imagine that being good? And, you know, God personally intercedes to match a specific spermatozoon with a specific egg, doesn't he?

It's always God's will when a women gets pregnant. That's what Richard Mourdock was saying, because that's what he believes - not because he has any evidence of that, but because he has faith. So when a rape victim gets pregnant, well,... that's God's will. It has to be God's will, because it's all a matter of faith. If you start doubting your faith, well, who knows what might happen? (You might even start believing in global warming!)

That's why we see people like Todd Akin believing that legitimate rape victims don't get pregnant. God has given women ways to "shut that whole thing down" if it's "legitimate" rape. See, that's fixes their problem - their biggest problem, at least. Most rape isn't really rape. No, you see, the woman was just asking for it.

And in those few cases of actual, real rape, those women don't get pregnant. Don't worry, God has everything well in hand. True, we don't understand God's plan for legitimate rape victims, why they'd have to go through that horrible experience at all, but we can have faith that it's ultimately to their own benefit, right? I mean, it has to be.

And that's the whole problem with believing by faith. Faith-based thinkers start with a conclusion, and everything else has to be shoehorned to fit into that worldview. They end up thinking truly idiotic things, because their conclusion wasn't developed from the evidence - and isn't open for correction later, either. They have faith, and faith is a terrible thing to have.

Note that it's easy to see how crazy Smith, Akin, Mourdock - all of 'Team Rape' - really are. Oh, all too many people still support these loony politicians, and their supporters invariably are just as faith-based as Team Rape. But how many of their critics believe by faith, themselves?

Yes, some faith-based beliefs are crazier than others - certainly, some faith-based believers are easier to get along with than others - but let's not overlook the fundamental problem here, that of faith-based thinking in general.

I've titled this "Rape and the Republican God," but the Democratic God isn't much better. I don't care what your beliefs are, you should have good reasons for believing them. Faith is not a good reason. Faith is not a virtue. Evidence-based people can still be wrong - no one is infallible - but evidence-based thinking is valid. Faith-based thinking is not.

Do you wonder why bad things happen to good people? You shouldn't. Do you wonder why rape victims can get pregnant (more than 32,000 per year in the United States)? You shouldn't. Do you wonder why 'God' is always on both sides in every war? You shouldn't.

Do you wonder why Republican men keep saying idiotic things about rape? Not anymore, I hope. :)


Jim Harris said...

It's amazing how many problems are simplified when you accept that God was just an idea from prehistoric times, that we don't have souls, and bad things happen to people for no reason other than chance.

WCG said...

Yes, Jim. It reminds me of the elaborate models astronomers had to create to explain the solar system, when the church still insisted that the Earth was the center of everything.

Just recognizing that the Bible was wrong, that the Sun is the center of our solar system, made everything so much simpler. But it's a conceptual change that most people are very, very reluctant to make.