Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Richard Mourdock's rape comment

You've probably heard about this asshole's comment that even a child conceived of a rape is a gift from god. Kevin Drum points out that this should be pretty common religious thought:

Mourdock is getting beat up pretty bad for this, and I think that's just fine. At the same time, can't we all acknowledge that this is just conventional Christian theology? Theodicy is the study of why an omnipotent God permits the existence of evil, and while the term is of fairly recent vintage, Christians and Jews have struggled with the question itself pretty much since the time they decided God was omnipotent.
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What I find occasionally odd is that so many conventional bits of theology like this are so controversial if someone actually mentions them in public. God permits evil. My faith is the only true one. People of other faiths are doomed to spend eternity in Hell. Etc. There's a lot of stuff like this which is either explicit or implied in sects of all kinds, and at an abstract level we all know it. Somehow, though, when someone actually says it, it's like they farted in church. Weird.

It becomes controversial because most people just ignore these types of issues regarding their religion. And for the vast majority of their lives they are able to ignore them. But when you make them aware of the logical problems in these situations they take half a second to think about it. It makes news or is controversial because it's such a departure from the norm that people become interested.

Like with most news stories, that interest goes away pretty quickly. People don't pay active attention to this stuff to begin with. So combine that with the fact that if they really thought deeply about this issue and how it relates to their religion in general it would probably cause stress, and it's a situation that Drum describes; the fart lingers for a minute, goes away and everyone forgets it happened.

To probably most people's credit, while I think they ignore the logical problem this presents for their religion in general, they seem to realize how ridiculous Mourdock's comment is on it's face. I mentioned it to some of my family at dinner (I know, I'm a great dinner guest) and they gave the standard "WTF, really?" response. So people seem willing to see how ridiculous this is. I just wish they would care more to the point where people like Mourdock weren't elected to public office.

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