I have many discussions with many different kinds of people. Some believe in God, others do not care about God, while still others are militant in their hatred of God. While talking with the militant ones, I come across the same lame reasons why the Bible is not a moral Book and how It is full of mistakes. Since it is the same recycled fodder over and over again, the argument is easy to win. After having gone through the same process for the millionth time, I have decided to write articles explaining the so called “mistakes” in the Bible as well as the passages that “claim” to be immoral. If you talk to enough atheists, you will hear these questions and statements over and over again. Here is the first one, “the Bible condones rape, therefor it is an outdated book and no longer relevant for our modern times“. I make it a point to ask for the specific locations of the claim. I am not shocked to learn that most who make these claims have no idea where it is in the Bible. They are just recycling what they heard someone else say. When they can give the location, I usually get the following account from Deuteronomy 22:
22 “If a man is found lying with a married*woman, then both* of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman ; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. 23 “If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death ; the girl, because** she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because** he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 25 “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. 26 “But you shall do nothing* to the girl ; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. 27 “When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her. 28 “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because* he has violated her; he cannot*divorce her all his days.
There are 4 distinct situations here but only one of them would actually be considered “rape” or violation. Let’s analyze them one by one and see if the claims of the atheists are true.
1) The man and woman are caught in the act of adultery. The woman is married and is caught having sexual relations with a man who is not her husband. She is to be put to death and so is the man with whom she was sinning. This protects the victim of this entire situation, the woman’s husband. Who knows what diseases she will bring home to him after sleeping around. This will purge the evil from the land. It will also set an example for those who might consider adultery in the future. There is no rape here.
2) The woman is engaged (which according to God is the same as marriage) and is caught having sexual relations with a man who is not her future husband (before the wedding when sex is forbidden). She is not raped because she is in the city (literally public area) and does not cry out for help. This is a case of consensual sex. She is not raped but willingly participates in the act. She and the man are to be put to death to protect the victim, the future husband, as well as purge evil from among the people.
3) This is the only case of rape in this entire passage, and God severely punishes the rapist while protecting the victim. The woman was taken by force and she cried out but there was no one there to rescue her. She is raped. Once the man is caught, then he is put to death but nothing is done to the woman because she has done nothing wrong. If we applied God’s Law today, there would no longer be men who commit multiple rapes. It is hard to create another rape victim when you are 6 feet in the ground where you should be. Since we do not, we have an entire society at risk of being victimized by rape (usually multiple counts). God punishes the guilty and protects the victims and the innocent people. We protect the criminals today and leave the innocent people of society susceptible to rape and rapists.
4) This is a case of consensual sex between 2 people who are not engaged to anyone. This would be compared to today’s one night stand, or cohabitation. When they are discovered (probably by her expanding belly) the man must go to the girl’s father, ask for forgiveness, and ask for her hand in marriage. If the father agrees, he must marry her (so she will not be a victim, accused of adultery) and stay married to her all the days of his life. She was not raped, she went willingly. The problem is in the word “seized” of verse 28. The original word is trapped, but not necessarily by force. It could be translated as manipulated (with words and promises). If it were rape, like in the previous case, then the man would be put to death. Since it is not rape, he deceived her or manipulated her to come to bed with him, and he is not put to death.
We can clearly see from this passage that God does not condone rape, in fact, He condemns it. He punishes the criminal and protects the victim. Our modern society, which claims to know more than God, protects the criminal and punishes the victim. Simple study of the Bible clears up all the problems. If you are a victim of rape, God is on your side. If you have committed rape, then God can forgive you if you will humble yourself and repent of your sin.