One of the more ridiculous aspects of theology is having to defend the indefensible, for example William Lane Craig saying it’s morally acceptable to slaughter women and children as long as god commands it. And now we have this zinger from the Christian Research Institute.
According to Mosaic Law, “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives” (Deuteronomy 22:28–29). Isn’t that barbaric?
First, the Mosaic Law is hardly about letting a rapist off easy. The consequence for raping a woman engaged to be married was stoning (Deuteronomy 22:25). If the woman was not engaged, the rapist was spared for the sake of the woman’s security. Having lost her virginity, she would have been deemed undesirable for marriage—and in the culture of the day, a woman without a father or husband to provide for her would be subject to a life of abject poverty, destitution, and social ostracism. As such, the rapist was compelled to provide for the rape victim for as long as he lived. Thus, far from barbaric, the law was a cultural means of protection and provision.
There are a few (many) holes in the logic here. Why didn’t god just command that people not value women on their virginity? That would mean she would not be deemed undesirable. Also, where does importance of marrying a virgin derive from if not from the religious mores. Female virginity is so important to Mosaic that if a woman was found not to be a virgin on her wedding night then she is stoned to death. So Mosaic law itself is the reason why the woman would be deemed undesirable having lost her virginity.
But aside from that ridiculousness, there are still exist cultures where a woman must be a virgin in order for her to be marriageable. Does the Christian Research Institute think it is ok for women to be forced to marry their rapist in these cultures? Like this 16 year old who subsequently committed suicide rather than marry her rapist. If it was ok back then surely it is permissible now, at least according to the twisted, morally vacuous logic employed by the Christian Research Institute.