Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Crossed wires

Aaron Kinney seems to think he caught Matthew Slick in a contradiction. This is what Slick said:

“Why? Because it isn't the child's fault that my wife was raped. The child doesn't know the why's and how's. The child only knows that he/she needs to be loved and be safe in the arms of loving parents. Why should I make the child pay for the sins of another? Why should I make the child any less important or loved than my natural children? “

This is how Aaron replies:

“Now Mr. Slick, as a Christian you believe that sin can be transferred between people. In other words, you believe that guilt can be shifted to a person other than the one that committed the offense. As a Christian you believe that all humans are guilty for fruit eaten by Adam and Eve, and you believe that Jesus was able to suffer punishment and "forgive" or pay the consequences of these sinners. This concept of guilt re-assignment is the centerpiece of Christianity itself.

However, in your "rapedwithchild.htm" page on your CARM site, you specifically say, "Why should I make the child pay for the sins of another?"

I hope you see the significance of this major slip. Your natural, instinctive (non-Bible-based) morality automatically tells you that to have a child suffer for the sins of another is wrong, and you express this in your writing about rape resulting in pregnancy without any second thought or hesitation. It just came naturally to you that to make an innocent child suffer for the sins of another is immoral.

This of course is contradictory to the very centerpiece, the very core of Christian theology. Christianity, and the Bible, quite clearly say in many different verses that guilt and sin can be inherited, traded, and otherwise passed around to people other than the guilty or responsible ones.

Now Mr. Slick, how do you reconcile this discrepancy? Do you stick true to your Christian beliefs and revise your "rapedwithchild.htm" page and instead say "I should make the child pay for the sins of another," or do you betray your Christian facade and admit that truly, it is NOT OK to have anyone ever be assigned blame for the sins of another, ever?

Mr. Slick, what I am looking for from you is consistency. So in this case, who loses? Your Christian faith, or the rape-baby? One of them has got to give.”


The obvious problem with Aaron’s objection is that there’s absolutely no inconsistency on Slick’s part, for the Bible does not lay down, as a general proposition, that guilt can be transferred from just anyone to anyone else.

All that Aaron has done here is to engage in a blatant overgeneralization.

The governing principle is the principle of representative headship. But this is not an unrestricted principle. Everyone is not responsible for what just anyone does.

For example, a father is responsible for what his five-year-old does, but he is not responsible for what your five-year-old does, and a five-year-old is not responsible for what his father does.

Aaron is disregarding elementary distinctions, whether through lack of mental aptitude, mental discipline, or common honesty.


  1. I'd add that, when this issue is discussed in Scripture, those counted guilty of their fathers crimes are also guilty themselves, ergo they agree with their fathers' crimes and give approval to them.

    Of course, this is elementary and is lost on Aaron...

  2. It has become a rare occation that I weigh in at T-blog because, well, there are so many of you -- and what is there left to say after Gene, Steve and Evan (does he actually do anything in Homeschol but blog?) have said their bit.

    I have a small oak pellet to add to the fire on this one, and it relates to this hypothetical child born of a rape. I would propose that, errant views of Christian anthropology notwithstanding, the child is actually a sinner. Neither Gene, nor Steve, nor even Matt Slick (who has actually said some doozers in his day, but join the club) would deny the sinfulness of the child.

    The ultimate question, really, is if humans are empowered to punish based on the potential of sin nature only. Is there any place in Christian philosophy for metaphysical vigilante-ism to go out and start exacting judicial penalties for metaphysical or ontological truths? I think the answer is no.

    In that, to punish the rapist through judicial/political means is one thing -- a just thing dictated by God in the establishment of government (cf. Rom 13). But the child conceived in rape -- who has a sin nature, but has not committed a crime but is in fact one of the victims of a crime -- provides no basis for the state to punish him merely for being born.

    The scope of government's authority does not extend to the potential to do evil, but only to the actual perpetration of evil.

    Aaron's reasoning is flawed from top to bottom with almost no foot-hold in actual Christian premises.

  3. I'd add a couple of points to what Frank has said:

    i)Not every sin is a crime. Even under the Mosaic code, every sin was not a crime.

    ii)In particular, original sin is not a crime. Gov't was never authorized to punish original sin--and for obvious reasons, given it's universality!