Friday, July 15, 2016

War grooms

i) Atheists like to quote Deut 21:10-14 as a case of Scripture sanctioning rape or sex slavery. I've discussed this before. The passages makes provision for war brides, not sex slaves. 

ii) In addition, it's fallacious to infer that a law code condones whatever it regulates. For instance, a libertarian legislator might propose a law to decriminalize possession of Marijuana, not because he approves of potheads, but because he thinks the "war on drugs" is more detrimental than letting people smoke pot. 

iii) The contention that this is rape or sex slavery is based on the fact that it's a forced marriage. However, one problem with that objection is that it disregards the circumstances in which this issue crops up. The setting involves a warrior culture in which the able-bodied men were killed in combat, thereby widowing their wives. The women no longer have any men to protect them or provide for them, which is a dire situation for women in the ancient Near East. 

So it's a question of how to play the hand you were dealt. We are often "forced" into situations we dislike, "forced" to make decisions we dislike, due to onerous circumstances beyond our control. 

iv) However, I'd like to approach the issue from a different angle. Suppose the scenario involved war grooms rather than war brides. Suppose you have a queen. The army fights at her behest. Her army defeats the enemy. Some of the war captives are handsome men. She wants to marry one of them, and she exercises her royal prerogative to do so. The male war captive is "forced" into a marriage with the queen. 

Is that rape? If they were honest, I doubt people would characterize the arrangement in those terms because they don't think men must be forced to have sex. 

Or let's vary the illustration. Suppose the queen adds some of the handsome male war captives to her harem. They are her sex slaves. They are available for her pleasure.

Is that rape? The male war captives didn't choose to be harem boys to service the lascivious monarch. But even if they find the prospect distasteful, is it rape?

This poses a dilemma for atheists. Many atheists pride themselves on their egalitarian views of men and women. They champion feminism. If they think men and women should be treated alike, if they don't think a queen who has sex with a harem boy is raping him, then the war bride scenario isn't rape. 

If, on the other hand, they admit that men and women are wired differently in this regard, then they must forfeit their feminism. Opt for one or the other: you can't have both!  


  1. 10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.- Deut. 21:10-14 ESV [bold added by me]

    Seems very merciful. Unlike the temporary marriages in Islam that in effect was prostitution OR the rape of captured married women whose husbands are still alive.

    1. For those who don't know, a popular apologist for Islam has left Islam and one of the reasons he gives is the second example I gave above of Islam teaching the permissibility of raping married female captives while their husband is still alive. His apostasy to Islam has been creating great waves in the Islamic and Christian dialogue/debate communities.

      Here's a link to his video Why I Left Islam (

  2. One interesting thing about feminism is that while the stated goal is egalitarianism, it requires a fundamental recognition that men and women are different. Otherwise any comparison for sake of making equal is arbitrary.

    Another interesting thing about feminism is that making women equal to men requires women adopting male characteristics as though they were more desirable than female characteristics. However, as you point out, this especially doesn't work when it highlights the core difference between men and women.

  3. The feminism in Hollywood is over the top now. Think of the upcoming female Ghostbusters movie. In the trailer the women are acting like men with masculine mannerisms.

    Or think of how the female lead in the recent Star Wars movie could literally do everything and do it well. Even defeating someone who has been using a light saber for years despite the fact that that's the first time she has actually wielded a light saber in combat.

    I haven't seen it, but I'm told that a similar thing is true in the recent Mad Max movie with the female character played by Charlize Theron.