Saturday, November 30, 2013

"He has ravished my heart"

Guilherme AdrianodrP8vlvSl_8.gifJerry Walls
November 27 at 8:01pm ·
  • Jerry, brother, what do you think of this one liner my friends and I just came up with:

  • Hey, Calvinists, if the bride doesn't say "I do", it's rape.

Doesn't that make you yearn to fellowship with Arminians? Unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident. "Your God is a rapist!" is part of the Arminian lexicon when responding to Calvinists, along with other gems like "Your God is worse than Hitler," "Your God is worse than Satan," "Your God would torture little kids for the fun of it."

Of course, in the next breath, Arminians assure us that we're brothers. Uh-huh.

What are we to make of this comparison? 

i) Consider how John Wesley describes the grace of God:

"He has ravished my heart." 
"Her soul was so ravished with his love." 
John Wesley's Journal

To my knowledge, "ravish" is literally an archaic synonym for rape. In poetic usage, it plays on the sexually coercive connotations, but acquires the figurative sense of being overwhelmed with passion. It's striking that Wesley, a paradigmatic Arminian, resorts to a refined rape metaphor to describe the Arminian concept of grace. 

Notice, this isn't me, a Calvinist, making that comparison. This is straight from the lips of a leading Arminian. So maybe Arminians need to drop the demagogic rhetoric, lest it boomerang. 

ii) Why is "rape" the first thing some Arminians think of when they hear "irresistible grace." If this were a free association test, that would tell you more about what's on the mind of the Arminian than anything about Calvinism. Unintentionally revealing. 

Although rape is forcible, most force isn't rape. Most force is nonsexual. So why is "rape" what comes to mind? Have they been watching bondage pornography?

iii) Why cast the example in terms of the "bride"? Why not the groom? Maybe because that doesn't have the same rhetorical resonance?

If Arminians insist on sexual metaphors, a more accurate metaphor would be seduction, where one gives into temptation because the seducer or seductress is irresistibly attractive. 

iv) In Calvinism, the "bride" (or groom) does says "yes." 

v) The comparison is confused at yet another level. It fails to distinguish between forcing love onto someone and forcing love out of someone. It's quite possible for love to be forcible.

Take a child who's kidnapped at the age of 2. He is found at the age of 4. By that time, the child has become emotionally attached to his abductor. The child is initially resistant to being separated from his abductor and returned to his parents. But in the long run, it's for the child's good. 

Likewise, some kidnapping victims allegedly suffer from Stockholm syndrome. The captive bonds with the captor. Take the oft-cited case of Patty Hearst. Ironically, the captive resists being freed. 

Other examples include cults, where young, impressionable initiates with the cult-leader. It takes an intervention to pry them away. 

I remember watching a news story years ago about an American woman who foolishly married a Muslim. They had a daughter by each other. Then, as a foreign national, he returned to Saudi Arabia with their daughter. At great risk to herself, the mother went to Saudi Arabia to get her daughter back. She had to seize her daughter off the street. Her daughter was initially resistant. Once back in the U.S., she reverted to a normal American mother/daughter relationship. 

In each case, forcible action is required to restore the balance. Do Arminians think these examples are equivalent to rape? If you rescue someone against their will, is that "rape"? 


Here's an image capture of the Facebook question:

  • Jerry, brother, what do you think of this one liner my friends and I just came up with:

    Hey, Calvinists, if the bride doesn't say "I do", it's rape.


  1. Ha, I clicked the link to the comment. This is what I get,

    "This content is currently unavailable

    The page you requested cannot be displayed right now. It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired, or you may not have permission to view this page."

    I wonder if someone didn't feel the heat and decided to run and hide instead of publicly recanting their despicable one-liner.

  2. It's also possible to marry without being willing to be married, or perhaps even be unwilling to be married, but later fall in love (e.g. some arranged marriages, out of a sense of duty). The bride may not willingly say "I do" to her groom, the groom to his bride, or both to one another. One of the parties may have only said "I do" out of some form of coercion. Perhaps they would've been thrown out on the street by their parents, or perhaps due to community or societal pressure. Yet, after marriage, they grew to love one another.



    Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
    As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
    That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
    Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
    I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
    Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
    Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
    But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
    Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
    But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
    Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
    Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
    Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
    Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

    John Donne

  4. Suppose God made Adam, Eve, and Steve. Eve is made from Adam and for Adam, same as in the biblical narrative. Only Eve is seduced by Steve. Steve is abusive to Eve and in addition to harming her physically and psychologically he gets her addicted to drugs. Then Steve prostitutes her out to his evil cronies.

    Adam, out of his love for Eve, kidnaps her in the night and gives her a shot of medicine that causes her to see the reality of how abusive and bad Steve is and how she was made for Adam and will flourish best with him. Now that she sees things correctly, thanks to the medicine, she falls in love with Adam and willingly marries him.

    Now as per my earlier conversation with Mr. Fletcher, of course a libertarian could still call it "rape" when the marriage is consummated, but I think for most people all the rhetorical and moral force of calling it "rape" is removed.