I’m still not ready to discuss the morality of abortion, but during the course of the discussion, i was able to bring up perhaps one of the most disturbing passages in the Bible:
“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.
Deuteronomy 22:28–29, ESV
Assuming you recognize this as “God’s Law” (as Jesus supposedly did & professed “Bible-believers” should), there are a number of important thoughts to take away from that text.
God rewards rapists. Or more accurately, the patriarchal society responsible for the Old Testament rewards rapists. In Israel under the Old Testament, if you were a man looking for a wife, you could go through the trouble of wooing an available woman, or you could simply find a virgin, seize her, and have sex with her someplace where you’re sure to get caught. You’ll be required to marry the lass and to stay with her the rest of your life. Oh, you’ll also have to pay her father some silver, but depending on the length of time you would have otherwise had to date the woman, you may actually be saving money!
A woman’s dignity is cheap. A rapist must pay a woman’s father fifty shekels silver, should they be caught in the act. Fifty shekels. If you’re uncertain how much that is, you may imagine it is a substantial amount. Fifty shekels of silver, however, is comparable in mass to one and a half cans of pop.
I’ll admit, fifty shekels silver is worth more than fifty shekels of mostly pop. However, that value works out to just a few hundred dollars.
A woman, then, trades her dignity for about as much as a wedding band costs. (There are jokes in there somewhere, i’m sure, but i’ll leave those to you.) And then, of course, she has to marry her rapist.
Rape isn’t a crime. If you were following along in the text above closely enough, you may have noticed that the “punishment” of paying a brick of silver & marrying the victim was only instituted if the rapist was caught in the act.
Raping a virgin & not getting caught? Apparently that wasn’t worth punishment according to God (it is “God’s law,” after all). If you point out verses 23–27, then make sure you notice those verses refer to a betrothed woman falling victim to rape.
The rapist is punished in those instances not for raping a woman, but for “violating his neighbor’s wife” (ESV), which of course is tied to the Old Testament’s insistence that women are on the same level as property (famously illustrated by the Tenth Commandment).
These details are important, so important that every critic of the Bible ought to be shouting them out to all who will listen, particularly among Christian women. They deserve to know what sort of misogynistic being they worship.
If, perhaps, any of those women are victims of rape themselves, ask them how they feel about their attacker. Ask them if they married him. If not, ask them why. Ask them why God’s revealed morality was not good enough for their situation when he, “loving” father that he is, imposed it upon his chosen nation.
When confronted with the unrelenting misogyny of God, it’s no wonder that the apostles, when opening up their religion to other nations, depicted a more humble, loving object of worship, namely Jesus Christ. (That isn’t to say that there aren’t wretchedly violent or misogynistic details to be found in the New Testament…)