Richard Mourdock Gets in Trouble for His Extremely Conventional Religious Beliefs

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Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a darling of the tea party who’s now running for the Senate, is in hot water:

Defending his stance that abortion should be illegal even in the case of rape, Mourdock explained that pregnancy resulting from nonconsensual sex is the will of God. “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock is getting beat up pretty bad for this, and I think that’s just fine. At the same time, can’t we all acknowledge that this is just conventional Christian theology? Theodicy is the study of why an omnipotent God permits the existence of evil, and while the term is of fairly recent vintage, Christians and Jews have struggled with the question itself pretty much since the time they decided God was omnipotent. See Job, Book of, for more. Or, if you want to check out something that was more likely to influence Mourdock directly, take a look at the recent mega-bestseller The Shack, which engages with almost precisely the question that Mourdock has struggled with.

What I find occasionally odd is that so many conventional bits of theology like this are so controversial if someone actually mentions them in public. God permits evil. My faith is the only true one. People of other faiths are doomed to spend eternity in Hell. Etc. There’s a lot of stuff like this which is either explicit or implied in sects of all kinds, and at an abstract level we all know it. Somehow, though, when someone actually says it, it’s like they farted in church. Weird.

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