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Stress-testing the
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Where a recovering ex-atheist rams the Bible into other worldviews to see what breaks (note: Scripture cannot be broken)


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A bit of proof that men are not basically good

A simple demonstration, through the use of some eye-opening studies on rape, that Christianity is correct to claim that men are inherently evil.

Yesterday I had a bit of a dispute with a couple of non-Christian friends. They didn’t believe me when I told them I’d read somewhere that one in four men admit they’d rape a woman if they could be assured of getting away with it. One of my friends, in fact, went so far as to express his disgust at my credulity, accusing me of being the kind of person who “just wants to believe” ridiculous figures like this. He thinks the fact that I believe man to be inherently evil is cynical, and a good example of why Christianity is not to be taken seriously.

Anyway, I did some digging online today, and—at the risk of buying into a leftist spin on this issue—I discovered that I was wrong about how many men would commit rape if there were no consequences.

It’s not one in four men. It’s one in two. Here’s what I found:

In a study at UCLA, an account of rape was read to male subjects (without the word “rape” included). 53% said there was some likelihood that they would behave in the same fashion as the man described in the story—if they could be sure of getting away with it. (Without this assurance, only 17% said they might emulate the rapist’s behavior.)

In another study, 356 men were asked: “If you could be assured that no one would know and that you could in no way be punished for engaging in the following acts, how likely, if at all, would you be to commit such acts?” Among the sexual acts listed were “forcing a female to do something she really didn’t want to do” and “rape”. 60% of the sample indicated that under the right circumstances, there was some likelihood that they would rape, use force, or do both.

Other interesting facts:

These figures are comparable to another finding that 44% of a sample of 930 adult women reported having been the victim of one or more rapes or attempted rapes over the course of their lives. This is all from a book published in the eighties called Pornography as a Cause of Rape, by Diana Russell, PhD. It draws on several prior studies in the US and Canada. You can read the whole thing online in a format that will make your eyes bleed. But there are more recent statistics from One in Four USA:

In summary, I realize that this is hardly a robust defense of the doctrine of total depravity. However, it lends a great deal of credence—in a straightforwardly shocking way—to the Christian claim that men are sinners by nature; that the desires of their hearts are inclined toward evil continually, and that only the grace of God restrains them from gross wickedness (in this life). I’ll get around to proving the same about women some other time.

6 comments

  1. steve hays

    Good to see you reenter the blogosphere. The cumulative IQ of the blogosphere suddenly spiked with your renewed presence. Of course, that will result in a drastic demotion for the rest of us in the electronic meritocracy, but all good things have their tradeoffs.

  2. R. Rao

    Shocking! Is the UCLA study coming out of the Russell book also?

  3. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    It’s cited in the book, but all of these studies were conducted independently.

  4. Emerson Campos Pinheiro

    Hey Domic, and part 3,4,5,6 of serie “free-will”?

  5. Dominic Bnonn Tennant

    Heh, I haven’t forgotten it Emerson. I’ll get there when I can!

  6. Emerson Campos Pinheiro

    Hey, Dominic,

    I have translated his texts into Portuguese of Brazil. My blog mortoporamor.blogspot.com

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