The Republican candidate for the US senate in Indiana Richard Mourdock has created a furor by saying in a debate with his Democratic opponent that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
As you can imagine, that did not go over well, with other Republicans distancing themselves from him. In a later interview, Mourdock tried to explain what he meant.
“I believe God controls the universe,” Mourdoch told reporters, who asked if he thought pregnancies resulting from rape were God’s plan. “I don’t believe biology works in an uncontrolled fashion.”
Actually, this is just a new example of an old and insoluble problem for religious people: that of theodicy or how a good god can allow evil things to happen. As Epicurus (341-271 BCE) said:
Is god willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is god both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?
Abandon the idea of goodness and what Mourdock says is a perfectly consistent position for anyone who believes in an all-powerful and all-knowing god. With such a god, anything that happens must be because their god wanted it to happen and it does not matter if it is rape, genocide, murder, or any other appalling thing.
Mourdock has nothing to explain. His barbaric views are perfectly consistent. The people who really need to explain their position are those who believe in an omnipotent and omniscient god and yet disagree with Mourdock’s conclusions.