Liberal Grace

Friday, October 27, 2006

Is it the weak will or the strong temptation that's to blame?

This different view of temptation was one of the first things that struck me when I moved to a Muslim-majority culture.

Australian Muslim cleric blames women for rape
Australia's most senior Muslim cleric has been forced to apologize after provoking widespread outrage with a speech in which he appeared to blame women for rape, comparing them with "uncovered meat" that attracts animals.
The Egyptian-born Sheik also appeared to refer to a series of notorious gang rapes in Sydney by a group of Lebanese Muslim men who received long prison sentences. He said there were women who "sway suggestively", and wore make-up and immodest dress, "and then you get a judge without mercy [who] gives you 65 years... but the problem all began with who?"
In my western protestant tradition, we tend to blame the tempted, not the tempter for sin. This tends to be especially true for those of us from the highly pious wings of the church.

Even if a man waves a $100 around in public, I should be strong enough not to snatch it. Even if nude woman wants to have sex with me, I should be strong enough to say no to fornication or adultery. Even if someone hands me some drugs, I should be strong enough not to snort it.

I was raised so steeped in this moral framework that it was quite a revelation to meet people who put the blame on the temptation, not on their own moral weakness of the easily tempted.

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