Debate Guide: Religious arguments

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Better A Millstone was also the name of a "pedo hunter" website founded by the late Mike Echols.

In modern western society, religion-based arguments are not considered effective when discussing the morality of a particular subject. Still, they are used in some circumstances and cultures, so it may be worth refuting any erroneous arguments on the supposed immorality of pedophilia, minor attractions, adult-child relationships - and by extension even adult-minor relationships well beyond adulthood/marriageable age for biblical times.

Typical argument and rebuttals

Religious anti-MAPs, namely anti-MAP Christians, tend to present a distorted narrative using misconstrued or misunderstood verses from the Bible to justify the view that Christianity condemns pedophilia in particular, or at the very least adult-child relationships or the act of sex between a child and an adult.

This is false, and should be refuted because the narrative is used to justify specific contemporary views on pedophilia associated with modern Western culture. These arguments present a distorted view of history, and a book written two millennia ago, with parts that are much older. This is ahistorical and revisionist, assuming widely held views were the same back then, and by implication throughout known history.

In short, there are no verses in the Bible specifically against pedophilia. The most popularly (mis)quoted verse by anti-MAPs is the following:

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
Matthew 18:6

This passage, if it even refers to children ("little ones"), rather than believers in general as sources would interpret,[1] refers to making them sin (for example, harming or deceiving others), in general, sometimes translated as "to stumble", i.e. making them stray from faith in God.

While there are many verses in the Bible condemning of fornication (sex outside of marriage) which as such could be considered a sin, this argument alone definitely does not cut it as an anti-MAP/anti-pedophilia argument, considering child marriage historically being commonplace, and certainly would not work as an argument against the mere attraction.

This works as a general refutation of anti-MAP interpretations such verses, and any further examples will be added at a later date.

There are also several verses in the Bible that seem to approve of adult-child marriage:

Judaeo-Christian legal and scriptural takes on younger-older relations (expands). Dark excerpts likely from Florence Rush[2]
Some behaviors permitted in Islamic Youth-Adult Marriages[3]

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites ... And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males ... And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones ... And Moses was wroth with the officers ... And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? ... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Numbers 31:1-18

When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it ... And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself.
Deuteronomy 20:10-14

How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives? ... And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children. And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh.
Judges 21:7-11

Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh ... And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught.
Judges 21:20-23

But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.
1 Corinthians 7:36

Some scholars also argue that Isaac married his wife when she was ten (Genesis 24:12-20, Numbers 31:18). The bible also directly opposes hate as sinful (Matthew 5:44-48, Luke 6:27-35, Luke 6:37), and therefore one must assume, the witch-hunt on "pedophiles" exemplified by obscene and demonic imagery in media and literary representations since at least the 1970s (e.g. David Sonenschein - Pedophiles on Parade, vol.1). Bringing harm unto children is also sinful (1st John 3:11, 3:18, 3:23), meaning that sociogenic harm (invasion of privacy, criminal processing and social shaming of children) is thusly condemned.