A Satanic psychology professor has sparked anger among Christians by accusing their god of sexual assault against the Virgin Mary.
"The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen," Minnesota State University associate professor of clinical psychology and sexuality studies Eric Sprankle wrote on Twitter last week.
"There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays."
The tweet sparked more than 1600 responses, many of them negative.
"The intellectual equivalent of running into a room, screaming gibberish, and running out of it before anyone rebuts it," one said.
Another quoted the King James version of the Bible: "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word," claiming that was proof Jesus' conception was consensual.
"Eric, the entire story involves Mary's consent, and would not have happened without it," said another. "The amazing part of the story is God's request for her consent."
Assoc Prof Sprankle said that was no defence.
"The biblical god regularly punished disobedience. The power difference (deity vs mortal) and the potential for violence for saying 'no' negates her 'yes'," he explained.
"To put someone in this position is an unethical abuse of power at best and grossly predatory at worst."
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Assoc Prof Sprankle found the Daily Mail's coverage of his tweets amusing.
"In case anyone was confusing me with @marilynmanson, the Daily Mail felt it was necessary to specify I'm the 'apparent Satanist' sitting on the right," he tweeted, providing a screenshot of the Mail's coverage - including a photo of him sitting with musician Marilyn Manson, and a caption telling readers who was who.
Contrary to popular belief, most Satanists don't believe in an actual devil - the Church of Satan's actual position on deities is atheism.