Photo: "The Victory of Joshua over the Amalekites" by Nicolas Poussin (c. 1624) / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Did God command genocide in the Bible?

Photo: "The Victory of Joshua over the Amalekites" by Nicolas Poussin (c. 1624) / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo: "The Victory of Joshua over the Amalekites" by Nicolas Poussin (c. 1624) / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wondered why there are no Amalekites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites today? If you believe the Biblical accounts of history in the Old Testament are accurate, it may be because God commanded the Israelites to slaughter those people groups--men, women, children, infants, and animals.

Can you imagine someone ripping a newborn baby from its mother's breast and severing its head from it's body? The Bible seems to say that God once commanded such actions. How do we reconcile those passages with a belief that God is unconditionally loving to all human beings? Such passages are among the least discussed and most ethically problematic in the Bible, but they cannot be ignored just because we don't like what they say.

Paul Copan and Matthew Flannagan have sought to address the existence of these passages with the idea of a loving God in their book, Did God Really Command Genocide? Coming to Terms With the Justice of God, and here we discuss their views on the matter. Take a look and decide for yourself what you believe about these scandalous Scripture passages.

RNS: Paul, there are some really horrible scripture passages in the Bible--especially the Old Testament. What is the worst or most difficult?

Paul Copan (PC): Definitely making the list are questions related to “slavery” or servitude, God’s seeming harshness in judgments and punishments, and God’s command to sacrifice Isaac. But perhaps the most troubling question from the Old Testament is God’s command to kill and drive out the Canaanites and perhaps even innocent ones—and there are similar commands concerning the Midianites and Amalekites as well. Some have suggested that this is a command to commit genocide, although we dispute this in our book and attempt to bring clarity to this and related questions.

Image courtesy of Baker Books

Image courtesy of Baker Books


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

RNS: In these passages, the text says God told them the Israelites to slaughter children, women, even animals. How do we even begin to process this? 

PC: We must first understand that the Canaanites engaged in acts that would be considered criminal in any civilized society--incest, infant sacrifice, ritual prostitution, bestiality. Also, God waited over 400 years for Canaan to hit moral rock-bottom before commanding they be driven out (Gen. 15:16). In addition, things are less straightforward than what first appears. Tensions exist within the biblical text itself:

First, the Israelites were commanded to “drive out” or “dispossess” the Canaanites, but this assumes Canaanites would be alive—not killed—if driven out. Second, the “utterly destroy” or “leave alive nothing that breathes” language is hyperbolic in Scripture’s war texts as in other ancient Near Eastern war texts. It typically stands alongside mention of many survivors—like when sports teams use the language of “totally slaughtering” their opponents. The land has “rest from war” (Joshua 21:44), yet Joshua says nations still remain in Israel’s midst (23:12); Judges 1-2 regularly repeats “they could not drive them out.”  The book addresses more of these nuances.

RNS: Matt, you write, “In the Bible, God appropriates the writing of a human being with the writer’s own personality, character, and writing style.” Does this change the way we might read passages where God seemingly commands violence?

Matthew Flannagan (MF): Those passages occur in the context of a historical narrative. We are reading history, not as a 21st century writer would write it, but history written by the literary conventions, style of narration and level of precision used by an the ancient Near Eastern writer. We, therefore, need to ask how phrases such as “they completely destroyed everyone in it" or “he left no survivors" or “not sparing anyone who breathed” or “until they exterminated them” functioned in this sort of literature. It is not always as one might assume.

RNS: You also talk about "hagiographic hyperbole." What is this and why does it matter?

MF: Hagiographic hyperbole is a term used by philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff to describe the kind of historical writing you see in the book of Joshua. The basic idea is that the accounts of Israel’s early battles in Canaan are narrated in a particular style, which is not intended to be literal in all of its details and contains a lot of hyperbole, formulaic language and literary expressions for rhetorical effect. We argue in our book that the evidence both from within the Bible and from other ancient Near Eastern conquest accounts supports this conclusion.

When biblical authors use phrases such as “They totally destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed” (Josh 11:11), which are later followed by passages that presuppose that the same areas are still inhabited by the same peoples, they cannot be affirming that literally every man, woman and child was killed at God’s command. It is a mistake to take them as affirming that Israel literally engaged in complete annihilation at God’s command. They are exaggerating for rhetorical effect.

RNS: An entire section of the book addresses the question, “Is it always wrong to kill innocent people?" Well, is it, Paul?

PC: Let’s draw some distinctions. There are (a) absolute duties to love God and avoid idolatry, (b) general duties that, all things being equal, ought to be obeyed such as “don’t deceive" and "don’t kill,” and (c) unusual cases of supreme emergency, in which some general duties may be overridden. For example, to save innocent human life from would-be killers, deception would be morally permissible (cp. Ex. 1:15-21; 1 Sam. 16:1-2).

Likewise, God issues a unique command to drive out a wicked people; if they stay behind—despite the obvious divine public signs and wonders--Red Sea crossing, pillar and fire cloud, manna—they make themselves vulnerable to Israelite attack. God didn’t command something intrinsically evil, though difficult, it was morally justifiable; God had good reason for issuing this command.

RNS: Matt, people often point out that God is both loving and just. I agree, but commanding the slaughter of children, innocents, and animals by other sinners, is neither in my book. What am I missing?

MF: There are two claims. First, a loving and just person would absolutely never endorse killing innocents no matter what the circumstances. Second, a loving and just person would endorse a strong presumption against such actions but could, in principle, support them in rare circumstances if there is some greater good that overrides this presumption.

The existence of cases such as those where a woman in childbirth will die unless her child’s head is crushed, both conjoined twins will die unless one is deprived of access to a vital organ, on a crowded life-boat one has to decide which people to push over, or on a plane doomed to crash who gets a parachute and who does not, suggest that the second claim and not first that is true. This means that while a loving and just God does endorse a general rule against killing the innocent, he could allow exceptions to it in rare, unusual occasions.

Comments

  1. More weasily stuff claiming that the bible doesn’t say what it so clearly says, and that it must really mean something else whenever it is inconvenient.

    A god that commanded the deaths of the entire world population, except for the family of an old drunk, including the little babies who couldn’t have sinned even if they wanted to, is a god capable of telling others to do the same.

    A god who sends the angel of death to murder the first born sons of a people who don’t know who he is, when those first born sons had little if anything to do with any of the situations at hand, who hardens the heart of a leader in order to punish him and his people more, is not someone that I would look to for fairness.

    A god that loves you so much that if you don’t get the messaqe of how much he loves you, you will burn in hell forever as a demonstration of his love, is not a god I would go to for moral advice.

  2. “As messes go, Copan’s book (his previous work “s God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God.”) is certainly a doozie. An apologist par excellence, Copan pulls out all the stops to argue that God as pictured in the Old Testament is not in conflict with the God most Christians worship as the foundation of absolute morality. With Copan’s guide in hand, you’ll be more than equipped to do battle with non-inerrantists and other atheists who raise objections about the morality of the Old Testament:
    Q: Why did God tell the Israelites to slaughter people groups wholesale?

    A: He didn’t! Unless He did, or commanded something marginally less unconscionable, in which case it was unfortunate but necessary.

    Q: Wasn’t Torah misogynistic, responsible for the institutionalization of slavery, and the product of benighted ethnocentrism?
    A: Au contraire, the laws of Torah were wonderfully enlightened! Except when they weren’t, in which case they were the best thing going at the time.

    And much, much more!
    http://undeception.com/paul-copan-and-the-epic-fail-known-as-apologetics/

    From the article:

    “God issues a unique command to drive out a wicked people; if they stay behind—despite the obvious divine public signs and wonders–Red Sea crossing, pillar and fire cloud, manna—they make themselves vulnerable to Israelite attack.”

    And therein lies the slippery relativistic garbage that typifies the notions of morality stated by many Christians. Somehow being worthy of dignity and made in the image of God (the ever illusive “Imago Dei”) gives way to having divine pronouncements of being unworthy of life and fair game for genocide.

    Paul Copan has also given a great excuse for murderous jihadis. Using the same bible they consider all non-muslims to be idolatorous wicked people who are flouting God’s commandments. Therefore as a wicked people who remain after divine pronouncements and public signs, God/Allah has granted permission for them to be murdered en masse.

  3. One perspective that seems to be missing from the entire conversation:

    God is God. We are not.

    If (because of their depravity) God allows an ISIS terrorist or an abortionist to decapitate innocent children, then you really can’t get around the possibility that he might also allow the death of other innocents for far better reasons (for instance, to put an end once and for all to a culture that commits such atrocities on a daily basis).

    400 years is a long time indeed. I think perhaps only God could wait that long.

    I’m fascinated that (as the final paragraph in Mr. Merritt’s interview alludes), we excuse ourselves for having to make such horrific decisions, but then blame God (the very one who alone has the ultimate right to take life, because he alone gave it) if he (under the most dire circumstances imaginable) does the same.

  4. The answers of Copan and Flannagan, while far from satisfactory, are valuable and vital because they move (some of) us away from easy moralizing and into more rigorous and thoughtful engagement with the problematic texts.

    Those who despise the Bible for other — and often opposite — reasons won’t give these two the time of day, but most fair-minded people will. (On what I mean by “opposite,” more on that later in subsequent posts…..lots more…..this is going to be one lively set of discussions given the topic.)

    As to the crimes of the Canaanites and others, both the Biblical text and the two authors are quite shy about the issue, leaving it up to the imagination of the reader. Suffice to say, mass infant sacrifice wasn’t the end of it. Their “worship” services included such niceties as leading terrified children, usually captured in war, through gauntlets of torture at the hands of temple priests and temple prostitutes while audiences cheered lustily.

    In other words, the crimes of the Canaanites and neighboring cultures were the kinds that would outrage any person of conscience, no matter their beliefs or lack thereof. Even the most committed cultural relativist of today would have shrunk back in horror and revulsion. Canaanite religion was quite possibly the lowest that humanity had ever sunk. It was utterly grotesque and horrific.

    Obviously, on a scale of 1 to 100, if 100 means resolving the seeming moral dilemma of God’s commands, if 1 means no resolution and 100 means total resolution, such explanations — by providing context we didn’t previously have — take us far up the ladder, but still not near 100.

    From the perspective of a believer in God, we are in the position of a child who understands some but not all of what their parents are doing. A child whose parents have shown love to him or her will naturally trust the parents in areas that seem puzzling….a child who doesn’t trust his parents to begin with will not.

  5. There is one scene in the Bible which alludes to the depravity of the culture and religion of the area. When the Philistines capture Samson, an Israelite, they drag him into one of their temples, blind him, put him in a cage, and force him to “perform” in front of them. The original Hebrew makes it clear we’re not talking about magical tricks for the kiddies.

  6. At some point, the attacks on the morality of the God of the Bible lead to the despicable sentiment that “Jews suck,” since it wasn’t aliens from Pluto, but the ancestors of the Jewish people, who wrote this down — and the reason there are Jews in the world today is that Jews through the centuries and millennia have kept their identity and existence intact precisely by believing in the Torah which includes the controversial passages.

    In other words, the attacks on the God of the Bible at some point become inseparable from attacks on the Jews who, if you don’t believe in God, are the sole, unassisted authors of the Bible.

    More….much more….on this later. We’re all just getting started….on both sides.

  7. Someone once said that on 9/11, America’s enemies didn’t attack the nation for the evil it allegedly committed, but for the good it actually did.

    The same is true of those who attack the God of the Bible. The God of Scripture is not attacked because His standards are too low, but because they’re too high. When you’re ripping off your neighbor on a house deal, the last thing in the world you want to hear is “you shall not steal.” When you cheat on your wife or husband, then divorce him or her and steal someone else’s spouse, the last thing you want to hear is “you shall not commit adultery.” When you’re covetous of the rich person down the block or rich people in general and cloak your covetousness in phony moral garb by saying you want to help the poor and needy, the last thing you want to hear is “you shall not covet.” When you love things and use people, and when you worship money or sex or power or your self above all else, the last thing you want to hear is “you shall have no other gods but Me.”

    To put it mildly, we humans are far from objective judges when it comes to confronting God. The opposite is the case. We have every reason in the world to go against Him, not because his standards are too low, but again, because they are too high. We want to do what we want, to whomever we want, whenever we want it, for purposes that we ourselves determine.

    That’s been much of the story of human history….even when civilization and progress happens, it ends up sliding back down again. Eventually, the most selfish and foolish people rise to the top, while the least selfish and most wise people fall from power or are killed. That is the story across the planet, across the millennia.

    And everybody thinks it’s not they, but the other person, who’s at fault.

  8. This promise of this article, that a/the God(s) directed the actions described in the Bible is as ridiculous it is ignorant. Perhaps there are Gods, and perhaps not, but they are certainly innocent of these charges!

  9. Jack,
    “The God of Scripture is not attacked because His standards are too low, but because they’re too high.”
    Socrates taught that principles were superior to the Gods. He claimed that God must be just, because if he is/were not, then he/it/she is a mere demon (and not worthy of respect).
    So I suppose with your logic the Jews were attacked by the Greeks! Funny how Socrates was so respected by Christians, that for Centuries, that his views guided much of Christian theology, and he was so revered, that it was commonplace for monks to pray that God admit him into heaven. The idea that men cannot judge God is also ridiculous.
    “..we humans are far from objective judges…” True Dat.
    But Judge we must anyway. To live is to make judgments. If you creator God is so loving.and fair, why are his creations so flawed?
    P.S. He made the devil too. The whole scheme is childish.

  10. Jack, quit it with trying to tar and feather people as anti-semites. You have no idea what you are talking about. Its especially galling and ridiculous coming from a wannabe Christian zionist being directed at someone who has a far closer connection to Judaism than you have.

    Your assertion is nonsense. Jewish scholars openly criticize the parts of the Torah concerning genocide. They openly criticize and debate the entire Torah. Its what they do. Its what they are expected to do. Your whole premise that criticizing the Bible is somehow an attack on Jews is crap. You know nothing about how Jews treat their own scripture.

    You are applying conservative inerrantist Christian insecurities to the situation. Any little deviation from their interpretations of the Bible sends them into a tizzy of “if this is not correct, then the entire faith is wrong!!!”

    Jews don’t try to sugar coat the nasty passages or make excuses for it like Copan has. Most importantly Jewish scholars acknowledge their religion as they know today is far far different than what is depicted in the Bible.

    Christians apologetics like Copan tend to look for easy answers and elaborate excuses rather than seek debate or straightforward discussion.

  11. “the crimes of the Canaanites and neighboring cultures were the kinds that would outrage any person of conscience, no matter their beliefs or lack thereof.”

    Sorry, but excuses for genocide do not wash. Not back then, not now, not ever.

    There are no transgressions which require an entire people to be wiped off the map as a form of collective punishment. The only thing worse than the act are the revisionist liars making excuses for such actions. Genocide deniers and people who make up stories to excuse genocide are the lowest form of humanity.

    If your God commands such acts, he is worthy of scorn and criticism to say the least. Especially if one expects him to give commands like that presently or in the near future. Modern Jews reconcile with it by saying that God is not like that anymore, neither are his adherents. Christian apologetics just engage in bad excuses, denial or when in doubt just say Jesus made it all better now.

    Your post is about setting a dangerously immoral precedent of setting a threshold where an entire people can be justified in being destroyed.

    In modern terms even the worst excesses of the Nazis and Communists could never be used as excuses to wipe out their entire populations to a man. Even their most ardent opponents never considered such things.
    Admiral Halsey’s remark of “Japanese will be only spoken in Hell” was a prideful boast not a credible threat.

  12. So Jack, what modern culture do you think are so depraved and transgressive that they would be worthy of genocide of the likes visited upon the Canaanites?

    Would you believe such acts could be considered moral in this day and age?

    Were they ever?

  13. How do we reconcile those passages with a belief that God is unconditionally loving to all human beings? –

    Since this is a false statement there is no need to. Until people get past the whole love is god problem they will never see a god who is more than a big marshmellow.

  14. Not all Christians would completely agree with this defense /explanation. For a response to Copan and a different view, see: http://www.therebelgod.com/2014/04/an-apologist-for-genocide-paul-copans.html?m=1. The works of both Peter Enns and Derek Flood provide an alternative understanding of the OT that doesn’t require justifying the horrible acts that takes place therein. It would be interesting to see an interview with those scholars as a counterpoint to this article.

  15. That was a good article in counterpoint to Copan’s views.

    “our [Christians] response should be one of listening and where appropriate repentance, not one of seeking to justify things that we would in any other context condemn as being profoundly immoral. This is where I think Christian Apologetics has lost its way. Rather than being about articulating the faith in a thoughtful way, it instead echoes our culture’s tendency to set up an us versus them situation where the result is to “win” the argument rather than the person.”

    One of the comments on the article gives the sanest answer to how one can maintain belief in God yet acknowledge such terrible acts at his command:

    “Gregory of Nyssa about this, contemplating the story of the killing of the Egyptian children during passover:

    “It does not seem good to me to pass tis interpretation without further contemplation. How would a concept worthy of God be preserved in the description of what happened if one only looked at history? The Egyptian [Pharaoh] acts unjusty, and in his place is punished the newborn child, who in his infancy cannot discern what is good and what is not…If such a one now pays the penalty of his father’s wickedness, where is justice? Where is piety? Where is holiness? Where is Ezekiel, who cries: ‘The man who sinned is the man who must die, and a son is not to suffer for the sins of his father”? How can the history so contradict reason?”

    His answer was to read this not as history but as “typologically,” or perhaps what we’d call “allegorical.”

    Biblical inerrency is the bane of Biblical scholarship and any attempt at sane belief.

  16. Death exists. If you are going to accuse God of being immoral (or defend Him against that charge), why not just begin and end with that?

    Also, it’s the question is kinda like an insect questioning a human about why that human’s actions do not appear “moral” to its (the insect’s) sensibilities.

  17. Oh of course –

    Because abuse of a prisoner justifies the murder of innocent civilians. Right. You yourself have proven how depraved the god of the Bibles is – and by example, how these Bibles destroy the morality of humans who fall for them.

  18. Depends on the cause of death.

    If it is at the hands of people who murdered others because they were acting in God’s name then you definitely blame God and the religious which inspired the murderers.

    “Also, it’s the question is kinda like an insect questioning a human about why that human’s actions do not appear “moral” to its (the insect’s) sensibilities.”

    And there you forgo all the pretenses of Christian faith. That God’s will and love is knowable to all those willing to listen and follow it. Way to shoot your religious belief in the foot.

  19. “Shoot yourself in the religious foot” Atheists are always the kindest people; its totally conceivable that if religious folks like me didn’t exist there would be universal peace between all. 🙂

    Regardless, I never said God’s will and love is knowable to all those who are willing to listen and follow it. That is NOT all (or any one) of the pretenses of the Christian faith. In fact, who can deny that God does not reveal Himself to everyone, but to only those He chooses? He certainly seems to be hiding from most RNS readers!

    It doesn’t matter how a person dies. God declared that death exists. All death, so to speak, can be laid at His feet.

  20. I can’t help it if your attempt to defend scripture accidentally undermined tenets of your faith.

    Your words were, “kinda like an insect questioning a human about why that human’s actions do not appear “moral” to its (the insect’s) sensibilities”.

    Does an insect understand the motivations of a human?
    Would an insect be expected to?
    Would a human really be knowable from the perspective of an insect?

    If God is so vastly greater than human conception, even in his morality, he is unknowable to us. One who is so far beyond humanity that we cannot truly know his will or actions. Thus violating claims as every Christian makes.

    Now that we have strayed off topic, Mr. Copan makes poor excuses for actions which defy excuses. All in the name of intellectually dishonest apologia and biblical inerrancy.

    Sane, non-fundamentalist, religious belief tends to undermine most anti-theist arguments. These “troublesome” scriptural passages are not such a big deal to believers who are willing to take things metaphorically or examine passages in a critical light. Those who chalk it up to bits which should be de-emphasized or ignored for the sake of modern living.

  21. Interesting point about how the narrative is in the context of the writer in that culture. Another example of how that affects the text is Psalm 137; the writer was speaking of his own desires, and they are similar to the way the writers expressed the historical narrative in Joshua.

  22. I take these “troublesome” passages at face value. I don’t try to re-make who God is to fit my preconceived idea of who He is. Trying to twist out difficult passages by saying they’re “metaphorical” (or any other trope methodology) is certainly not looking at them critically. Quite the opposite, I would say.

    Regarding your three “insect” questions. The answers are yes, yes, and no. An insect can see, feel, taste, and hear me. So I am not totally unknowable to an insect. But largely so. And primarily unknowable to the insect is my total perspective. So, to say God has not revealed His full reality and His working out of His unstoppable will is not the same thing as being totally “unknowable”. In fact, He has revealed much to us.

    You are confusing “not revealing everything” with “totally unknowable”. They are not the same thing.

    An insect has limited

  23. You try to make excuses for the passages and justify the actions of those depicted in them.

    “Face value” means taking scripture to an absurdly and unworkably literal degree. Such belief promotes the kind of intellectual wankery that Copan engaged in. Too busy trying to defend the faith that they make arguments which undermine it.

    Defending genocidal actions as moral destroys any notion of “God based morality” you can think of. It puts your belief on par with ISIS thuggery. Any notion of “dignity coming from being made in God’s image” goes down the drain. Rather than keep digging that hole, maybe drop the shovel and try something different.

    Like it or not, defending religiously inspired genocidal actions are not going to make your faith look reasonable or moral in any way. So you are left with a quandry. Either engage in denial or find a useful workaround. Sane non-fundamentalist belief uses a workaround. Not taking passages literally, not ascribing such actions as moral, maybe not even as divinely inspired.

    The problem is not Christian belief, its fundamentalist belief which does not provide a sane philosophical exit strategy to such a moral quicksand.

  24. Larry-
    You are mischaracterizing my point. I’m not defending the genocide, per se. If His goodness is (humanly speaking) questionable because of that, why not go to the root: question His goodness (I don’t) because of death in the first place.

  25. Larry have you actually read the book your responding to here or are you just dismissing it with pejorative rhetoric having never read it?

  26. Copan’s views in this interview and ones he has used in prior works give one sufficient information to make judgments on the subject. What he said here alone allows me to dismiss it as apologetic garbage. Maybe you should read what people are writing about him as well.:)

  27. “why not go to the root: question His goodness (I don’t) because of death in the first place. ”

    Because it is an extreme exaggeration of the arguments involved. Copan was defending genocide in a manner usually seen by the likes of David Irving or Republika Srpska. It was ridiculous. Jack was throwing even more gasoline on the fire by discussing some kind of mythical threshold where an entire people can be justifiably destroyed. (Which was Coplan’s argument)

    There are far better ways to deal with those Biblical passages and maintain belief. As I said before using these passages as justification for atheism doesn’t work unless you are talking to fundamentalists/Biblical literalists. People with a more reasonable take on scripture can come up with ways to deal with them. Ones which do not require either justifying or denying the genocide in those passages as Copan has done here and done in the past.

  28. “Copan’s views in this interview and ones he has used in prior works give one sufficient information to make judgments on the subject.”

    So if I dismiss everything Dawkins has said because of his abhorrent Down Syndrome tweets, that’s ok too?

  29. If you wish. Personally, I don’t take Dawkin’s views seriously unless the subject is Evolutionary biology. The guy is a klutz when it comes to giving his personal views in public.

  30. The arguments involved are deck chairs. My question addresses the gash in the hull.

    What you call a more reasonable take on scripture is, essentially, NOT taking it. Changing it. Make it say something different than what is on the page. Scripture can then be made to say anything.

  31. Scripture can always be made to say anything. That’s the problem with it.

    you’d think the creator of the entire universe would have an easier time of speaking clearly.

  32. You have a high opinion of yourself and your argument, but it is ultimately a hyperbole and an irrelevance.

    The existence of death in of itself is not evil or immoral. It is simply the inevitability of what lives. Amoral or transmoral so to speak.

    Death due to atrocity carries with it moral weight. It is intentionally causing the death and doing so for reasons which require some justification if it is not to be considered evil. Those giving and those following the orders to commit atrocity must answer for their actions.

  33. That’s it? Just 35 comments? I’d have guessed it would be more.

    Interesting.

  34. I’m afraid you cannot see the conceptual box you in which you seem to be trapped. Death is an atrocity.

  35. Sorry, Larry, but “at some point” (quoting myself) the two worlds collide — the world of hyper-criticism of the God of the Jews and the world of hatred of the Jews. There is absolutely no way around this….and logically and historically, we have seen the anti-Semitism that comes straight out of the view that the God of the Old Testament is a “vengeful God.” as contrasted with that of the New. Anyone who knows anything about the history of both European Christendom and European Jewry knows this only too well.

    As Solomon Schechter, a founding of the modern Conservative Jewish movement once wrote, “higher criticism is higher anti-Semitism.” He was referring to those saying the Old Testament was largely a myth, but how much closer to anti-Semitism is the literal bashing of the God of the Old Testament, whom the bashers believe was invented whole cloth by the Jews?

    Schechter was hardly a “Christian inerrantist.” He wasn’t even an Orthodox Jew, but a reformer. He was simply staring reality in the face and reporting what he saw — something you refuse to do when it won’t suit your views.

  36. Samuel, I’m not sure what your ultimate point is, but if I understand you correctly, we might a small measure of agreement regarding God and standards. A person who, for example, takes Calvinism to an absurd extreme might think that goodness is whatever God says it is and that’s that. He or she would say that murder, for instance, is wrong because God says it’s wrong.

    But most theists, Christians and non-Christians alike, would say two things: Yes, murder is wrong because God says it’s wrong, but God says it’s wrong because, in fact, it is wrong. God is the final authority, but God’s authority is inherently good and not evil. Put another way, His highest standards are not foreign to us…..our conscience, unless it becomes seared, recognizes them, agrees with them and welcomes them. We don’t need a Bible to know that murder or theft or betrayal is wrong.

    In that sense, the Bible confirms what we already know to be so. But more than that, it says that what we already know to be right is backed up by the most powerful being in the Universe. It invests what we know to be so with the power and authority of a being who made us and the universe and all that is or will be.

    And that is why so many people hate it….it convicts them, it troubles them, it puts a mirror up to them that reflects back their rebellion and selfishness, and it demands they repent from same.

    An honest atheist, along with an honest agnostic or theist, would have to admit as a simple psychological fact that because of the Bible’s stark and unflattering portrayal of the moral and ethical state of humanity, human beings have a vested interest in rejecting it.

    And Samuel, you know that as well as anyone does.

  37. Larry, I don’t know of any culture today that corresponds to that of ancient Canaanite culture.

    Maybe you can think of one.

  38. Jon, even you know we’re not talking about one prisoner. Before even a single Israelite who set foot in Canaan and its environs was abused by any of its inhabitants, the Bible portrays God as warning the Israelites about the singular horrors of that culture. It was in a class of its own, far worse than even Egypt from whence they came, after being freed from slavery there.

  39. Come off your silly faux-moral-indignation, Larry. It’s about as genuine as a dollar bill with your own face on it.

    I was simply narrowing the seemingly gargantuan gap between the belief that God is good and the reality of His commanding the deaths of the Canaanites. I wasn’t claiming to eliminate it. I made that as clear as a bell in one of my first posts here.

    My goal was to show that the gap was narrower than we think. The authors being interviewed for the above article narrowed the gap in terms of how sweeping God’s command actually was, and I narrowed the gap in terms of the extent of the depravity of the culture in question.

    In other words…….read before commenting. It will do you good. It’s one reason God gave you eyes.

  40. That’s the ultimate point, BP.

    If an infant’s understanding of loving parents is so obviously limited, how much more would our understanding be of the infinite Creator of all that is?

    The gap in understanding between parents and infants has to be miniscule compared to the gap between human beings of all ages and their Creator.

  41. The immediate issue is not “inerrant” vs. “flawed,” but literal vs. allegorical. I think you’re confusing one set of issues with another.

    The problem is that the troubling texts cannot be easily allegorized away. In terms of literary genre, they are written as straightforward, literal accounts of what God commanded and what happened. While there is ample room to ask whether “all” means “all,” or is a hyperbolic way of saying “lots,” that is not the same as saying the depictions are allegorical.

    If Gregory of Nyysa, however, is saying that what the OT represents as God’s commands are simply a way of the biblical writer’s looking back from the carnage and telling the reader that God is somehow sovereign over literally everything that happens on earth, that’s an interesting argument, but it still falls far short of the simple and common-sense, but morally troubling answer that the God of the Bible did command something extremely drastic against a depraved culture.

  42. A perhaps telling aside: When the Bible depicts God as commanding the complete destruction of the Canaanite culture and people, the detailed totality of the description — the text specifying even babies, even livestock, etc. — makes it clear to the reader that such a thing is normally wrong and horrifying. It shows that both the writer and God know for a fact that this is a total and complete departure from the norm.

    It should lead the perceptive reader not to say, “what a creep that God person is,” but “why then, and why those people, and why the seemingly complete departure from what God knows perfectly well is right and good?”

    Those are the logical questions to ask, ones that would naturally occur to an honest person reading the text.

    But an intellectually dishonest and biased person doesn’t ask such obvious questions. Instead, he says, “a ha! So much for your good God!”

  43. Put another way, if killing babies were the normal way of doing business on the part of the God of the Bible, the command to kill even babies would never have been specified….it would have been enough to have said, “kill all” without any specifying.

    So the moral question is not how the God of the Bible could be so evil, but how the God of the Bible who in countless other ways appears as good could have issued such seemingly evil commands.

    And again, the honest human response is to probe more deeply, because of the obvious incongruity.

  44. Why is death an atrocity in of itself? You are trying to define an argument purely by stipulation rather than making a coherent point.

    I am sure it worked as a canned argument by someone or makes sense in your head, but what you are putting on the page hardly constitutes a well thought out point.

  45. There is an obvious difference between saying we can’t know anything about someone and saying we can know some, not all, things about that person.

    Larry seems blind to such nuances in the same way that some people are color-blind.

  46. Wrong, Larry. I was not making an argument that justified the total destruction of a people. I am under no such illusions that I am capable of it.

    All I was doing is showing how the gap between good God and commanded destruction is more narrow than appears at first glance. There are missing pieces to the puzzle that neither I nor anyone else has. But not every piece is missing….we do have some pieces, and that’s the point of the article and of posts such as my own.

  47. Cute dodge, but I see you don’t really want to own up to your own statements.

    No culture ever meets the threshold of being genocide-worthy. The act is so far beyond the pale that it is never justified. Even if by divine command.

    How would you know if Canaanite culture was so much worse than any other culture you can think of? You only have the word of its destroyers to go on. Its as if Nazi Germany won WWII and was discussing the Jews.

    The idea that any culture can be considered so depraved that genocide is morally justifiable is atrocious. Its exactly the kind of moral relativism that religious belief demands. All acts, no matter how bad can be considered right and moral if God commands it. A philosophy at home with any number of anti-social fanatics these days.

  48. So you think genocide can be justified if God commands it. That there is somehow a threshold where it becomes acceptable behavior. That is a pretty immoral line of argument to take.

    So any act is “moral” if you are doing so in God’s name.

  49. Nothing faux about my indignation. I am not the one who claims there is a point where genocide can be justified. I am not the one who can justify crimes against humanity as divine will.

    You claimed there was a moral threshold to justify genocide. There is no way you can possibly declare your religious belief has any moral authority with such a statement. That is why the majority of Christians would probably avoid such a take on the subject.

    Sorry, but there can never be a culture so depraved that it justifies its destruction to the last person. The idea that there is such a threshold is a moral horror in of itself.

    “I was simply narrowing the seemingly gargantuan gap between the belief that God is good and the reality of His commanding the deaths of the Canaanites.”

    You were doing a lousy job of it.

    All at the expense of any sane moral belief. Copan’s take on doing so is by making ridiculous, dishonest and repugnant arguments. Instead of defensive apologia, a saner take on the subject would be an acknowledgment that such an act (and many depicted in the Bible) is at odds with modern life and troublesome.

  50. ” In terms of literary genre, they are written as straightforward, literal accounts of what God commanded and what happened. ”

    Not really. Again Biblical inerrancy getting in the way of sane scholarship and interpretation. Much of it can be seen as post-facto prideful boasting or winners revisionism of a conflict.

    “but morally troubling answer that the God of the Bible did command something extremely drastic against a depraved culture.”

    The answer which puts the God in the Bible in an immoral sense and undermines any moral authority its adherents have. If one does not allegorize it away or find some workaround from a literalist/inerrant take, it becomes a great argument to make AGAINST belief in such a god.

    You are not doing yourself any favors with this nonsense that the Canaanites were so much worse than any civilization on the planet that genocide would seem like a good idea.

  51. Jack, you were quite clear about a genocide threshold where a culture is so depraved God’s command to wipe it out can be justified.

    “Bible portrays God as warning the Israelites about the singular horrors of that culture. It was in a class of its own, far worse than even Egypt from whence they came, after being freed from slavery there.”

    “In other words, the crimes of the Canaanites and neighboring cultures were the kinds that would outrage any person of conscience, no matter their beliefs or lack thereof. Even the most committed cultural relativist of today would have shrunk back in horror and revulsion. Canaanite religion was quite possibly the lowest that humanity had ever sunk. It was utterly grotesque and horrific.”

    If the gap between a good God and one which commands genocide is more narrow than at first glance it is a far WORSE take on belief. It puts atrocity far closer to beneficence than one should be comfortable with.

  52. Jack,
    So many circular arguments, so little time.
    Killing another human is not necessarily immoral (war, execution, accident, duty). Murder (the unexcused killing of a human), is illegal. Murder can also be morally wrong as well.
    We can play this sort of word game as long as we wish. The simple fact is that
    law, morality, and social sanction are inexorably intertwined. Supernatural beings are not necessary, nor are they likely participants.
    Finally, God is like the tar baby- he don’t say nothing. Jews from long ago wrote, rewrote, and have agued about these matters through the Centuries (just read Job the most interesting booklet of the 67). “God” says the whole lot of the Job’s friends are wrong. Then he appears with the “you should have been there argument.”
    I for one am looking forward to the last Judgment. “At least then God will be forced to speak clearly”. Crackpots like Martin Luther get “inspired” in the toilet. Inspiration is neither reliable, nor limited to Christians. Something I wish folks like you would take seriously is: I have no wish to go to a Christian heaven and spend eternity with nut cases. I am neither immoral, lazy, or stupid, or at least no more than most. My father used to say that God must have loved fools, because he made so many. He was too optimistic. I am ready to meet any and all Gods at any time. I am even anxious to, but I am sick and tired of those who live on rumors and superstition and act as if they are entitled to have power over others. They claim to know all about the Gods, the truth, and the meaning of life. Like Mark Twain, I hope these old hypocrites get what they ask for, and have to sing the praises of God in a Celestial choir FOREVER! Me, I will be in the bar.

  53. A rough quote of Mr. Twain– I can’t quite remember the original.

    They will be praying and praying, singing and singing, praising and praising, and playing the harp for all eternity.

    And if that ain’t hell, I don’t know what is.

    There’s also one of my favorites, which I do remember:

    There you have it. Heaven for climate. Hell for society.

  54. Samuel, you sound like you just came from the bar. I hope you’re at home and not about to drive somewhere.

  55. Larry, it is no dodge at all. If you think it is, you’re not reading very attentively.

    Canaanite culture was horribly unique and there’s nothing in the world like it today. No culture comes close.

  56. Jack,
    As I say, you do not take me seriously enough when I say:
    1. I have no wish to go to Christian heaven.
    2. Your great desire is to run other peoples lives.
    (“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master”)

    FWIW: “Beer is proof that God loves up and wants us to be happy”
    You take yourself WAY to seriously.

  57. Larry, look at the history and current behavior of the Jewish people.

    Are they a people with a never-ending history of wiping out entire races in God’s name? The question answers itself. The supposedly worst we have about them is the conquest of Canaan. There is no ongoing Jewish impetus to conquer other nations or regions. Every subsequent war was at most a battle within the original boundaries laid out in Scripture.

    Surely that should make you step back and think for a moment.

    Both today and in ancient days, Jews were noted for having more, not less, respect for human life than other peoples. While other nations, including supposedly civilized ones like Rome, left unwanted infants out to die, Jews valued (and still value) the lives of children.

    Based on your logic, this should not be so. If the Bible is so awful, and the conquest of Canaan so typical, and so easy to repeat if done in God’s name, then why is it that the Jews — the same people who wrote the Bible and who conquered Canaan — have not repeated it?

    Why have they had such a distinctly different view of the value of life and civilization than nearly any other group, even, and especially, in ancient times?

    The answer may be found in the very Bible you’re attacking. While other nations (including the Canaanite nations) regularly engaged in human sacrifice, Jews mostly did not.

    Why was that, Larry?

    Look in the Bible, specifically the Torah.

    Nearly alone among books of that region, it barred human sacrifice. Eventually, they developed a culture where the practice became utterly unthinkable.

    You’re trying to divorce the Bible from the Jewish people — and that’s a laughably lost cause. You can’t speak of one without speaking about the other. They’re tied inextricably together….and so if you think the Bible and its God is so awful, you’re going to have to explain why you don’t think likewise about the people who are most clearly identified, not just with its writing, but with its values and mores. Its story is their story, all the way through. Talking intelligently about Jewish values aside from the Jewish God, Jewish law, and the Jewish Bible is flatly impossible.

    If this were real combat, you’d be flat on your back by now, but since it’s just intellectual discussion, you can ignore all of this if you wish and pretend you’re still on your feet…..

    But reality is reality….The story of the people of the Bible is a serious refutation of arguments attacking the morals of the God of the Bible. And the more you delve into it, the easier the refutation becomes. Ultimately, the only way out is to paint the Jews as a terrible people….and the name for that is anti-Semitism. It might as well be called belief in invisible monkeys…..it can be maintained only by ignoring the facts of history, from ancient to modern times.

  58. Wrong Larry. You have it exactly backwards. Objective historical and archeological evidence makes it abundantly clear, apart from what happened to them eventually, that the Canaanite peoples had sunk to a level of utter depravity, unlike anything we see in today’s world, for example.

    It is disingenuous to speak about the commands of the God of the Bible regarding the Canaanite peoples while blithely ignoring what the Canaanite peoples had become.

    It’s even more disingenuous to talk about the whole episode apart from the Jewish people, who, far from being noted for killing people because God told them so, have always been known for their respect for human life and for their prophets and poets who speak about a final end to war.

    It is the Jewish people who are unwitting proof that the conquest of Canaan was not some “let’s-go-kill-for-God” spree, but rather, an event that was atypical of both them and their God. And again the double proof is in (1) their subsequent history, one of respect for life and (2) the other commands of their God, including the absolute ban on human sacrifice and the demands that the poor and needy, widows and orphans be taken care of.

  59. I am simply looking at two pieces here — the commands of the God of the Bible and the behavior of the Canaanite peoples.

    The question is how big is the gap between the two….how hard is it to justify what God commanded.

    The authors interviewed in the article, focusing on the command of God, suggested that “all” may not mean “all” but “lots,” are suggesting that the gap is more narrow than we think because God may not have commanded literal genocide.

    I am focused on the behavior of the Canaanites, and suggeseting the gap is more narrow than we think because, based on historical and archeological evidence, they behaved far worse than most people would guess.

    Put the two observations together and what do you have?

    – a command that may not have been as total as we think

    – against a collection of peoples who behaved far worse than we would think.

    The result is a narrowing of what we thought to be an infinite gap between the command of God and the behavior of people.

    That is not justifying it. I still believe that with those two facts, the gap still exists. We need more info to say that this justifies it.

    But I trust that the God of the Bible is a good God who would not order something that is wrong, and my trust is enhanced by the above — by the narrowing of the gap between command and conduct.

    And my trust is further confirmed by my observation that the same God of the Bible, just as the conquest of Canaan was ahead of them, gave the Jews a law, a Torah, which distinguished them morally from all the peoples of the region…..eventually making them the one people which said no to human sacrifice, no to leaving infants out to die, no to the worst forms of mistreatment of other people, especially women, that characterized the ancient world.

    And my trust is also vindicated by the behavior of this same people through time — almost from the beginning. No people is perfect…..just as no one person is. But through time, the Jewish people in startling ways have been a light to the nations, as the Bible calls them. Their history is not stained with the blood of countless Canaan-like conquests. Rather, the Canaan conquest is the interesting exception to the rule…..And again, the exact same thing can be said of the God of the Jews.

    So that is why I believe that the God of the Bible and the Jews was and is just. I have enough data to satisfy me on that score. No, I don’t have every piece to the puzzle, but I have enough to figure out what it would look like if I did. And every bit of information we do have ends up narrowing, not widening the gap we’re discussing.

  60. “The existence of cases such as those where a woman in childbirth will die unless her child’s head is crushed, both conjoined twins will die unless one is deprived of access to a vital organ, on a crowded life-boat one has to decide which people to push over, or on a plane doomed to crash who gets a parachute and who does not, suggest that the second claim and not first that is true. This means that while a loving and just God does endorse a general rule against killing the innocent, he could allow exceptions to it in rare, unusual occasions.”

    Sounds like God is Pro-Choice.

  61. I think that in the modern era we individualize and privatize morality to such an extent that we fail to understand past historical events when morality is collectivized. That is, entire groups are judged, not just individuals. From a large picture point of view, the Canaanite issue tells us that whole societies can be judged, not just “individuals,” God judges not only individual “men” but also societies and nations. The Sodom and Gomorrah and the Canannite narravite tells us that an entire society can sink to such a level of reprobation that judgement befalls them. I think that is an important cautionary note for us to think about today in cozy hyper-individualized suburbia.

    The command of Duet 12:31, “Don’t sacrifice you children in the fire” was written about Canaanite child sacrifice. One non-biblical account I read said that the priests of Moleck beat drums so the screams of the burning children could not be heard……..

  62. “Canaanite culture was horribly unique and there’s nothing in the world like it today. No culture comes close.”

    …”And therefore its genocide was justifiable” is the rest of the argument you are trying to say. Meaning genocide can be excused if a culture is depraved enough.

    Again it begs the question of how could you possibly compare Canaanite culture to any other since your knowledge of them only comes from one extremely biased source?

    No, you are just trying to make a blanket declaration in order to find genocide an excusable act.

  63. “The supposedly worst we have about them is the conquest of Canaan.”

    Other than the genocide of the Jews, the Nazis were no different from any other aggressive imperialist nation. A really a great bunch of guys. /sarcasm

    “Are they a people with a never-ending history of wiping out entire races in God’s name? ”

    You seem to forget the effects of the Diaspora. In any event their more powerful “spiritual successors” have a never ending history of wiping out entire races in God’s name. It is the nature of monotheism entwined with political power.

    “then why is it that the Jews — the same people who wrote the Bible and who conquered Canaan — have not repeated it? ”

    The Diaspora. Again, it bares repeating that the Jews do not consider themselves the same people spiritually or culturally as the ancient Israelites. Times have changed for them and ideas about belief and the religion have changed with them. The Jews don’t excuse these passages or the horrific acts therein. They mitigate them by saying “we aren’t like them anymore”.

    You are also deliberately misstating my argument. I am not attacking the Bible. I am attacking an interpretation of it which is immoral and justifies atrocities. That is the problem with Biblical inerrancy and literalism. They think their take on the Bible is the only one out there.

    You like to speak for the Jewish people without any knowledge of them outside of the Bible. You really have no point of reference or even a modicum of education on the subject. You have no clue what Jewish values or what their interpretations of the Bible are. You have no idea how they approach the subject. You are merely tacking on your Christian fundamentalist viewpoint to a group being idolized but not in any way understood.

  64. Another whack by nasty Jack!

    Ad Hominem Jack is back with more personal attacks in 2015! Fling those insults, Jackie…so much for your new year resolutions.

  65. Another whack by nasty Jack!

    Ad Hominem Jack is back and more whacky, with more personal attacks in 2015! Fling those insults, nasty Christian Jackie…so much for your new year resolutions.

  66. Another whack by nasty Jack!

    Ad Hominem Jack is back with more personal attacks in 2015! Fling those insults, Ad Hominem Jackie

  67. Where in the story of Noah was he described as a drunk? He wasn’t. He was described as the only righteous man on earth.

    The Bible is not clear with regard to how God treats those who have not directly heard of his redemption story. It is possible that many or all of those babies who died in the flood and many of those firstborn children in Egypt went to be with him. As for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, the only explanation I have is what the Bible says. God did it so that his “wonders might be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”

    And yes, God does love us – more than we can imagine. The Bible describes him *as* love. But he is not *only* love. He is also justice and holiness and much more. Don’t take love out of context. He is love to the righteous, but he is anger toward the unloving and unrighteous.

    Besides, in the grand scheme of things, if God doesn’t exist, none of the things that you just described can even be called immoral, because there is no objective morality. It would just be your personal preference that makes those things sound so terrible. And if we’re saying that morality is whatever we want it to be, then why can’t God do what he wants to do? Who are we to tell another person that they’re evil – especially if that other person is God?

  68. I should have checked my first statement before I posted it. Sorry about that. B The Bible does describe an instance where he became drunk. Still, becoming drunk once does not make a person “a drunk”.

  69. If you’re going to insist that the bible says this or that, perhaps you should read it first.

    “The Bible is not clear with regard to how God treats those who have not directly heard of his redemption story.” If that’s true, then a lot of fundelibangelists are putting words into the mouth of god, because they claim otherwise. If it’s not true, then Peter lied. You might want to visit 2 Peter 2:1. If it’s not true, then Jesus lied. Matthew 12:31-32, John 14:6, and a host of other passages.

    “if God doesn’t exist, none of the things that you just described can even be called immoral, because there is no objective morality.” You don’t believe that yourself. sure there is. Start with this, old when Jesus first preached it: “Do as you would be done by.”

    If the only thing that keeps you from murder and rapine is heavenly surveillance, than I think I’ll just keep on the anonymous side of my keyboard, and avoid you.

  70. Claiming that I haven’t read the Bible is not useful for discussion. I’ll try to refrain from making claims without backing them up, but like I said, Noah was not described as a drunk.

    As for those who haven’t heard, you’re making inferences from texts and claiming they are saying something that they do not explicitly state. There are various thoughts on this, and even fundamentalists do not agree. Some say it’s a mystery, and others claim they know for sure. I haven’t looked into it enough to have a strong opinion either way, but I know there’s no simple answer. As for the texts, I don’t see how 2 Peter 2:1 relates much to this at all. To be clear, I am not talking about people who have heard the gospel and rejected it. And I’m also not saying that everyone who has not heard will be saved. I’m talking about people who have not heard, but yet recognize their need for a Savior. “Denying the sovereign Lord who bought them…” Denying involves hearing of him first, so it does not apply. And for Matthew 12:31-32, what exactly is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Jesus describes it as attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil. And I’ve heard it talked about as merely the sin that pushes you beyond the point of ever returning to God. I don’t see how either of those relate to those who have not heard. And as for John 14:6, I’ll quote C. S. Lewis: “We do know that no person can be saved except through Christ. We do not know that only those who know Him can be saved by Him.”

    Of course I don’t believe that morality is subjective, because I believe in God. I said if God doesn’t exist, then morality is subjective. It doesn’t matter how old a saying is or where it originated from. Without a moral code that exists outside of mere naturalistic processes, no one has any right to say that someone’s actions are good or evil. They’re just the result of molecules bumping into each other.

    Heavenly surveillance is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about objective morality. For it to be objective, there has to be some grand moral code that sets the rules of what is right and what is wrong. Without that, murder is no more evil than a tree falling down in a forest is evil. How can someone claim that one particular action is evil and another is not? Their feelings?

  71. Umm – what?
    I find it amazing how people can create strange, divergent notions about God while still drawing facts and ideas from the Bible.

    If you take some ideas presented by the Bible as true, you can’t go back and say that other ideas in the text are wrong. What template are you using to decide what to pick and choose as truth?

    You cite John’s gospel to make the claim that the Jews worshiped some other God rather than Yaweh. Certainly John would not have claimed that, as evidenced by everything else he said in his gospel. Why do you choose this portion of the text to back your claim and ignore the rest?

  72. Why do you choose to make things more complicated than they already are?

    Here’s a short article addressing some of your ideas: https://1peter315.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/the-raising-of-el-asar-us/

    I’ll admit, it didn’t provide a knock down case, but that’s probably because, as he says at the beginning, “the suggestion of equating the raising of Lazarus and the raising of Osiris is ludicrous.”

    You’re like a conspiracy theorist. Sure, there’s no way anyone could completely disprove any of your wild claims, but is it reasonable to think that John has all these allusions to these other ideas? I prefer to read it as it is.

  73. I have to resort to pleading with you now, as I can tell you are really deep into your ideas.

    What you are saying comes across as something they would be discussing in the movie National Treasure, or what some paranoid Americans have come up with regarding the Illuminati.

    So I beg of you, please consider what you’re saying. And then reconsider it. Think about how logical it seems in relation to how life works day to day. It is not as complicated as you make it out to be. You have come up with elaborate, complex theories explaining things in the Bible, when the generally accepted explanations form a much more coherent story.

    I wish I could try responding to some of your questions/claims, but your grammar makes it very difficult. I feel like you asked why are there no historical records of Jesus, Paul, or Peter doing things. There are historical records, some of which written by Josephus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus.

    I have no idea what got you into thinking the way that you are right now, but I pray you will abandon these ideas. Please don’t become like this man: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke

  74. Hi Peter,
    “God does love us – more than we can imagine”
    On what basis do you make such a judgment, Peter?
    Are you not just parroting what you have been told?
    Conditional love (love me or I wiliness you to hell) is a contradiction
    in terms, as is the notion of objective morality.
    If you will give up your desperate needs for long enough to actually THINK about what you have been told, you are likely to see that is does not correspond to your actual experience of living- it rather expresses desire for a different reality.

  75. The claim of God’s love is evidence-based. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The fact that we are all sinners is obvious to everyone who takes an objective look at his or her own life, and the lives of those around them. The Bible teaches that God is utterly holy, and in order to live as He created us to live we must be holy as well. And it is to make us holy that Christ suffered and died for our sins. “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10).

    In addition to the historical evidence (and the Bible is an historical record, just like any other only subjected to a much greater standard of rigor in its validation), for me there is personal evidence of His love for me. I woke up this morning with the peace of God, ruling in my heart, knowing that my sins are forgiven and my future is bright. Even though it’s raining in Seattle, I know that whatever the day ahead brings will be, for me and mine, “all things worked together for good” because of His love for us.

    His mercies are new every morning. You can walk through life with a sour face, attributing it all to chance and grumbling with anger at a God who supposedly isn’t there, or you can wake up each day with a smile on your face, knowing that each new sunrise brings a new opportunity to experience the rewards of a relationship with your Creator and to express His love to others. As I said earlier, God is both pro-choice and pro-life. He allows us to choose love, and life … or not.

  76. Hi Samuel,

    I have thought about this a lot. I’m not merely parroting things I’ve been told. There is certainly more thinking I can do, but there always will be.

    How is objective morality a contradiction in terms?
    And as far as conditional love is concerned, contradictions in terms are part of the God game. God is infinite in all his characteristics, so his love, justice, holiness, etc are all infinite. In order for this to be so, things may appear to be contradictory, but they’re really not. It’s not the most satisfying answer, but would you really expect an infinite being to make sense all the time?

  77. So your answer is that you havent read the argument. But because you dislike what one author said in previous works, and have read a short interview of a few hundred words, you can dismiss it without actually bothering to read it.

    As to being familar with what others say about Paul, I am actually more interested in whether people can actually offer arguments against what he and I actually wrote rather than just rant stuff off the top of there head which fails to engage our argument because they cant be bothered reading it before they say how terrible it is.

  78. Theological arguments are fun and simultaneously worthless. “God is god” is the ultimate expression of the lack of rationality to deist based religions. Any logical shortcomings are going to be basically dismissed basically with: “Because God says so, that’s why!” Therefore, no rational discussion is possible. Ultimately then, all deist religions become of equal stature except, of course, the one (or many) that actually have God behind them. Since man themselves are not qualified to make this determination, the only (logical) way to pick the proper deist religion is to throw a dart at a random set of selections and hope for the best. In theory, God himself should then make the dart land on the right selection.

    Or not.

    One of the arguments often made for the deist religions is that they help to make men into better people (assuming, of course, they don’t find passages in the Bible to justify acting badly), but even then, the religions themselves are apocalyptic and ultimately amoral. If the world is to end a fiery death, doing good in the world and building a better society becomes meaningless since it will all come down anyway and God will just fix things or wrap them up. One way to guarantee ones’ children will go to heaven is to kill them while they’re still young and innocent and occasionally, some nutcase gets this idea and puts it into action but no theologian says this won’t work. Suicide was banned by the Christian church after too many people engaged in it hoping to avoid sinning in the future and going to hell or dealing with the oppression of daily life.

  79. The Old Testament wasn`t written by God. God would never endorse the killing of innocent people. Thats not the Christian God. It was written in a specific time and place and it often uses literary genres. Its obvious that a God meant for a Elected People isn`t the same as a God for everyone, like the Christian God. Read the Book of Jonah to see a more mercifull, Christian-like vision of God, like we find at the New Testament.

  80. “God would never…”, incredible, to even begin to presume… I find such hubris staggering.

  81. I find ignorance of people who don`t even know when or how the Old Testament was written impressive. Thats what happen to fundamentalists. Those who believe in a monster-like God aren`t definetely Christians.

  82. the same christians that forced non christians into christianity are not monsters? lol anyone christian, jew, muslim are all part of monsters inc. all hate in their own way, all hate outsiders. a book that has been rewritten more times than any other book in the world to suit history or to fit the rewritten history is anything but good. Same goes for all the other so called holy books. Enjoy the bloodshed, it follows those religions one way or another. My grandmother used to tell us kids…..never get to comfortable pogroms and wars happen every 50 to 100 years. Man has religion to stop him from unity and is taught greed and hate to spoil their seed.

  83. Whenever you listen and fail to question what other self-preserving entity tells you, you are prone to being swindled.

  84. Hello everyone, I use to be a Christian, with Christian ideas and beliefs. But then, I started reading and analyzing, digging and reading, and reading, and more reading, into many versions of the bible. I have turned away, for as many would say, I have been (as many have been or will be) deceived, by these so called religious scholars. They do not want you to question, but rather accept on blind faith. Well, I am sorry, my belief (yes, my belief), the religious leaders have forced fed us so many words, that they are instructed to share, and that they should stay within the line of what they are told to inform of also. I see slavery, rape, pillaging, stealing, and killing, all in the bible. I can even say that I have read of genocide. I mean come on, is that a loving God, a justifiable God? I say no way. And then, there is the prayers for innocent children that does not help, they are killed, raped, even to this day. Where is the God, the Christian God,(Jesus) who is to protect the little ones. I don’t know and this thing where you cannot question these leaders, for they get angered or they call you heathen for not having blind faith. I am now an Atheist, and I live to respect others, along with their possessions. I do not infringe on others or push my beliefs. I am also still in search for more truth. The Jews have sold us on their beliefs and we accept it, blindly. I have stopped and backed off, and for once I truly feel free from all the clutter of others beliefs. As with the Muslims, no once agrees with them, but they are only following their beliefs, as with the crusades. Truthfully, I think we all need to rethink this religious scam, where in the leaders of the world say we little people should obey and follow, but they continue to steal and rape our people and lands.

  85. Concerning the painting of “The Victory of Joshua Over the Amalekites”. What is the red bird like object floating in the sky? like a flag that blew away or maybe something more??

  86. Ricky T…and anyone else seeking the truth please google Bless Yahowah Website. You will find all you seek and much more there. It’s Life Changing!!!
    I warn you though, it’s like nothing you will find anywhere else. There is only one source of the truth and only one God.
    Read An Introduction To God…and be prepared to have your mind blown.
    Regards, AJ 🙂

  87. Adam ate the apple. We have been trying to get back to perfect ever since.

  88. What a load of BS. The Old Testament goes to great pains to show that God COMMANDED the Israelites to commit bloody slaughter of innocents. This argument hides under a flimsy guise of academia what is a rather simple argument: the.bible doesn’t mean what it says. So, when the illiterate masses of Israelites heard the stories being read aloud, are we to understand that they were supposed to be evaluating the text as a literary work? Are we to believe that completely uneducated people living 2500 years ago, over 2000 years before the existence of any semblance of literary criticism were actually experts in evaluating these stories? No. The Bible intends the reader to believe that these things happened as described, anything else is just an attempt to excuse the many passages that paint God as a bloodthirsty monster incapable of mercy.

  89. Christians tying themselves in knots to distract from the obvious. “When the Bible says kill everything that breathes, it doesn’t really mean that”; “And anyway they were bad people”, “and anyway it was specific to a time and place”, “And anyway it was kind of justified – although we would never do it normally”. Sounds like the kind of excuses a Nazi might make.

  90. But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded, (that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the Lord your God). (Deuteronomy 20:16-18)

    This was the main reason for God’s sweeping judgment on the Canaanites. In fact, when the Israelites failed to carry out God’s command, they themselves were led into apostasy and finally into exile. It would have been better if these hopelessly apostate tribes could have been prevented from spreading their utter moral corruption to future generations. The immorality and cruelty of the Canaanite tribes has been fully confirmed by various artifacts and inscriptions found by archaeologists. (Regarding the children who would be too young to choose right or wrong or to understand about God, we can assume such were safe in virtue of the future redemptive work of Christ). (Study Bible)

  91. This was written around 500 BC. God never give such comandments. The concept of God changed during the Old Testament, from a vindictful to a merciful God, like we can see in the Book of Jonah. God isn`t a monster like creature nor He thinks like humans. We need to read and interpret the Old Testament from a historical point of view. Our God is Jesus`s God not the Old Testament wrong concept of God.

  92. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on (account of the wickedness of these nations), the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Deuteronomy 9:5)

    The Canaanite nations that had inhabited the land for many centuries were indeed paragons of wickedness, not only pagan idolaters, but practitioners of every form of sexual debauchery, as well as extreme cruelties, (even offering their own children in fiery sacrifices) to their demonic nature gods (Deuteronomy 12:31). God had given them many centuries in which to repent and turn back to God (Genesis 15:16), but they had only grown worse, and the only remedy was destruction before they could contaminate the world. (Study Bible)

  93. Here’s why you’re an immoral animal. You believe the difference between the Holocaust and the invasion of Canaan was that God ordered the slaughter in Canaan, therefore it is righteous by definition. In other words, believers can do the exact same thing that evil people do, as long as God commands it, and then it isn’t evil. In fact, in this situation, it would be evil NOT to kill everyone. So…I’m glad you’re not my next door neighbor, because you’re apparently one hallucination away from a spree killing. Maybe that’s what happened in that church shooting in Texas today.

  94. Why don’t you understand that God is the Creator and he can take life and he can give life plus if you think Canaan where so innocent do some research about them where they good people or bad people. Here is the link to understand in positive way also read people’s comment it will helpful to understand it’s up to you if you want to read —-> http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog/when-god-kills-the-innocent/ https://bible.org/question/how-could-loving-god-tell-israelites-kill-their-enemies-even-children. Also Texas church shooting has nothing to do with this. God does not command today’s believer to do that. Believers who are true believers in Lord Jesus Christ know his teaching to love everyone including enemies.

  95. If you believe the Bible, then this is what you believe. At God’s order, Israelite soldiers fought the defenders of a town they were invading and killed them all. When all the soldiers were killed, they went into the city. They killed every senior citizen, every mentally disabled person, every child, every toddler, every infant, every newborn baby, every pregnant woman, every cripple. They slaughtered unarmed civilians at God’s order.

    You are defending this action as righteous. I would think that stabbing an unarmed pregnant woman or slitting the throat of a little girl would be high on the immoral list, but here you are defending it. Religion is a great way to get otherwise good people to do horrible things. You should feel shame for defending such actions. IF there was a God, and IF the things that are recorded in the Old Testament really happened (they didn’t), then God would be guilty of war crimes.

  96. Those children have souls they will be safe in his hands and children suffer because of parents sins plus those people where involve in all kinds of sins such as child sacrifice and other sins and God is not guilty of any crime he was protecting Israel from this type of sins when Israel failed to do that they learn same thing and fall into snare. I know it’s hard to understand but the way your thinking about those people it’s not what they where unless you do study and research about ancient middle east culture. The immorality and cruelty of the Canaanite tribes has been fully confirmed by various artifacts and inscriptions found by archaeologists.

  97. So, you’re saying that God was being nice to the children that he ordered to be slaughtered? I hope you don’t have kids.

  98. God is the creator he gives life and he can take life back again and those children have no hope in that culture their soul will be safe in his hands remember our material bodies can be destroyed but not our soul. I understand sometimes it’s difficult to understand like this but if we try to study and understand about those people in ancient middle east it will be helpful to understand that those children can also grow wicked learning all kinds of sins like those people. Here is the article to understand in positive way if you like to read you can —–> http://ap.lanexdev.com/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=2810

  99. You believe that whatever God does is good and righteous just because it’s God doing it. You’ll condemn people for, let’s say, aborting a three week old fetus, but you’ll give God a pass on genocide.

    You are immoral. How can you not see that? YOU JUST MADE AN ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF KILLING INNOCENT CHILDREN! If that isn’t evil, I don’t understand the meaning of the word.

  100. So, your position is either that: 1) the Old Testament is not true, and the genocides never happened, or 2) the Old Testament God is a different being from the New Testament God (which is belied on your reliance on passages from Jonah),

    Your concept of a Christian God is interesting, since the New Testament writers, whoever they were, based Christianity on the Old Testament. It is certain that the early church didn’t consider the God of the OT to be somehow different. They just considered that God could do whatever he wanted to do and it isn’t up to man to question. That’s the point. Here you are questioning the God of the Old Testament based on an extra-biblical concept of morality. If you rely on the Bible as a book of truth, you have to defend the slaughter of innocent non-combatants without mercy at God’s order. You cannot have it both ways. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the Bible are truth based on your own moral concepts.

  101. The Old Testament should not be taken literally. The concept of God evolved with time, and the God that appears in the Book oj Jonah, obviously an alegoric story is basically the same we find in the New Testament. People like Abraham, Moses, most stories of the Old Testament before 1000 BC have no historical evidence supporting them. We need to read the OT in a non literal way, understanding the time and people they were written. Those who follow these literalist interpretations, give reason to a monster like, not a merciful or loving God. You give reason to people like Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins. I`m horrified to your anti-Christian logic: “If you rely on the Bible as a book of truth, you have to defend the slaughter of innocent non-combatants without mercy at God’s order. ” This logic fits a ISIS supporter not a Christian.

  102. I am not in favor of killing innocent children please don’t get me wrong what I am trying to say is those children have souls their souls will be safe in him they are saved eternity with God instead of growing and learning all kinds of evil what their own people where doing on this earth. I understand this is difficult issue and God is the creator life and death is in his hands not ours. I am sorry sir if I misunderstood you plus bible also says that God hates who shed innocent blood.

  103. If God told you to kill an innocent child, would you do it?

  104. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son:the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Ezek.18:20-21.

    So if this passage actually means that only those who do the sins shall be punished for their own sins and not those of their fathers or sons, then didnt jehovah punish the children for the sins of their fathers when he told them to destroy the children, and everyone else?

  105. What does it say about Christian morality when you can’t give a straight answer to that question?

  106. I guess your schedule got too busy to type “yes” or “no”.

  107. Agreed. The twisted rationalization in this article is beyond belief. No rationale person can read that and feel the actions described in the Bible were reasonably justified. That such a justification can be offered as a serious argument makes me all the more convinced in the evil of religion.

  108. An interesting argument and what I recall as a child in that Jesus is basically a reformer.

    Jews argue, and they have a case, that God is eternal and even knowledgable of the future (after all, the New Testament book of Revelations illustrates that God is master of time as well as space). This undermines a lot of narratives including God’s wrath: If you knew that your kid was going to break the vase all along, would you get angry in the moment at him after having known all along it was going to happen?

    Jesus went to considerable trouble to fulfill prophesies of the Messiah such as riding a donkey into Jerusalem but, at the same time, Rabbis have many arguments that Christ broke God’s law as well as prophesies in other ways therefore implying that Jewish religion was invalid and, therefore, God had been mistaken.

    Think about that: Jesus was here to correct God’s mistakes.

  109. Yes just as illogical as issuing a commandment “Thou shalt not kill” but being unprepared to forgive unless that commandment is broken and your son is killed. If you believe in God, what an insult that is to him!

  110. Genocidal Christians and their piss poor excuses…..typical lying Christians
    .

  111. Well said Mark. I was also a Christian until I started to question and listen to people like Christopher Hitchens, and the Atheist Experience on You Tube. I have read all your responses and it is refreshing to see someone tackle the ignorance of those who are determined to be blind.
    I find it very hard to open the mind of someone close to me. But that is the fundamental problem….some people prefer to believe in a fantasy and I have to let them live in their dream.
    The outrageous comments made by Mr. Salman make me very angry but he is a typical example of IGNORANCE.

  112. It’s also refreshing to hear stories of former Christians being awakened by reason. Congratulations.

    In other news, Robby has a VERY busy schedule.

  113. Hi guys, I have been following your comments and as previous minister(now, no longer able to believe) in a fully bible punching church, lets look at the new testament and see what has changed. Lets not only look at John 3:16. Christians also like distancing themselves from the lineage of Christianity. Seemingly what was done in the past on the basis of god’s word and religion and Christianity cannot detract from what you believe today. That is just plain wrong. Look at the root and beginning of the Christian dogma and you will find the true basis for your belief system. Christians don’t believe in Evolution but it is their very foundation that has changed so much through the ages to such an extent that Christians today would have been stoned then for what they believe and allow today. Think of Ananias and his wife in the first church in Acts. We put a whole lot of interpretations into their minds and mouths to justify god’s actions. It was natural for them to want to keep some of their own money. May I remind you that it was their money and that they could give as much as they wanted to. So how do you really justify this murder (I call it that, because I have my own idea of what happened if it happened at all)? Be careful because your reply will showcase your callousness or empathy. If god and his word will never change, the church today ought to be a very dangerous place indeed, don’t you think?

  114. We’re talking about the God who, according to the bible, killed every man, woman and child on the planet save for 1 family when he flooded the world. And people are questioning whether he would order the death of a nation? All BS aside, yes, God, as portrayed by the bible, would give such an order.

  115. I’m a Christian and I believe God used the Big Bang and the process of variation and selection, or evolution, as a means of creating the universe and life. It’s a tough world out there. We have to struggle to survive. Big fish eat little fish. Christians are called–and shown by the example of Christ himself–to go beyond mere survival in some instances, even to the point of laying down our lives for others at an appropriate time, when called by God to do so.

  116. I’m not a Christian (apparently, so I am told by Christians, because I reject their doctrines like the Trinity as unbiblical) but I do believe the Bible is the Word of God. But I try to be intellectually honest and I have to agree with the non-theists in these comments that it looks like people who defend the Bible are trying to circumnavigate the issues of God ordering the slaying of men, women and children.

    My confidence in the Bible is such that I still believe that the Old Testament passages in question are the word of God, which creates a paradox in my mind that I have a hard time resolving. Based on my study of the Bible (which I have been conducting for a quarter of a century) I am convinced that living according to Bible principles would never lead anyone to commit crimes like genocide. Those who have done horrible things in the name of Christianity and twist the Bible to defend their actions, are worse than atheist killers like Stalin. My understanding of Bible principles is that I should be compassionate, generous, patient, loving, faithful and forgiving, and I get that from both the New *and* Old Testament. But the conundrum of passages like the ones in question remains.

    I don’t know how to resolve it in my mind. At present I am happy to view these passages in light of what various apologists have said, that they were commands for a particular time of war and in reference to peoples who had descended into the worst sort of inhumanity and evil. The Bible does say God gave them 400 years (and in the case of those at the time of the flood 120 years) and who knows how much effort went into bringing them to repentance? We just don’t know the full story. But we do have the context of the rest of Scripture which flies in the face of the idea that God is bloodthirsty and brutal; in fact he is a God far more merciful and patient than any of us.

    This is my honest assessment of the situation.

  117. Programmers have an old term ‘Garbage in,garbage out’ that seems to apply equally well to many situations including foremost, our spirituality. When shown a violent movie or immersed in playing an extremely violent videogame nearly all of us can make the distinction between fact and fantasy and even if things cross the line into real events such as some music or tv shows that seem to be glorifying violent events and attitudes most of us draw on our moral compass to guide our behavior, for example, a character in a videogame shoots another character no one puts the controller down and proceeds to get the high score IRL. BUT! There are a small amount of ppl who for various reasons why will be imprinted by their books,television,videogames,music etc to such a degree the line between entertainment, and real life are blurred and intermixed in such a way that the immersion in said stuff becomes an interaction and ppl exhibit behavior resulting directly from the material-it is like being programmed by the environment which we all are to a certain extent and there’s even music programs, television programs etc. The predisposed to being conditioned sometimes become mega-fans or geeks but even they do not wish to always act out every violent or antisocial scene but throw into their early childhood experience a family and peer education program that claims it’s authority from an ALMIGHTY,OMNISCIENT,OMNIPOTENT BEING(cue Thunderbolts)and there’s amazing impetus to fall in line especially when free thinkers are shunned&questions never clearly answered or discouraged. Instead of watching Friday the 13th as just a horror movie imagine hearing Jason was a prophet of God who was commanded to kill the heathen, sinning campers to cleanse their kind forevermore take their cabins&stuff for Jason’s family of identical Jason monsters do this and be blessed or deny me and be cursed so sayeth your LORD!!+$#&@ hope you get the point, that is a crucial example. Well, such are things in the Bible and if horror movies scare you the Bible should absolutely terrify any sane person, if the old testament was horror and politics combined for maximum effect on the conquerors to vanquish others the new testament is a drama and social commentary to encourage some cooperation between ppl who must be neighbors without killing each other. Are you still with me? There are Christian’s who say we all worship the same god, how do they know what that even means? I imagine spiritually we are all very small chips off an immensely large ancient block thereby sort of making us offspring in a way of a creator spirit that consists of ,well everything meaning that while our spirits housed in our body it’s spirit is the universe including all of us so in a way the universes consciousness is us and it’s recognizable in a small way in us but don’t get carried away, we are not THE GOD ALMIGHTY more like a sub routine of an unimaginably large program. Jews arguing God’s nature began thinking they could speak for God to in strange ways to fulfil personal position&power so there were no limits anymore whereas Jobs curse could be explained by nature and then this judaic version of God started ordering about destruction of things not pleasing to him by his shock troops of supremacists using a cruel final solution to destroy enemies when strong enough to and rule over or influence neighbors until strong enough to destroy

  118. Kind of reminds of someone, hmm. Not particularly enthused to follow any religion but at least Jesus seemed to warn us of a very dangerous practice being preached by these judahites against the world’s ppl and tried to unite a portion and teach them a doctrine of tolerance&acceptance-i didn’t get the impression he asks for or needed worship in any form since we can commune peaceably and meditate who needs an intercessor? Like supremacists of all stripes are universally despised for their pride&audacity so will ppl following old testament eventually always bring down hate upon himself among his neighbors eventually when they begin to feel ‘clowned ‘in their own towns&cities. It is their own doctrine used against themselves and it’s never right but when will mankind learn to toss it out so we can say no more of this racial religiogarbage? Doesn’t feel good when tables are turned. I hope ppl wake up from their personal brainwashing, it’s not easy I understand that but we must not destroy everyone for the appeasement of the few.

  119. This article is a disgrace to humanity. I have no idea that Christians can stoop this low to sacrifice their humanity for a barbaric ideology.

    Thank goodness I was raised in a Buddhist family.

  120. The absolute moral back-flips and pretzels people like Paul Copan will go through to justify the most despicable evils “for God” shows the horrific danger of religion.
    It can take good people who wouldn’t hurt a fly, and convince them that they must rape and slaughter babies to do good. Firstly their claim that very specific commands by God to slaughter everyone and specifically going out of it’s way to reiterate that he wants to make sure they also murder the babies is for “rhetorical effect” is very dubious.
    Especially when it includes stories of slaughtering whole Israelite families for not strictly adhering to the precise letter of the command regarding the slaughter (see Achan).
    But if it were true, what would the rhetorical effect be? That we must have a burning racist hatred in our hearts against those not of our “tribe”.
    That it is moral, just, and honorable to boast of murdering “their” babies. This is the best height of morality the authors can achieve even after all the pretzel logic they can apply. Yeah sound very much like a God of love.
    They also justify the genocide by claiming “God waited over 400 years” until those Canaanites were really bad, before he got around to ordering their mass murder. Well why not exterminate them through a natural disaster 400 years earlier when it was a couple small families and avoid all those 400 years of “evil”?
    Finally the authors invoke rare instances of moral dilemma such as a plane disaster in which only a few can be spared, to justify this horrific slaughter. This exposes how much they have contorted their souls, using a sleight of hand which they are fully aware they are pulling.
    They claim a God who is all powerful. And then they put a comparison with a human who cannot save the entire plane. But the second you give the human the power to save the whole plane (as their “God” can) the dilemma disintegrates, and any action besides saving the whole plane becomes immoral.
    So they are either total idiots (unlikely) or morally despicable (highly likely), in fact the most generous reading would be that they don’t believe a word they wrote but they did it to make money of of gullible Christians, making them mere scammers.
    Any other reading puts them on par with the worst mass murderers of history in the ethics department.
    It makes my blood boil to see an “intellectual” casually spend years working on a tome to justify infanticide and genocide all in the name of a “God of love”.

  121. Well it sounds to me like you are prepared to ignore the direct implications of the despicable parts of the bible because you are a good person. I’m happy that even though you cannot discard the idea that this book is “the word of God”, you at least won’t follow it’s evil parts. Here is what I commented further up in case you have some response for me:

    The absolute moral back-flips and pretzels people like Paul Copan will
    go through to justify the most despicable evils “for God” shows the
    horrific danger of religion.
    It can take good people who wouldn’t
    hurt a fly, and convince them that they must rape and slaughter babies
    to do good. Firstly their claim that very specific commands by God to
    slaughter everyone and specifically going out of it’s way to reiterate
    that he wants to make sure they also murder the babies is for
    “rhetorical effect” is very dubious.
    Especially when it includes
    stories of slaughtering whole Israelite families for not strictly
    adhering to the precise letter of the command regarding the slaughter
    (see Achan).
    But if it were true, what would the rhetorical effect
    be? That we must have a burning racist hatred in our hearts against
    those not of our “tribe”.
    That it is moral, just, and honorable to
    boast of murdering “their” babies. This is the best height of morality
    the authors can achieve even after all the pretzel logic they can apply.
    Yeah sound very much like a God of love.
    They also justify the
    genocide by claiming “God waited over 400 years” until those Canaanites
    were really bad, before he got around to ordering their mass murder.
    Well why not exterminate them through a natural disaster 400 years
    earlier when it was a couple small families and avoid all those 400
    years of “evil”?
    Finally the authors invoke rare instances of moral
    dilemma such as a plane disaster in which only a few can be spared, to
    justify this horrific slaughter. This exposes how much they have
    contorted their souls, using a sleight of hand which they are fully
    aware they are pulling.
    They claim a God who is all powerful. And
    then they put a comparison with a human who cannot save the entire
    plane. But the second you give the human the power to save the whole
    plane (as their “God” can) the dilemma disintegrates, and any action
    besides saving the whole plane becomes immoral.
    So they are either
    total idiots (unlikely) or morally despicable (highly likely), in fact
    the most generous reading would be that they don’t believe a word they
    wrote but they did it to make money of of gullible Christians, making
    them mere scammers.
    Any other reading puts them on par with the worst mass murderers of history in the ethics department.
    It
    makes my blood boil to see an “intellectual” casually spend years
    working on a tome to justify infanticide and genocide all in the name of
    a “God of love”.

  122. Please reread your comment which says in effect God was good to command genocide but we should love everyone including our enemies and not kill.
    Which is it?

  123. “Those people were evil they killed babies”.
    “God was good he ordered the Israelites to kill their babies”

    You really have a handle on morality their dude.

  124. You are in favor of killing babies, or you should say “anyone who commands the killing of babies is evil”. You can’t do that? Then you ARE IN FAVOR OF KILLING BABIES. It’s simple stuff.

  125. But Jesus quoted the old testament and claimed he believed it right?

  126. Yes the concept of God evolved over time. So you admit the concept is a human invention right?

  127. Is that not every genocidal person’s excuse, they deserved it, and it is not my fault innocents got killed, it is the fault of the people who committed acts I deem wrong. How many people have died because of this warped thinking. Pro-life my behind.

  128. I wonder if God said to kill every Nazi that breathes would you still judge God the way you do? Are you as upset with planned parenthood killing innocents every day?

  129. Listening to (or reading) Christian fundamentalists and biblical literalists tying themselves in knots to try and justify the vile and loathsome aspects of their god’s character and supposed actions/commands is hilarious… until you realise that these people claim to be educated thinkers and philosophers and that their ridiculous semantic contortions to try and deny that the bible means what it actually says are taken seriously by some deluded and confused people. The Christian bible is a product of its times and reflects the social mores and beliefs of the primitve and largely illiterate societies that produced it. So the authors of the OT thought it was ethical to slaughter people and take their land; to stone unruly children to death; to punish the victims of rape (with death) along with the rapist (except when they forced the girl to ‘marry’ her rapist instead); to own, inherit and buy or sell slaves; to take captive virgins (whose families they had slaughtered) as sex slaves; to kill witches; to murder homosexuals; to treat women and children as chattels… well the list is a long one but you get the picture. According to the gospels, JC reaffirmed the validity and authority of the old Mosaic laws, so the murderous barbarity was endorsed and rubber stamped by the great redeemer himself – so much for a New Covenant (which was only for Jews in any case). These were the norms in primitive tribal societies of the first millennia BC and thankfully some societies have developed more sophisticated and humane group ethics since then. However, this supposedly biblical version of morality is what was being imposed recently in ISIS controlled parts of the Middle East, showing that Islamic fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists actually have the same moral compass.

    It is understandable that primitive tribal societies might develop brutal and grotesquely violent and unjust traditions and laws. To see these ancient brutalities being justified and endorsed by supposely educated modern writers in the 21st century is yet another testament to the horrible damage that religious fundamentalism does to everybody; to those who hold to these revolting standards of morality and to the rest of us who have to live alongside them. This is not such a huge problem for us in the UK where most people are not practising Christians, and of those who are the vast majority reject fundamentalism. But it is a much more serious problem in the USA where Christian Evangelical fascists have allied themselves with opportunists and demogogues (like the atheist Donald Trump) and pledged their support in return for a weakening or overturning of the laws (especially the ‘Establishment Clause’ in the US Constitution) which prevents the imposition of religion by the state at any level.

    I don’t claim to be a paragon of virtue and I have my faults, but my own personal morality is immeasurably superior to that of anyone who accepts the morality propagated in the Bible. I know Christians and Muslime who are pleasant, sensible, kind and humane; and they hold these attributes because they do not base their moral compass on what is said in the Bible or the Koran.

  130. Let us relate this is our modern time. What would you do if the ISIS kid blast your head with a bullet gun? After begging the mercy from that kid, he is still determined to kill you because this ideology is being taught by their parent. And this incident will be happened to another victim until this barbaric belief past from generation to generation. Attacking without studying the cultural background and ethics has no substance. If this really happened 3,500 years ago, do you think the cultural beliefs and ethics of those people were absolute similar to your generation? Take an example, the Mayan and Aztec people, where beheading, and skinning alive were part of social ethics and considered normal. Would you like to be a part of this ethnic group and teach your children to do the same? So in what way to suppress the evil? Who are the responsible group who corrected/suppressed these barbaric beliefs? I think I should thank that group because I am saved from doing such human cruelty. I am not in favor of killing but in what way do you think you can suppress this extreme cruelty that happened in most of the ethnic groups on that time? Another example, is having sex with animals is acceptable to you? If you think this is okay, so you would teach the same to your children, and your children would teach the same to their children, and this will be passed from one generation to another. What are the possible causes of bestiality? The disease can be transferred to human even to animal too, and the outcome of this horrific action will result to fatality. Any virus can spread and infect. Again I will repeat attacking without a deep study of cultural background has no substance.

  131. 1. We don’t need to make a hypothetical situation for the modern world. Let’s just use the situation we find in the Bible. God tells you to kill an entire family, even though they’re just minding their own business and not harming you. To kill this family, you will have to kill a newborn baby, a toddler, a kindergarden age girl, a seven year old boy, a pregnant woman, an intellectually disabled man, and two crippled and senile elderly people.

    Do you do it?

    You don’t want to answer this and your first instinct is moral repulsion at the thought of killing innocent children, and your brain so badly wants to say that God would never command you to do such a thing. But then you’ll remember that according to your holy book, God HAS done this before. And when Saul left just one man alive, God cursed him and eventually stripped him of his crown and his life. If God orders you to murder innocent people, you are obliged to do it or you make yourself a sinner.

  132. Regardless of the Old/New Testament paradigm, if you believe the Bible, you’re still left with a hero that kills little babies and pregnant women.

  133. YOU: ” I am convinced that living according to Bible principles would never lead anyone to commit crimes like genocide.”

    No, this is not true. If you were an obedient Israelite in the Old Testament and God ordered you to slaughter an entire ethnicity and refused, you were a sinner.

  134. First, it wasn’t an apple. Second, only Christians have been trying to get “back” to perfect since they’re the religion that invented the sinful nature. It’s not terribly high on my list to be perfect. Third, Adam ate the fruit only after Eve partook first.

  135. Did you read my whole post? What happened in the Old Testament was *not* genocide. In Genesis 15 it says “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full”. God gave the inhabitants of Canaan over 400 years to repent. That is a long time. That’s several generations of people. If, after that time, God asks his people to *remove* that people (not slaughter, that was for specific cases) from the land then that is the supreme justice of God, *your creator*, speaking.

    The God of the Bible is presented to us not just as a God of justice but a God of compassion, generosity, patience, lovingkindness and faithfulness. While we do not have any records of his dealings with the Amorites we do know he was immensely patient with them. In fact in Exodus 34 where we read about God “not clearing the guilty” it says he disciplines sinners “to the third and fourth generation”. But it says he administers his love “to the thousandth generation”. God is massively more merciful than most people, who haven’t really read the Bible or studied it, give him credit for.

    The fact that God ordered the cleansing of the land of its people was just.

  136. Yes he would. And Hitler was wrong. Hitler was not God.

  137. Debunk first my question before you ask me some question which you relate to your modern world. First, the time interval is thousand of years, how do you know exactly their cultural ethics and background and attacking them based on your shallow understanding. If they were cannibal then, there is no problem on you as long as they mind their own business. What if one day, your wife will catch by them and slaughter. There is no problem on you as long as they don’t kill you. I’m just giving you the idea in reality. Last month, 2 European young women beheaded by ISIS in Morocco, these two ladies had just take a vacation trip in Morocco, and unfortunately spotted by ISIS in the mountain. So there is no problem on you as long as they do their own business. What if this kind of people spread all over the world and killings become socially acceptable? It is okay for you as long as they mind their own business.

  138. Okay, the Bible tells us that God wanted Saul to slaughter the Amalekites because he [God] wanted revenge on them for their attack on the Israelites during the Exodus. That was three centuries earlier.

    The Bible is clear, he wasn’t killing them for being wicked or sinful or for sacrificing chidren. There’s no mention of any bad behavior. God wanted revenge, so he ordered Saul to slaughter every man, woman, child, and even every animal. Imagine hating someone so bad you want to kill there pets and livestock too.

    So, the idea that God had the Amalekites killed because they were wicked simply doesn’t pass because YOUR book says it was done for revenge. Please read 1 Sam 15 before you respond. It will help you avoid looking stupid if you actually know that bit of scripture.

  139. Hi Richard
    Do you even listen to what you are writing….
    It has always been the case that while you are looking at the cathedral from the inside, it looks quite pretty. But if you can just step outside you will see its decrepite state.
    Let me tell you of this god’s(or any of the gods) compassion, patience and generosity.
    Humans have been on this planet for ±100 000 years. This is according to scientific evidence, not belief. And science is finding new evidence every day that would suggest it to be even longer. If you do not take this as evidence then chuck all of your nice technology toys that you have grown so accustomed to and put your life/safety into and go live in a mud hut somewhere. So according to your book this god look down on this world and saw people dying and slaughtering one another for ±93000 years and then decided we have evolved enough for his liking to save us from iniquity. Then he also must have said in is mind. I will let them wait another ±6000 years and only then will I let Mr. Flemming by accident come across penicillin. Because before then millions of people died like flies from everyday infections. This must seem very human to you, as for me, NO! All gods if you believe in them have been toying with humanity. If you are a parent you will understand the agony that your child and you go through when they are sick or dying. Lets now practice what you preach. Lets go on our knees and pray right now that god heal just every child today that has cancer. Not all the other illnesses or people. Just this one. Ref: Matt 7:9 and James 5:14. Has this been done, oh yes many times, but please do it now. Does this god have the ability, surely he must (Omnipotent). Does he care, sure he does(Omniscient), even enough to give the old lady a parking space near the shopping mall, as she testified. Will he be glorified, yes he will be, magnificently by the whole world!! Will he be true to his own word, oh yes and everybody will believe in him and will denounce all other gods. Please let me know how it pans out, and then we can get to building a better humanity together, because we are all we’ve got. I fully understand why people want to believe in a god, but to do so is wishful thinking and trying to escape reality, just like using and being addicted to a drug.

  140. How funny avoiding my questions and asking me a question to justify the stupidity and hatred to God. If you are walking on the street going to your home and suddenly I attack you without any reason at all and harm you physically. How could you describe me? Good or bad? Will you report me to the police for the harm I did on you? Will you send me to jail?
    1) When Israelites were wanderers going to Canaan, the Amalekites attacked them.
    2) During the attacked of Saul, why you did not read the instruction of Saul telling to Kenites to escape so that they would not be involved in the battle? Amalekites were not all exterminated during the battle fyi. 3) Why you did not read the conversation of Samuel and Saul describing Amalekites as “SINNERS”? Even if you check to every bible version, the word “SINNER or SINFUL” is inserted. If they were not “SINNER”, the best possible explanation is they might not be killed like “KENITES” because Kenites were good people.
    4) During the reign of David, why your Amalekites ancestors attacked Ziklag, burned the place, and captive the people? David fought with them and rescued the captive families.
    5) Now, it was not over, the story continues to Chronicles were they had another battle again.
    6) It is surprising when the story continues to Esther wherein Haman, son of Hammedatha the son of AGAGITE (AGAG KING OF AMALEKITES) second to the King of Persia who plotted to kill all the Mordecai and Jewish people including children. Mordecai was the descendants of Kish who was the father of Saul who allowed Agag Amalekite King to live.

    You are excellent and certified cherry picker, sour grape and a liar.

    If the author of the book intend to kill all the people outside their group. Why “Thou shall not kill” is included in their 10 commandments? There are instances when their God commanded them not to harm the foreigners because they (Israelites) were once foreigners in Egypt. Those ethnics who killed were live their sinful lives to the fullest. They described them “the land vomits its inhabitants”.

    Anti God like you cannot perceive this because your heart is full of hatred.

    What if I were born 200 years from now and tirade Americans for killing ISIS because of being IGNORANT IN CULTURAL BACKGROUND AND HISTORY.

  141. You’re talking out of ignorance. God’s purpose is not to save people or build a better humanity. If you ever even read the Bible, *which was written through inspiration from God himself, your creator* you would realize this. If you don’t like the fact that God gives us free will and we keep messing up then that’s your problem. My understanding of who God is and my belief in him (which is an evidence-based belief) is not “wishful thinking”. It’s truth.

  142. I was going to respond point by point, but I will not because your entire argument is fallacious. It’s called a Red Herring fallacy. Here’s the bottom line:
    You worship a God who (you admit) ordered (on multiple occasions) that the Israelites attack people unprovoked, and slaughter all the inhabitants, including non-combatants and sometimes even pets and livestock. “Kill everything that breatheth.” He specified that they should kill “babe and suckling”, newborns and infants.

    This means that your God ordered people to kill children. This means that if an Israelite refused to kill children, they were sinners and subject to punishment (Saul left only one Amalekite and some animals alive, and he was severely punished as a result).
    In the Amalekite genocide, the reason wasn’t because they were sinners, and it wasn’t because they were a bad influence on Israel, or because they would some day attack Israel. We are told very clearly, this was an act of vengeance by God on a group of people for something their great great great great great great grandparents had done approximately 300 years before. It was revenge, according to the Bible, and that’s all it was.

    So, your very moral book tells us that a person can commit a sin by refusing to kill a baby, for example. That doesn’t sound very moral to me.

  143. Free will? Ha! “Choice is an illusion… between those with power, and those without.” Obviously not a scripture, but completely apt here.

    An omniscient god who continues to allow evil/sin/whatever to grow in order to give people a chance to pull themselves out of it, knowing that they won’t anyway, is sick. It isn’t free will. There is no real choice. And it isn’t mercy or grace to hold back. He knows they won’t change, and he knows he’s going to wipe them out. He just lets it play out.

    If there is a god, he may have created the clock, and wound the clock, but now its simply ticking away without his interference. Religions like Christianity are the same as any other, an attempt to understand a difficult world. It reflects an “us vs. them” mentality that plagues most cultures & religions throughout history. As long as you’re on the “right” side of that equation, all acts can be deemed justifiable.

    Oh… and “evidence-based”??? Hahaha! No, it isn’t. Otherwise, there would be no need for faith. And it is “by faith that you are saved” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Most would “get saved” if it was truly evidence-based. Please cite that evidence for us.

  144. Yet most Christians & Jews consider many books of the OT to be LITERAL HISTORY. You can’t tell Mark that that’s thinking like an ISIS supporter as if this is a problem unique only to a few so-called Christians. This is most “mainstream” Christian denominations.

  145. Yes, evidence-based. The Bible says that faith is based on evidence. You’re probably defining faith by some non-biblical definition. But biblically-speaking faith is more to do with trust than what might be called “blind faith” by people who haven’t the foggiest idea what the Bible teaches.

    Your opinions regarding God’s omniscience and suffering are noted but that’s all they are, opinions. My opinion is that an all wise God knows what he is doing even if sometimes (or often probably) I don’t understand. But I have enough faith in the God of the Bible to trust what he is doing is right. He’s not looking to save everyone. Most people don’t want to be saved. In fact out of the however many people who left Egypt under Moses only two wanted to be saved. The rest didn’t want to leave Egypt and that goes for the majority of mankind. What God has called people to isn’t for everyone and most people don’t care. That is, to have a relationship with the Creator for eternity.

    And no, most would not “get saved” if it was evidence based (using your definition of what would be evidence). Going back to the example of the Israelites who came out of Egypt they were given abundant clear evidence of the power of God, and they rejected God. An analogy I recently heard is that it’s like a 20-something woman marrying an 85 year-old billionaire. She is overwhelmed by his money and falls for him but not out of love. God proved, through his work with Israel, that even if you overwhelm someone with evidence they won’t accept his purpose and develop the kind of relationship he is looking for.

    So even if I proved beyond the shadow of doubt that God exists you probably would still turn away from him.

  146. He gave them 120 years to repent. That’s a very merciful thing to do. But as usual people who attack the God of the Bible haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

  147. More pseudo-intellectual backflipping from you and your ilk. As most Christians seem to do, you make far too many assumptions about someone you know nothing about.

    I was a pastor for almost 16 years. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical studies & with a minor in Christian counseling. I understand what the Bible means when it says “faith” and “evidence.” It is you who tries to confound words, twisting them till only you and Christianity are right, and everyone else is wrong. Even in the face of all logic.

    You also assume FAR too much when you state only 2 wanted to be saved (if you can use such modern terminology for Old Testament characters) in the midst of the Exodus. What a joke. Just because they grumbled about their condition/lamented leaving Egypt AFTER they left, does not mean that they never wanted to leave or to be God’s people in the first place.

    Regardless, none of it is proof. If god is all-powerful and all-knowing, why create TWO separate sets of beings that both would eventually “turn away” from him? Hmm? The angels weren’t even designed with free will, yet somehow Lucifer wanted to be like god, and for one time only, decided to give all the angels an eternal choice on who to follow, casting down ⅓ of the angels when they sided with Satan. Why even create them for such a purpose? Why create Adam and Eve and put them in a garden with the most dangerous creature you’ve ever created, knowing before you created them what would happen? That’s analogous to me having kids, and putting them in a beautiful playroom with every wonderful toy imaginable, but its has a huge, hungry anaconda laying in waiting… and spikes all around the best looking toy in the middle of the room. It isn’t loving. It isn’t the gift of free will. It’s entrapment. It’s cruelty. It’s manipulative.

  148. Your post explains a lot. If I had been a pastor in a Christian church for 16 years I probably would be driven to atheism too, based on all the drivel of Christianity. So I understand where you are coming from and I am sorry to had to endure the fairy stories of Christianity. But I am not a Christian, at least that is what I am told by others who call themselves Christian, although I am a follower of Christ, the biblical one, not the Christian one.

    I am not trying to twist any words. The term pistis (faith) has more of the idea of trust than anything else. Louw-Nida, for instance, defines it as “to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance—‘to believe in, to have confidence in, to have faith in, to trust, faith, trust.’ (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 375). New York: United Bible Societies). You see the emphasis is on trust and I have been studying the Bible for far longer than 16 years so I happen to know what I am talking about too.

    But anyway, leaving aside your mistaken idea that I am trying to prove Christianity right (in fact I would love to spend hours talking about how Christianity is dead wrong) I stand by my assertion that only two wanted to be saved. No, they didn’t want to leave Egypt. When Moses told them what YHWH was going to do they didn’t listen. Look at Exodus 6 and you’ll see it’s the case. Subsequent history tells us that they were possessed with the Egyptian worldview and viewed YHWH through the lens of their Egyptian experience, something that very few broke out of throughout their history. When faced with the empty barren wilderness, despite all that YHWH did for them and promised them, their hearts turned back to Egypt. They wanted YHWH to be like any of the pagan gods of Egypt, with whom the only relationship was transactional. You sacrifice to the deity and get some sort of material blessing in return. When they discovered YHWH isn’t like the gods of Egypt they turned back. They didn’t want to leave in the first place. They just wanted YHWH to make their lives better *in Egypt*, which is what we all want. We don’t want to make the effort to get off our behinds, leave Egypt and walk through the wilderness of life.

    As for your comments on angels I really don’t know what to say. You seem to be stuck in medieval theology. Do people still use the term Lucifer? You are aware that it’s a term that’s only found in those translations that borrow from the Latin Vulgate and that it has nothing to do with the original text? Anyway the fairy story you tell about angels falling from heaven and your strange take on the Adam and Eve story has got nothing to do with anything so I will leave that straw man alone.

  149. He gave them 120 years to repent.

    Yep. And then committed mass genocide. And per what was recorded in the bible, sat on his ass the entire time and did nothing to try to help guide mankind into a reformation.

    Luckily for my piece of min, we know the global flood and all the other Old Testament events never happen.

  150. If you want to stretch the definition of genocide that’s your prerogative I guess, but labeling something doesn’t prove a point. It was not genocide; it was justice. Your crude description of how YHWH passed the 120 years just illustrates your ignorance. If you actually read the Bible and tried to understand what it says about God you wouldn’t say such a stupid thing. It is patently obvious that God did everything to help and guide mankind, because that’s the God the Bible talks about. Just because you’re ignorant of the Bible doesn’t give you the right to make these silly assertions.

    God gave man 120 years, which is a long time. And he refused to repent of his evil. Then justice was meted out. The story is not one of genocide but of man choosing evil rather than right, and of God’s mercy being discarded by man.

    Your final sentence is the most foolish of all. We have mounds and mounds of evidence that the Old Testament historical account is astoundingly accurate. More and more archaeological evidence is supporting the Biblical testimony all the time and professional people use the Bible as a reliable resource.

    And there’s internal evidence that the flood was local, not global. And in any case you just continue to show your ignorance for the genre in which passages like the flood accounts were written, and the culture within which they were written.

    It’s hard debating with someone who simply doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about. (That’s you by the way)

  151. I would not be so quick to call another person ignorant. Do you not know what is written in your great book or should I call it the book of evidence, about people that do so? I was not refering to any “purpose” regarding your god. But I am sure glad the christians can at last confess that this god does not care to save anyone from iniquity. Please do preach it bro Morgan. I think the whole evidence issue is silly if one does not have common sense. But as my dad used to say, it realy is not that common. Just saying or believing something to be true does NOT make it so.

  152. God does care to save people from iniquity. The problem is that people don’t want to be saved from iniquity. There is abundant evidence in the Bible that this is the case. However many people came out of Egypt, only two were saved despite being given huge amounts of direct physical evidence for God’s power.

    I agree with your last statement which is why I test my belief against things like the new atheism and so forth consistently. My understanding is not just believing something to be true. I believe the Bible to be true and the God of the Bible to be our creator based on a whole series of evidences.

  153. If you want to stretch the definition of genocide

    Genocide: the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. Nope, no stretching necessary.

    We have mounds and mounds of evidence that the Old Testament historical account is astoundingly accurate.

    And yet, in the next paragraph, you say the bible was inaccurate and the flooding was localized. About the only historically accurate account in the old testament is that it referenced real cities and countries in its accounts. It’s hardly surprising since those same cities were either current or recent events for the people making up those stories.

  154. No I never said the Bible is inaccurate. What’s inaccurate is your reading of the text. If you want to read it through your warped 21st century understanding of how to read ancient texts then that’s your choice. I prefer to go a more scholarly route. There are masses and masses of precise historical truths running through every book of the Old Testament. You’re just displaying your utter ignorance.

  155. I’m a rational person and I believe the actions were justified. And I am an extremely loving person. Live with it.

  156. “People don’t want to be saved” Have you seen any movies lately. Hello! Why do you think they are so popular? But we need to realize there is no such thing and take responsibility and in a very personal way. Don’t pass the buck to an imaginary all powerfull god or anything in its likeness. I’ll point to the whole drug analogy again, but its worn out. Is a copout, realy. Its worring that you take your evidence from the same book that you believe in. Logically it does not make sense. Even more worring is your statement about testing your belief against atheism. Are you so unsure of the your truth that you have to measure it against something else. What the hell !!

  157. It’s not my truth, it’s the truth. And no I am not unsure of it. I just like testing it against other ideas, because that helps strengthen my faith when I am just met by a string of ignorance and logical fallacies. Furthermore it helps me help others who might become seduced by the dogma of atheistic thinking.

    I don’t understand what you’re talking about with movies and everything. What’s that got do with what I said? And I am not passing the buck. Who else would ever be able to save anyone but God? And it’s not about salvation anyway. If you bothered reading the Bible you’d realize that.

    I don’t take evidence for the Bible to support its veracity. Except for looking at internal evidence which demonstrates its consistency, the reliability of witnesses etc. But that’s not to mention the absolutely enormous amount of evidence outside the Bible which supports its authenticity and veracity of its message beyond reasonable doubt. The problem is more people are not reasonable and want to close their eyes and ears.

  158. You are a slave to your dictator. Just like North Korea, but to his people he is a god.
    If its truth why are you testing it? No need for that.
    Why do you feel the need to help others from a dogma into another? “Its not about salvation”. Or is it now when it suits your dogmatic end goal. And that, when your dogma is of the worst kind.
    Sorry I thought the point about the movies were simple enough.
    Always remember that all scientific evidence is not always true. If its not peer reviewed, tested and accepted and most of all funded independently, its probably hogwash. So if you ever present some as some have asked you. Please do not waste all of our time. Unless its for promoting a dogma. That normally does the trick.

  159. Good for you mr Taz. You made a real study out of it. Just so sorry that all of your facts come from the same source, as if everything in there is true. I still want to see or hear of any holy war where the soldiers ran out and shouted. I kill you in the name of …….. nothing.
    Oh yes and I liked the part about sinners and good people, that should justify all.

  160. I’ve copied your previous comments stated and highlighted the some contradictory statements:
    1. “And when Saul left just one man alive, God cursed him and eventually stripped him of his crown and his life”.
    2. “The Bible is clear, he wasn’t killing them for being wicked or sinful or for sacrificing chidren. There’s no mention of any bad behavior. God wanted revenge, so he ordered Saul to slaughter every man, woman, child, and even every animal”.
    3. “So, the idea that God had the Amalekites killed because they were wicked simply doesn’t pass because YOUR book says it was done for revenge”
    4. “In the Amalekite genocide, the reason wasn’t because they were sinners, and it wasn’t because they were a bad influence on Israel, or because they would some day attack Israel. We are told very clearly, this was an act of vengeance by God on a group of people for something their great great great great great great grandparents had done approximately 300 years before. It was revenge, according to the Bible, and that’s all it was”.

    What is your stand to this story? In #2, your believed Amalekites were good according to you NO BAD BEHAVIOR ever recorded. IN #3, the idea was revenge, not being WICKED. Then I debunked you, on the conversation of Samuel and Saul, Samuel described Amalekites as SINNERS. This is the next answer from you in #4, the reason was not because they were SINNERS. In #2-3, you’ve believed that Amalekites were good, and then you suddenly surprised when the bible described them as SINNER, and to justify once again that it was actually a revenge, YOU IGNORE THE TRUTH THAT BEST DESCRIBED THEM HOW EVIL THEY WERE. How many years do you believe in this stupidity? Suddenly you know the truth that they were INDEED SINNERS, and DISREGARD THE TRUTH AND STILL BELIEVE IT WAS A REVENGE. How stupid! Praise you!
    In #1, You’ve believed that God killed Saul after the battle to Amalekites. There was one Amalekite who told to David that he killed Saul and stripped his crown, that Amalekite lied to David just get the favor. Saul killed himself during the battle with Palestine.

    I told you, there is another story in Esther wherein Haman, the son of Agagite (Agag Amalekite King) plotted to kill all the Jews in Persia, 6 centuries after Saul. Obviously, Haman was not even a baby that time during Saul’s time and it makes sense to conclude not only Agag the King was spared by Saul, there were more, that’s why Haman came into the scene 6 centuries after.

    Gosh!!!! Please!!!! How many years you are doing this? You are using this for many years to make believe the people that the imaginary friend of the Christians is monster. Lies is the best weapon of evil. So how do you evaluate yourself now?

    You ignore so many things like attacking the people without any reason at all, bestiality, children sacrifice, and so on, instead sticking to your distorted belief full of hatred.

    If I will follow your distorted belief, it can easily to believe that Americans revenged and killed Osama Bin Laden because of 9/11 attack. But if you are not biased and weigh the events, it was not a simply revenge, it was a suppression of evilness for the goodness of future generation. I have read that you seem in favor of abortion, here it is “You’ll condemn people for, let’s say, aborting a three week old fetus, but you’ll give God a pass on genocide”. Gosh! All human come from fetus right? What if you are that 3 weeks old fetus? Is it okay for you? No problem because you just underestimate the fetus which you came from. Thanks to fetus, you become human. You inserting also in your argument about the animals. I told you bestiality is risky. Disease can be transferred from animal to human and vice versa, and this gruesome activity was absolutely normal during old testament time. What if the chicken had bird flu? The pig had swine flu? How about ebola? Do you know that HIV came from chimp? Will you engaged sexual intercourse with animals ha? Will you eat animals with virus? Check how people in your modern world destroy the animals like chicken having virus.

    I emphasized in my first post, this Jewish war was something else. This is likely a suppression of bad people if could not be destroyed would be resulted to more chaos to the future generation. Like I said, killing the children in the fire, having sex with animals, killing to one another might be normal to your modern world if these people continued to live. While the war that you witness to your modern world is the result of distorted ideologies that harm and killed innocent people in the name of their distorted belief for example ISIS. IT IS NOT SUPPRESSION OF EVILNESS WHICH IS ROOTED FOR LONG PERIOD OF TIME “THE LAND VOMITS ITS INHABITANTS”.

  161. Honestly speaking I don’t understand your points. Rewrite with elaboration.

  162. I’ve recently post a reply 4 hours ago and someone deleted my comments. Wow!

  163. Again I will reply once again to argue the lies about the old testament genocide spread by Atheist who does not believed in God but deeply affected to this event. Based on your replies below:
    1. And when Saul left just one man alive, God cursed him and eventually stripped him of his crown and his life.
    2. Saul left only one Amalekite and some animals alive, and he was severely punished as a result
    3. he wasn’t killing them for being wicked or sinful or for sacrificing chidren. There’s no mention of any bad behavior.
    4. So, the idea that God had the Amalekites killed because they were wicked simply doesn’t pass because YOUR book says it was done for revenge.
    5. In the Amalekite genocide, the reason wasn’t because they were sinners, and it wasn’t because they were a bad influence on Israel, or because they would some day attack Israel. We are told very clearly, this was an act of vengeance by God on a group of people for something their great great great great great great grandparents had done approximately 300 years before.

    #1 & 2. It was the Amalekite who told to David that he killed Saul and stripped the crown to gain favor from David. Saul killed himself during the battle with Philistine.
    #3 & 4. How many years you’ve believed that Amalekites were good and innocent people? Based on your own words “NO MENTION OF ANY BAD BEHAVIOR”.
    #5. See! You surprised when I replied on you the bible itself describe Amalekites as “SINNERS”. How about Haman? No reaction from your side, totally ignored. Because your intention is to make believe the readers that Christianity and Judaism are bad influence, well in fact, it is you who are biased to this issue. You simply ignore the facts, and insist your misinterpretations and lies. If you insist that it was a revenge, this equates to Americans who killed Osama Bin Laden 10 years after the 9/11 attack that reminds to each Americans the demise of their fellow Americans and the destruction of billion property during the attack.

    Haman was descendant of Agag the Amalekite King who spared by Saul. If you still insist that only Agag was the only person spared, how come six centuries after this event, Haman came into the scene and plotted to kill all the Israelites including CHILDREN. Obviously, the time of Saul’s battle, Haman had not yet born, so it was pretty clear that some Amalekites spared during the fight. See!, six centuries had been past, the hatred was still there that he inherited from his great great great great great great ancestors.I clearly mentioned this on the previous post.

    I’ve noticed you seem in favor of abortion based on your own statement “You’ll condemn people for, let’s say, aborting a three week old fetus”. All humans come from fetus right? If you are this three week fetus, so you would agree to your parents to abort you? It is just because you are JUST A FETUS. Thanks to fetus, you became a human.

    Regarding animals, I told you from my previous reply, bestiality is risky, disease can be transferred from animal to human or vice versa. And bestiality was socially acceptable on their time, meaning there was nothing wrong and it became a cultural practice. What if those animals had diseases? Like in the modern world diseases like swine flu, bird flu, ebola and even SIV which HIV came from.

    I’ve mentioned in my previous post that the Jewish battle was not the same to the distorted ideologies of what you’ve witnessed on your modern world. God gave them a chance to repent, those Amalekites were descendants of Esau, son of Isaac, they had known Abrahamic God. Another event was when forgave the Ninevites who repented and turned their wicked ways. In modern time, so many instances that God is not cruel. If God is real and indeed cruel, He can destroy you Atheist instantly because of your mockery, assault, spreading hatred to others by make believing that He is not real and bad, and so on. But no, He is not. I don’t know the reason behind despite of not believing to any gods, the main target of this attack is centered to Christianity. One of the finest example was Christopher Hitchens despite of his failing health, he had a guts to attack God rather than giving up to this issue and spend his remaining times with family.

    I agree with the people that God saved those children from sinning because if they were grow up, they would do the same like their ancestors did, like HAMAN and I’ve mentioned this argument from my first comment. But you Atheist insist it is immoral because you don’t believe that human have soul that should be taken care of first. Believe what you believe. The only thing that I don’t agree is spreading these kind of lies to turn away the people from God. What you believe is mere an assumption, once again I will repeat, you will fully understand what was written on the bible because of the combined reasons, ignorance, hatred, lack or zero knowledge on the culture and history.

  164. By the way, I’d like to challenge you to provide scriptural reference that says children don’t go to hell.

  165. Just to get it on record, you support the murder of innocent babies?

  166. Funny how you can interpret the ambigious nature of your holy book but not this. The point is according to your holy book its not ok to kill unless your god orders it. You call that a holy war. Absurd realy. Study your book and you will see. But I’m sure this is ok with you. Not for me.

  167. Don’t worry About it Mark. One of these days the rapture will take place and then we can realy start building a beter tommorow. LOL. All the religious nuts will be gone. Not that I wish this but it seems there is no other way.

  168. If you assume I don’t know about the bible, how much more on Atheist like you? That’s the stupid question that most Atheists ask. If God order you to kill, will you do? God is not absolutely stupid like all of you. God will never ever ask me to kill the baby Riaan Cloete even though he knows that you will become an Atheist when you grow old. Why? Because you are not treat to whole human race. Your stupidity of denying God will not affect to the future generation. Besides, if God is real, he will still give you a time to repent and coming back to the belief of your ancestor who believed in God (I ASSUME they were Christians). Like the Canaanites who had 400 years God gave them time to repent but in that 400 years, the sins elevated to the highest peak despite of knowing Abrahamic God. This is equate to your modern world, for example Christopher Hitchens was so aggressive to debate to religious people, and despite of knowing God, he attacked aggressively the religion most especially the Christianity, for one purpose, to suppress the religion, until the time when he knew he had cancer. If he started to become an Atheist at the age 20 and he died 62, God is indeed merciful giving him a chance to repent for 42 years but his hatred to religion hardened his heart. See how stupid it sounds.

  169. Please do not call me an Atheist. Do you not realize that you are an athesist to other religions too. I have just rejected one more god than you have. So out of the millions of gods that there have been the difference between me and you is like 0.000000001%. Good for you. Cristipher also did not attack christianty specifically. Thats just wrong. Lastly. If you lived in the past and believed in your god like you do you would have killed not only babies but everything that moved if your god ordered it. That is in your book. So do not say never ever. That is not according to was is recorded in your holy book that is because you have empathy now. If your books version happened at all. The rest of your post is just rubbish. Blah blah, mercy love time to repent, sinners blah blah.

  170. Let me copy the evidence okay “Don’t worry About it Mark. One of these days the rapture will take place and then we can realy start building a beter tommorow. LOL. All the religious nuts will be gone. Not that I wish this but it seems there is no other way”.
    So what are you? Atheist, Agnostic, or I don’t know. If you are trying to prove that you are a good person, BE HONEST.
    I am not Atheist to Hindu, Sikh, or any other religions because we have common belief, the existence of God while Atheism denies any gods and believes in big bang and evolution.

    I love watching Christopher Hitchens on debate. So do not deny, BE HONEST.

    Lastly, If you still insist the killings in the old testament, why don’t you tirade Americans for being so active in the war for such a long time? So sad, Americans killed Osama Bin Laden just because of 9/11 attack that killed thousands of people right? If Americans spared Osama and forgot the 9/11 attack, perhaps many many many people would be killed till to present time. And this is good for you right?

    The rest of your post is just rubbish. Blah blah, time to be a secularist blah blah blah. Wrong for me is right for you. Right for me is wrong for you blah blah.

    PS You can realy start building a beter tommorow, who knows you might evolved into an alien creature like avatar.

  171. I realy do not care what I am. I could not be bothered to classify myself as this is not the issue. I do not have to prove that I am good. I decide to do good and do it because empathy drives me. We have all been on the receiving end of bad times so its not difficult to feel. The Americans did not go into the war because a god ordered it. By the way I hate any war and do not aprove of their reasons for doing so. Lastly I am not the one claiming to have the holy book with all the answers.

  172. Steven Van, we need to be very clear. God ordered his followers to attack cities without provocation, and to slaughter all of the non-combatants. Men, women, children, and infants.

    If God told you to do this, would you do it?

    Also, just for correction, the Bible is clear in at least one instance that the genocide of the Amalekites was God’s revenge against them for attacking the Israelites on the Exodus — 300 years before. It had nothing to do with leading God’s people into temptation. It was revenge, and it’s clearly stated in the text.

    And he was very very clear what he wanted King Saul to do:

    “2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

    I Sam 15:2-3

    “put to death all men, women, children, and infants…”

    “put to death all…children and infants…”

    “put to death all…infants…”

    Are you Christian enough to kill a baby?

  173. What a coincidence. It wasn’t that you couldn’t answer, it’s that someone hacked into Disqus and deleted your comment. Probably some devil worshiper or witch.

  174. Very, very busy. It takes a long time to decide whether you’re willing to kill a baby, I guess.

  175. Wait, you’re an extremely loving person who thinks it’s okay to murder babies? Please tell me more about how loving you are.

  176. Actually, the Bible says that faith IS the evidence, no that faith is based on evidence. Faith takes the place of evidence. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…”

  177. No, I am free to serve God because my eyes have been opened. You are the ones who are slaves to human nature.

    You don’t believe in testing things? So you don’t trust science? Is that what you’re saying?

    Why do I feel the need? Because it’s about giving people the opportunity for something amazing. Not just in this life, but in the Kingdom of God and for eternity. I have an amazing hope and want to share it with others 🙂

    Why is my “dogma” of the worst kind? My “dogma” is about compassion, generosity, patience, loving kindness, faithfulness, forgiveness and justice. Why is that “of the worst kind”?

    No the point about the movies wasn’t simple enough. I have no clue what you mean.

  178. I can’t remember the name of the logical fallacy but you’ve just used it. No, I don not think it’s OK to murder babies. What a silly thing to suggest.

  179. Good grief Mr. Ross – he’s God! He knows the hearts of those he created. He knows the end from the beginning. If he orders people to do something then it is perfectly just. He is God! YOUR creator.

  180. This my reply which is deleted. Based on your replies below:
    1. And when Saul left just one man alive, God cursed him and eventually stripped him of his crown and his life.
    2. Saul left only one Amalekite and some animals alive, and he was severely punished as a result
    3. he wasn’t killing them for being wicked or sinful or for sacrificing chidren. There’s no mention of any bad behavior.
    4. So, the idea that God had the Amalekites killed because they were wicked simply doesn’t pass because YOUR book says it was done for revenge.
    5. In the Amalekite genocide, the reason wasn’t because they were sinners, and it wasn’t because they were a bad influence on Israel, or because they would some day attack Israel. We are told very clearly, this was an act of vengeance by God on a group of people for something their great great great great great great grandparents had done approximately 300 years before.

    #1 & 2. It was the Amalekite guy who told to David that he killed Saul and stripped the crown to gain favor from David. Saul killed himself during the battle with Philistine.
    #3 & 4. How many years you’ve believed that Amalekites were good and innocent people? Based on your own words “NO MENTION OF ANY BAD BEHAVIOR”.
    #5. See! You surprised when I replied on you the bible itself describe Amalekites as “SINNERS”. How about Haman? No reaction from your side, totally ignored. Because your intention is to make believe the readers that Christianity and Judaism are bad influence, well in fact, it is you who are biased to this issue. You simply ignore the facts, and insist your misinterpretations and lies. If you insist that it was a revenge, this equates to Americans who killed Osama Bin Laden 10 years after the 9/11 attack that reminds to each Americans the demise and destruction brought by the attack.
    Haman was descendant of Agag the Amalekite King who spared by Saul. If you still insist that only Agag was the only person spared, how come six centuries after this event, Haman came into the scene and plotted to kill all Israelites including CHILDREN. Obviously, Haman had not yet born during the time of Saul, so it was pretty clear that some Amalekites spared during the battle. Six centuries had been past, the hatred was still there that he inherited from his great great great great great great ancestors.

  181. I’ve noticed you seem in favor of abortion based on your own statement “You’ll condemn people for, let’s say, aborting a three week old fetus”. If you are this three week old fetus, so you would agree to your parents to abort you?

    Regarding animals, I told you from my previous reply, bestiality is risky, disease can be transferred from animal to human or vice versa. And bestiality was socially acceptable on their time, meaning there was nothing wrong and it became a cultural practice. What if those animals had diseases? Like in the modern world diseases like swine flu, bird flu, ebola and even SIV which HIV came from.

    What you believe is mere an assumption due to anger, you never understand what is written on the bible because of the combined reasons – ignorance, hatred, bad intention and purpose, lack or zero knowledge on the culture and history.

  182. Got it! You don’t want to tirade Americans because of one reason – God did not command it. You hate any war, so what is your solution? Peace talk? Do you think ISIS will listen? Do you know why they involve children and women to their group? They want to pass their ideology to the future generation and conquer the world.
    Let us be honest to ourselves. Do not be so biased on the things that you disagree, and be blind to the things that you witness now in your world which it is the shadow of the things that you disagree of.
    Good luck!

  183. Sorry, but you brought up the American wars, which I think is not really relevant here. And by the way ISIS are a slave to their own dictator god, and you are right, like you with your own dictator god, they probably won’t listen. But there is always hope to get people out of dogma’s. “Do you know why they involve children and women to their group” you do too. Do you not see the similarity? You are no different from ISIS. And history according to your book will tell you that your dogma and its followers have done worse atrocities. So I am not the blind one.

  184. Nope! You insist that God commanded ancient Israelites to kill right? God spoke Israelites right? But to ISIS who command and talk to them face to face to make war? Remember your own reasoning “The Americans did not go into the war because a god ordered it”.

    Do not tell me Atheist like Pol Pot, Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin did great things to your world because they don’t believe in any god.

    You have god too. You are under the dictatorship of hatred, therefore hatred is your god that’s why like Mark Ross, who throw away the facts that will enlighten your bias reaction to God. You nailed your inner self that God is bad and your enemy, so no explanation is acceptable to you because you are slave of your distorted own dogma. See how you deny the American war but always cling to the Israelite war. How pathetic!

    You are the blind one, as if you can do anything to make this world a better place. You wish that rapture would be take place soon right, and you call us religious nuts. How selfish and full of hatred? If rapture is real, meaning God is real. So you have no escape, you can argue to God if you wish that rapture would take place soon. Let see how intelligent you are.

  185. Yes I am a humanitarian, and I am proud to be one.
    Oh, I believe in testing things, this is the scientific way. But you are the one that stated “It’s not my truth, it’s the truth. And no I am not unsure of it”. This is not open for new evidence or debate then, as you have made it absolute.
    Science on the other hand is never absolute as new research is constantly done and perceptions and theories change accordingly.
    I am sure glad you can admit that yours is a dogma. Meaning: a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. A dogma is never a good thing. Sorry

    The following is something explaining your god’s “compassion, generosity, patience, loving kindness, faithfulness, forgiveness and justice”

    God created(Him being the first Cause) us and let everything afterwards to transpire including the sacrifice of His son and everything in between(all the evil and all the atrocities under the authority of God), and after His son to come one day and save a few that believed in spite of being hardened by Him, and other that are saved because He hardened those and then throw all the unbelievers in hell with demons to be punished by his just nature with fire and brimstone and worms and gnashing of teeth, because He wants(not needs) people to believe on him out of their own free will(I must be blind not to see the paradox in the free will/hardening heart statement, and its backed up by, “Who hath resisted His will”

    I would rather use the scripture to indicate Gods purpose/intention:

    Rom 9:17 and 22

    Gods wants to show His wrath and to make His power known and make His name to be declared! There again I get the character of a dictator.

    also

    Eph 3:10

    What is the Mystery(past and present) all about??
    He wants all men to see the fellowship of the mystery, but what is and was Gods primary intention here:

    He wants to make His wisdom known by us.

    As we say so many times, its not about us, its about God!

    But I also want to touch on 2 very curious notions:

    Rom 9:21 and 22
    First:
    He likens us to clay and God to a potter, very known verses. Remember he could have used many other analogies known at the time, and these are there to clarify objectives and in this case my glorious relationship with my eternal father.
    But is that all that God has made in me, a POT, no logic, emotion, feeling, including faith, etc. You said last knight we are not robots and God does not want that. With respect, it would be an upgrade if I were to use this analogy.
    But the very next verse poses an invitation to logic/reason. What if. Huh ?? God wants to assert his logical reasoning on me but I am not allowed to think further, because I’m a POT and he is the potter with the only mind to think for me. So how/what did God think?

    Secondly:
    God caused all (because nothing would exist if not by Him) and still causes all and knows all and can do all and is in fact all. Hence His name “I Am”
    As a POT I am asked to take account and think it through good and proper when I want to do build a tower or make war: As in Luke 14:27 – 35

    These are used again as analogies to my free decision to follow Him in Faith (which because of what I have said and proven by the word, is not free), never the less.
    God implores me to use my mind and reason to make an account logically of that which is at my disposal.

    Lets do the same with creation as it stands, not with any romanticized feelings:

    1. God and he alone decides he will make the universe and the earth and animals and man, the latter with a free will (lets exclude above arguments).
    2. He foreknows that man will sin and cause utter destruction to dawn on all of creation and the soul of man.
    3. He foreknows, that because of point 1 and 2, he will have to condemn and judge his son because of mankind’s sin. I include point 1 because what happened happened and could not have happened in another manner, because with God chance does not exist.
    4. He also foreknows that this earth with all in it will be destroyed
    5. He foreknows that according to the word few will accept His salvation and go to heaven and all of its promised euphoria in another place where seemingly no sin will exist but we will still have this free will. So nobody really knows what could be expected, sounds like a possible fall all over again….
    6. He foreknows that most souls will go to everlasting perpetual destruction and just punishment to be rendered for not believing. And just to put it in context. If we use Israel as example read Rom 9:27 and onward. If Israel be only a few, what is to be said of the gentiles. It would account for millions and millions of souls in everlasting fire. I don’t know how big heaven will be, but it will pale into insignificance to hell with all of its smoke and screams. I often wonder what the people felt and thought in Abrahams bossom to see what they saw in hell….. Do you think they said in their hearts, you deserve that you glutens. Stop speculating Riaan….
    7. He foreknows that all of his creation he will destroy
    8. He foreknows all of this, but at least his wisdom and power and wrath and his name is declared. What God is this that we serve that has such an uneasy vanity?

    So, do we conclude this to be a good plan to build, for not a human but an omniscient omnipotent benevolent creator God.

    Common sense would say: Why Start at all because at that moment before point 1 I was the only one to know all of this would befall so many many souls and myself.

    The only 2 persons to justify such a plan would be a vindictive dictator God and a person given over to a depraved selfish inhuman heart and mind.

    As for me, these and many other legitimate issues stand in the way of me excepting the Bibles reality of life and love and peace

  186. I am not biased sir. Did you not read my post. I hate any war and it is unnecessary in all cases. The taking of human life can never be justified. I did not justify the Americans reasons fo doing so. Hello.
    Sorry but I do not have an imaginary friend whose going to make everything right. We were all children but grew up to reality.
    Do you know what LOL means. Look it up.
    Looking at your posts to Mark I think you might have some real anger/hatred issues. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. But you are not to be judged right? Its only your god that can do so.
    I think its time you ask for some forgiveness from him, you will feel much better.
    Sorry if I have been judgmental to you, Honestly.

  187. God judged an entire planet with a flood due to wickedness i have no problem with wicked cities being judged.

  188. So, your argument is that abortion is immoral because fetuses are babies, but its moral for God to kill actual babies?

    Sounds like if God told you to kill a child, you’d be on board.

  189. If God ordered you to kill a child would you do it?

  190. That’s a leading question. The principle you need to get your head around is that God is… wait for it… God. He created you. He created the heavens and earth. He is all knowing and all wise. He knows the end from the beginning and he is righteous by definition of the absolute meaning of the term. Therefore everything – everything – he says and does is right. If you don’t believe in the God of the Bible then no answer I give will satisfy you. If you do believe in the God of the Bible then you already have an answer.

  191. Your on board with women playing God every day. Why you speaking
    Latin, “fetus” means “little one. Just speak English = baby.

  192. Latin, “fetus” means “little one English translation = baby.

  193. If God told you to kill a baby, would you do it? Let’s say, a two month old newborn…Put up or shut up, slick.

  194. So, if God ordered you to kill a baby, you wouldn’t do it? I need to get that part straight. Because you certainly seem pretty gung ho that there was nothing wrong with other people following God’s orders to slaughter infants.

  195. YOU: “There are masses and masses of precise historical truths running through every book of the Old Testament”

    I call bullshit. Put up or shut up. What history are you talking about?

  196. There is nothing wrong, and everything right, with following the commandments of the God who created YOU and everything else. He is right. You are wrong.

  197. For someone who knows what the creator of the Universe thinks and wants, you sure seem very hesitant about answering that question. But based on this last answer I’m assuming your answer is yes. If God commanded you to kill a baby, you would do it.

    You would kill a baby.

    And that sounds really horrible–BECAUSE IT IS!

    Why haven’t you asked me the same question?

  198. You’re ignoring what I said. God knows the end from the beginning. He is right. What he says is right. Not horrible. Right. Perfectly right and just. The reason I am not going to say that I would kill a baby is because I would hate to do it, even if God asked me to do it. But he isn’t going to ask me to do it. If you knew anything about the God of the Bible then you would understand this, but you sound like you refuse to even entertain that the God of the Bible is your creator. Which he most definitely is.

  199. According to you, God has ordered his followers to kill babies. You say tyatchecwas right to do so. Yet you cannot bring yourself to say that you would obey him if he ordered you to do it.

    How can you argue he would never order anyone to do it when you admit he has done it many times in the past?

    If he was right to kill babies, then why is it so horrifying to think he would do so again? Why is it so horrifying to imagine carrying out his will? If its good and moral, why do you hesitate?

  200. When did I ever say “God has ordered his followers to kill babies”? You obviously have difficulty with reading comprehension, not only in the things I say but also in what the Bible says. Your refusal to acknowledge the basis of God’s commands also tells me you will never understand the God of the Bible. Did you even read the article which these comments are based upon?

  201. Did God order Saul to kill every man, woman, and child of the Amalekites, or not? I’m pretty sure my reading comprehension is that good. 1 Sam 15:3.

  202. Yes he did. And he was right and Saul was wrong to disobey. Do you know why?

  203. It is always wrong to kill a baby or a child, or an innocent noncombatant.

  204. On the contrary, when God commands it, it comes from a place of justice and righteousness. You are approaching this from an entirely humanistic point-of-view, which is understandable. But you forget you are debating with people who strongly believe in the reality of the creator God of the Bible. Not a concept or an idea; a reality. The reality.

    The weight of evidence throughout the Bible tells us that God is entirely justified in everything he does. David in Psalm 51 says “so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment”. In Romans 9 Paul argues for the righteousness of God in his dealings with his creation, despite the fact it is hard for us to understand how Pharaoh can be blamed if God hardened his heart, or why he would love Jacob and hate Esau even before they were born.

    Just because you don’t understand the justice and righteousness of your creator doesn’t mean he isn’t just and right.

    Now you brought up the example of the Amalekites. They are presented to us in the biblical record as a warlike tribe who were cowardly enough to pick off the stragglers in the congregation of Israel – the old, infirm and young. In Exodus 17 we’re told that the conflict between Amalek and Israel would be everlasting and the character of the tribe is presented to us in several stories, like in the context of 1 Samuel 15 and the story of Haman in Esther.

    So we can surmise, because God is right and just, that the command to kill all the Amalakites, including children and infants, was right and just. Human beings are by nature mimickers. We take after our parents and copy what they do. Infants and children growing up in an Amalakite household would develop the same tribal aspects that are demonstrated through every story about them. Was there any hope for an Amalakite child? Probably not. If there was hope, God would have saved them, as he saved Rahab from the destruction of Jericho.

    The God of the Bible knows the end from the beginning (see Isaiah 46) and he only knows what’s he is doing and why. Just because you or I might not be able to make sense of it sometimes doesn’t take away from how right it is. If there was an Amalakite child who would grow up to be different, God wouldn’t have commanded what he did. But the point of fact is that even those who are the recipients of all of God’s signs and wonders, as were the Israelites, most often choose death rather than life. If we take the numbers as recorded in Scripture, out of those who left Egypt, 0.0013% (if I remember my calculations correctly) chose life, and the rest died in the wilderness. That would be like taking the entire population of California and only finding about 130 people who choose life.

    Life itself is a gift. God didn’t have to give anyone life. 99.99% of people squander that gift and choose a life that is at odds with their creator and leads to death. If you look around the world today nearly half the population of the globe, over 3 million people, survive on $2.50 a day. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Violence, greed, injustice and cruelty is a constant factor in many people’s lives. That’s what this world has chosen and the Amalakites, instead of choosing love, kindness and compassion chose war, crime and hatred. In fact a case can be made that God was merciful in sparing their children and infants growing up in such an abhorrent society and being made into the same image and likeness.

    God told Abram that he would wait 400 years to judge the Amorites. He gave them 400 years. That’s like going back in time to 1619, exactly 400 years ago, the year when African slaves were first brought to the American continent. God could have squished those slave owners immediately but he is patient and kind and never brings immediate judgment, no matter how abhorrent the actions of individuals and groups are. He gives man the gift of life, freedom to choose. He is the furthest thing from a tyrant. But mankind throws those gifts back in his face time and time again.

  205. This is the reality as per your book that you need to get your head around:
    God created(Him being the first Cause) us and let everything afterwards to transpire including the sacrifice of His son and everything in between(all the evil and all the atrocities under the authority of God), and after His son to come one day and save a few that believed in spite of being hardened by Him, and other that are saved because He hardened those and then throw all the unbelievers in hell with demons to be punished by his just nature with fire and brimstone and worms and gnashing of teeth, because He wants(not needs) people to believe on him out of their own free will. You must be blind not to see the paradox in the free will/hardening heart statements in the bible and its backed up by, “Who hath resisted His will”

    What was/is this gods purpose/intention:

    Rom 9:17 and 22

    Gods wants to show His wrath and to make His power known and make His name to be declared! There again I get the character of a dictator.

    also

    Eph 3:10

    What is the Mystery(past and present) all about??
    He wants all men to see the fellowship of the mystery, but what is and was Gods primary intention here:

    He wants to make His wisdom known by us.

    As we say so many times, its not about us, its about God!

    But I also want to touch on 2 very curious notions:

    Rom 9:21 and 22
    First:
    He likens us to clay and God to a potter, very known verses. Remember he could have used many other analogies known at the time, and these are there to clarify objectives and in this case my glorious relationship with my eternal father.
    But is that all that God has made in me, a POT, no logic, emotion, feeling, including faith, etc. So you would say we are not robots and God does not want that. With respect, it would be an upgrade if I were to use this analogy.
    But the very next verse poses an invitation to logic/reason. What if. Huh ?? God wants to assert his logical reasoning on me but I am not allowed to think further, because I’m a POT and he is the potter with the only mind to think for me. So how/what did God think?

    Secondly:
    God caused all (because nothing would exist if not by Him) and still causes all and knows all and can do all and is in fact all. Hence His name “I Am”
    As a POT I am asked to take account and think it through good and proper when I want to do build a tower or make war: As in Luke 14:27 – 35

    These are used again as analogies to my free decision to follow Him in Faith (which because of what I have said and proven by the word, is not free), never the less.
    God implores me to use my mind and reason to make an account logically of that which is at my disposal.

    Lets do the same with creation as it stands, not with any romanticized feelings:

    1. God and he alone decides he will make the universe and the earth and animals and man, the latter with a free will (lets exclude above arguments).
    2. He foreknows that man will sin and cause utter destruction to dawn on all of creation and the soul of man.
    3. He foreknows, that because of point 1 and 2, he will have to condemn and judge his son because of mankind’s sin. I include point 1 because what happened happened and could not have happened in another manner, because with God chance does not exist.
    4. He also foreknows that this earth with all in it will be destroyed
    5. He foreknows that according to the word few will accept His salvation and go to heaven and all of its promised euphoria in another place where seemingly no sin will exist but we will still have this free will. So nobody really knows what could be expected, sounds like a possible fall all over again….
    6. He foreknows that most souls will go to everlasting perpetual destruction and just punishment to be rendered for not believing. And just to put it in context. If we use Israel as example read Rom 9:27 and onward. If Israel be only a few, what is to be said of the gentiles. It would account for millions and millions of souls in everlasting fire. I don’t know how big heaven will be, but it will pale into insignificance to hell with all of its smoke and screams.
    7. He foreknows that all of his creation he will destroy
    8. He foreknows all of this, but at least his wisdom and power and wrath and his name is declared. What god is this that you serve that has such an uneasy vanity?

    So, do we conclude this to be a good plan to build, for not a human but an omniscient omnipotent benevolent creator God.
    Common sense would say: Why Start at all because at that moment before point 1 this god was the only one to know all of this would befall so many many souls and myself.
    The only 2 persons to justify such a plan would be a vindictive dictator God and a person given over to a depraved selfish inhuman heart and mind.
    As for me, these and many other legitimate issues stand in the way of me excepting the Bibles reality of life and love and peace

  206. It doesn’t matter. Listen to yourself. You are defending the murder of babies. You’re a monster.

  207. So, your argument is that if god does it, it must be moral. If god commands it, it is a sin NOT to do it.

    Rather…if you THINK god commands it, it is a sin not to.

    How nice to know that you are just one audible hallucination away from killing babies.

  208. It does matter. You’re simply showing your utter ignorance of what the Bible says about God, his character and his purpose. He’s your creator; you really should listen to him.

  209. Either you’re purposefully acting stupid, have no clue whatsoever what the Bible says, or really are stupid. Anyone who thinks a god commands them to do something immoral would be stupid too. Do you honestly think a rational person would respond to “audible hallucinations”? You really need to give up this “murdering babies” nonsense. The Bible never commands it. God never commanded it. And he never will. He is righteous and just.

  210. I guess you’re not getting the point. A rational person would not kill a baby at all for any reason. Anyone who would or who says they would should be institutionalized (yes, that means you).

    Here’s the funny thing about hallucinations, when you have them, you don’t know they aren’t real. So, the perception of a hallucination where God tells you to kill your children, and an actual order from god to kill your children would be exactly the same in the mind of a person who is having a hallucination.

    The Son of Sam believed his neighbor’s dog was commanding him to kill, so he did.

    In 2004, Deanna Laney killed two of her children and maimed the third because god told her to.

    In 2015 Marie J. Chishahayo allowed her nine year old son to kill her two year old daughter because she thought god told him to do so.

    In 2017 Mark Hambrick killed his daughter because god told him to do it.

    In 2016 Tamara Butler killed her six year old daughter because voices told her the daughter was possessed by demons

    In 2001 Andrea Yates killed her five children because she thought Satan was inside of her and she wanted to save them from hell.

    You have to evaluate each case like these independently, because to you, killing a child when god commands it is not only moral, it’s obligatory. So you have to evaluate each case to determine whether the killer was crazy or was really following god’s orders.

    My way is easier, I just say, “murdering babies is always wrong.”

    By the way, the legal definition of insanity is not being able to tell right from wrong. I think you qualify. You literally have argued that sometimes killing babies is the right thing to do. Your religious zeal has driven you insane because you no longer can determine what is right and wrong. I mean, c’mon man, killing babies? That’s an easy one.

  211. YOU “Do you honestly think a rational person would respond to “audible hallucinations”?”

    No. I think only a mentally ill person would hear a voice telling them to murder children and believe it was God.

    When I read the news about a parent murdering their child because God told them to, it’s relatively easy for me to assess the situation. That person was legally insane. They were unable to distinguish fantasy from reality.

    When you hear the news, you have to evaluate on a case by case basis. After all, in your little world, god sometimes tells people to murder their children. You have to determine whether the act was moral based on whether or not god actually gave the order.

    My way is so much easier. Killing babies is always wrong. It’s a little scary that you can’t say the same thing.

    You can’t say it is always wrong to murder a baby. Think about that. Your religion teaches you that killing children is sometimes not only justified, but mandatory.

    You’re sick.

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