A Response to Slaughter of the Canaanites

By K.R. Bellew

 

 

The following is a critique of an article that defends genocide in the Bible. There are 20 or more cities in the Old Testament that are described as being completely destroyed by the attacking Israelites, killing every man, woman and child.

Below, I show why the author is completely wrong and profoundly misled morally. The article that I'm critiquing is found at the following URL:

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/slaughter-of-the-canaanites

 

On Facebook, I was added to a Facebook group called ExUPCers because I used to be a part of this religious organization (United Pentecostal Church). Many who posted in the group told of their reasons for leaving the UPC. The following was my post on why I left.

I didn't leave the UPC (United Pentecostal Church). I left Christianity. I feel that few things on this planet cause more division than those who believe they have a holy book. It has divided my family, our country, our world. It's evil in my opinion. I could also no longer believe in a holy book that claims god commanded his people to commit genocide and gave them laws on how to keep slaves and other atrocities. It's just immoral...the lot of it. We are better than that.

Most of those in the group are still Christian, and some are long-time friends. Lisa, who left the UPC but who is still a Christian, suggested that I read a response to my objections that was written by theologian Dr. William Lane Craig. I read it.

The Old Testament is the foundation of Christianity. It gives us the doctrine of original sin and the laws of Moses. Therefore, I want to respond point-by-point to Dr. Craig's article on the genocide of the Canaanites. By "Canaanites," Dr. Craig means the 20 or so nations that were positioned in the land of Canaan, which, as the story claims, was promised to the Israelites by God. In other words, these were the people they had to remove if they were to take possession of the land.


My main contention

My main contention is that the atrocities of the Old Testament prove that the Old Testament could not have come from a supreme being. The miracles, laws and stories of Moses either came from the direct guidance of a supreme being or from men with under-developed morality. How can we know? I contend that because our modern morality is so far more advanced the morality of the Old Testament, it's proof that it was written by men, and only men.

If a supreme being spoke directly to Moses and Joshua as claimed, we would expect the words and commands to reflect an advanced morality. We would expect a supreme being to correct antiquated thinking that treated women like property, wrote laws on how to keep slaves, and believed that killing children by sword or stoning was ethically defensible. Instead, we find a much less evolved morality, one that reflected the morality of uninspired, bronze-age political writers, and one that was far less evolved than ours today. For example, in Joshua 7, there's a story of a man who steals spoil during a battle, and the man's punishment is to watch his children being stoned to death and then he is also stoned to death (Joshua 7:24-26). How can these types of stories not cause any moral person to dismiss the bible as a source for moral code, let alone a source of truth? Jesus said he came to fulfill the laws of Moses. Therefore, if the books of Moses fall, original sin falls; the story of creation can't be trusted, the foundation of the New Testament crumbles, and all of it falls apart. It's either true or it's made up. I say God commanding genocide, slavery, the stoning of children for a father's crime and misogyny prove it is made up. It's all from the minds of men, not from a morally advanced supreme being.

I made a video examining this question. I invite you to watch the video here: TalkingTimeline.com

Kenny's video on Morality as a Guide for Truth

 

Kenny's review of Dr. Craig's examination of genocide in the bible

 

Dr. Craig starts out by claiming the following:

The Pentateuch itself contains the Ten Commandments, one of the greatest of ancient moral codes, which has shaped Western society. Even the stricture "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" was not a prescription of vengeance but a check on excessive punishment for any crime, serving to moderate violence.

Dr. Craig argues that the Ten Commandments are one of the greatest moral codes and they were meant to put a check on excessive punishment for any crime.

This is just not true. The liberal use of the death penalty as a punishment for breaking the commandments shows a very harsh and vengeful god.  The punishment for breaking most of the Ten Commandments was death.  That's a far cry from putting a check on excessive punishment.

The following shows the commandment and the punishment for breaking it.

10 Commandments

 

The punishment for most commandments is the death penalty in the OT. Dr. Craig is fantastically wrong in his estimation that the Ten Commandments put a check on excessive punishment. This is also another reason we should abhor these commandments being posted in our court houses. Besides promoting one religion above others, there are graphically immoral in their execution.

The Ten Commandments are also not a great advancement in morality. The first four don't deal with morality at all. They are religious laws. The remaining laws reflect the same type of rules all governing societies create given 10 minutes to come up with a list, except Yahweh throws in the death penalty for almost every infraction. If the rules were provided by a supreme being, you'd think you'd get great moral advancements like equal rights, equal treatment of women, abolishment of slavery, not killing neighboring towns so you can take their land and property; things like that.

Also, the fact that Moses gave the command Thou shalt not murder, and then turned around and murdered the men, women and children of the Midianites (Num 31) proves he was xenophobic toward other nations, and his compassion only extended to other Israelites. He absolutely commanded the death of any person who didn't worship Yahweh- Deuteronomy 17:2-7; Deuteronomy 13:1-18.

Once again, I say, if there is a supreme being, this God would never deal out the death penalty to humans who believed in a different religion, and certainly not for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36). However, a religion from politicians with a bronze-age morality might write a political history like we see in the Old Testament. Which is more probable?

Dr. Craig continues...

So then what is Yahweh doing in commanding Israel's armies to exterminate the Canaanite peoples? It is precisely because we have come to expect Yahweh to act justly and with compassion that we find these stories so difficult to understand. How can He command soldiers to slaughter children?


Seriously? Has he even read the bible? Up to this point in the bible, we have absolutely not come to expect the Old Testament God to act compassionately. This is the God who supposedly killed the world in a flood, and then when earthlings were starting to recover and build a great city, this God cursed people and made them have different languages so they would stop building the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:5-8). Vengeance was Yahweh's modus operandi. Jesus H. Christ, "Hellfire" was his middle name. Before the genocide of the various Canaanite nations, God killed thousands to millions of people due to behavior, religious belief or nationality. There is nothing compassionate about that.

Here's a good rule of thumb for determining if some horrible act that is attributed to a supreme being is true. Ask yourself, if you were God, would you do that? If your mom was God, would she do that? Or, would story writers with fertive imaginations invent the stories like so many fantastic stories of of gods and men?

 

Horrible things God supposedly did before crossing the Jordan to slaughter the Canaanite cities

 

 

And what Moses did to those poor, little Midianite girls is one of the most horrific things ever documented. First, he sees that the soldiers have returned with mothers and children. Instantly, Moses orders the execution of the mothers and boy babies and children (Numbers 31:17). This leaves thousands of little girls who will be forced to endure a virginity test to decide whether or not they live.

Numbers 31:14-18
14 Moses became angry with the commanders of the army, the officers of thousands and the officers of hundreds, who came back from the battle. 15 Moses said to them, "Have you let all the women live? 16 These very women, on Balaam's advice, made the Israelites break faith with the Lord in the affair at Peor, so there was a plague among the Lord's community. 17 Now kill every male child and every female who has known a man intimately by sleeping with him. 18 But all the young girls who have not known a man intimately by sleeping with him, spare for yourselves.

Moses commands that the girls all be checked to see which are virgins, and any little girl not passing the test of virginity is to be killed. Can you imagine the horror those girls would have endured? I can only imagine what the virginity test was, but the story says the girls were instantly killed if they couldn't pass the test for virginity!  This is barbaric enough, but also notice the primitive idea that a woman's worth is somehow debased if she has had sex.  I guarantee you that you won't find a man's worth questioned in this way in the Old Testament, unless his escapade offends another man.

The 32,000 young ladies who passed the virginity test (Num. 31:35) would face a fate worse than death, taking the little girls and doling them out as property to the various men in the tribes. It's obvious that they were destined as sexual objects, since their virginity was the only thing that kept them alive. This is nothing short of kidnapping and rape. 

Child Bride - Faiz Mohammed, 40, and Ghulam Haider, 11

Child Bride - Faiz Mohammed, 40, and Ghulam Haider, 11.
The men who wrote the bible had the same mentality toward women as the man you see in this photo. The girls had no choice who they married or how gross the man was.

If you don't believe that they were destined to be sex objects, you might be shocked to know that Moses enacted a law that if soldiers saw an attractive girl among the captives, the soldiers could kidnap the young girl (she'd have to be young to ensure virginity), force her into Israeli attire, force her to marry him and then have sex with her (raping her). She had no choice; she was property, and if you think she would do this willingly after seeing her family massacred, you are fooling yourself. Another crazy thing about the law was that if the soldier was displeased after sex, he could release her and she would no longer be his wife or property. Releasing her and not re-selling her was the height of their moral thinking on the matter.

If the following verse doesn't solidify that the bible was written by perverted old men versus a god, I don't know that anything will. The following sounds like something from the Silence of the Lambs.

Deuteronomy 21:10-13
10 When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 15 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

In addition, this same language is used when the Benjamites (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) didn't have enough women for wives. To solve this, the Israelites attacked the town of Jabesh Gilead and killed all the men, women and children, but spared all of the virgin girls, which were given to the Benjamites as wives (Judges 21:10). Unfortunately, they still didn't have enough girls for wives, so they hid in fields and kidnapped girls from a festival in Shiloh (Judges 21:20-21).

 

11 "This is what you are to do," they said. "Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin. " 12 They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.

20 So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, "Go and hide in the vineyards 21 and watch. When the girls of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, then rush from the vineyards and each of you seize a wife from the girls of Shiloh and go to the land of Benjamin.

This is nothing short of kidnapping and forcing these girls into sexual submission.

Can you imagine if one of our soldiers did this? Can you imagine what we would think if our government enacted a law allowing this?  We would think they had lost their minds. We would think that this type of thinking was from primitive men! Why, then, do people think the bible is from anything else?


This was the fate of those Midianite girls. Their parents killed. Their kid bothers, older sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins all slaughtered before their eyes. The sibling babies were probably pulled from their arms and slain by sword, all while these little girls waited to have their virginity tested. If you can defend the above actions to maintain that the OT is from a morally-advanced God, it is beyond my comprehension, and to expect any moral person to be a part of a religion that would defend this is asking the moon. I think most people are just ignorant of these things being in the bible. How can anyone be a Christian knowing that these things are in their holy book?


No, Dr. Craig, the God of the OT was not known for his compassion before Joshua crossed the Jordan and began his genocidal march against the nations of Canaan. Dr. Craig is wrong again.

 

Dr. Craig continues:

Now before attempting to say something by way of answer to this difficult question, we should do well first to pause and ask ourselves what is at stake here.  Suppose we agree that if God (who is perfectly good) exists, He could not have issued such a command.  What follows?  That Jesus didn't rise from the dead?  That God does not exist?   Hardly!  So what is the problem supposed to be?

 

Yes, that is exactly what is at stake! If stories of Moses and the creation, and Adam and Eve, and the Mosaic Laws are man-made theology and political hyperbole, it all crumbles. Original sin came from a myth. Then, there is no god who cursed man with original sin so he could send himself to sacrifice himself to appease himself to do away with a problem he made up in the first place! Or, I should say, that men with political motives made up.

If these Old Testament stories are not true, it doesn't mean that there is no god. That is a different discussion. The problem is that if these stories are untrue, then this plan is untrue, this theology is untrue, this version of god is untrue.

There is no proof of the veracity of the New Testament other than the writings that happened decades after the events.  Even the authorship of the writings are mostly disputed. Proof for the supernatural nature of Jesus is very tenuous.  And, If Jesus whole-heartedly accepted these Old Testament events as fact, and the NT claims he did, and Jesus never condemned these atrocities, it proves that he also could not be a supreme being.  Instead, Jesus praised the work of Moses and Joshua every chance he got, even claiming that he came to fulfill the Laws of Moses.

 

Dr. Craig continues:

I've often heard popularizers raise this issue as a refutation of the moral argument for God's existence.  But that's plainly incorrect.  The claim that God could not have issued such a command doesn't falsify or undercut either of the two premises in the moral argument as I have defended it:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.
2. Objective moral values do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
In fact, insofar as the atheist thinks that God did something morally wrong in commanding the extermination of the Canaanites, he affirms premise.  So what is the problem supposed to be?


First, if a supreme being existed, it would not prove that the Old Testament is true. Humanity has dreamed up hundreds of thousands of gods and religions. Many holy books have been written. The only reason you believe this one to be true versus one around the world or one from a different time is because of where and when you were born or what your parents believed.

Second, here, Dr. Craig does not understand the true concern. The fact that the bible says that a god commanded genocide does not cause us to think that supreme beings could not exist. It causes us first to think that—If a god existed, he/she/them would be so morally advanced that the command for genocide would never come. A morally advanced being would correct primitive ideas, correct injustices, and describe laws that advanced peace, not laws that demanded war and genocide. These stories only cause us to dismiss the bible as a potential true revelation of a supreme being.

In addition, to claim that if god does not exist, objective morals don't exist is ludicrous. This is baseless and silly. The idea that moral values require a god is based on what? Nothing, that's what! Humans evolved their morals to help them survive in groups, and the fact that our morals continue to evolve proves this.

The fact that we used to believe slavery was moral and now we do not (no thanks to the bible) shows that our morals have evolved. The fact that we used to treat women like property and didn't let them vote shows that our morals evolve (no thanks to the bible, which says women should remain quiet, ask their husbands to explain things and never teach a male – 1 Cor. 14:34; 1 Tim. 2:12). The fact that until the late 60's we used to forbid interracial couples from marriage shows that our morals have evolved. We are the source of our morals. Not an invisible spirit in the sky.

We shape our morals by social evolution, by humanistic debate and empathy we feel for our fellow humans. We didn't need a god for that. We can be evil without a god, but more important, we can be good without a god. We certainly can be good without the type of god described by Moses. And, in fact, if we treated people the way they did in the bible, we would be an evil bunch indeed.

Dr. Craig continues:

The problem, it seems to me, is that if God could not have issued such a command, then the biblical stories must be false. Either the incidents never really happened but are just Israeli folklore; or else, if they did, then Israel, carried away in a fit of nationalistic fervor, thinking that God was on their side, claimed that God had commanded them to commit these atrocities, when in fact He had not. In other words, this problem is really an objection to biblical inerrancy.

In fact, ironically, many Old Testament critics are sceptical that the events of the conquest of Canaan ever occurred. They take these stories to be part of the legends of the founding of Israel, akin to the myths of Romulus and Remus and the founding of Rome. For such critics the problem of God's issuing such a command evaporates.

 

No, the problem does not evaporate. I agree that the stories are fabrications. Dr. Craig's first assertion is true: If God could not have issued such commands, then the stories must be false. I believe that the stories are the result of political hyperbole. They are the result of a blossoming nation looking for a war god to place fear in the hearts of enemies. The OT was written much later in history than evangelicals believe. The problem is—If the stories are fabrications, so is Moses, the miracles of Moses and Moses' view of creation. So is the entire foundation of Judaism. If the Law was not hobbled together as the bible says, then Jesus was deceived about what he believed, further proving that all of it is a big hoax.  I contend that the profound lack of moral development attributed to divine guidance in the OT proves, without doubt, that it was written only by men, without the divine hand of a supreme being.

 

Dr. Craig continues:

He is certainly not subject to the same moral obligations and prohibitions that we are. For example, I have no right to take an innocent life. For me to do so would be murder. But God has no such prohibition. He can give and take life as He chooses. We all recognize this when we accuse some authority who presumes to take life as "playing God." Human authorities arrogate to themselves rights which belong only to God. God is under no obligation whatsoever to extend my life for another second. If He wanted to strike me dead right now, that's His prerogative.

 

Basically, Dr. Craig is arguing that God is not subject to morality and, since he made the rules, he can break them with impunity. This is like saying that because I made my children, I have the right to kill them. You say, No, it's different. He's God. Really? It's different? If you were a god and could make a process whereby children were born, who grow into sentient beings who love their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, who have hopes and dreams, who know right from wrong—Do you think it would be morally okay to kill these people if you were god? No. Of course it's not right. You know that if you were a god, you would know it was wrong to kill something you created that grew into a sentient being that had experiences and emotions.

To say that your God is not subject to morality and can destroy at will is to deney that your god is capable of empathy. For any being capable of empathy is subject to the moral obligations that empathy brings. If you love little children, you don't kill them with swords.

Dr. Craig says that God can kill what he creates because it's the only way out of saying that God is evil, based on the biblical portrayal of him. The stories in the bible were made up by men who needed a fierce god to scare present and future enemies. It's all a fabrication.

It's wrong to kill an entire nation of people, men, women and children, period. I don't care if you think you're a god or devil. It's wrong and no theological hop scotch is going to change that.


If a preacher said that God told him that Duluth was given to the church of Minneapolis, if only we will go and kill every man, woman and child in Duluth, would you ever in a billion years believe that was from a supreme being? No, of course not. If a preacher said that God said we could make slaves of black people, would you believe he had heard from God? No? Then why don't you dismiss the bible? This is what it claims God said! Just because it's old and culturally engrained doesn't make it true.

Dr. Craig continues:

So the problem isn't that God ended the Canaanites' lives.  The problem is that He commanded the Israeli soldiers to end them.  Isn't that like commanding someone to commit murder?  No, it's not.  Rather, since our moral duties are determined by God's commands, it is commanding someone to do something which, in the absence of a divine command, would have been murder.  The act was morally obligatory for the Israeli soldiers in virtue of God's command, even though, had they undertaken it on their on initiative, it would have been wrong.

On divine command theory, then, God has the right to command an act, which, in the absence of a divine command, would have been sin, but which is now morally obligatory in virtue of that command.

 

Yes, actually that’s exactly like committing murder. Ask every judge who has heard a murderer claim that God told him or her to kill. They are convicted of murder or branded as criminally insane.  When you heard that Andrea Yates said that God told her to kill her children, did you think, even for a second, “Wait, it happened a lot in the bible, maybe God did tell her to kill her kids? If he did, then it would be okay.” No, you know this is crazy talk.


However, the real issue is that a morally advanced being would never command this atrocity. A supreme being would have to be more morally advanced than us. We know this is an evil, evil deed. Because we know this, it makes us far morally superior to the god of this story.

Again, is it more probable that a supreme being asked people to take a sword and kill babies or that ancient men invented the stories?


If you ask people to think of the most evil person who ever lived, most will say “Hitler.” Why? --Because he committed genocide.  Our moral empathy tells us that this is the most evil thing humans can do to each other, regardless of the justification.


What we have here, then, is a holy book with an example of a god telling people to murder whole civilizations, men, women, children, babies and elderly people, in order to take their land and homes.  Think about this! We have in our culture’s holy book an example that--Sometimes god wants us to kill large groups of people because they are not of the correct religion, and we deserve to take what they have because of it. What a wonderful thing to have on our planet.  Yes, I want to be a part of that –not! We’re better than that.

Dr. Craig continues:

All right; but isn't such a command contrary to God's nature?  Well, let's look at the case more closely.  It is perhaps significant that the story of Yahweh's destruction of Sodom--along with his solemn assurances to Abraham that were there as many as ten righteous persons in Sodom, the city would not have been destroyed--forms part of the background to the conquest of Canaan and Yahweh's command to destroy the cities there.  The implication is that the Canaanites are not righteous people but have come under God's judgement.

 

Yes, if a supreme being existed, we would expect this crime to be contrary to its nature. But, now Dr. Craig is going to try to use the argument that these people were just so evil, they deserved to have their children's heads smashed against the stones. The truth is, the story portrays these people as normal people who were hard-working enough to build cities and create government. They had hopes and dreams. They had children and families and traditions. They had their own religion. The real problem was they occupied Promised Land, and grew up worshipping a different god, so their children had to die. That's the crux of the story. Nearly every religious person believes in the religion of their parents, and that was their crime. For that, they must die.

However, Moses claims that God gave him a formula for which cities everyone had to die and which ones genocide was optional. Basically, any cities that were not within the radius of the defined "Promise Land" could escape genocide. However, all cities inside the "Promise Land" radius were to have every breathing person killed, including women and children.

The real reason Moses says God wants every man, woman and child killed: If they lived in Promised Land, they had to die!

First, the fate of cities NOT in Promised Land

10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

Second, the fate of cities IN Promised Land

16 However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God.

We can see that the promise land people were killed for their land and homes. It less to do with how evil they were, and everything to do with where they lived. However, even if the inhabitants of the cities were committing human sacrifice, you don't commit human sacrifice to save people from committing human sacrifice!  You don't commit murder against children because there are is some forbidden sex act happening in their parent's homes. You don't commit a much more horrific crime of genocide because the inhabitants are of a differing religion! Call a spade a spade. This is pure evil. It's as evil a thing as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot did.

 

Dr. Craig continues:

By setting such strong, harsh dichotomies God taught Israel that any assimilation to pagan idolatry is intolerable. It was His way of preserving Israel's spiritual health and posterity. God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel's being set exclusively apart for God.

 

Dr. Craig is saying it's good to kill children to make a strong impression.  He needs to say this out loud to himself, so he can hear how horrible it sounds.  People get so passionate about defending their religious ideas that they will swallow anything, and even defend genocide.


He's also saying it is noble to kill these children because they might grow up retaining some memories of their parent's religion and that knowledge might infect the Israelites. I mean, seriously, do I even need to point out how crazy and immoral this is?  It's better to kill children than…than what?  Hearing other theological ideas?  I feel myself growing very angry right now. I'm angry that any moral person could actually write these words and not want to commit himself to an insane asylum for thinking such evil thoughts about killing women and children.  This is proof that people will do almost anything to defend their religious views.

 

Dr. Craig continues:

Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

 

So, basically, if we were to carpet bomb Tibet right now, killing all of their children, it would be the noblest thing we could do, because at least the children would be saved from hell. If anyone thinks that is honorable, I'm ashamed to be on the same planet as you. That is the most sick, perverted thing imaginable. This Dr. Craig needs to have his head examined.

 

Dr. Craig continues:

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.


First, it had little to do with whethr or not the Canaanites were corrupt. They were on god's hit list regardless of their moral state, and, even if they were immoral, you don't commit an even more immoral act to fix a less immoral issue.


Second, I'm glad he at least realized the immorality committed against the Israelite soldiers. However, Dr. Craig did not succeed in removing culpability for killing the adults. In the story, these people did not pose a threat of aggression. Their only crime was that they were of a different religion and they were on land that a supposed god promised to give to the attackers. It's just an evil story of murder for greed. Period.

Dr. Craig continues:

But then, again, we're thinking of this from a Christianized, Western standpoint. For people in the ancient world, life was already brutal. Violence and war were a fact of life for people living in the ancient Near East. Evidence of this fact is that the people who told these stories apparently thought nothing of what the Israeli soldiers were commanded to do (especially if these are founding legends of the nation). No one was wringing his hands over the soldiers' having to kill the Canaanites; those who did so were national heroes.

 

Now Dr. Craig drags out the ol' It was okay because everybody was doing it – argument.  This doesn't work. The whole point was that the story claims to have divine guidance every step of the way. The argument is that because the story says that god commanded genocide, the story is wrong about being guided by a supreme being. It was supposedly a divine mind vastly superior to humans calling the shots. This argument of Dr. Craig fails as well.

 

Dr. Craig continues:
Moreover, my point above returns. Nothing could so illustrate to the Israelis the seriousness of their calling as a people set apart for God alone. Yahweh is not to be trifled with. He means business, and if Israel apostasizes the same could happen to her. As C. S. Lewis puts it, "Aslan is not a tame lion.

 

Yes, Hitler made that point by committing genocide, too. The world still recognized it as one of the most evil things to ever occur in our history. Congratulations. I feel the same way about the Israelites as I feel about Hitler. If Jesus came to fulfill the Law of Moses, it's similar to him coming to fulfill the laws of Hitler. Just great.

 

Dr. Craig continues:

Now how does all this relate to Islamic jihad? Islam sees violence as a means of propagating the Muslim faith. Islam divides the world into two camps: the dar al-Islam (House of Submission) and the dar al-harb (House of War). The former are those lands which have been brought into submission to Islam; the latter are those nations which have not yet been brought into submission. This is how Islam actually views the world!

By contrast, the conquest of Canaan represented God's just judgement upon those peoples. The purpose was not at all to get them to convert to Judaism! War was not being used as an instrument of propagating the Jewish faith. Moreover, the slaughter of the Canaanites represented an unusual historical circumstance, not a regular means of behavior.

 

Dr. Craig fails to make a distinction between the two. The Israelites used genocide to bring their enemies into submission. They made slaves of the survivors, another feather in their crown of morality.

You can't call it "God's Judgement" and mean, this is the way a supreme being would act, when, in fact, the behavior is far morally inferior than those being judged. It doesn't work. The thinking is broken.

 

Dr. Craig continues:

The problem with Islam, then, is not that it has got the wrong moral theory; it's that it has got the wrong God. If the Muslim thinks that our moral duties are constituted by God's commands, then I agree with him. But Muslims and Christians differ radically over God's nature. Christians believe that God is all-loving, while Muslims believe that God loves only Muslims. Allah has no love for unbelievers and sinners. Therefore, they can be killed indiscriminately. Moreover, in Islam God's omnipotence trumps everything, even His own nature. He is therefore utterly arbitrary in His dealing with mankind. By contrast Christians hold that God's holy and loving nature determines what He commands.

The question, then, is not whose moral theory is correct, but which is the true God?

 

Clearly, the question was not-- "Which god is correct?" The question is whether a morally superior supreme being would ask the servants of either religion to commit these atrocities or would that come from the morally underdeveloped minds of men with political ambition?  I'm believing the latter because my morals, like yours, are sufficiently advanced to see this, as any clear-thinking person should.  Neither the holy books of the Jews, Christians or Muslims are from a supreme being. This should be very clear to anyone with a decent sense of morality.

 

Summary

 

What is more believable? That a supreme being would select a single tribe of people and tell them to kill everyone, including women and children, in some twenty or so cities so that this tribe could take away their land and property, or that uninspired bronze-age men, later in history, invented these stories to provide a national history to an emerging nation of people?

The latter is more believable. When we also add other moral problems in the Old Testment, like slavery and treating women like propery, we quickly see a pattern of a less-evolved morality that reflected what you would expect from laws and commandments that were invented by men of that time period.

As mentioned, slavery in the Old Testament is an example of primitive morality. The OT has laws on indentured servants, which applied to Hebrew people, and it had laws on how to buy foreign slaves from slave traders (Leviticus 25:44-45). They were two different things, but slavery did exist, and Moses wrote laws about how to own slaves.

Another example is the treatment of women, who could be sold like property. Fathers could sell daughters, so that the daughters became another man's property to do with as he pleased. If a Hebrew man married while he was an indentured servant, and his time for release from servitude came, he could leave, but the woman and any children born while being a servant remained the property of the master. These laws supposedly came from the same supreme being who commanded genocide.

My point is that the less-evolved morality in the Old Testament reflected the morality of the day. It was not from a supreme being. None of it was. The stories are all invented. If the stories are invented, the New Testament is based on mythology, just like the religions of so many other cultures you don't believe in.

You don't need this fake religion to be a good person. You are better than this.

Not a bad person