Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The slaughter of the Canaanites – was it justified?

One consequence of preaching through the Bible book by book, as our church does, is that you can’t escape considering the difficult passages.

And so last Sunday we considered Joshua, chapters 8-12. That’s the bit that deals with the slaughter of the Canaanites.

In Joshua 8 Israel attacks the city of Ai and kills ‘12,000 men and women…’, ‘ all the people of Ai’.

In chapter 10 Joshua kills five Amorite kings – from Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon – and hangs their bodies on five trees before throwing them into a cave.

Then he proceeds to destroy the cities of Makkedah, Libnah, Gezer, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron and Debir, on each occasion leaving ‘no survivors’.

The accounts of similar military victories continue throughout chapter 11 and 12, which end with a list of 31 Kings West of the Jordan who (along with the residents of their cities) Joshua put to the sword.

Two summaries of these battles within these chapters leave us in no doubt that it was God himself who ordered this destruction:

‘So Joshua struck at the whole land: the highlands, the arid southern plains, the lowlands, the slopes, and all their kings. He left no survivors. He wiped out everything that breathed as something reserved for God, exactly as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded.’ (Joshua 10:40)

‘So Joshua took the whole land, exactly as the Lord had promised Moses. Joshua gave it as a legacy to Israel according to their tribal shares. Then the land had a rest from war.’ (Joshua 11:23)

So the inescapable conclusion is that the Bible teaches both that these cities were wiped out with no survivors left and that it was God who authorised it.

Many people say that they could never believe in nor worship a god who would authorise these sorts of ‘atrocities’. Richard Dawkins, in his book ‘the God Delusion’ describes the god of the Old Testament as a ‘control freak, ethnic cleanser and malevolent bully’.

But it is not just atheists who reject these passages. Steve Chalke, in an article published in Christianity magazine last week (longer version here), cites these incidents as one of the reasons that he no longer believes that the Bible is the Word of God.

So how do evangelicals, who believe that the Bible is literally ‘God-breathed’, explain these scriptures?

We were reminded last week that the story of the Canaanite conquests gives us one mistake to avoid and three characteristics of God to understand.

We should first avoid thinking that the Canaanites were innocent and neutral.

On 16 October 1946 a man called John Clarence Woods killed ten men and got off scot free. Woods was a United States Army Master Sergeant who, with Joseph Malta, carried out the executions of ten former top leaders of the German Third Reich after they were sentenced to death at the Nuremberg Trials. These men were directly responsible for the horrors of the Nazi holocaust.

Was Woods a mass murderer? Some might say so, but many would say he was just an instrument of justice doing what justice decreed had to be done. At the time it was argued that these men deserved to die. 

The Bible argues that the Canaanites also deserved to die. Leviticus 18 and Deuteronomy 18:9-13 outline the ‘detestable ways’ of the Canaanites - sorcery, witchcraft, idolatry, every kind of sexual immorality and child sacrifice on an industrialised scale. In the eyes of God these were sins equivalent in severity to those of the authors of the Nazi holocaust.

This tells us first that God is a god of justice. He does not tolerate evil for ever but stamps it out. On this occasion it involved wiping these nations off the face of the earth. The instrument he used was the nation of Israel. This does not mean that Israel was good and these nations bad. The Bible makes that abundantly clear in passages like Deuteronomy 7:1-11 and 9:1-6.

‘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’ (Deuteronomy 9:5).

Israel was simply the means God used to execute his justice. John Woods was not perfect either. But he was the means of justice when it came to the Nazis. It is not a virtue to tolerate evil. Justice must be done and someone acting under authority has to administer it.

Second it shows us God’s patience. The Canaanites ‘detestable ways’ were not some momentary departure from a life of virtue but an established pattern that had persisted unchanged for centuries without any indication of coming to an end. Thousands of innocent children had been slaughtered and the real cause of this was these nations’ idolatry. God had delayed his judgement for this period giving them every opportunity to change, but they had opted not to. In fact his extreme patience had led him to leave his own people Israel as slaves in Egypt for over 400 years out of mercy to the Canaanites. As he said to Abraham hundreds of years earlier:

”Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and ill-treated there… In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure”. (Genesis 15:13-16)

Third it displays God’s grace in that he gives us what we do not deserve. Just as God delayed judgement on the Canaanites out of mercy, so also he gave Israel the land of Canaan which they did not deserve. And with Israel he preserved some of the Canaanites, like the prostitute Rahab from Jericho, who ended up being absorbed into the Israelite nation and becoming a human ancestor of Jesus Christ himself (Matthew 1:5). That’s grace!

So the slaughter of the Canaanites was not ethnic cleansing motivated by racial discrimination. It was rather the careful, fair, settled action of a God of justice, patience and grace.  

But we also need to be clear that the slaughter of the Canaanites was a one-off event never to be repeated. The usual pattern Israel was to follow in war (Deuteronomy 20:1-20) was to make their enemies an offer of peace (20:10). War ensued only if this was rejected. The slaughter of the Canaanites is not justification for some kind of Jewish, let alone Christian, jihad.

If war is ever judged necessary it must be waged justly. And Christians as individuals are called to love their enemies, to pray for those who persecute them and to carry the Gospel of peace. This passage is absolutely no precedent for genocide nor a justification for people claiming a divine right to similar actions today. Jesus told his disciples to put away their swords.

Finally, if we look at this story in the wider context of salvation history (the big story of the Bible) it begins to make sense.

In reality none of us is innocent. All human beings are sinners who fall short of God’s standards and deserve his judgement (Romans 3:23). Justice must be done, but God’s mercy (delaying judgement) and grace (giving us what we do not deserve) lead him to look for a better way that both deals with sin and also preserves us.

If you can see any justification at all in the slaughter of the Canaanites then you are starting to understand something of the seriousness of sin and the justice, mercy and grace of God - key starting points for considering what is the real heart of the Christian faith.

But that is to bring us back to the deeper question of why Jesus Christ had to die on a Roman cross, a question that I deal with elsewhere on this blog

202 comments:

  1. What is the moral status of the Canaanite children? You say that the slaughter of the Canaanites was an act of justice by god for various crimes including "child sacrifice".

    If the Canaanite children were as wicked and deserving of death as the rest of the Canaanites, then it's not a crime that can be held to the Canaanites' account. If child sacrifice is wrong, because children are innocent and their killing cannot be justified, then the Israelites were wrong to kill the Canaanite children.

    Why are we even debating whether killing children is right or wrong? The answer is self-evident to anyone who isn't twisting themselves into moral knots trying to justify a story of barbaric ancient crimes.

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    1. As I explain above, none of us is innocent. All fall short of God's standard. All deserve not only death but eternal judgement. We are all sinners by nature and eventually by choice. Even children.

      Joshua's act in this unique circumstance was justified because he was acting as God's instrument of judgement under God's direct command.

      These are fundamental teachings of Christianity upheld by Jesus Christ himself. In fact the very reason Jesus went to the cross was to save us from the judgement after death that we all deserve. Read the link to the reason Jesus had to die at the end of the article above.

      I'd be interested to know on what basis you think that God has no right to judge us? Can you explain this?

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    2. It is easily explained.

      The reason that we think your God has no right to judge us is the EXACT SAME reason that you don't think Thor has the right to judge you. It is the same reason why you don't think that over 4000+ separate gods through the ages have the right to judge you.

      (hint: because they don't exist. Our list of excluded gods just happens to have 1 more members than yours)

      Believe it or not, many folk don't think that children are born sinners, and the fact that you actually believe that makes us pity you and your cult.

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    3. Oh I see. Of course your argument is built on the premise that the God who is creator and judge of the whole universe (unlike Thor and the other 4,000 who are merely imaginary or created beings like us) does not actually exist.

      But he does in fact exist, has revealed himself clearly in history through his dealings with ancient Israel and in the person of Jesus Christ, and will be both your judge and my judge.

      That's why it is so important to grasp the facts taught so clearly in this passage about the seriousness of sin and the justice, mercy and grace of God.

      You can choose to reject them of course and cling to your own self-made imaginary world view instead but it will not help you on the day of judgement.

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    4. An omnipotent and omniscient God who knew beforehand that the canaanites would do evil but still created them only to gleefully encourage the Israelites to wipe them out(including children). Surely we cannot, even to lowly human human standards, then call such a God a righteous, holy, good being.
      A God who sent bears to kill 42 kids because they made fun of a bald prophet (2 Kings 2:23-24) is surely not what you would call 'fair' or for that matter reasonable.
      Further evidence of the malevolence of this God can be found in his words:
      "Thou shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me" Exodus 20-4-6
      and my favorite
      "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." Isaiah 45:7.
      If you choose to believe that this unjust, conceited, spiteful and vindictive being is your God and you're created in his image, I guess that's your own cup of tea but do not for one second claim that after perpetrating all these evils that he his good and that it's all for a reason. sorry for the lengthy message

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    5. There are two types of people in this world. There are those who acknowledge God, worship him, recognise his right to judge and seek his forgiveness. And there are those who refuse to acknowledge or worship him and judge his character and actions on the basis of their own limited understanding.

      There are those who accept that they are sinners and that they need God's grace and mercy. And there are those who think that they are good and that God is bad. It is pretty clear which category you are currently in.

      Choose to believe what you will and shake your fist at God but realise that you will bear the consequences of your decision.

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    6. Unfortunately I do not find it surprising that Peter Saunder's opponents attack him with with such unreasoning and contradictory ferocity; avoiding his most basic question and attacking the Old Testament for not complying with New Testament standards whilst making it clear that they don't themselves follow NT standards, because I've seen it so often elsewhere.

      Yes, the OT contains a great deal of violence because it is true to life, to the operations of humans. The whole history of mankind is a story of violence. The NT contains violence too, the worst of it being the torture and execution of Jesus Himself, ordered by a soldier, judge, and politician who admitted that his victim was innocent but found it easier to succumb to blood-lust.

      Odd that the Dawkins hawks never seem bothered about that event.

      But more hypocritical is that one never hears them criticise the violence against the followers of Jesus that continues across the world in our own times. Nor do they oppose the killing of babies as yet unborn nor of those sick and old but as yet undead.

      The basic question that Peter Saunders asked was "How do you define "wrong"? Anyone who is prepared to be honest (which excludes most atheists) has to admit that if there is no moral and intelligent Being in control of the universe, then right and wrong are mere human constructs and any one human's construct is as valid as any other. Indeed, in that case humans are all just random accidents of stray particles and have no meaning, purpose, or value at all and, considering the damage they do to each other and their planet, their total destruction would probably be appropriate.

      So the respondent here who is too afraid to reveal his identity cowardly fulminates with horrendous epithets against a God whose non-existence would render all such epithets meaningless.

      All the great conquering armies before the spread of the Christian Gospel - Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Greek, Roman, Aztec, etc - practiced ethnic cleansing as it suited them and would find this discussion worthless. "Why not?" they would say, "This diseased/troublesome/barbaric/unbelieving/whatever people are in our way, so they deserve destruction." It is only the teaching of Jesus and His followers that has changed the perception. Now these atheists have inherited that changed perception and want to tear away the bits that suit them from the overall New Understanding in which they were embedded.

      The Christian Gospel is that God Himself suffered in the person of Jesus with the specific intention of rescuing humans individually from their evil natures and the destruction they bring upon themselves. That is the core, that is where any consideration of Christianity should concentrate, anything else is peripheral.

      Peter Saunders raised a question which troubles Christians somewhat, but for those that don't accept the Gospel it is a meaningless question because atheists have labelled themselves as meaningless.

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    7. Would you rape a child if your god ordered you to, Peter Smith? I certainly wouldn't.

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    8. Right and wrong are easy to define without resorting to "morality" through fiat, Peter. Morality is predicated on whether actions cause suffering or happiness to oneself and/or others. It really is that simple.

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    9. Three questions Winston that your simple utilitarianism raises that I would be interested to hear you answer:

      1. Why is suffering bad and happiness good?
      2. What if the same thing that brings happiness to one person creates suffering for another?
      3. Who qualifies as a person in your view and why?

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    10. 1. Because suffering is bad by definition and happiness is good by definition. Even Christians agree - after all, isn't heaven meant to be a perfect place, free from bliss, without suffering?

      2. There's a simple solution - do not obtain happiness at the expense of others. But I guess that doesn't concern you, Peter, since you have a blank cheque of forgiveness.

      3. Self-awareness. And before you bring up abortion, please be mindful that it's a red herring. If we forced women to carry pregnancies to term, we should also mandate blood and organ donations from the living.

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    11. Is it possible that the inclusion of the children in the slaughter was an act of mercy towards those who would otherwise have been left to fend for themselves? Given that our earthly existence pales into insignificance in the context of eternity, the fact that innocent children have a place in heaven sheds a whole new light on the matter. But to appreciate it, one needs a heavenly hope that comes through faith in the resurrection of Jesus.

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    12. So they were doomed from the start and free will doesn't exist, Straight?

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    13. I don't see life in heaven as a process of being doomed...I call it being saved! It's all too easy for us to live our lives like a fish in a bowl seeing things only from own incredibly narrow and short- lived perspective, thinking all that matters is to make the most of our present circumstances and dreading the net that removes us as the end of everything!...but what if that net is used to transport us to a vast and beautiful ocean full of wonderful things we could never have imagined while sitting on a sideboard in a few litres of water with only a few plastic plants for company??

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    14. So why couldn't your god have simply started and ended creation with heaven? Why use suffering as a means to his goal?

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    15. This is tackled in the book of Job

      Phil

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    16. No it wasn't, Phil. The "explanation" offered by god was not an explanation. It was, essentially, "Shut up, I'm stronger than you, you're not god, so obey me, SLAVE!"

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVgZqnsytJI

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    17. Winston

      I started an answer then realised that your answer is essentially correct although I would not have put it quite like that,

      You see if Job had been saved from evil by his righteousness. then Job would not need God.

      On the sermon on the mount Jesus states time and time again that he says that the poor, the meek, the humble are blessed. Do we strive to be poor, meek or humble then? Possibly. But the point being that the poor the meek and the humble are likely to be the type of person who will put God first in their lives and trust in him for their salvation. Those with power influence and money will trust and often worship these things and feel that God is unnecessary in their lives. A slave is a good analogy except that in Christ we are both so much less than slave and at the same time so much more than a slave.

      BTW I think you see God as a sort of boss. Do this or else etc. Keep the moral rules or else! You cannot truly love God (or anyone) out of fear. Obeying out of fear is not love. Think of your own relationships, love is not built on fear.

      That is why Jesus who took the punishment for our sins was such a revelation. We no longer lived by the law and so many more people were able to move into a much deeper relationship with God as a result.

      Phil

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    18. According to your own bible, Phil, god was responsible for Job's suffering. He gave Satan carte blanche to do anything to him, save end his life (a lot like Peter Saunders wants to do to all Brits).

      Extolling the virtues of humility and austerity is a defeatist attitude that encourages the poor to accept their lot. It's almost incredulously callous and heartless.

      If god wants us to love him sincerely, why would he create a place of eternal torture to use as afterlife blackmail?

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    20. Winston

      "humility and austerity is a defeatist attitude that encourages the poor to accept their lot"

      Been reading Marx again Winston? That was exactly his take also. Funny how Christianity is the most attractive and is growing the fastest amongst the poor. The Christian message is not attractive at all to the rich and powerful, always has been. That is why Christianity is growing at such a fantastic rate worldwide, but generally but not always (There are some exceptions) amongst the poor. The world is becoming more not less religious.

      "If god wants us to love him sincerely, why would he create a place of eternal torture to use as afterlife blackmail"

      Do you desire Heaven Winston? I doubt it. Hell is a place of eternal torture, because it is a place without God. In the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. the Rich man in hell does not desire Heaven, he wants Lazarus to come to him. It is not so much that people are sent to hell as they do not desire heaven as they do not want God.

      Phil

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    21. Christianity is growing among the poor because religions are leeches that cannot survive and prosper without human misery. And Christianity is profoundly attractive and popular among the wealthy. Have you not heard about the prosperity gospel?

      http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2009/03/The-Problem-for-the-Prosperity-Gospel.aspx

      Christianity is also frequently used by politicians who want easy votes and to galvanise parts of their constituents against others.

      If hell is a place of eternal torture, then why can't your god simply snuff non-Christians out of existence? That would be far more humane than torturing them.

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    22. "Christianity is growing among the poor because religions are leeches that cannot survive and prosper without human misery. And Christianity is profoundly attractive and popular among the wealthy. Have you not heard about the prosperity gospel."

      Which way are you going with this one? Presumably if it requires poverty and human misery then it would not work or the rich. It seems to me that you cannot have it both ways.

      "If hell is a place of eternal torture, then why can't your god simply snuff non-Christians out of existence?"

      I am not an expert on Hell (and hope not to be!) presumably there must be some reason for it. My best shot is that hell appeals to non Christians. They don't desire God so they won't desire Heaven.

      BTW the Christian Heaven is not all cream cakes and 100s of virgins you know. The point is that heaven is eternity in the presence of God. Is that what you really desire Winston? If not then heaven is not for you and God is not unfair.

      Phil

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    23. If Christianity was only for the rich, it would have died out centuries ago. The French revolution was one example of Christian entitlement (everyone has what they deserve) taken to its logical conclusion.

      "Religion is regarded by the wise as false, the common folk as true, and the powerful as useful."

      Lucius Annaeus Seneca

      If hell isn't eternal torture, then I couldn't really complain. If heaven isn't eternal bliss, but simply being in god's presence, then count me out.

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    24. Winston

      "The French revolution was one example of Christian entitlement taken to its logical conclusion"

      Winston I do not think that there are large numbers of Historians that would agree with your assertion that the French Revolution was a Christian uprising!

      Read about the percentage of Church leaders that were executed (90%+) and the committee of public safety. Most Historians describe the French Revolution' leaders as being mostly Atheists. Indeed saying that you were a Christian could send you to the Guillotine.

      Hell is the absence of God. God doesn't make it hell the people do. We see a glimpse of what it must be like in states that have tried to severely restrict or stamp out Christianity in the last century. We got a glimpse of what it must be like (e.g. Take Cambodia under Poll Pott)

      Agreed though. Unless God changes your heart, I don't think that anyone would chose Heaven.

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    25. You misunderstood what I said, Phil. I said that the French Revolution was the inevitable RESULT of a society that grew unequal and callous due to Christianity.

      If no one enters heaven because god won't change our hearts, then god is responsible for everyone who ends up burning in hell.

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    26. "the French Revolution was the inevitable RESULT of a society that grew unequal and callous due to Christianity."

      If you say so. The French Revolution was a somehow better outcome for people?

      "If no one enters heaven because god won't change our hearts, then god is responsible for everyone who ends up burning in hell."

      God does not change everyone's hearts. You are correct. The phrase they use in the Bible is opening their eyes. (To chose God)

      Phil

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    27. I'd say that ending up with a democracy is immeasurably preferable to a monarchy.

      Thanks for conceding (in a roundabout way) that god is responsible for sending people to hell. Did you also know that he hardened Pharaoh's heart?

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    28. "I'd say that ending up with a democracy is immeasurably preferable to a monarchy."

      And so 40000 plus people dying was worthwhile to get Napoleon? I thought that you objected to slaughter of the innocents hence the objection to the article. Or is it that slaughter of innocents is only acceptable when you agree with the outcome?

      BTW No I am not a great fan of democracy.

      "Thanks for conceding (in a roundabout way) that god is responsible for sending people to hell."

      My point was that you do not desire heaven anyway unless God intervenes in your life.

      So you are objecting to God stopping you from going where you say you don't want to go?

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    29. Overall, yes. I honestly don't think the monarchy would have willingly abdicated the majority of their power and surrendered it over to the masses without the Revolution. They certainly weren't infants or children as some of the Canaanites (and Amalekies, etc.) were.

      I'm not surprised you dislike democracy. It certainly isn't biblical. God's ideal society was an autocratic theocracy.

      I don't think I could ever enjoy eternity in the presence of an insecure despot. No Stockholm Syndrome for me, no sir.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

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    30. Winston

      It seems that democracies don't even like democracy at the moment (Crimea)

      "I don't think I could ever enjoy eternity in the presence of an insecure despot"
      (God) you say

      I agree, the way your heart is now you would never willingly chose God.

      Because to be able to chose God.

      God first needs to stop you from worshiping yourself.

      Phil


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    31. Winston

      "They certainly weren't infants or children as some of the Canaanites (and Amalekies, etc.) were"

      As I said earlier, you atheists are wining that game. You have killed far far more children in the last 100 years than have been killed in the all of the wars since the beginning of time.

      Phil

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    32. I worship no one, not even myself. How dare you presume to know what I'm thinking.

      If Torquemada had nuclear weapons, he would have made Hitler look like a petty school bully by comparison. Also, none of the genocides that happened in the last century happened in the name of atheism.

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  2. What utter nonsense. Your god is a vicious control freak. Glad to be free from that cult.

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  3. What a kind and gracious "god" sees us stray from his chosen path, and, instead of leading us back on trail, he simply waits and hopes that our design will make us see clearly our faults (our, as in his design). When this fails he then proceeds to have another nation eliminate entire countries; men, women and children.

    How can anyone question such a "divine" father...

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    1. There are some people, who in spite of God's profound mercy and grace (most evident in his giving of Christ to pay the penalty for *our* sins), simply refuse to be led by him.

      But to everyone who receives Christ and believes in his name he gives the right to become children of God.

      So the question for you is will you receive Christ, or will you refuse God's leading and face the judgement we all deserve?

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    2. This is what happens when an otherwise reasonable individual tries to rationalize the evils recorded in the bible. I hope you open up your mind and consider that you might, just like the over 3000 other religions ever recorded, be wrong.

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  4. What a load of crap. shitstorm, actually. I fell my brain needs a bath after reading this much crap. christians... you're an embarassment.

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  5. "So the slaughter of the Canaanites was not ethnic cleansing motivated by racial discrimination. It was rather the careful, fair, settled action of a God of justice, patience and grace."

    Religion has made you insane, my friend.

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    1. It's also made Peter a sociopath. He's one hallucination away from committing infanticide just like Andrea Yates did.

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    2. Winston

      "It's also made Peter a sociopath. He's one hallucination away from committing infanticide just like Andrea Yates did."

      Go on give us your (clear and unbiased-- of course!) reasoning behind that statement.

      Phil

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    3. He has stated on this blog numerous times (including this very post) that might makes right.

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    4. There is a common thread through all of the posts here and that seems to be variations of

      "God should be like this. He isn't like this. Therefore he is a monster."

      All you are doing is anthropomorphizing God into your own image. Except you aren't God and you don't have the authority or standing or knowledge to judge. You act as if He is a man subject to the same rules as men. He isn't.

      Phil

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    5. Don't you have anything original to present? Your blind obedience to strength and authority is exactly what allowed the Nazis to gain power and oppress millions.

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    6. Winston

      True Nazis were by and large atheists

      Their worldview was consistent with Darwinism, They were the winners and so they must be better than other humans and so they must be the ones with the best evolved characteristics.

      Other human races were like unsuccessful species, bound to die out and give way to the better and more successful races . A perfectly logical deduction from Evolution Theory. That is why in the 1930s it was fashionable to reject Christianity in favour of new worldviews like atheism and eugenics.

      If you don't believe in God then what basis do you have for saying that the Nazis were wrong to practice eugenics on a grand scale?

      Phil

      Phil

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    7. LIAR. This was the oath the Nazi soldiers swore:

      "I swear by God this sacred oath that to the Leader of the German empire and people, Adolf Hitler, supreme commander of the armed forces, I shall render unconditional obedience and that as a brave soldier I shall at all times be prepared to give my life for this oath."

      The Nazis were inspired and by and put into practice the anti-Semitic genocidal pronouncements of Martin Luther.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_Their_Lies

      In the first ten sections of the treatise, Luther expounds, at considerable length, upon his views concerning Jews and Judaism and how these compare against Christians and Christianity. Following this exposition, Section XI of the treatise advises Christians to carry out seven remedial actions. These are -

      to avoid Jewish synagogues and schools and warn people against them;
      to refuse to let Jews own houses among Christians;
      for Jewish religious writings to be taken away;
      for rabbis to be forbidden to preach;
      to not offer protection for Jews on highways;
      for usury to be prohibited, and for all silver and gold to be removed, put aside for safekeeping and given back to Jews who truly convert; and
      to give young, strong Jews flail, axe, spade, spindle, and let them earn their bread in the sweat of their noses.[4]

      The prevailing scholarly view[5] since the Second World War is that the treatise exercised a major and persistent influence on Germany's attitude toward its Jewish citizens in the centuries between the Reformation and the Holocaust. Four hundred years after it was written, the Nazis displayed On the Jews and Their Lies during Nuremberg rallies, and the city of Nuremberg presented a first edition to Julius Streicher, editor of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer, the newspaper describing it as the most radically antisemitic tract ever published.[6] Against this view, theologian Johannes Wallmann writes that the treatise had no continuity of influence in Germany, and was in fact largely ignored during the 18th and 19th centuries.[7] Hans Hillerbrand argues that to focus on Luther's role in the development of German antisemitism is to underestimate the "larger peculiarities of German history."

      Additionally, they wore belt buckles with Gott Mitt Uns emblazoned on them.

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    8. I can say that the Nazis were wrong because they caused untold amounts of gratuitous suffering. On YOUR worldview, however, if god actually did instruct the Nazis to commit genocide, that would make it moral.

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    9. Well that is a new one. The Nazis could not help it because of one interpretation of the writings of Martin Luther who dies 400 years before they came to power.

      Yo could answer my questions for once?

      If you don't believe in God then what basis do you have for saying that the Nazis were wrong to practice eugenics on a grand scale?

      Anyway to answer your admittedly interesting question

      Did God predestine Hitler and his atrocities. It was not God's will. Did he allow it to happen? The Bible says he did. Was Hitler really the worst thing that could have happened to man? We don't know as we don't have the information.

      It is like Judas who betrayed Jesus. God did not want Judas to sin but the sin was used for good. The classic story is David and Bathsheba, who were were sinners but were also the parents of Solomon and eventually Jesus. God seems to be able to use sinners, thankfully for me!

      Could God stop us sinning? Well if he did we would be back to the Stepford Wives argument. It would be a pointless existence without free will to worship God or not. For God the worship of Stepford Wives (Robots) would be completely pointless.

      But if we have free will we a have the chance of Hitler, or the mugger on the way home tonight or your wife to love you for a lifetime, or your child to wake up, smile and think you are the most wonderful person. (Or not!)

      Phil

      Delete
    10. Sorry my mistake, you have answered my question

      "On YOUR worldview, however, if god actually did instruct the Nazis to commit genocide, that would make it moral."

      Hopefully you see from above I don't believe that God did.

      Delete
    11. There is only one interpretation of Luther's racist and compassionless edicts. Those edicts sent Jews to ghettos long before the Third Reich. Luther was following the bible to the letter (Let the blood of Jesus be on us, and our children).

      If god predestined Hitler, then he DID will it. Allowing something to happen and approving it are one and the same when you're an omnipotent deity. It really is that simple.

      If Judas did not betray Jesus, there would be no salvation, under Christianity. Judas, therefore, is to be lauded for helping Jesus commit suicide by cop.

      As to your free will argument:

      If there is free will in heaven, then life on Earth is pointless. Why not start and end creation with heaven?

      If there is no free will in heaven, then free will is pointless. Why not start and end creation with heaven?

      Delete
    12. Why not start and end creation with heaven?

      That is the crux of your argument. Because if man has free will, many will not chose God. For God to create man who will always applaud him and never sin is like being a performer and paying your audience to applaud you however bad you are.

      If man is to have free will then people like Hitler must be an option otherwise there really is no free will. So you say God should have stopped Hitler. OK where do you stop if you really think that you can tell God to stop bad things happening? Eventually you will be blaming God for people parking in front of your drive!

      I don't really know enough about Luther to comment however, I think it is likely that the Theory that Hitler was inspired by Luther would be more widely known if there is indeed any logic to it.

      Phil

      Delete
    13. More red herrings. You didn't even answer my question (unless you're trying to say that god simply cannot create a heavenly realm and be done with it).

      Now please answer this simple question: Will there be free will in heaven?

      Delete
    14. Winston

      "
      Now please answer this simple question: Will there be free will in heaven?"

      Yes of course, God did not build Robots.

      Delete
    15. So why didn't he simply create free beings that would never sin in heaven to begin with?

      Delete
    16. Winston

      I am really banging my head against the wall here. Because if you are not free to sin you are not free.

      What you suggest is a pointless exercise. If we are not free to not love God we are not free to love God. The only way that you can be free to love God is to have the freedom to chose not to.

      God presumably could have built us as Robots to do exactly what he said and never sin. But that would be pointless, because a Robot could never love God.

      Phil

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    17. So will there be sin and a second fall in heaven? That's what you seem to be implying here.

      Delete
    18. The price for sin is paid. We are not condemned for sin.

      Phil

      Delete
    19. If we're saved, why even bother with life on Earth? Why won't got simply rapture up everyone right now?

      Delete
    20. The second coming is restorative. Not life in the clouds

      Delete
    21. That didn't answer my question. Why bother with Earth? Why not simply create a utopia that could not be corrupted?

      Delete
  6. So, an omnipotent God, supposedly capable of anything, couldn't think of a better way to convince a bunch of people to stop doing things he didn't like that he needed to enlist a bunch of other people to massacre them all. What an absolutely vile religion that leads to people justifying genocide.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Are you suggesting that canaanite children deserved to die because of 'sorcery, witchcraft, idolatry, every kind of sexual immorality and child sacrifice'? This is what happens when you try to rationalize an unreasonable stance.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The Canaanites were performing sorcery and witchcraft? What a load of shit just like the idea of God. Stop being scared and appreciate the life you have around you NOW!

    ReplyDelete
  9. "So the slaughter of the Canaanites was not ethnic cleansing motivated by racial discrimination. It was rather the careful, fair, settled action of a God of justice, patience and grace."

    Thou shall not kill?

    All I can say is that, fortunately, none of it ever happened.

    : ))

    ReplyDelete
  10. You've just made Dawkins' case for him. Your God is an arbitrary and squalid killer, Despite being omnipotent, he can't bestir himself to avoid killing innocents. As others aver here, yours is stupid, vile religion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. except according to scripture nobody is innocent

      Delete
  11. So, to answer your question, it was most certainly not morally justified. Remember that history is written by the victors, and "Yahweh told me to do it because theses were wicked people" seems like a convenient post-facto excuse.

    You bring up the Nazis. Indeed, the actions of Joshua's armies remind me of the Germans sweeping through Europe, and the extermination of the Canaanites is a chilling foreshadowing of the Nazi death camps.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Genocide = evil
    Genocide + God = the careful, fair, settled action of a God of justice, patience and grace

    You realize that is totally fucked up right ? I mean, I really really hope you do, otherwise you are just a psychopath living in denial.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. but by your reasoning God is therefore to blame for all deaths, cancer, car crashes, tsunami, earthquakes etc since he has foreknowledge `for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life`

      Delete
  13. So this God - who has power over all matter in the universe - has to wage an all out war to remove people from the earth? When he could just click his fingers and have them instantly disappear?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree with all of the above.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I hope you see all the above comments and realise just how crazy you sound.

    ReplyDelete
  16. If God has such high standards for us, why didn't he do a better job when creating us? We have to suffer because of his incompetence? Also, if we're such a disappointment, why doesn't he just start over? It's all very nonsensical.

    ReplyDelete
  17. According to this logic it would have been just to kill the whole German population after WW2 because of the Nazis? To wipe out the women and children as well?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your justification seems rather similar to what I imagine the Nazi war criminals said prior to their execution: that their victims deserved "punishment" because of generations of evil, and that this evil implicated the entire populace.

    You did make one clear and worthwhile point in drawing a comparison between Christian and Nazi rationale for genocide. There are many things that these two belief systems have in common, after all.

    ReplyDelete
  19. If this was the Onion, I'd be laughing... his profile pic in the right column - endorsing ethnic cleansing while holding a mug if tea is a nice touch.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you all who have commented above and thank you also to Richard Dawkins for retweeting this post to his followers resulting in 3,000 page views in three hours.

    Three questions to those who have commented above (or others):

    1. Is taking a human life ever justified? (yes or no?)
    2. If so in what circumstances? (List them)
    3. Why? (Your basis for deciding 1 and 2)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Dear Author
    Here's a thought experiment for you. Replace Christian god with someone else's God in your text and your community as the Canaanites then you might see how totally morally bankrupt your position is.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Genocide? Ever heard of it?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Why is it always the same bullshit apologies with you guys. First, you make it sound as if any of this nonsense actually happened. The book describing this psychotic activities is only evidence that someone wrote it, like many people write all kind of stories. It doesn't mean it happened, it certainly doesn't mean it was inspired by any deity, especially an "omnipotent" one who can't write the damn book himself, and needs people to do his nasty work. It only means that someone wrote it as he or she saw fit. That anyone believes such vile horseshit can be the word of a deity, and a good loving and just deity at that, is so delusional is borderline insane. The only thing I could think about being deductive, having read the entire Old Testament, is that the writer(s) were psychopaths writing about their batshit crazy fantasies, or fearful folks wanting to create a superhero like we have created Spiderman, Batman or Superman to escape and fantasize Justice, when we see none in our real life, AND, by the way, justice writing according to the moral standards of the time. No divinity or reality here, just expected human behavior from ignorant folks.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anyone willing to answer my questions?

    1. Is taking a human life ever justified? (yes or no?)
    2. If so in what circumstances? (List them)
    3. Why? (Your basis for deciding 1 and 2)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is the relevance of your questions to this matter? A better list of questions might be:
      1. Is genocide ever justified?
      2. Is killing children ever justified?
      3. is taking the life of anyone or anything because somebody else tells you to justified?

      Delete
    2. You haven't answered the questions

      Delete
    3. Neither have you.

      Delete
    4. I've answered your questions above in my blog. But for completeness:

      1. Only in the unique case of the Canaanites. But this was not technically genocide as they were killed for their sin not their race.
      2. In the unique case of the Canaanites yes.
      3. In the unique case of the Canaanites yes.

      Now how about answering mine.

      Delete
    5. Gets worse and worse. “I’m not racist against Middle Easterners because all Middle Easterners are sinners.”

      I hope no one falls for the inevitable word trap that Saunders is likely trying to bait people into with these non-sequitur questions.

      Delete
    6. All *people* are sinners. And there are many different people groups that have inhabited the Middle East.

      Answer my questions.

      Delete
    7. The according to you, God killed everyone and this planet has no people on it, because he’s not a racist; he kills people because of their sin, which includes all of us.

      I already said why I won’t answer your non-sequiturs, and no one else should either. The Sye Bruggengate-style word traps aren‘t actual honest rhetoric.

      Delete
    8. You won't answer the questions because you are afraid to state your own position for fear that its inconsistency will be opposed.

      I suspect that most of Dawkins' cronies on this thread, like the great man himself, support abortion whilst protesting about capital punishment - protecting the guilty whilst supporting the killing of the innocent.

      Delete
    9. You're asking for simple answers to complex questions because you think that your simple answers are good ones. Remember the golden rule. Don't be a dick. Actually no, the author being a dick in the comments section of his own blog is pretty good.

      Delete
    10. Considering Saunders “knowing” what’s happening in my mind because I won’t answer his questions even though he doesn’t know me, and also attempting to bully (“Answer my questions.”) is certainly lending credence to the “dick” hypothesis.

      And what does abortion and capital punishment have to do with any of this? We’re talking about Christians rationalizing a genocidal maniac. Saunders is becoming the master of the non sequitur.

      Delete
    11. You still haven't explained why you consider God (or is it Joshua?) to be a genocidal maniac. You seem to think it is self-evident but to many people it is not. What is your basis for saying that something is right or wrong? Can you please explain?

      Delete
    12. Your own article explains it, but let’s explore more. Killing an nearly all the world’s humanity save for Noah’s family, and nearly all of the world’s animals; Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. That alone would qualify anyone as a maniac. Commanding Israelites to exterminate a population in Exodus 34 for the crime of having a different religion; the extermination of the Amalekites, granted Amalek was no saint, but apparently turning the other cheeks is just a guideline.

      Now, it wouldn’t surprise me if you found rationalizations for all of these, but these are genocidal acts commanded or performed by God, and a multiple genocides by one make him a maniac in my eyes. Even one genocide would.

      I do thank you for finally not bringing in completely irrelevant topics into this discussion. That is a poor and dishonest rhetorical strategy.

      Delete
    13. Thank you for answering my questions, Mr. Saunders, and proving to me beyond reasonable doubt that you are a madman.

      Delete
    14. I am not insane, most excellent Festus. What I am saying is true and reasonable (Acts 26:25)

      Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac (Hosea 9:7)

      Delete
    15. So, Peter, how many children have you raped today? The bible doesn't explicitly prohibit it, you know.

      Delete
    16. None as it so happens. The Bible explicitly forbids all sex outside marriage including the rape of children.

      Delete
    17. Wrong again, Peter. Adultery is sex between a married person and someone who isn't married. Therefore, child rape is fine and dandy according to your bible.

      There's more, too:

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

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

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

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

      Delete
    18. And what makes things even more ghoulish is this: in the bible, no age of consent is mentioned, and consent is never required, or even mentioned, before the act of copulation takes place.

      Delete
    19. There Is absolutely no evidence that these virgins were children

      Correct no age of consent

      who is pushing to lower it currently

      Atheists or christians?

      Phil

      Delete
    20. To the best of my knowledge, the only push to reduce the age of consent is to achieve uniformity between the ages of consent for sex between heterosexuals and sex between homosexuals.

      As for your biblical "apologetics", there is no evidence that the virgins were not children. There is also no mention made of specific ages. No consent is required for sex between a husband and his wife (i.e. marital rape was acceptable in the OT). Why do you think that is?

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/pedophilia.html

      t's OK to have sex with "women children" that are obtained in war.

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

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

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

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

      It's OK to sell your daughter (no mention is made of age) to a man for him to use as a sex slave.

      if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant ... If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed ... If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. Exodus 21:7-10

      Delete
    21. Winston

      I think these battles may have occurred one or two years before the Geneva Convention.

      True it is remiss of the Israelites not to realise that they might be judged against an agreed acceptable standard in warfare that might be formulated 4000 years or so in the future.

      The norm at the time was that there was no rules in warfare. Most invading armies would have considered sparing anyone or giving any rights to the conquered, weak and foolish.

      Sex slave? Sex outside of marriage was punished severely. Read it again!

      If a man sell his daughter (common at that time we have evidence from ancient Greece among others) the law states that Hebrew girls might be redeemed for a reasonable sum. But in the event of her parents or friends being unable to pay the redemption money, her owner was not at liberty to sell her elsewhere. Should she have been betrothed to him or his son, and either change their minds, a maintenance must be provided for her suitable to her condition as his intended wife, or her freedom instantly granted.

      Not ideal grated but a lot better than was customary elsewhere at the time. However, clearly not if you want to judge 4000 years ago by today's standards which are by and large the result of the later teaching of Jesus and the disciples.

      Phil

      Delete
  25. "Patience" does not make sense with respect to an omniscient God; why give someone a chance to change, when you supposedly know what's going to happen anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Assuming this blog post is not a spoof and that the author is actually a medical doctor... I can only desperately hope that his insanity does not spill over into his treatment of patients.

    He equates the slaughter of an entire nation with the execution of convicted war criminals. Since when are children - babies even - judged guilty of the crimes of their parent - and summarily executed?

    Reason is obviously wasted on such a person - I can only beg any sane readers to join the BHA and NSS and help to curb the influence of this nutjob and others like him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are aborted babies a satisfactory riposte to your ridiculous argument?

      Delete
    2. Hardly. Mandating pregnancy is akin to mandating blood and organ donation.

      Consenting to sex is a far cry from consenting to pregnancy, and consent to pregnancy can be withdrawn at any time. After viability, the pregnancy can be terminated without killing the fetus.

      Delete
  27. Come on Peter!
    Tell the world that this is a piece of satire.
    Really.
    How can the human race has fallen so low!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Well, what a gaggle of moral hi-grounders, who sit by while millions of innocent babies are slaughtered each year, while they complain about one incident in the Old Testament involving a people fashionably similar to the Palestinians. But no complaints about the death of Jews at the hands of the Babylonians or Romans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The liberal elite have little regard for Jews or unborn children. Atrocities against them do not count.

      Delete
    2. The complaint is about people like you and the author preferring to be apologists for immorality rather than calling it out. While most of the commentators would equally object to an article making excuses for Romans killing Jews presumably you'd choose something else to say "but no complaints about x, y & z"?

      Delete
    3. Can you please explain why you believe that God ordering Joshua to destroy the Canaanites was an immoral act? I'd like to understand your basis for deciding whether a given act is right or wrong. You seem to think it is self-evident that God has no right to kill people. Why?

      Delete
    4. Nev, define immorality please. And define 'apologist for'. You do know that 'apologetics' does not equal 'apology' don't you; it's not about excusing, its about explaining. You may not like the explanation but it is beholden upon you and the other moral hi-grounders to at least offer your own apologetic, rather than acting like a prima donna and flouncing about. The fact is, those who generally dislike this particular episode in the Bible not only try to condemn all of Christianity as consisting only in this kind of thing, but also show a marked moral insensitivity on contemporary issues such as abortion, infanticide and euthanasia, and the plethora of STDs now rampant in the population, and casually trot out 'who are you to judge' 'who are you to impose your moral viewpoint' when challenged. Consistency is the name of the game, only then can you offer a reasoned riposte to what Peter has posted, rather than name calling and emotional outbursts.

      I don't wholly agree with Peter's exegesis, but it is internally coherent, and generally accepted amongst Evangelicals who don't escape into the excuse that the Bible isn't the word of God. There are other ways of looking at the text - not than any of you critics would know it, as you are generally more 'fundamentalist' about your literal interpretation that most Christians are, because you don't actually know anything, nor want to.

      To read the text literarily, one would note that the Books of Joshua and Judges form a diptych between Moses and the Pentateuch and David and the Histories (Ruth is part of the Five Scrolls and not found at this point in the Hebrew Bible). They present two sides of the same strip of history between the crossing of Jordan and the arrival of Israel's King. Joshua shows what it should have been like, Judges what is was more like. That the Canaanites WERE NOT annihilated is evident from the problems they caused in the Book of Judges. This is a religious and moral TEXT not an historical or reporter-written account. It is designed to be read by later generations, so that they draw the lessons: compromise and co-habitation Bad, separation and uniqueness Good. These are the very same lessons Israel was taught throughout its existence, and which it failed to learn. The attacks by Assyria and Bablyon, with consequent ethnic-cleansing and death, shows to the Jews (and us) who read the text that they were as bad as the Canaanites they supplanted. God is no respecter of persons, not even when they have 'most favoured nation' status. Christians operate in the same moral universe: mess with God and he will mess with you.

      Of course, apologetics segues into preaching of the Gospel when it comes to why people don't like having their sins pointed out, and why we see such adolescent and juvenile responses to clear moral demands, but I'll leave that for Peter on this blog, as I am a Catholic and don't want to presume upon his turf.

      Delete
    5. Murdering innocent children is wrong. End of story.

      "What about abortion?" I hear you ask. I say abortion is wrong if it is used when the foetus is past a certain stage of development and has no defects which would cause it to live a life of suffering. I also think it should be from consensus, not from just the mother's choice.

      The Bible is full of acts of violence and what we would consider today to be immorality. This is not the word of a loving God; it is the work of primitive humans.

      Delete
    6. You stand upon the exact same tactic I pointed out: this is that, and the whole edifice consists only of this. It is only because of the rise of Christianity that the idea of 'innocent' children is now part of our moral capital. The Canaanites had no qualms about child sacrifice, nor did invading armies. Human history is bloody, and its been a long rise out of that history, although sadly even your morality doesn't reach to innocent unborn children who don't reach your criteria for a right to exist. Still a long way to go i see.
      Human history is full of bloody acts of violence, and Gandhi would not have survived in early Iron Age Canaan. Sorry about that. Do remember that a lot of those 'primitive' humans worked out the laws of mathematics, created agriculture and husbandry and plotted the skies to the extent they could predict eclipse. Chronological snobbery at work again.

      Delete
    7. What the hell are you talking about? Get to the point. Are you saying because ancient people got some things right that we can excuse the biblical God for ordering an entire race to be wiped out? And would you seriously prefer to live 2,000 years ago compared to now?

      What on Earth makes you say that it is because of Christianity that we have a concept of innocent children? The same religion teaches that EVERYONE is a sinner who deserves to die and be punished for eternity for not believing in a God which created them full well knowing what it was going to do to them (omniscience). Followers of said religion were quite happy to allow slavery of children and child labour. Followers of the same religion more recently came under quite some flak for the molestation of children. What on Earth are you talking about?

      Delete
    8. Your seem to be saying that:

      "God should be like this. He isn't like this. Therefore he is a monster."

      You are trying to say what God should be like. Except you aren't God and you don't have the authority or standing or knowledge to judge.

      You act as if He is a man subject to the same rules as men.

      He isn't.

      Delete
    9. Might makes right. Would you obey anyone who was stronger than you, for no other reason than their physical brawn? Or would you require persuasion before worshiping them?

      Delete
    10. And worse still, if he has no moral duties to fulfill, he could change his mind and send EVERYONE to hell, true Christians (TM) included.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2R1Yxh1p0M

      Delete
    11. Winston

      We don't worship God because we fear God. We worship God because we love God.

      Fear of hell does not come into it. Moral behaviour does not come into it either. I am sure you are a much better person than me Winston. I don't keep God's laws because I fear hell. I keep God's laws because I love God to please him as an act of worship. I do not kids myself that I am any good at keeping the rules, but thankfully my salvation is not dependent on my efforts to be "good" or how well I keep God's laws.

      Could God send everyone to hell? No. Why not? Because of Jesus.

      Phil


      Delete
    12. But god could change his mind and send everyone to hell. Jesus' "sacrifice" has nothing to do with it.

      Delete
    13. Jesus' sacrifice had everything to do with it.

      There was a price to pay for sin and he paid it.

      Imagine you buy a new car and a guy comes along and smashes it up. THe police catch him and the police ask you what you want to do with him. Either you let him off and you pay the price or you let the police take him and he pays the price.

      The point is that someone always has to pay the price.

      Phil

      Delete
    14. If the price is eternal torture, why did Jesus get his sentence commuted to 36 hours?

      Epic fail.

      Delete
  29. Caananites killing children = bad.
    Israelites killing children = good.

    It all makes sense now.

    ReplyDelete
  30. What amazes me is the hypocrisy of the followers of the "god" Atheism here, talking as if they have any concern for human life!

    From the time of the Committee for Public Safety onwards their ideology has been responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths world wide. Hitler, Stalin Pol pot etc all spring directly from the ideology of atheism and to see them witter on here and elsewhere, when they have no moral capital left is completely repugnant.

    They would murder their own mothers to advance their cause, many of these "peace loving" atheists have done so ion the past and was applauded by their "brothers" for doing so,

    Phil

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    Replies
    1. You might like to dig your head out of your arse for a second just to realise that 1) Hitler wasn't an atheist and 2) Atheism has NO ideology. If it does, then please describe it.

      Delete
    2. Atheism does have an ideology: there is no transcendant aspect to reality, and those who hold to such a view must be challenged and denigrated at every opportunity. You forget, a lot of us Christians were atheists beforehand, some of us active. Passive atheists simply live as if there is no transcendant reality, active atheists pursue a campaign of secularisation.

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    3. Not believing in that which has no evidence is not an ideology, let alone an ideology of atheists! Atheists don't believe in God. That's it! It's not like we feel we *have* to not believe in order to conform to this group's viewpoint; we're *compelled* not to believe because we *can not*. I'd LOVE to believe in a place where everyone can go after they die, so I can see my grandfather or my pets or idols, but I *can not* believe this is a possibility. I can only *hope*. But this is besides the point as you can be an atheist and still believe in "a transcendent aspect to reality" as you put it rather eloquently. Buddhists are atheists. Christians are atheists with regards to Allah, Zeus and Odin! There is nothing about atheism which means you *have* to think or do something a certain way. Atheists who campaign for secularisation do not do so because of atheism but because of what they see as the harmful conduct of others. What you mean when you say "atheists" is people who don't believe in *your* God. Muslims can call you infidels, themselves.

      Don't you realise the conflict religion causes and is causing right now all over the world? Dogmatic views, they separate man into different doctrines who judge others for thinking differently. The sooner we all realise we are equally worthless and equally valuable products of evolution, the better.

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  31. Typical Atheist..... always start with an insult.

    Correct. Hitler did not describe himself as an atheist. However his worldview based on the evolution myth which is fundamental to the way atheists make sense of the world.

    This worldview based on the theory that Aryans were the master race stemmed from evolution theory and this supported and underpinned the Nazi rationale for the way they behaved.

    Atheists have a worldview and ideology just like everyone else. It is just that most of them are too conceited or stupid like you to realize the fact. (There see even Christians can do insults! No sorry it was not an insult it was another fact.)




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    1. Typical fundamentalist, judgemental and universal in their criticism of any group that doesn't agree with them, while knowing diddly squat about evolution or atheism.

      Evolution, which is a fact with actual evidence to support it, is not a requisite for atheism and you've no idea how many people will laugh at you implying this. Atheism = lack of belief in God. That's it. You can be a vegetarian atheist, a couch-potato atheist, a psychotic murderer atheist, a pacifist atheist; there is nothing uniting atheists other than a lack of belief - for whatever reason - in God or deities. One can be an atheist and still be superstitious, though it is more common for atheists to be sceptical. Evolution is fundamental not only to atheists but to a vast majority of people of all religions (including Christians, like my Great Aunt, a retired Doctor)! It is only a select few nutjobs who insist on being ignorant of science, for reasons I still cannot fathom other than either a lack of proper education or deliberate deceitfulness for monetary gain (looking at you, Ken Ham).

      Furthermore, there is no "master race" stemming from evolution, quite the opposite. Evolution teaches that all species adapt to their environment. Some will adapt better or faster than others, but every species has the potential to be better adapted in some environment than another species. That's why we see so much variation, otherwise you'd just have one species dominating all others! There is no such thing as a "perfect species"; evolution cannot produce a perfect species. What Hitler did was radically exert his ideology over his people using an evolutionary process which mankind had already been using on animals and plants for thousands of years: selective breeding, except Hitler decided to factor murder into the equation. Evolution does not teach murder; it teaches survival and reproduction, which are rather different. What Hitler did has nothing to do with not believing in God, or indeed any religion. However: Holy Wars, stoning of homosexuals, adulterers and others, infanticide, human and animal sacrifice, genital mutilation of children, these things have all been done from the belief in God.

      And don't you dare, for even a second, to accuse people like me of being willing to murder our own mothers to "advance [our] cause", when your religion tells you to admire a man who was willing to kill his own son to show his loyalty to God, a God who itself sanctions the killing of children, the plaguing of a nation for the crimes of a minority, mass-murder of almost all life on Earth, human and animal sacrifice and the eternal punishment of the vast majority of EVERYONE who will ever live. For what? For doing exactly what this omniscient, omnipotent being expected of us.

      Thanks.

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    3. "Evolution, which is a fact with actual evidence to support it"

      LOL

      Fact.....Evolution is a worldview. Science has tried to show evolution actually working for years and failed. Gluing moths to trees, putting together human skeletons of bones from different ages, irradiating many thousands of generations of fruit flies for 30 years or more. (All were mutated fruit flies, no new species were created). Building up a huge body of theory from little evidence (Nebraska man, who we "knew" what he looked like what his wife and family structure was like, how he hunted etc... all from one tooth, which turned out to be from a pig!). Evolution is a theory that would have been binned long ago but for the fact it is despite your denial an essential component of the atheist belief. Atheism is a belief, a belief (despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary) that there is no God and that we are all a result of an incredibly unlikely set of circumstances.

      100 years from now people will laugh at your evolution idea or find it repugnant, just we we find the idea that was accepted as correct 100 years ago that evolution had taught us that some races, are further up the evolutionary ladder than others. So logically some races were more desirable than others and the mixing of the races was repugnant

      Furthermore I understand that you find the murder of your mother analogy distasteful. However, it is has been demonstrated time and time again, that when individuals and particularly nation states take up atheism as their accepted world view we get a society largely devoid of mercy or compassion.

      Phil





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    4. If that was your best attempt at refuting what I said, then I can only say to try again when you're older.

      Tell me how you explain antibiotic resistance in bacteria if they don't evolve? Where does the information for that resistance come from? Obviously they didn't have it before when they weren't resistant. Hmm, gain of genetic information leading to a beneficial adaptation? That's evolution! And only one example of many!

      The fact that you reject a fundamental fact of science in favour of a God of which there is no evidence for (you've yet to name some) is beyond absurd.
      Perhaps this video will help you better realise the fallacy of an omnipotent, omniscient Biblical God: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYtbfkgRp3o&list=FLLhtZqdkjshgq8TqwIjMdCQ
      Perhaps this video will help you realise why it is not logical to use ancient texts as the basis for your world views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzVfAaiiH7c&index=2&list=PL1_7JgBgm2pA4u-zO8G10f6Tdub6BNXMT
      Or this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFrkjEgUDZA
      Perhaps this one will make it clear why you are wrong to continue to assert that evolution is essential to atheism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnJX68ELbAY

      Atheism leads to loss of mercy and compassion, are you kidding me? Despite how things may seem, the world is more peaceful and tolerant now than it has ever been, while also having more atheists than ever before. How can you look back through history at all the violence that has occurred in spite of the majority of the world being religious and say that atheism leads to less mercy and compassion? The Biblical God itself was explicitly merciless, as this very blog is discussing! You can even look at the religious world today: the Middle East, Africa - constant war in the name of God! And you say that atheism leads to a more violent society?!

      Please, dig yourself out of the tunnel built by your dogmatic views, open your mind, talk to some actual scientists or read about evolution, get to know more atheists before you judge them and seriously reconsider your views on the world.

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    5. Name an atheist state and you will find mass murder. Stalin's Russia is just one example.

      "how you explain antibiotic resistance in bacteria if they don't evolve"
      You are confusing natural selection with evolution

      You cling to improbably impossible sets of circumstances occurring together. The only was it could happen if there are an infinite number of universes and this is the only one where such an infinite set of improbabilities comes together.

      Mathematically alone it far more likely that there is a God than your probabilities comes together to create life. Do the maths.

      "The fact that you reject a fundamental fact of science" LOL you cannot repeat it, observe it, or cause it to happen. Not fact. The bacteria example is natural selection. It is still bacteria.

      Finally like every other Atheist. You love to insult people. But cannot take it when people insult you back.

      Phil





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    6. Where in the last comment did I insult you? Your very first comment that I replied to was insulting all atheists, calling them hypocrites and mother-killers with no concern for human life. You initiated the insults, not me.

      Improbability? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxxolSyWd6Y

      If bacteria change from a state of not having resistance to having resistance through the alteration of allele frequencies in a population, that is evolution no matter what you say. Keep denying the science all you want; evolution has nothing to do with the God debate, anyway, as I believe the Vatican agree.

      And is God observable, repeatable, or "cause-able"?

      "Name an Atheist state..." I was under the impression that most governments act (or are meant to act) uninfluenced by religion.
      Stalin's Russia was a totalitarian state, much the same concept as a world ruled by God. I believe we've already covered how God was a mass-murderer.

      Morality doesn't come from God, it comes from the society we live in. This is plainly obvious as we have witnessed morality "evolving" radically over less than the last hundred years.

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    7. Morality does not come from God? When it is not based on God's word we have a very nasty society.

      Bacteria are NOT evolving in your example.

      Russia and many other communist states described themselves as Atheist in outlook

      Phil

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    8. It's been pointed out to you ad nauseum, Phil, but just because Stalin was a mass-murdering atheist does not mean that his atheism was responsible for his genocides in any way.

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    9. Winston

      Oh thanks for clearing that up for me and getting atheism off the hook for millions of deaths.

      Hitler used to say proudly that the SS were " men with iron hearts". That has got nothing to do presumably with the fact that the SS did not hesitate to carry out any order?

      Phil

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    10. The SS were brainwashed and disciplined to obey orders without question or hesitation. Kinda like the brainwashed Christian disciples on this blog who will stop at nothing in their childishly facile attempts to justify mass murder and infanticide.

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    11. Well put, Winston!

      According to you Phil, our morality comes from God's word, so we should make women marry their rapists, stone homosexuals and adulterers, slaughter and roast animals to offer to God (for God loves the smell of burned flesh!), etc. Morality does NOT come from God! This is plainly obvious. If it did come from God, then why is morality today so different from what the books of the Bible command us?

      Bacteria ARE evolving in my example. Explain why they are not rather than just dismissing it. Is it because they are still bacteria? So if a Chimpanzee's ancestor evolved into humans, is that not evolution because we're all still apes?

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    12. Anonymous

      If a Chimpanzee's ancestor evolved into humans

      Despite the "evidence" still a big if.

      You have discussed the OT with Peter above so I am not going to answer that.

      However, we do have evidence of atheist societies from the last 200 years.

      I say again construct your morality without God and your do not get cruel and nasty behaviour. Hitlers SS are a prime example although you choose to dismiss it with infantile comparisons.

      As for mass murder and infanticide. Atheists have already killed many hundreds of millions more in the last 200 years than were ever killed by Jews or Christians.

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

      Phil




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  32. No he's not a practising doctor. Dead eyed fanatics aren't really allowed to look after people.

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    1. I would say "thank God", but...

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  33. Also doctors are expected to understand what 'evidence' means, and to not be judgemental. Anyway apparently he wasn't very good. Imagine.

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  34. One, it is only an assumption by the author of the article that “in the eyes of God these were sins (sorcery, witchcraft, idolatry, every kind of sexual immorality and child sacrifice) equivalent in severity to those of the authors of the Nazi holocaust” - a horror that occurred thousands of years after the Bible was written. Second I very much doubt anything the Canaanites did was on an industrial scale as their civilization predated the industrial revolution by millennia. Third, the author never explained how the sins of the Canaanites justified the killing of innocent children undoubtedly because their murder was undeniably immoral and cannot be justified.

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    1. Herb

      Lets just consider this hypothesis for a moment

      If there was a way of going back in time and killing Hitler as a child or before he rose to power etc

      One death (at that time) an innocent child, knowing that he would be responsible for 100 million deaths?

      I'm not saying that there is equivalence here but..

      Would that be morally justified?

      Phil

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    2. Retroactively killing a young Hitler would be justified, but ONLY BECAUSE WE NOW KNOW what he would have done.

      Since children are essentially blank slates, killing them before they have committed any harm to others is patently immoral.

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    3. Hello Herb (Winston?)

      Since you agree that killing young Hitler is justified to prevent a greater Evil then you would have to conclude if God is who he says he is then he would know that a greater Evil was prevented by the actions described in the Bible.

      We cannot judge God because we do not see the full picture. If we did (like the young Hitler example) we might draw a different conclusion.

      So no "Minority Report" for you then!

      Phil



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    4. If God is omniscient, why does he punish Adam and Eve for doing exactly what he knew they'd do?
      Why did he create life knowing that he would have to virtually wipe it out and start over again?
      Why did he create mankind knowing that he'll have to send the majority of everyone who ever lived (non-Christians) to eternal torture in hell.

      It sure looks like that either: 1) God is not omniscient, rather he is a myth from a bunch of stories arbitrarily compiled into what became known as the Bible by fallible people who forgot to proof-read properly.
      2) God, if omniscient, is a malevolent, manipulative, murdering maniac who orchestrated all of the suffering that ever occurred.
      Or 3) The biblical God does not exist.

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    5. Phil Roberts - humans are not omnipotent. Your god supposedly is. Therefore, he would not need to slaughter children to prevent them from growing up to be barbaric monsters.

      If we can't judge god, why are you assuming that his actions are always good, righteous and just? You aren't even following your own advice, Phil.

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    6. Have you two seen the film "stepford wives"?

      God could have created humans like these wives but any worship that humans would then bring to God would be worthless.

      That I think is your answer!

      Phil

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    7. So there won't be free will in heaven, Phil? Is this what you're saying?

      In that case, why bother with free will on Earth?

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    8. No the reverse!

      Stepford Wives are about a group of men who programme their wives to be totally obedient etc

      They live in a perfect world where their wives are perfect-- always.

      Then find that it is boring and not the paradise that they first thought it would be.

      The point is

      You cannot have genuine worship without free will.

      You cannot desire heaven (or hell) without free will

      Phil

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    9. So if we will have free will in heaven, why did your god bother with Earth to begin with? Why didn't he just create heaven and create righteous souls to live there?

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    10. Good question !

      But I'm not God Winston. So I cannot answer that .

      BTW we have free will on earth and in heaven

      Phil

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    11. Then you have an evil god who tortures people on Earth. Also, since god has lied countless times in the bible, what makes you think he won't just throw everyone into hell?

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/god_lie.html


      1 Kings 22:23
      Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

      2 Chronicles 18:22
      Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.

      Jeremiah 4:10
      Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.

      Jeremiah 20:7
      O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.

      Ezekiel 14:9
      And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.

      2 Thessalonians 2:11
      For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.

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    12. I hope you haven't overlooked my post, Phil.

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    13. Winston

      "Then you have an evil god who tortures people on Earth. Also, since god has lied countless times in the bible, what makes you think he won't just throw everyone into hell?"

      Because of Jesus

      "I hope you haven't overlooked my post, Phil"

      You are assuming that God wants and could control our hearts. If he wanted to what would be the point? He would just be creating a race of "Stepford Wives" But we are told that we are made in the image of God and so presumably have free will.

      A tidier world would be one of course made up of Robots like Stepford Wives. But what sort of world would this be like, without free will, passion, love etc?

      Not one that I want to live in certainly.

      Phil

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    14. "Because of Jesus." So what? Your god could still break his word. He's done it countless times through the OT. As for unfulfilled prophecies, here's a small taste:

      Failure to smite Jebus
      In Joshua 3:10 the eponymous Jew is quoted as saying the following:
      Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.
      This is a repetition of a promise had from God's own lips in earlier books. However, mere moments later we learn that:
      As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.[7]
      Apparently, while good at smiting the amusingly named Girgashites, Jebus was a bit too tough for Joshua.

      Israelites will be unbeatable
      In Exodus 23:27 God tells Moses that he will defeat every enemy he encounters:
      I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. (NIV)
      However, history indicates many defeats suffered by the Israelites. Note that most believers will pull a no true Scotsman and claim that the defeats happened only at times when the Israelites weren't pious enough.

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    15. Winston

      I am not sure why God changing his mind is so important to you. Clearly if he never did some would say there would be little point in prayer.

      "Because of Jesus" is not really a "so what" statement. Many non Christians have stated statements similar to "Jesus was either completely insane or exactly what he said he was". The major change to the old testament is that because of Jesus we cannot do anything to save ourselves. The law in the OT was meant to be a liberation, a way of knowing that you were right with God. However, the laws and obligations had been added to and added to by the Jewish leaders and by Jesus' time were grinding people down. Jesus liberates us from the law. The full implications of this I am not sure are widely appreciated even by Christians. Most non Christians assume that it is our behaviour that affects our salvation.

      BTW even secular laws seem to grow exponentially as we find with our present society, where the answer to every problem seems more laws!

      Phil

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    16. Anonymous

      "I hope you haven't overlooked my post, Phil"

      (I realise that I added my answer to you into the middle of the one to Winston above. I have posted it again in case you thought I had not bothered to reply)

      You are assuming that God wants and could control our hearts. If he wanted to what would be the point? He would just be creating a race of "Stepford Wives" But we are told that we are made in the image of God and so presumably have free will.

      A tidier world would be one of course made up of Robots like Stepford Wives. But what sort of world would this be like, without free will, passion, love etc?

      Not one that I want to live in certainly!

      Phil

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    17. Anonymous

      Before you think it perhaps

      God isn't "The Adjustment Bureau" either !

      Phil

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    18. Phil, if god changed his mind, then either he isn't omniscient, or he's pretending to change his mind because he's a deceitful deity.

      Secular laws grow because we are not dogmatic (unlike you and your kind). Being flexible and open to change is a good thing. If we weren't, we'd be stuck in the Stone Age.

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    19. Winston

      Not dogmatic! (Cough!)

      Funny that is not my experience of atheists at all!

      Quite the reverse in fact

      Phil

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    20. BTW

      Are we a different "kind" now?

      And you seem to be defining God due to your own criteria and then stating that he does not meet the criteria you set for him.

      Anyway to answer your question I subscribe to the view that God has inherent omniscience. That is God chooses to limit his omniscience in order to preserve the freewill and dignity of mankind. I don't not see that this is contradictory even if you subscribe to God having total omniscience.

      Also what would be the point of God being deceitful ? Either he exists or he doesn't. There is not a lot of point in the conjecture that he does exist but he lies to us for some reason!

      Phil

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    21. Dogmatic, Phil? Really? How so? If you can provide empirical, verifiable, tangible evidence for your god, I'd accept his existence in a heartbeat.

      An amputee who spontaneously regenerated a limb would be an excellent start.

      Inherent omniscience seems like a convenient way to explain free will. Why not simply say "god isn't omniscient."

      Did you not read the verses I presented? God lied through others. He also lied to Adam and Eve in the garden (they didn't die physically for centuries), and Jesus lied when he said he'd come back in the lifetimes of his disciples.

      Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Matthew16:28

      But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God. Luke 9:27

      Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. Matthew 23:36

      Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Matthew 24:34

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    22. Winston

      If you can provide empirical, verifiable, tangible evidence for your god, I'd accept his existence in a heartbeat.

      "An amputee who spontaneously regenerated a limb would be an excellent start"

      You would not believe even if someone was to rise from the dead.

      "Jesus lied when he said he'd come back in the lifetimes of his disciples"

      The most likely explanation is that some of those disciples would see the transfiguration. (Which we read later was indeed the case) There are a number of other possibilities. I don't deny that yours could also be possible. But in light of later events and the willingness of the disciples and early Christians to die quite horrible deaths for what (if you say is correct) they knew was a lie seems unlikely.

      Phil

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    23. Why do you repeatedly accuse everyone who is not a member of your religion of deliberate deceit? If I saw something supernatural, such as an amputee regrowing a limb in five seconds, I would convert to your religion. You can hold me to that promise.

      "Transfiguration", huh? How convenient. Simply reinterpret verses and prophecies that are prima facie absurd so that you can continue to cling to your baseless religious beliefs. That's what religion is all about. Rationalising nonsense and brainwashing.

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    24. Winston

      Now I really don't get it "baseless religious belief" you say.

      But then you say that you will believe if you saw something supernatural like. Regrowing a limb

      But regrowing a limb is no proof of God. If you had never seen a silenced gun and I showed you that it is possible to kill at a great distance that would not prove that I am a God!

      Many people say Jesus' miracles e.g. and we are told that "some" believed, so presumably not all did.

      Sorry the statement "You would not believe even if someone was to rise from the dead" is quiet a famous quote by Jesus in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man .(Obviously not that famous!)

      I did not wish to infer that you lied and appologise.

      On you last point if you start with the assumption that Jesus and God frequently lied to us for whatever reason then you your deduction is reasonable. If however, you start by thinking that there is no reason for Jesus to lie and the concept is illogical then you look for alternative explanations for what he said.

      Lets take an exmple that you ask for the time of the next bus and I say that there will be a bus along in 20 min.

      You wait there an hour and deduce that I lied. But the bus may have been delayed in the traffic is also a legitimate reason (There are many others) which does not indicate that I lied.

      You interpretation of the Gospel is negative, because you start out with the assumption that God does not exist, or if he does exist he is not a good god. You the look for interpretations that fit that view, I look for alternative possibilities because I do not start out with the same assumptions when I read the text. I would say that we reach different conclusions because of our starting points and not anything to do with the text.

      Anyway I repeat I did not want to give the impression that I thought you lied sorry!

      Phil



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    25. Thank you, Phil. I applaud your integrity in admitting your error.

      Guns with silencers are not supernatural devices. They have perfectly reasonable and rational scientific explanations. I don't know why you thought that explanation would be even remotely persuasive.

      Now, your analogy fails because we have countless reasons and instances of buses being late, and why they are late. The only "reasons" we have for god's deceit in the bible are apologetic spin.

      I will concede that there may be a justification for god's deceit in the bible. Such an explanation has never been presented to me, and that is why I cannot find the god of the bible worthy of trust, let alone worship.

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    26. Winston

      You said "If I saw something supernatural, such as an amputee regrowing a limb in five seconds, I would convert to your religion"

      I just made the point that Jesus did similar miracles, many (but not everyone) who saw them was convinced.

      You say there is deceit, I say there isn't because it is not logical for there to be any. I am not sure that we are getting anywhere here.

      All I can say is that if the Bible is a lie then the early followers of Jesus would know that the material that was being written within the lifetime of the apostles was either a lie or was not being fulfilled. So either there is another explanation for the scripture that you say is a lie or that people were willing to suffer and die often horrible deaths for something that they knew was not true. This does not make any sense.

      Phil

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    27. People have been brainwashed and die for cult causes all the time. Just look at Waco.

      Secondly, even though they may have sincerely believed that their religious doctrines were true, that does not, in and of itself, prove that their religious doctrines were in fact true. There were no contemporary historians who lived during the time of Jesus who recorded his deeds.

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    28. There were no contemporary historians who lived during the time of Jesus who recorded his deeds.

      Er what about the Gospels especially Matthew and Luke, Paul and Peter 's letters ?

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    29. Also the Waco cult does not exist any more

      Phil

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    30. The gospels were not written by eyewitnesses, Phil. They weren't even written by men named Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

      http://thechurchoftruth.wordpress.com/synoptic-gospels-not-writen-by-matt-mark-luke-or-john/

      "By the end of the 2nd century the tradition of Matthew the tax-collector had become widely accepted, and the line “The Gospel According to Matthew” began to be added to manuscripts. For many reasons scholars today believe otherwise—fifty five percent of the gospel is copied from Mark, and it seems unlikely that an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry would need to rely on others for information about it. They believe instead that it was written between about 80–90 AD by a highly educated Jew, intimately familiar with the technical aspects of Jewish law, standing on the boundary between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values."

      80AD is approximately fifty years after Jesus allegedly died. That's far from contemporary. We have nothing written first-hand by him, and no records from Roman historians.

      Why don't you do some independent research instead of simply parroting the lines your pastor brainwashed into you?

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    31. Winston

      What is interesting is the theory that your comments are more valid than mine because they clearly come from a more reputable knowledge base that agrees with your assumptions. Hence the final insult above

      To answer your question. I also believe that Julius Caesar was murdered in Rome on the steps of the senate on 15th March 44BC. You probably would agree with this. Now try and find a document that supports it written within 1000 years of his death. Don't bother I have "researched" it there are no more than 3. The closest that survives is a copy written at least 800 years after his death. We still believe that this assassination took place even though there is no contemporary evidence that survives.

      Now how many gospels survive within that time frame of 400 years of the event happening?

      At least 5000+

      As to the dates. None of the gospels mention the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. Not even the book of Acts. Since the destruction of the temple was a central to Jesus' teaching it is inconceivable that it would not have been mentioned if they are written after that date

      The early church unanimously held that the gospel of Matthew was the first written gospel and was penned by the apostle of the same name. The earliest quotation of Matthew is found in Ignatius who died around 115 A.D. So Matthew was widely in circulation well before 115AD. It is generally believed that Matthew was written before A.D. 70 and as early as A.D. 50. Now there used to be a theory that the Gospels were taken from an earlier source called Q (now lost) if that were the case it would push the Gospels back to around AD40 or even earlier. The Q theory is not mentioned by Atheists much nowadays as you desperately want to believe that the Gospels were written later despite the evidence to the contrary.

      As for your link it is not research it or evidence it is just appears to be the ramblings of an individual. The information above I checked with among others the writings of Peter Walker a tutor at Wycliffe hall at the University of Oxford.


      In summary: Caesars death 3 documents within 1000 years, Gospels 5000+ within 400 years.

      But nobody states that the story of the murder of Julius Caesar is a fairy tale!

      Why not?


      Phil

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    32. Probably because there are no miracle claims or supernatural events in the records of Julius Caesar. Much less credulity is reqiured to believe the claims.

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    33. Or more likely because the death of Julius Caesar was of tiny importance in comparison to Jesus. They also realised that!

      Phil

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  35. Here is the thing. If such a god were real and this account was true, your god thing would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Anyone who would not stand up to a tyrant like that has no sense of morality at all. They would just blindly obey, without question, any order given to them. I thought your god didn't like robots?

    This god wipes away everyone in a global flood, having perfectly innocent children drown slowly in terror, and it is all perfectly okay because of your preconceived idea that 'god is good'? And because, I am guessing out of an act of sheer laziness, he gets a band of zealots to further commit more atrocities against more children? Imagine what it would be like for the mothers of the children watching their children get slaughtered by the hundreds? Anyone who would do this has no sense of empathy whatsoever for the victims at all. If that is your measure of 'good', I would really not want to hear your definition of evil.

    There are evangelicals who like to pass off the whole notion that because the children were innocent, they get some sort of free pass to this heaven place. It reminds me of what Annie Dillard wrote in her book in 1974-75. "I read about an Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest, 'If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?' 'No,' said the priest, 'not if you did not know.' 'Then why,' asked the Eskimo earnestly, 'did you tell me?'" It drives an interesting point home, doesn't it? If evangelicals like to proselytize so much to 'save' people, yet innocent people who have never heard of this Jesus person automatically get a free pass to this heaven place like every single native american that existed, why bother telling them if they really cared about them? The whole idea itself is hypocritical.

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    1. "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell"

      The "missionary" (if there really was one) got it wrong.

      We don't know what happens to those that do not know God , but presumably they do not love God so they do not desire heaven

      Also, the Bible teaches us that we do not go to heaven because of a lack of sin. We don't go to hell because of too much sin either.

      Phil

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  36. "The Bible argues that the Canaanites also deserved to die. Leviticus 18 and Deuteronomy 18:9-13 outline the ‘detestable ways’ of the Canaanites - sorcery, witchcraft, idolatry, every kind of sexual immorality and child sacrifice on an industrialised scale. In the eyes of God these were sins equivalent in severity to those of the authors of the Nazi holocaust."

    So prostitution and extra-marital sex is equivalent to genocide? You're an appalling excuse for a human being, Peter. No wonder you despise end-of-life compassion and value fertilised eggs above women.

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  37. To paraphrase Matt Dillahunty, "Peter Saunders, you are too stupid to talk to."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to_dPODYzUM

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    1. Winston

      "you are too stupid to talk to"

      Take a look at your own words "Winston"

      Phil

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    2. So not a single rebuttal, huh? I'm hardly surprised. Also, here are some facts you might find elucidating:

      "Well-developed

      As of the 2008 United Nations' Human Development Report, which ranks nations on a measure of "human development" (long and healthy life, education, and standard of living), Denmark is 14th and Sweden is 6th. (In contrast, the 50 least-developed nations are all highly religious.) Another "summary" measure is The Economist's Quality of Life Index, which ranks Denmark and Sweden 9th and 5th in the world.

      Wealthiest

      Sweden and Denmark are ranked 17th and 18th in GDP per capita, according to the International Monetary Fund. In fact, the list of the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world is dominated by non-religious nations. Denmark and Sweden rank 3rd and 10th in financial satisfaction. Also note that among the 50 poorest countries on Earth, all are extremely religious.

      Most democratic

      According to World Audit, Denmark and Sweden are the most democractic nations on earth. The Global Democracy Ranking lists them at #1 and #3. The Economist's Democracy Index ranks them 1st and 5th.

      Most free

      The Heritage Foundation ranks Denmark and Sweden 6th and 11th on economic freedom. They rank 8th and 4th in freedom in decision making. Reporters Without Border ranks them 14th and 7th in press freedom, with Freedom House ranking them 3rd and 5th.

      Most entrepreneurial

      The World Economic Forum ranks nations by economic competitiveness, and nearly all the top spots are dominated by non-religious nations, including Denmark and Sweden. The same story holds for specific measures of entrepreneurship, for example Denmark and Sweden rank among the top 5 nations where it is cheapest to start a new business.

      Least corrupt

      Transparency International ranks Denmark and Sweden as the 1st and 4th least corrupt nations on earth.

      Least violent

      Denmark and Sweden both rank low in murders per capita. Both Fox & Levin (2000) and Fajnzylber et. al. (2002) found that all the nations with high homicide rates were extremely religious, and that the nations with the lowest homicide rates tended to be relatively non-religious. Good statistics on other measures like rape and violent crime are difficult to compile because nations measure crime differently, and such statistics are often more a measure of the effectiveness of a nation's justice system and a culture's willingness to report crimes than they are a measure of actual incidences of violence.

      Most peaceful

      Denmark and Sweden rank 2nd and 6th on the Global Peace Index, whose top ranks are dominated by non-religious nations.

      Healthiest

      Again, according to the 2008 Human Development Report, Denmark and Sweden are ranked among the top 20 nations on life expectancy, and are ranked 3rd and 4th for the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. UNICEF's 2007 State of the World's Children report ranks Denmark, Sweden, and the similarly non-religious Netherlands as the three best countries in the world concerning "child welfare" (their safety, education, and health). In terms of physicians per 100,000 people, Denmark is 14th and Sweden is 6th."

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    3. Hi Winston

      I actually know Denmark quite well having spent quite a bit of time there.

      Denmark is an Atheist state? Um I am not sure that they will see themselves as Atheist in the same way as Stalinist Russia or until a few years ago China.

      The countries that you describe have religious freedom. Evangelical churches are certainly flourishing and Christians and other faiths are free to live our their faith both at work and in society.

      In conclusion I am not sure what point you are trying to make using Denmark and Sweden as your examples. They are not atheist states (like most of the communist states were) so I don't think that a load of stats about lovely Denmark, (and I agree it is a nice place) really advance your argument at all.

      Phil

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    4. Winston

      Still not sure why you tote Denmark as an example of an atheist state

      "The Constitution of Denmark contains a number of sections related to religion.

      §4 establishes the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark as the state church of Denmark.
      §6 requires the Danish monarch (currently Margrethe II of Denmark) to be a member of the state church.
      §67 grants freedom of worship."

      furthermore a poll, carried out in 2008, found that 25% of Danes believe Jesus is the son of God and around 50% have some sort of religious views. Whatever their views the fast majority (80%) of Danes are members of the Lutheran Church., which does not speak to me of a huge level of atheism belief

      Phil



      Phil



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    5. If your definition of an atheist state is a totalitarian state where anyone with a non-atheist view is killed then you have already set atheism up to be what you claim it to be. Any totalitarian state, where opponents are removed is of course immoral, be it atheist, Muslim or Christian. This kind of practice has nothing to do with atheism. http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismmyths/p/AtheismKills.htm

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    6. Here is the study you should be looking at, Phil.

      http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2005/10/religion_is_bad.html

      http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-brooks1oct01,1,1240960.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

      "He found that the most religious democracies exhibited substantially higher degrees of social dysfunction than societies with larger percentages of atheists and agnostics. Of the nations studied, the U.S. — which has by far the largest percentage of people who take the Bible literally and express absolute belief in God (and the lowest percentage of atheists and agnostics) — also has by far the highest levels of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases."

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    7. Winston

      I agree that religious societies tend to create social strife as they often tend to want to change the way that the society operates. Also they often feel superior to other faiths who do not share their beliefs.

      What do we do about it is the real question

      Atheist "states" have tried to control Christianity or ban it and this has lead to huge suffering and only made it stronger. China is a prime example.

      Phil


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    8. China is a totalitarian state, not an atheistic one.

      Religious societies lead to dysfunction and oppression because they adopt a totalitarian approach to running societies. This paternalistic arrogance can (and often does) extend to torture and oppression of everyone who isn't part of the in-group.

      When societies prosper, religions tend to go by the wayside. Religions cannot thrive in the absence of human misery, after all.

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    9. Atheistic societies (Of which China was and still broadly is one) are no different to religious ones in feeling superior and look down on others because of their "enlightened" view point.

      You may say that you do not have a world-view but you do and many states have sought to impose this view on its citizens by totalitarian means.

      The results have been horrendous suffering mainly because atheism does not have any compassion built into the doctrine/world-view.

      I don't disagree that religion has caused wars but Christianity at least has been a major force for freedom and overall a force for good.

      What I am also saying is that experiments with Atheism have been considerably worse than the religious societies that they replaced, many hundreds of millions killed in the last century alone.

      BTW it is no good saying that they were not proper atheists etc as they themselves described themselves as such.

      Phil

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    10. Totalitarian states and leaders often try to impose their views and philosophies on the world. The theocracies of the Dark Ages were no exception. Christianity has done far more harm than good (just look at the RCC) and has stultified scientific development for centuries. There is no compassion built into Christianity because its adherents must believe that everyone deserves eternal torture simply because they were born.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpK8ji1tADg

      If Torquemada had nuclear or chemical weapons, his wholescale genocide would have made Hitler look like a saint.

      Secular democracies such as Japan, Sweden and Norway have very low murder and rape rates, and show no signs of devolving into barbaric despotism.

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    11. "If Torquemada had nuclear or chemical weapons, his wholescale genocide would have made Hitler look like a saint."

      I am not about to defend the inquisition but this is an assertion based on something that did not happen. We cannot know what would have happened if he had had nuclear weapons any more than we would know what pol pott or say the leaders of the "Cult of Reason" during the French Revolution would have done with nuclear weapons.

      Secular democracies (BTW full of old people) like Norway Japan etc are not Atheist states. You need to look at Revolutionary France, Revolutionary Mexico and in Marxist-Leninist states e.g the Soviet Union, North Korea etc

      Phil

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    12. I agree that my statement was pure speculation. However, the lack of restraint demonstrated by religious inquisitors throughout the Dark and Middle Ages lends credence to my supposition. Furthermore, since secular people do not believe in an afterlife, they have no reason whatsoever to initiate a nuclear war with the sole purpose of wiping out most life on the planet. If, on the other hand, you believe in an eternal reward after you die, then this life becomes meaningless and not worth preserving in the slightest.

      After all, Christianity is little more than a license to sin, since any misdeed (save blaspheming the holy spirit) can be forgiven.

      It also seems that you have defined "atheist states" as any country that conducts wholesale slaughter and happens to have leaders who disbelieve in gods (please correct me if I'm wrong here).

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    13. One of the accounts of the rise in Christianity was the large plagues that ravaged parts of the Roman Empire in the second and third centuries.

      Christian Doctors were willing to treat people and this lead to an explosion in Christian numbers.

      However the Roman Historians thought it perfectly logical for Christians to treat people and pagan doctors to flee as Christians strongly believed in a life after death. So it was logical for them to stay and for pagans to flee.

      Phil



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    14. I have defined an atheist state by those that define(d) themselves as such.

      It is just a coincidence that they were totalitarian and harsh places to live of course!

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    15. That wasn't why Christianity spread throughout the Roman empire. It spread because Constantine made it the country's official religion.

      If they truly, unfalteringly believed in eternal bliss after this life, they wouldn't have extended lives through medicine. They'd welcome any chance to enter heaven sooner.

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    16. Winston

      The plagues were way before Constantine at 166 and 266 AD. Both were apparently as deadly as the black death

      If you want an atheist explanation for the rise of Christianity after the plagues though, many historians have reasoned that it is very likely that a far greater proportion of Christians survived. Perhaps simply because of access to medicine and a willingness of Christians to look after one another despite the personal risk.

      This willingness to risk their lives to care for others, was something that was generally absent from the pagan population at the time.

      Phil

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    17. How could they have survived without modern medicine? Hemochromatosis seems the likeliest explanation.

      http://membercentral.aaas.org/blogs/scientia/hemochromatosis-and-bubonic-plague

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    18. Some have suggested measles and or small pox, but we will probably never know.

      The death rate appears to have been between 35 to 55%. Lower than for Black Death

      Phil

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