Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's Not Genocide, It's Justice!

Sorry, Cthulhu, I've read the Bible. You're really no scarier than the Christian's "loving" god.

(Today is still Girl Genius Day. Find out what you're missing!)

In response to the argument that God is a moral monster (I don't have to prove this, the Bible does that for me), Paul Copan argues that sometimes genocide is justice. And also not genocide. Also. Too.

The evangelical scholar argues in his book that the killing of the Canaanites was not a racially motivated act. Rather, he writes, it was theologically and morally motivated via divine mandate to bring corporate capital punishment to a people whose religious practices encouraged incest, bestiality, adultery, and other deviant acts. He also references several texts that show the Canaanite population was far from being annihilated.

Let's look at the Bible. I find it very odd that Copan references other texts to prove that the Canaanite population was not annihilated, in that the Bible, you know, the approved word of God, does say exactly that.

The Canaanite Genocide starts in Deuteronomy 7, after God sends the Israelites out of Egypt, to the land of "milk and honey"- land already occupied by a number of different peoples.

When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you— 2 and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally." Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

I'm sorry, how else does one interpret "destroy them totally"? Seems pretty clear to me. God, rather than giving the Israelites unoccupied land, demands instead that they completely destroy seven entire nations' worth of people- men, women, children, everything.

How is that moral? How is that not genocide?

As to the "deviant acts" excuse, other than worshipping other gods, the Bible doesn't really get into exactly what the Canaanites were doing. Not that even widespread bestiality would justify slaughtering everyone, including newborns not engaging in bestiality. That's not justice. That's genocide.

How is that moral?

What about The Flood? Remember, God told Noah that if he found 10 righteous men, there would be no flood. But Noah only looked in one city. All of the earth, and all of the peoples on it (remember, The Flood was supposedly world wide), Noah looks in one city for righteous men. That's like me going to the grocery store, looking at one tiny section of one shelf, finding no honey and then declaring that no store anywhere has honey. And then burning down every grocery store in the world.

[Edit: I'm thinking of the wrong Bible story. Meh. It's all genocide, all the time and babies died, so you know, not moral. I do appreciate it being pointed out, though.]

How is that moral?

How is dashing the heads of infants against rocks moral? How is raping female captives moral? How is killing everyone for the sins of the few moral?

How could you call God anything but a monster?


  1. Minor correction:

    "What about The Flood? Remember, God told Noah that if he found 10 righteous men, there would be no flood."

    That wasn't the flood, that was Abraham and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. If he could find 10 righteous men in the city, God would call off the attack.

  2. How is "theologically-motivated via divine mandate" killing morally superior to racially-motivated killing? At least a person can actually see the other person's skin color or actually know the race or nation their enemy is from.

    This reminds me of the time I heard an apologist defend the slaughter of Canaanite children by saying that the Canaanites practiced child sacrifice and if the Israelites didn't kill their kids the practice would continue through them.

    It also strikes an incredible similar to the blood-libel used against Jews in the middle-ages ("Jews use xtian children's blood to make matzo, so we need to get rid of them" ect.) and the whole "Gays recruit/have sex with children" thing in Uganda and other places. The whole "Group X commits barbaric/disgusting/immoral acts, we need to totally eliminate them" mentality.

  3. I have nothing really to add. I just wanted to say, "Holy crap, it's Cynic Sage!"

  4. Damnit, I'm mixing up my Bible stories. All that genocide just runs together after a while.

    I have to say, the whole "10 righteous men" thing always made me uncomfortable. What about 10 innocent newborns? Should have been easy to find those, but fuck it! Everybody dies! I'm god and I don't have time for this shit.


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