This was Hitler's view too.How many of you, if you really reflect and think, feel comfortable with this statement?
The Old Testament paints a picture of a God who is extremely bellicose, giving repeated instructions to "his people" to exterminate other nations, (because he is giving them their "promised land"), and giving them practical assistance on the battlefield. It is easy to believe that such writings could be the attempted self-justification of a territorially minded people, who excuse their aggression and genocide against other nations as "divine instructions". It is almost impossible to believe that such writings are an accurate description of a God who has infinite love for people of all races............................."Is the God of the OT merely sanctioning genocide (nay commanding it)?... isn't this "god" merely an invention for the Jews' own political land-gaining ends? The CommandWhen 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. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD's anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. 5 This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. (Deut 7.1-5) However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy them -- the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites -- as the LORD your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God. (Deut 20.16ff) These are the kings of the land that Joshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir (their lands Joshua gave as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel according to their tribal divisions -- 8 the hill country, the western foothills, the Arabah, the mountain slopes, the desert and the Negev -- the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites): 9 the king of Jericho one the king of Ai (near Bethel) one 10 the king of Jerusalem one the king of Hebron one 11 the king of Jarmuth one the king of Lachish one 12 the king of Eglon one the king of Gezer one 13 the king of Debir one the king of Geder one 14 the king of Hormah one the king of Arad one 15 the king of Libnah one the king of Adullam one 16 the king of Makkedah one the king of Bethel one 17 the king of Tappuah one the king of Hepher one 18 the king of Aphek one the king of Lasharon one 19 the king of Madon one the king of Hazor one 20 the king of Shimron Meron one the king of Acshaph one 21 the king of Taanach one the king of Megiddo one 22 the king of Kedesh one the king of Jokneam in Carmel one 23 the king of Dor (in Naphoth Dor) one the king of Goyim in Gilgal one 24 the king of Tirzah one thirty-one kings in all. (Joshua 12.7-24)At first blush, it looks like YHWH is taking the initiative in the matter, and ordering Israel to wipe out 7-10 nations--without pity and without compromise--and that He intends to give these nations' lands to Israel for their possession. At the end of Joshua's military campaigns, a list of 31 conquered kings is given. (The Israelites fail to obey the directive, however, and God faults them for this--and, as He predicted, the Canaanites DO 'entice' Israel into practicing their religion.).........Obviously, there are a couple of GOOD questions hiding in here: Did God actually command Israel to do this, or did they just invent this divine sanction to justify territorial greed or genocidal tendencies? Why would God use a nation as questionable as the post-Exodus Israelites to deliver His "judgment" on the Canaanites? (Why not just use natural disasters, such as earthquakes [Num 16], volcanic-type phenomena [Gen 19], or plague [2 Kgs 19.35]?) What about all the innocent people killed in this "holy war"--families, "good" Canaanites, etc.? Even if it is 'okay' for God to execute judgment on nations within history, why didn't He only kill the evil-doers? Doesn't wholesale slaughter of nations seem a little incompatible with a God of Love and Mercy? The Linked Document provides all the Details, this is an abridgmentThese are NOT simple or light questions (if your heart is in right!), and so we must be VERY thorough in our analysis of the situation. We will need to approach this issue from a number of different sides, to make sure we have seen it clearly and from a large-enough perspective. We will use the following question-set in analyzing the issue: Do we have any precedents, paradigm cases, or similar incidents of such orders/actions to annihilate? Who exactly WERE these people that God wanted Israel to 'exterminate'? Were there any limits placed upon Israel in this venture, and what was the EXACT content of the orders? What general principles of God's governance might shed some light on the situation? Then, I will try to focus any insights we get onto the opening questions/b] There are a few situations in the OT in which something like this either (1) occurs or (2) is ordered: Sodom/Gomorrah, the Flood, and the Amalekites. And we will look at one "anti-Example" that might function as 'control data'--Ninevah Now, an obvious question comes up here. Do we have ANY EVIDENCE that the annihilation of the Canaanites falls into the above pattern? Do we have any reason to believe it was an exceptional case, a judgment for exceptional violence and evil? Very definitely. The biblical text gives us several indications that this campaign is such a judgment:Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." (Gen 15.13f) Notice that Abraham cannot have the land until the 'sin of the Amorites' reaches some 'maximum threshold'. This certainly LOOKS LIKE a judgment by God on the peoples of the Land. Also, notice that the evil treatment by Egypt of the Israelites (enslavement and mistreatment) are NOT 'evil enough' to warrant annihilation--only "punishment". We might therefore expect the 'sin of the Amorites' to be more extreme than that of Egypt..............There is an obvious pattern here: The annihilations are judgments. These judgments are for publicly-recognized (indeed, international and cross-cultural in scope!) cruelty and violence of an EXTREME and WIDESPREAD nature. These judgments are preceded by LONG PERIODS of warning/exposure to truth (and therefore, opportunity to "change outcomes"). Innocent adults are given a 'way out' Household members share in the fortunes of the parents (for good or ill). Somebody ALWAYS escapes (Lot, Noah, Kenites) These are exceptional cases--there are VERY, VERY few of these.............................................When we restate the pattern of our 'control data'--judgments that seem to be 'true annihilations'--and correlate that pattern with the Conquest data, we see similarities AND differences: The annihilations are judgments [But the conquest judgment was a deportation, not an annihilation.] These judgments are for publicly-recognized (indeed, international and cross-cultural in scope!) cruelty and violence of an EXTREME and WIDESPREAD nature. [This applies to the Canaanites, plus the additional 'load' of long-term "being a curse" to Israel.] These judgments are preceded by LONG PERIODS of warning/exposure to truth (and therefore, opportunity to "change outcomes").[This applies to the Canaanites extensively.] Innocent adults are given a 'way out' [This is very true here--in additional to the extensive warnings, plenty of time&space is given to allow migration before Israel arrived. We even have one example of a non-migration exception--Rahab--which suggests there might be others that were not recorded.] Household members share in the fortunes of the parents (for good or ill). [This is true here as well--everyone in Rahab's house was spared--whether they were good or evil!] Somebody ALWAYS escapes (Lot, Noah, Kenites). [In our case, the mass of people that migrated north to Phoenicia, Rahab+household, plus Gibeonites (although through deception).] These are exceptional cases--there are VERY, VERY few of these. [We have two other cases structured after this deportation--that of Israel and Judah--after the same standards and structures.] .................................. in the ancient world the situation was much more clear than the situation you describe at the doorstep!. Each nation/state/city had their main god that was supposed to protect that specific spot of land. The bigger the country, the bigger and more powerful the god had to be. If a foreign people came to you and said "our god wants to take over your land" the only real way to know whose god was bigger (and therefore which claim was 'legitimate') was to fight. If your god won, then obviously their statement about 'change of ownership' was bogus or irrelevant. If they won, of course, the opposite was true--and off you go (assuming they didn't kill you in the process). But in some cases there was a short-cut to know whether their god would beat your god--by checking the "stats" and applying the "transitive law". If you knew, for example, that your god A (deity of a local Canaanite city-village), could be easily beaten by god B (the god of Egypt, the mightest nation on the planet), but that god B (Egypt) was recently beaten by a more powerful god C (God of the Hebrews), then you could easily make the A<B<C connection, and know that a head start on moving north to Phonecia might be a good idea. The fact that this had been forecast for centuries earlier, and told around all the nearby city campfires didn't hurt its credibility either...nor did the stories of the Hebrew ancestor Abraham, whose exploits against the 5 Kings were still stories of wide circulation and awe... In other words, the Israelite claims were not simple "one-off" prophetic declarations of "mine!"--but had a long history of circulation, and were substantiated (in their minds) by the awesome victory over the mightiest nation and pantheon on earth--that of Egypt. Under circumstances like this--given the way the ancients understood deity--it would be extremely realistic to expect them to uproot and move their home. There actually would be no better way to communicate the certainty of that future than by such an extraordinary event as the Exodus, if well-publicized (which it was). If God was trying to give them a 40-year 'early warning', this was the most effective way possible to help them see the reality of that future, and give them almost a generation to prepare and build a new life/home somewhere else (south or most likely, north).Conclusion: Judgment is called God's "strange work" in the OT prophets. What for us humans is the problem of "why does God not do anything about evil and cruel people" is simply the other side of His patience with us. He hopes that we will accept a love of the truth and a commitment to value. In love, He deliberately "believes the best" (I Cor 13). What started out as the "Unfair genocide of the Canaanites" ended up as the "Less-than-they-deserved punitive deportation from the land"--filled with patience and mercy and 'second chances'. It was nonetheless a judgment, and nonetheless involved death--as it later would be repeated to His people. Far from being the "genocide of an innocent people for land-hungry Israelites", it was instead the "firm, yet just--and even a little merciful to the masses--removal of a people from a tract of land, mostly through migration." glenn miller, 2/8/97, Oct 2000
...Steven Priest seemed to pose the scenario that if all people actually lived spiritual lives in the presence of God there would of course be no need for philosophical arguments for or against the being of God. No doubt, that is quite apparent but it seems his perspective is one close to that of an agnostic. He seems to want God to make his presence more clear to us. He gave a kind of "God in the shadows" type of description. I think Steven might agree with this question to the Theist: 'Why is your "personal" God so choosy in his communication that people may be left in the dark or at best confused about their spiritual experience on Earth and whether or not they were being genuinely communicated to from the Great God of Israel?'....(modified quote)
I don't suppose many of you became christians in order to be associated with this sort of sentiment but in the name of "reasonable faith" you've compromised your critical faculties to the point where you don't know whether genocide is right or wrong.
This is my first comment so I'll be brief. The cosmological argument is not a bad one, but how you get beyond a deistic god to the interventionist god written about in the bible is an absolute mystery to me.
If God do not exist, why is He constantly in our psyche?
If He do not exist, most of us would say gimme me a break, and ignore all these talk about God.