He is risen!
Also, Jim is back after his “final comment.” I suppose, he’ll have an ultimate comment, as well as a closing comment, a finishing comment, ect. Who would have guessed? Oh well, as I said in my last post, I have prepared a response to the first coupled final comments. I wanted to keep this reply for today as it touches upon the holiday. (see The Wild Turkey for further explanation.)
Well, seems I’ve finally goaded you into supporting your argument. The tact you’ve employed, however, understates the problem, but let’s focus on the minute before moving onto the big picture.
1. In the Old Testament God commands the destruction of certain tribes—man, woman, children, and even the livestock;
2.a. This is obviously evil;
2.b. This is so evil I refuse to listen to apologetics refuting my argument.
Conclusion: The Bible is self-contradictory as it calls God good.
Corollary: The church is evil.
Let me address your statement, the one on which point 2.b. is based, “But hey. Excuses cover that.” This implies the opposite, that no excuse can cover point 1. Have we come to this, that you may dictate beforehand the weight of my argument? We won’t get very far if you refuse to listen to what I have to say. If you simply want to shout at a Christian, I suggest you obtain a lifelike manikin with which to play out your fantasies within the privacy of your own home. If we’re willing to put aside point 2.b., and actually talk with each other, I think we can progress.
Upon your previous arguments regarding morality point 2.a. fails. If morality is as you say rooted in culture and biology, if it has no objective merit, if it is not a standard, then the Israelites were simply following their own biology and culture. If, however, we can objectively say that their actions were evil, then we need to understand what we’re saying. We’re talking about judgment that transcends time and space, the definition of God.
But despite your incoherent stance, no, it was not evil. The Bible, which you claim to know, gives its own defense, listing the reason for this command: On one level, these people deserved this punishment, and on the other, the Israelites are warned that these people will turn them away from God, will make the Israelites abominable by enticing them into pagan sin. First, consider the symbolic nature of this: you keep using phrases like, “I can observe the natural world,” well nature affirms the principle that one thing must die to make way for another. This principle governs plants, animals, and even ideas, as better arguments replace weaker.
So, this principle of nature is dramatized in the Bible, as God, the idealized good, chooses a medium by which He’ll reveal Himself to the world, the Israelites, who then must root out and destroy the evil. Admittedly, the symbolic nature of the story pales when considering that we’re not talking about ideas, plants, or animals, but human lives. To get a clearer view, we must first step out of this example, and look at the broad picture: In the circumstance(s) we are considering, all the people condemned by God were already doomed to die.
My point: in this instance, the Bible records God commanding the Israelites to kill, but going further, we see all deaths are in a sense under His management, His responsibility. This is what I meant when I said you understated the problem. Not just these deaths, but every death is known by God, and could have conceivably been stopped by God. This, however, does not equate to God being immoral. The problem with classifying as evil God’s command to annihilate is that such a statement is nonsense, for all life comes from Him, and therefore can be required by Him. The reason I don’t think it is immoral of God to take a life is because every life is His to take.
Now, with Easter so close, I’d be remise not to address the other side of this equation. I feel I have clearly expounded upon, let’s call it, the intellectual argument, but understand the need for an explanation that goes a step further, that speaking past facts and logic, moves into the realm of the heart. If you’re uninterested in my scribbling beyond the point of apologetics, I’d suggest you get off here; we are heading into a new direction.
Looking out unto nature, death and obsolescence are guaranteed. Our brains equip us with a self-sense of inherent dignity, but the world harshly enlightens us to her nature. Poverty and disease are common, suffering is universal, and even the best of us is maturing maggot feed. But there is this solution, one confirming that childish notion we had, that despite all the pain and suffering of the world, there is something worthwhile, some meaning beyond the endless cycles, the crushing gears of existence themselves crushed by a greater power.
This hope is Jesus, His assurance His resurrection. Whatever your grief with me, the church, or Christianity, He will hear your prayers, and though you were dead, yet you may live.
Have a great Easter.
I didn’t have time to put together anything as thorough as this: https://www.bethinking.org/bible/old-testament-mass-killings
It goes far deeper into the arguments than what I have herein written.
 Deuteronomy 20:17-18