Thursday, February 7, 2013

5 Things to Consider about the Canaanite Conquest

1. Ancient conquest accounts use the language of slaughtering women and children as hyperbole (see K. Lawson Younger, Ancient Conquest Accounts: A Study in Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical History Writing [Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990]). It's somewhat equivalent to someone playing a game of basketball and saying to his opponent, "We're going to annihilate you." The language isn't literal.

2. What proves the above is the fact that there are tons of Canaanites left over from the conquest after Joshua and that generation dies. The Israelites have continual problems with them, and as I argued before and will say again below, if one does not wipe out the entire tribe of his enemy, the children of that tribe will rise up and wipe out your children according to the ancient commitment to fulfilling familial vendettas.

3. The purpose of God is to wipe out the Canaanites eventually in His judgment of their sins, as according to Scripture, when one practices chaos, chaos is then turned in on him. If he wishes to participate in practices that kill children, his children will be killed and his line snuffed out from the earth. Hence, even if it is not fulfilled in the conquest accounts, God made it clear via revelation that it was His goal to bring judgment upon the various tribes lumped together as "Canaanites." If God does not have the right to end the lives of men, women, and children according to His terms, then one needs to make an argument that He doesn't have the right to do it now, as according to the Bible, He ends the life of every man, woman, and child who dies on the planet by deciding that their time has come to an end here.
Furthermore, if He does not work toward the goal of wiping out the Canaanites, then His establishment of the Israelites is all for nothing, as the people He saves today will simply be annihilated tomorrow (according to ancient Near Eastern tribal thinking concerning vendettas), defeating His whole purpose to save Israel.

4. His purpose is to give birth to the nation of Israel, and in so doing, teach them to defend themselves in war. If we are to understand what is going on, we have to cooperate with the biblical narrative. They have lived their whole lives as slaves in Egypt. They have never fought or defended themselves from any harm. It seems necessary, therefore, to include them in their own reacquiring of the land and the defense of their own people.

5. The account says that God kills more Canaanites than the Israelites do. Even though he involves them, the judgment of the Canaanites is primarily His work. We only know this because God spoke to Moses and Joshua and told them audibly that this was the case. One cannot make an argument that he or she is fulfilling God's judgment upon a people unless God has specifically given that person such a revelation, and many orthodox Christians don't believe revelation of such a thing is still given, nor do they (and this is the really important point) believe that the Church, which is the only institution that would receive revelation from God if He still communicated that way, has authority to enact God's physical judgment upon a person or group. The sword is given to nations, not to the Church. The Bible separates the sphere of authority between church and state, one governing the spiritual war and the other governing what may occur physically. Hence, there are numerous applications to be made of the Conquest Accounts into the believer's life today, but participating in physical judgment of a person or group as God's emissary is not one of them.



I'll say again what I said before. You cannot judge an ancient people in a completely different context than your own. In tribal life, a tribe is in continual struggle with any other tribe(s) it may rub the wrong way. The context is unique by that alone, but what makes it even more unique is God's divine commands concerning it. Making judgments from the Lazyboy only furthers the apathy toward such a way of thinking, as one's life, family, community is in no danger from another community that wishes to take his life, the lives of his family members, and annihilate his community. But in this ancient setting, that's exactly what the Israelites had to worry about, daily. "And God saw their affliction and had pity on them."

24 comments:

  1. Why didn't god find pity on the Native Americans whom were being exterminated by Christians? Or the Gypsies? And what about the slaughter of the Middianites who's virginal young girls god awards to the Jews as a spoil of war? God's pity is highly selective and most peculiar.

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    1. Your argument is incoherent. It addresses nothing that I said and assumes a strawman argument.

      1. Just because Europeans generally identified themselves as Christians does not mean that they were. Most Americans today identify themselves as such and most know virtually nothing of what it means to be a Christian.

      2. Real Christians would have no reason to exterminate Native Americans unless they were threatened by their entire tribes (some were and other were not). The issue isn't quite as simple as what your high school history teacher may have taught you. There were peaceful men and savages on both sides of that conflict, and it is multifaceted. You're making it simplistic.

      3. In light of 1 and 2, and what I said above, I'm not quite sure why you think I would argue that Christians are justified in true acts of genocide. I wouldn't even consider them real Christians if they participated in such a thing without rightful cause of self defense and preservation.

      4. What exactly do you think God does when He has pity on a people? Fly down like Superman and save the day? The Bible tells us that His work against evil is primarily through the cross and through the final judgment of all creation, not in individual supernatural acts against evil in day to day life. God's picture is much bigger than yours. Who says He will have no pity on these people? Who says pity is warranted for anyone?

      5. Your statement that "God's pity is highly selective and most peculiar," then. is odd, since you assume that God had no pity, must show pity in a particular way, or that everyone deserves pity and it is God who is being arbitrary. Where are you getting all of this metaphysical information? It's not from Scripture that condemns all people as evil, deserving of God's wrath and judgment, and therefore, needing to either pay for their evil or have their evil paid for.

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    2. You've made no argument refuting how highly selective and peculiar god's pity is.

      He favors a single tribe by awarding them land - but they are commanded they kill the inhabitants of the land first down to the last child. God uses people as instruments of his will to kill women and children, and take virginal girls as trophies of war. He cares not that they'd be raped and enslaved because he wants them to as punishment.

      I don't expect god to stop every act of evil at all, but the god of love I hear emphasized from the faithful, I wouldn't expect to be the one commanding murder and mayhem and wanton cruelty. We all understand that those were barbaric times when killing and cruelty was a way of life. I would just expect an all-knowing god of infinite love to be above the barbarism that was characteristic of those times. It almost seems as if this god was a deliberate fabrication used as an excuse by one of these barbaric tribes to justify what they were already going to do anyway.

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    3. "He favors a single tribe by awarding them land - but they are commanded they kill the inhabitants of the land first down to the last child. God uses people as instruments of his will to kill women and children, and take virginal girls as trophies of war. He cares not that they'd be raped and enslaved because he wants them to as punishment."

      Yep, and it's wrong for God to do so because? Again, this is emoting but it has not argument behind it. It's attempting to describe something that you think I might agree is ghastly. I find the taking of other women in these ancient wars as a mercy, not a horrible thing. They would die otherwise. And does God judge other people through governments and wars? Yes, of course He does. What's the alternative in a violent world filled with murderers? Let them go free? Build millions of jails to house them? If someone murders, his life is to be taken from him because man is made in the image of God (i.e., he represents God Himself). Hence, one who is a chaotic agent in the world must be destroyed, and only God has the right to decide when and where and through what means (human or otherwise) that murderer is to die.

      "I don't expect god to stop every act of evil at all, but the god of love I hear emphasized from the faithful, I wouldn't expect to be the one commanding murder and mayhem and wanton cruelty."

      Well, that's your problem. You don't understand that these are acts of love for His people. So I'm going to ask you to actually deal with my argument rather than avoid it.

      If you were God, and you decided to save an oppressed people from being destroyed (the Egyptians were slaughtering their children and would have eventually wiped them out), what would you have done? Wiped out the entire nation of Egypt? Sent them up the road to the Philistines who would have annihilated them there? Sent them up by way of the Amalekites, where the Amalekites would have destroyed them? Where would you have sent them? And what would you have done about all of the murderous activity going on in Canaan? Dealing with an evil world with moral agents, what is your answer? To sprinkle pixie dust on everyone so that they can no longer be moral agents? What would you that is morally superior? What would you do that would both judge murderers for their crimes and save these people?

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    4. "You've made no argument refuting how highly selective and peculiar god's pity is."

      I wasn't trying to refute it because I'm not sure what your assertion is. Does God choose every nation on earth upon which to have pity? The Bible indicates that He gives every nation opportunity to repent. Even in the biblical narrative, the entire reason Israel is in Egypt is because He has mercy on the Canaanites and wants Israel to go away while their sins are complete. He tells that to Abraham 400 years before He has Israel return in order to destroy their society for their chaotic crimes.

      He sends prophets to Nineveh, Babylon, Egypt, and all other lands surrounding Israel, and it is through them that the Messiah comes to die for all the world. So does He have pity on all men? Yes. Does that mean He is unjust and overlooks their evil if they don't repent of it? Nope. So what's your argument?

      " It almost seems as if this god was a deliberate fabrication used as an excuse by one of these barbaric tribes to justify what they were already going to do anyway."

      "Almost seems" is a good way to put it. That's your take on the issue, but you fail to consider the circumstances and that God's acts are not cruelty but merciful toward His people. You have to choose one group over the other. You're just saying you don't think He chose the right group to save. But then you would ignore murderers in order to be considered more "loving" and "God-like"? No thanks. I'll take the real God.

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    5. The mentality your religion makes you adopt is what I find disturbing. Appealing to authority is the problem. Where the Nazis right in their genocide because of Hitler's authority? Authority alone shouldn't be the deciding factor in what determines the rightness or wrongness of an action. If you think it does, we'll have to excuse every lunatic who kills because they said god told them to.

      It's sickening that you'd think keeping underage girls alive where they'll be essentially raped and forced into marriages with older men is "mercy". Why shouldn't they have just been killed along with everyone else as when the Canaanite genocide was commanded by god? God purposely envisions extra cruelty on them because he's also a sadist.

      Imagine if modern armies did what the Israelites did? Going village to village killing everyone there but keeping only the virginal girls alive to be shared amongst the soldiers, and calling it an act of "mercy". I never knew being raped was an act of mercy. I guess Christianity kind of forces a view like that since you must always think god is right now matter how bizarre his commandments might seem. I bet if this story appeared in another religion's holy book and was commanded by another god, you'd think it was appalling. I think. I could be wrong. I have little sense of your decency since you think genocide and rape are OK.

      You sound like a North Korean fawning over the dictator always in agreement with him because of his power. It's pathetic in the 21st century.

      It's one thing for god to allow cruelty to happen if it's done by man, it's another thing if he commands extra cruelty that need not exist. Bottom line is you think god is always justified because of his nature. That's once again a might makes right mentality.

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    6. It's really hard for me to know if atheists are really this dense or if they're just being difficult because they don't want to cooperate in a conversation. You really need to learn to read.

      1. You're equivocating on the word "authority." I've told you before, the definition of murder has to do with usurping God's authority. I'm not saying it's OK because God says it's OK, or because God murders and that makes it OK. That would be an appeal to authority. I'm saying that God cannot murder by the very definition of murder being "the usurping of God's authority to take a human life." God cannot usurp His own authority. Hence, He cannot murder. That's not an appeal to authority. Get your facts straight.

      2. I never said that raping girls was a mercy to them. That's inflammatory rhetoric. I said "marrying them" was a mercy because they would die. This is where your modern sensibilities don't help you in understanding the ancient world. A woman would rather still marry, even a foreign invader, than be killed, precisely because it saves her life and allows her to still become a mother. You don't get that because you're imposing your own cultural ideals onto ancient women, but every ancient reader, man and woman, would consider such a mercy.

      "It's one thing for god to allow cruelty to happen if it's done by man, it's another thing if he commands extra cruelty that need not exist. Bottom line is you think god is always justified because of his nature. That's once again a might makes right mentality."

      I just don't think you're ever going to get an argument I make, because you just don't know how to read and put two pieces of an argument together.

      1. You're begging the question that this is "extra cruelty that need not exist." According to whom? What standard of morality are you deriving your judgments from, and where did you gain your omniscience to know that this need not exist?

      2. I've never made a "might makes right" argument, and you're saying so only proves that you can't understand my argument (yet again).

      3. Hence, I'm going to ask you to actually make an argument as to why it is wrong for God to have ordered His people to execute the Canaanites when (a) they're under his judgment for their evils, (b) He needs to teach Israel how to defend herself and bring about justice as a nation, (c) He needs to save His people from extermination, and in this best possible world, destroying the Canaanites is the best way to accomplish all of the above.

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    7. 1. YOUR definition of murder is usurping God's authority. Not mine. All that says is god is the property holder of all murder. What you don't get is that I'm not completely brainwashed by Christian dogma like you, so I define murder as most non fundamentalists do which is the willful, deliberate and unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of a human being. Again just like with religion you need to redefine your terms to make sense, and we are in disagreement on definition here which makes all the difference so let's agree to disagree.

      2. "A woman would rather still marry, even a foreign invader, than be killed, precisely because it saves her life and allows her to still become a mother."

      And you know this is true in every situation in the entire ancient world how? I don't think ALL young women who just had their entire family slaughtered will be thinking about motherhood right at that moment. And if some of the underage girls were raped by the Jews, would this convince you it was wrong? Would this change your mind about anything or are you so brainwashed into thinking god is never wrong.

      Your Questions:

      1. Would you rather be slain quickly, or kept alive to be raped by men, and enslaved for the rest of your life? I think the former, because the latter is more cruel. But again I don't think the Middianite virgins were happy that they were going to find Jewish husbands. What historical account documents this that is not written by the conquerors? I think in the ancient world we see the desire to die over submitting to conquerors exists as it does now. Just look at the Jews at Masada.

      2. You keep hiding behind what you think god can do. We're actually arguing what the Jews did according to the OT. Can the Jews kill men, women, children, rape underage virgin girls and take other tribe's land if god commands it? God is not doing it, the Jews are. You're totally lost on this point. The question is it OK for the JEWS to do it, not god.

      3. Why it is wrong for God to have ordered His people to execute the Canaanites?

      Remember the accounts of the canaanite conquest come from the OT, written by Jews who had every motive to dehumanize them as much as possible just as the Nazis did to the Jews. Israeli archaeology has not been kind to these stories and they've found little to back up the validity of them.

      So I don't grant that the Canaanites are under judgement of anything. I think a greedy tribe wanted their land and used "god told me so" as an excuse to justify what they already were going to do anyway if it happened at all. Certainly this isn't the best possible world if it requires genocide.

      But according to the story, there's no reason why everyone has to be killed, and there's no reason the Jews have to have that land. They could settle somewhere else. If land grabing and genocide are all part of god's plan that he foresaw even before creation and he wanted it to happen, god is an engineer of cruelty.

      And ff another group of people is intent on killing the Jews, they can just kill the soldiers, or kill until the other side can't fight anymore. If there's fear of the children when they grow up, they can incorporate them into their society and humanely assimilate them. There's no reason babies need to be killed unless of course god commands it. I think that's the only justification you will find, which is ironic because Christians always shout about the sanctity of life and of babies/fetuses but here, babies MUST be killed because god says so.

      If the freed children and babies of black slaves didn't need to be slaughtered to prevent their uprising against their white slave owners, I think the Canaanite babies could've been too.

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  2. "1. YOUR definition of murder is usurping God's authority. Not mine. All that says is god is the property holder of all murder. What you don't get is that I'm not completely brainwashed by Christian dogma like you, so I define murder as most non fundamentalists do which is the willful, deliberate and unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of a human being. Again just like with religion you need to redefine your terms to make sense, and we are in disagreement on definition here which makes all the difference so let's agree to disagree."

    LOL. You don't know how much theism you just assumed in YOUR definition. What makes murder unlawful for a country to do against another country? That's what we've been discussing here. So who decides that Nazi Germany is unlawful and America is lawful? The winners? That really is an appeal to authority. It's murder because the winners say so and it's lawful because the winners say so. That really is an appeal to authority. So, no, I'm not just going to "agree to disagree." I have a firm basis for my definition. Yours is subjective and holds no sway.

    "And you know this is true in every situation in the entire ancient world how? I don't think ALL young women who just had their entire family slaughtered will be thinking about motherhood right at that moment. And if some of the underage girls were raped by the Jews, would this convince you it was wrong? Would this change your mind about anything or are you so brainwashed into thinking god is never wrong."

    Would you say that all romantic relationships are wrong if some girls are raped by their boyfriends and spouses? Of course you wouldn't, because that would be to argue from exceptions and abuses rather than the intent to establish an institution or practice based upon an overall good intention and result.

    Is raping women evil? Of course it is. The Bible never says otherwise. Is marrying women who would be killed, discarded and left to die childless an evil because it seeks to have mercy and restore life and posterity to her after war has ensued? Of course not. Or are you too brainwashed by your modern culture to allow for anything to be considered good because you might have someone out of their minds and want to die instead (and most women in the ancient Near East would not rather die, or they would have just killed themselves afterward--that's how you know).

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    1. Defining war, murder, or justice is a conventional and practical measure. We can objectively measure a moral action by whether it intends to positively or negatively affect conscious beings. Murder clearly doesn't positively affect beings it's done to, and that is an objective fact. So while the definition of these terms may differ slightly in minor detail, they all follow the same basic outline. Your definition is such a stretch away from the rest that I've never seen it used in any dictionary anywhere.

      Why are the Middianite virgins spared and not the Canaanite Virgins? Couldn't the Canaanite virgins also have been spared if it is a merciful thing to do? Try and justify this without appeal to god's authority over man.

      "Is raping women evil? Of course it is." Than why does the Bible allow it?

      Judges 21:10-24

      Deuteronomy 20:10-14 - What kind of God approves of murder, rape, and slavery?

      Deuteronomy 22:28-29 - What kind of lunatic would make a rape victim marry her attacker? Answer: God.

      Deuteronomy 22:23-24 - It is clear that God doesn't give a damn about the rape victim. He is only concerned about the violation of another mans "property".

      2 Samuel 12:11-14 - "Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight."

      Here women are nothing more than to be used and raped as a way to humiliate the husband as punishment by god.

      There are more, but I know your reaction will be to say god has the right to do what he wants no matter how harmful, brutal, cruel it may be to the victims. Your worldview is that of a rat in a cage. I'm not brainwashed by modern culture, I'm rational, compassionate and humanistic. If it's irrational to think slavery, fathers selling their daughters into slavery, indentured servitude, forcing underage girls into marriages with older men, stoning to death all homosexuals, adulterers, witches, unruly children, those who worship false gods, those who work on the sabbath, allowing the rape of female captives in war, and throwing war captives off cliffs, is wrong, then I'm as guilty as charged.

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  3. "1. Would you rather be slain quickly, or kept alive to be raped by men, and enslaved for the rest of your life? I think the former, because the latter is more cruel. But again I don't think the Middianite virgins were happy that they were going to find Jewish husbands. What historical account documents this that is not written by the conquerors? I think in the ancient world we see the desire to die over submitting to conquerors exists as it does now. Just look at the Jews at Masada."

    Where are you getting this rape stuff? You like to describe it that way to poison the well, but they are commanded to "marry them" as wives. I'm sorry you don't understand the ancient Near Eastern mindset of women and would rather project your own experience of modern women onto the ancients (I doubt even modern women would prefer death over marriage), but I actually study the ancient Near Eastern world, and you have no clue what you're talking about. Having a child and being secure in a marriage was THE top priority of a woman in the ancient Near East. It was how she survived in the world and gained a certain status within the community. So, no, they wouldn't prefer death over the very thing they desired to have in that world. You seem to be unaware or just not care that the Midianites were attempting to wipe out the Israelites by helping the Moabites, so, yeah, I do consider it a mercy when God could have just commanded their destruction as well.

    "2. You keep hiding behind what you think god can do. We're actually arguing what the Jews did according to the OT. Can the Jews kill men, women, children, rape underage virgin girls and take other tribe's land if god commands it? God is not doing it, the Jews are. You're totally lost on this point. The question is it OK for the JEWS to do it, not god."

    I'm sorry, but yet again, it is you who don't get the argument. If God has the authority to do X and He gives that authority to His people to carry out X, then it is only God doing X through the medium of His people. Hence, they can do X. I disagree that X is murder, rape, etc. That's your need to paint it in those terms because apparently the biblical rationale is not really all that bad enough for you, so you need to paint it in harsher terms. So be it.






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    1. "If God has the authority to do X and He gives that authority to His people to carry out X, then it is only God doing X through the medium of His people. Hence, they can do X. I disagree that X is murder, rape, etc. That's your need to paint it in those terms because apparently the biblical rationale is not really all that bad enough for you, so you need to paint it in harsher terms. So be it."

      There you go again appealing to god's authority. What gives the Jews the "authority" or right or permission to do X, when you admitted many times that doing X is not right? Hmm? You're only proving my point over and over again it's pathetic. You even say "[God] gives that authority to His people to carry out X". Yes exactly my point. Your justification of any atrocity or whatever you want to call it, is an appeal to authority, not to reason.

      Why is it so hard for you to get this? Is it that you're afraid to admit that Christian morality is based on divine commands, whereby any act is sanctioned if it is believed to be commanded by god, even if it harms others?

      I fully understand your pathetic attempt to rationalize murdering children and perhaps even unborn fetuses of the Canaanites and Middianites by saying it's OK when god tells you to do it because it's god that's doing it, and the Jews are just acting out his judgement as god's robot slaves. But you are then saying that the Jews are off the hook "because god says so". I suppose we should let terrorists off the hook too and allow "because god says so" in our criminal justice system as legitimate defense? It's an appeal to authority to justify violent acts towards men, women and children and you cannot avoid it.

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    2. I'm not going to argue with you anymore because I've already refuted everything you've said here. You just don't understand it and instead insist on arguing with someone else. Your pathetic attempt to squirm out of the arguments I've made that show God as much more compassionate and merciful than you would be in the ancient world if you were God is obvious.

      You've only dodged my arguments because you clearly can't answer them. You're just spinning your wheels now, and I don't have time for your unwarranted assertions in light of it. Go get some reading and cognitive thinking skills and learn how to address and make a real argument. This sort of nonsense may work for the weak little kids you bully in your life, but not for real logicians and scholars. As I said to you before, you're Jedi mind-tricks don't work on me, Boy. I'm done with you.

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  4. "Remember the accounts of the canaanite conquest come from the OT, written by Jews who had every motive to dehumanize them as much as possible just as the Nazis did to the Jews. Israeli archaeology has not been kind to these stories and they've found little to back up the validity of them."

    Hahaha, Now, you're on my ground telling me what my field says about these accounts? Seriously? Liberal archaeologists have not been kind to the accounts. Conservative archaeologists have. Do you know what archaeology actually says to them? Nothing. Because it's data that has to be interpreted through one's preconceived framework. The identity of sites is not absolute, the identification of layers is not absolute, chronologies are not absolute, etc. Don't quote me archaeology when you clearly don't know what you're talking about and are merely repeating sensationalistic claims you've read in your atheistic apologetic books. That's not real life scholarship. It's make-believe.

    "So I don't grant that the Canaanites are under judgement of anything. I think a greedy tribe wanted their land and used "god told me so" as an excuse to justify what they already were going to do anyway if it happened at all. Certainly this isn't the best possible world if it requires genocide."

    I think it's really a story about two kids who were fighting over lollipops, or better yet, that it's really just a case of people fighting over oil to drive their cars. But then again, since I'm ignoring the only historical account we actually have of the event, I can just speculate until the cows come home and say anything I want about it. But that isn't scholarship either, and it certainly doesn't say anything but "I don't believe REPORT X so I will believe NON-REPORT Y, where NON-REPORT Y can be anything inside the realm of possibility.

    "But according to the story, there's no reason why everyone has to be killed, and there's no reason the Jews have to have that land. They could settle somewhere else. If land grabing and genocide are all part of god's plan that he foresaw even before creation and he wanted it to happen, god is an engineer of cruelty."

    That's just it. You're wrong. According the story, Israel does have to have that land and everyone does need to be killed. That's the whole point. Where else are they going to go? How will the Canaanites be judged for their crimes? Israel is the center of a trade-route, and God wants them there. He also wants them there because He promised them that land after He judged the wicked tribes there. You may want a different story, but that is what is "according to the story," and understanding that allows one to cooperate with the inward dynamics of the story. Ignoring it just makes you some guy critiquing something he doesn't understand from a million miles away.

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    1. Israeli archaeology says that a violent and sudden conquest of Canaan is not supported by evidence. Some Canaanite cites were never destroyed and their cities were abandoned over a period of a thousand years. This is not a liberal bias, this is coming from Israel. But I get the idea that you are a biblical inerrantist. Is this true? Do you believe every word of the bible as literally true?

      The bible is far from a historically accurate account of the events it speaks about. It blends history and myth and legend, and everyone except fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals know this. Even theologians like William Lane Craig know the bible contains allegories.

      "According the story, Israel does have to have that land and everyone does need to be killed"

      According to whom? God? God sets up a story knowing well in advance it will require genocide even though he has a million other options. Some god.

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    2. "Israeli archaeology says that a violent and sudden conquest of Canaan is not supported by evidence. Some Canaanite cites were never destroyed and their cities were abandoned over a period of a thousand years. This is not a liberal bias, this is coming from Israel."

      You don't know what you're talking about because you're too busy reading sensationalistic atheist apologetic books. Real archaeologists acknowledge that archaeology is an interpretive art, not an exact or objective science. That's what the old dogs are locked into, but archaeology has since acknowledged postmodern developments, and anyone with half a brain doesn't argue archaeology as facts, but only as theories. You don't know the field, so you argue it as absolute. That's the only fact evident here.

      "But I get the idea that you are a biblical inerrantist. Is this true? Do you believe every word of the bible as literally true?"

      Yes, I'm an inerrantist. No, I don't believe every word of the Bible is literally true. Those two ideas are not one and the same.

      "The bible is far from a historically accurate account of the events it speaks about. It blends history and myth and legend, and everyone except fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals know this. Even theologians like William Lane Craig know the bible contains allegories."

      Um, evangelicals and fundamentalists acknowledge it too, but not the extent that you think it is so. There is a difference between describing things literally and something being historical. I can describe history mythologically. You're confusing genre and reference.


      "According to whom? God? God sets up a story knowing well in advance it will require genocide even though he has a million other options. Some god."

      He is quite some God. Thanks for acknowledging. The great thing is that, since He's omniscient and perfect in His goodness and you aren't on either account, you have absolutely no idea if you would do it the same way or not. You're a little naive boy saying that he'd rid the world of weapons and that would make peace on earth. Your ignorance isn't much of a support for your assertions, which again, are not arguments.

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  5. "And ff another group of people is intent on killing the Jews, they can just kill the soldiers, or kill until the other side can't fight anymore. If there's fear of the children when they grow up, they can incorporate them into their society and humanely assimilate them. There's no reason babies need to be killed unless of course god commands it. I think that's the only justification you will find, which is ironic because Christians always shout about the sanctity of life and of babies/fetuses but here, babies MUST be killed because god says so.
    If the freed children and babies of black slaves didn't need to be slaughtered to prevent their uprising against their white slave owners, I think the Canaanite babies could've been too."

    I suggest just having a conversation with yourself next time, as you've listened to nothing I've said. You haven't dealt with one iota of what I've said, and you even conceded my points, as usual, in an effort to ignore them rather than deal with them. How fortunate for you that you can just end by making the same uninformed assertions you made before.

    Yes, keeping projecting our modern experience on ancient ones and keep pretending that it's the same world we live in. All you're doing is proving my point that this critique of the conquest accounts is nothing more than modern culture superimposed upon ancient culture in order to pretend that God and His people in that ancient setting are in the wrong. You should just ask me why God didn't bus all of the Canaanites out to a high security prison and let them watch TV while they serve their days out.

    You've given me no argument whatsoever that even begins to show why those things are wrong in their ancient setting. Yet you've managed to assert a half a million things without any argument time and again. Next time don't waste my time if you want to bring a bunch of nerf balls to the Superbowl.

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    1. Remember here that god is not supposed to be relevant only in one time period, he's supposed to be universal. So if god commands morals that only make sense in an ancient framework, then (1) we have no reason to listen to them now, and (2) god is then just a moral compromiser since he deliberately gives morals than are less than optimal but somehow "good enough".

      All you've done repeatedly is appeal to god's authority to justify every act in the bible. Your only attempts to justify genocide without god was the 2 silly scenarios involving nukes and 1 survivor of an ethnic group, neither of which compare to the story in the bible.

      According to your thinking, if god told Hitler to exterminate the Jews as punishment from god, then the entire holocaust would have been justified. If god were on the side of islamic terrorists, the terrorists would be right in doing whatever is necessary to destroy the West and even in wiping out Israel via a nuke.

      You've said in your own words that god's authority justifies any act. "One cannot make an argument that he or she is fulfilling God's judgment upon a people unless God has specifically given that person such a revelation". Your attempt at reason to justify everything is entirely dependent on god's power as owner of all things, and whether he commands you do something. Like I said, that is ultimately an appeal to authority to justify anything you believe god commands - killing gays, female rape victims, slavery, you name it.

      And let's not forget that if you want to call yourself a Christian you have to be Christ-like. That means turning the other cheek, loving your enemy and doing good to him - you know, all the things that will get you killed. And if you say that Jesus' teachings don't apply to the OT, than again you're appealing to god's authority.

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    2. I've already refuted this time and again, and made an excellent argument that you, obviously, cannot understand, much less assail. So anyone who wants to read why what you say above is nonsense, they can just reread my answers to you in this post and the other.

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    3. You haven't refuted a damn thing. All you've made are attempts to rationalize genocide and murder, by trying to redefine it's meaning in trying to say that it's all good because the Jews were acting out god's commands. You have not even come close those get out of you the appeal to authority to justify killing women, children and babies. There's no hope you.

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    4. Redefining it from what? I think this is the real crux of this entire conversation (don't call it a debate). You think you have a definition of murder, begging the question of atheism I might add, from which everyone else, including God, must be scrutinized.

      But a Christian's definition of murder comes from the Bible, so if you want to refute him and tell him that his God commits murder, you need to make that argument from HIS definition. If you want to critique the biblical story and say God is a hypocrite for commanding others not to murder but then murdering Himself, then you need to accept what God in the Bible means by "murder." If not, your claim that God is inconsistent, the Bible contradictory on the subject, or God is unloving even according to the Bible, is flat out unwarranted.

      And I have refuted all of your arguments. You just don't know and understand enough to know that I have.

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  6. "Defining war, murder, or justice is a conventional and practical measure. We can objectively measure a moral action by whether it intends to positively or negatively affect conscious beings. Murder clearly doesn't positively affect beings it's done to, and that is an objective fact."

    Hahaha. I wouldn't go to press with that one if that's your best argument. Does killing someone who walks into your house intent to murder your children positively or negatively affect that person? I guess you're a murderer for killing him then and should be punished accordingly.

    Oh, and btw, merely stating something is objective doesn't make it objective. I can give any definition of murder and say, "Look, since this applies to everyone, I have an objective moral now." LOL. Nonsense. You have no objective basis to define murder in the first place. That's what you don't get. What? We're all going to go along with your definition as absolute because you say so? Because a particular society might all just agree to function off of that definition? That doesn't make it objective. It just makes it an agreed upon definition. As soon as you have another nation disagree, you have no basis for condemning that nation other than imposing your opinions on others.

    Finally, learn to read a text, even if you're not going to believe it. Descriptive information in literature doesn't condone that information. Describing a rape in the Book of Judges, for instance, is attempting to show how wayward and foul Israel had become, not say, "Hey Everyone, God likes this." Give me a break.
    And learn how to read casuistic law codes as well. The protasis is the crime committed, not the sanction. The apodosis is what is sanctioned to see that the victim is not further harmed by the crime as much as possible.

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    1. "Does killing someone who walks into your house intent to murder your children positively or negatively affect that person?"

      That would be a killing not a murder, I already gave you a definition of murder.

      "We're all going to go along with your definition as absolute because you say so? Because a particular society might all just agree to function off of that definition? That doesn't make it objective."

      I never said my definition of murder was objective. Of course we have to sometimes do necessary harm to one another in self defense, but the fact remains - we harm the intruder. Too bad you aren't a real Christian who loves his enemy and turns the other cheek.

      And if you think you can criticize secular morality by saying that different cultures practice different moral values, and when they conflict with other cultures there is no clear way to resolve the problem, you have the worse problem. Although it’s certainly true that in practice, moral relativism exists, it’s also true that people who ground their morality in the existence of a god also disagree with others who do the same, and because of this, it’s often more difficult to reconcile disagreements when you feel that god is on your side. Religious morality sometimes doesn't appeal at all to pragmatism, reason or to rationality. Instead, its morals quite often are believed to be true simply because they are believed to have come from god. Therefore, systems of moral values that appeal to reason have the best chances of reconciliation when in conflict with others that disagree. The knowledge of an objective moral standard that is aligned with what best reduces unnecessary harm and what positively benefits the conscious beings affected by it will be available to all who are willing to use reason. Those who are beholden to divine command and are not willing to do what is most rational and what makes best moral sense, are often those who are the most religious. Like you. That's why religious belief is dying off.

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  7. "That would be a killing not a murder, I already gave you a definition of murder."

    Not according to your definition it wouldn't. Your definition of murder is based upon whether it negatively affects the person being murdered. That's what you said. That would include any killing whatsoever.

    "I never said my definition of murder was objective. Of course we have to sometimes do necessary harm to one another in self defense, but the fact remains - we harm the intruder."

    I quote: "We can objectively measure a moral action by whether it intends to positively or negatively affect conscious beings. Murder clearly doesn't positively affect beings it's done to, and that is an objective fact."

    There you go. It's objectively measured. You're going to jail for murdering that intruder. That murder you committed against him definitely negatively affected his life. And that's an objective fact.

    "Too bad you aren't a real Christian who loves his enemy and turns the other cheek."

    No, I'm a real, real Christian who reads the Bible in context and realizes that Jesus isn't talking about governments, but people at odds within the religious community (specifically the Matthean community in that context); but I've already dealt with all of that on this blog before.

    "And if you think you can criticize secular morality by saying that different cultures practice different moral values, and when they conflict with other cultures there is no clear way to resolve the problem, you have the worse problem."

    No, I don't. I'm not the one who has no objective standard. You need transcendence for that. I have it with God. You don't have it with atheism. The problem is and always will be yours.

    "Although it’s certainly true that in practice, moral relativism exists, it’s also true that people who ground their morality in the existence of a god also disagree with others who do the same, and because of this, it’s often more difficult to reconcile disagreements when you feel that god is on your side."

    Yes, I'm sure all of those countries who disagreed with all of those atheist dictators murdering their people found them to be much more accommodating.

    "Religious morality sometimes doesn't appeal at all to pragmatism, reason or to rationality. Instead, its morals quite often are believed to be true simply because they are believed to have come from god. Therefore, systems of moral values that appeal to reason have the best chances of reconciliation when in conflict with others that disagree."

    Yes, all of those objective laws of logic that don't exist in an atheistic world. Appealing to reason has nothing to do with it. Everyone I know, religious or otherwise, attempts to appeal to reason. The problem is where you start, and those ultimate beliefs and presuppositions cannot be reasoned away. They exist beyond reason in everyone, including yourself. So what will you do with all of those people who are clearly unreasonable because they didn't adopt your opinions? I hear another atheist genocide on the rise. After all, that might best serve mankind in the long run and reduce unnecessary harm for future generations. We just need to get rid of all of those unreasonable people (i.e., people who don't think like me). I guess you and God do agree that killing off a group of people might be best. You just disagree about who the guilty are.

    "That's why religious belief is dying off."

    No, religious belief is stronger than ever. Christianity is dying off because the new religion assumes atheism as it has been driven into the minds of Western society from birth til death like most state cult religions.

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