Saturday, October 02, 2010

God Orders Slaughter of Canaanites: Discussion with a Scoffer

Scoffer: What about all the children that were murdered at God's command during Joshua and Gideon's conquest of Palestine? I can't wait to read what kind of situational morality or half-assed theology justifies that.

Me: Your difficulty is that you put God in your shoes and then judge Him through your eyes. You can't get a just answer that way. You have to, as best as creatures locked in time and possibilities are able, to step over into His shoes and look through His eyes. A hint is when he told Abraham that He was not turning over Canaan to him yet because "the iniquity of the Canaanites was not yet complete."

Because He is not locked into time like we are, He could see a point at which that people was so given over to wickedness that not a single one of those children would grow up to be anything but wicked. He saw what they would do if born before they were ever born. And at that point, He ordered their destruction.

The precursor to this was Sodom. Remember in that scenario Lot kept asking God "you would not destroy the righteous with the wicked would you?" And God said, "far be it from me." Lot talked God down, until if there were but 10 righteous in the whole city then He would spare the city for the sake of the 10. Of course, they were not found.

Scoffer: Nice moral gymnastics. A+

Thank you. Sometimes you have to move around a bit to find the truth rather than sit in one place and assume that the center of the moral universe is your own belly button. Actually, since God is the real moral center of the universe, all of our moral gymnastics that are any good are precisly what has been done here. The very essence of finding moral reality consists of getting ourselves into a place where we see it through God's perspective rather than our own. Those "gymnastics" as you put it, are not a one-time trick, but rather something that must be done every time.

Scoffer: Mark, I agree. Anyone who maintains a belief in God into adulthood has to be very proficient at mental gymnastics.

...if one defines being able to evaluate moral claims from any perspective outside of your own as "mental gymnastics".

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