Category Archives: Old Testament Ethics

Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 4

conquestIn part 3 of this series, we looked at some religious and historical arguments against the claim that the conquest commands in the biblical books of Deuteronomy and Joshua were divine in origin. In this week’s post, I will formulate a moral argument against that claim solely on the basis of the rationale for those commands. To do this, I will Continue reading Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 4

Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 3

THE NATURE OF THE COMMANDS

What was the rationale for Joshua's military campaign?
What was the rationale for Joshua’s military campaign?

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, we examined what the God of the Old Testament commanded the Israelites to do to the Canaanites. We discovered that Joshua’s mandate was to defeat the armies that opposed him in various locales – whether in cities, villages, fields, or the countryside – by killing everything that remained in those places during battle, whether civilians or combatants. In doing so, Joshua’s plan was to drive the nations out of the land by attacking strategic locales; his goal was not to Continue reading Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 3

Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 2

What exactly was commanded?
What exactly was commanded?

In last week’s post, we reviewed some of the bibilical passages in which the God of the Old Testament commands the Israelites to destroy the Canaanite people. We considered an interpretation of those passages (namely, scenario 1) according to which women and children were not targeted by Joshua’s military campaign. In this post, we will consider the evidence for a different interpretation (namely, scenario 2), the view that Continue reading Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 2

Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 1

In last week’s post, we looked at Paul’s Copan’s article “Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?” (2009) because it lays a good foundation for interpreting Old Testament texts which, by modern standards, are morally problematic. This week’s post extends that discussion by looking at Copan’s treatment of the conquest narratives in which the Israelites are given divine sanction to Continue reading Did the God of the Old Testament Command Genocide? Part 1

Is the God of the Old Testament a Moral Monster?

This blog post is a summary and commentary on Paul Copan’s article, “Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?” published in Philosophia Christi (2009).[1] Basically, this article is a response to New Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris who claim that the God of the Old Testament – and much of the OT’s ethical teaching – should be repudiated. Copan argues that the New Atheists know very little about how to properly interpret the biblical texts they find so disturbing, specifically the law codes in the Pentateuch. Continue reading Is the God of the Old Testament a Moral Monster?