Was God Immoral When He Commanded Israel To Destroy Canaan? A resounding yes


My friend John brought this blog post to my notice and I think it is worthwhile to share it. It is an attempt, that fails terribly, to explain away the killing of the Canaanites by the Israelites in one of the biblical accounts. I don’t know how one can reconcile a good god with the atrocities, cruelties, genocides in the bible.

Skeptics and critics get a lot of mileage in criticizing the Bible regarding the commands in the Old Testament to kill all the people of Canaan. God told Joshua to utterly destroy all the inhabitants of Canaan, including men, women, young children, and the elderly. In Jericho, God even told Joshua to kill all the livestock. The critics claim this is genocide, racially motivated hatred and the killing of innocents, and claim it makes the God of the Bible unworthy of worship.

If anyone sees this differently, don’t you think it is time we checked you into an institution?

Let us listen to the responses

  • The people of Canaan were not innocent. They practiced many forms of evil, including child sacrifice to their idols. The venereal disease alone would have provided a possible source of death if it had not been eradicated.

Where is the supporting evidence for this claim? Was death and plunder the only recourse available to an all-powerful god? What venereal disease was this, it is not listed anywhere in the bible unless I have been using a wrong bible in which case, please tell me what translation you are using I acquire one for myself.

  • The land of Canaan actually belonged to the descendants of Jacob, who owned it back in Genesis when they left for Egypt due to a famine. So the ownership of the land of Canaan was at best in legal dispute, and the Israelites had a legal claim to the land.

If at the end of genesis before they leave for Canaan a land flowing with  milk and honey, which Abe was promised and he never set foot on, where does it then become their property? [CORRECTION: Abraham was in Canaan where he bought a burial plot for Sarah his wife/sister a plot he had been offered for free] If Israelites were god’s chosen people, was he incapable of ending the famine or rather why did he let them leave if he knew, as he must have known unless he isn’t omniscient, that the land will be occupied by others, that he will command his chosen people to kill them and that Joshua will not kill everyone and that he[god] will be incensed over the matter and cause pestilence for unspecified length of time?

  • God had given the Canaanites many years to repent and change their ways. We do not have a detailed record of all of God’s communication, but based on the other passages in the Bible about how God communicates to pagan lands, it is safe to conclude that God gave the Canaanites plenty of advanced warning, which they rejected. For example, the book of Jonah tells us of God’s message to the people of Nineveh, Nineveh’s repentance, and God’s mercy.

I would prefer that you list the instances of god sending prophets to the Canaanites. While at it, also list verses where god or anyone says that YHWH was god of the Canaanites too.

  • Joshua failed to carry out God’s commands to kill all the inhabitants of Canaan. As a result, Israel was plagued for centuries with idol worship, pagan religious rituals, and the resultant murders and judgment. If Israel would have killed all of Canaan, it would have saved lives later and would have resulted in the good of God’s message being lived out to many people.

Let us say this differently. The Hutus in Rwanda did not kill all the Tutsis as they had set to and so they still have some Tutsis to deal with. Now I invite you to think about this statement, don’t gloss over it, read it slowly, reflect about it and then tell me what image of god do you have at the end. If at all you think of this as a merciful and loving god, am buying a new dictionary!

  • Since the people of the land of Canaan were so evil, if God had not killed them, He would have been guilty of being an unrighteous judge, allowing evil and not punishing it. So the skeptics and critics are actually trying to put God in a paradox in which He would be guilty of either choice He made.

Allowing god to exist for a moment, and further that he is the creator of the universe and by extension man. Whose fault is it when man turns out sinful? IS it possible that an all-powerful god could create man in such a way that all his decisions would be between degrees of good? A world where there was no evil? To claim here that to expect god to let the Canaanites free would put god in a paradox is to directly diminish the claim of an all-powerful god. There is just no way this can be explained away!

  • As pointed out by Geisler & Howe, children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven. After the age of accountability, people are held guilty and without repentance will go to Hell. So taking the children to heaven could be viewed as an act of God’s mercy.

Is this person claiming that the population of heaven had gone down so god wanted it repopulated with children? Were the animals also going to heaven or had they also committed the sins we were told in the opening paragraph? Someone tell me if the cows had venereal diseases, false gods and if they had refused to repent! What mercy is there in killing anyone without giving a person a hearing?

So while the destruction of the people of the land of Canaan was awful and ugly, it was indeed a necessary act. At the very least, the people of Canaan were not innocent, and the claims of modern critics about God’s actions are unfounded. God is always holy, righteous, and good, but does not always do things that we find pleasant.

Well, some good news, god does not exist so he could have commanded such a horrible act and if he does exist, he must write down that I defended him against such blasphemy. There is no way the atrocities so described in the OT can be attributed to a holy, righteous and good being unless these words have a different meaning to what we attach to them and in that case they lose meaning to us.

Advertisements

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

41 thoughts on “Was God Immoral When He Commanded Israel To Destroy Canaan? A resounding yes

  1. john zande says:

    Noel, as always, i’m impressed. I can’t put it any other way… you’re the Master!

    Like

  2. emmylgant says:

    One could say that the slaughter in and of Canaan was a pre-emptive strike.
    I like the example of Rwanda to illustrate the ignominious justification of such an act.

    Like

  3. Arkenaten says:

    There is never a satisfactory answer to this issue from any quarter.
    I would tell the arsehole who posted the video too, but he has banned me from commenting on his blog.
    Being told the truth is somehow offensive for some people. Excellent take.

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I don’t get it. Why post if they are not willing to approve contrary opinion? That to me is the height of cowardice!

      Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I can’t count the Christian websites I’ve been banned from – I wear it as a badge of honor!

        Like

        • makagutu says:

          I can guess they really must be many!

          Like

          • archaeopteryx1 says:

            There was one group who were trying to raise funds to put a cross on the lawn of a court house – I explained that if they did that, they would be opening the door to put symbols of other religions on the same lawn, and suggested a statue of Ganesh, the four-armed, elephant-headed Hindu god. Boom! Access denied!

            Like

  4. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Jericho had been destroyed for a couple of centuries before Joshua was ever reputed to have lived.

    Like

  5. ==So while the destruction of the people of the land of Canaan was awful and ugly, it was indeed a necessary act. At the very least, the people of Canaan were not innocent, and the claims of modern critics about God’s actions are unfounded. God is always holy, righteous, and good, but does not always do things that we find pleasant.==

    What fucking idiot said this? I hope this person is never allowed to drive or own a gun and is always supervised when using kitchen knives and other sharp objects.

    The destruction of the people of Canaan was _NOT_ necessary. It is simply what a blood thirsty genocidal megalomaniacal god wanted. This YHWH fuck is supposed to be omnipotent, such that with a few spoken words the universe came into being. With fewer words than he spoke to Joshua he could have cured all disease in Canaan and rid the Canaanites of wrong thought or simply made them move on to other lands. No, that is not what YHWH wanted. He wanted the land soaked in the blood of the Canaanites. There is no way to interpret this story without accepting that YHWH was/is a genocidal fucktard. To beat that he is supposed to have known that 2000+ years later his followers would have to defend his genocidal ways… making them look like complete brainless lackies. These same lackies are certain that they will be in the favor of their god when they die… but their god changes his mind often enough and when they get to their heaven they just might find out that he’s back to only favoring the Jews again. What a bunch of losers… you have to be to support this story and make excuses for genocide. Sick. Sick. Sick fucks.

    Like

  6. Nate says:

    Excellent answer to that post.

    Like

  7. rodalena says:

    The other more terrifying option is that God really did create man in His own image. Look at the horrific things humanity is capable of; if we are but a dim reflection of an omnipotent deity, then He must be capable of terrors such as this, as well as astonishing acts of love. Such a God should indeed be feared, because if the scriptures are correct, and God is love, then He’s capable of…well, anything. All’s fair, you know…

    Like

  8. archaeopteryx1 says:

    “Abe was promised and he never set foot on, where does it then become their property?” – not entirely correct, as you may recall from my own website, http://www.in-His-own-image.com, Abe not only DID set foot on the land, he was offered a free burial plot for his wife, Sarah, but he declined and chose instead to pay 400 sheckles for it, because that purchase (rather than his god’s promise), assured him of possession of at least that single, small piece of Levant land, establishing a foothold.

    pax vobiscum,
    arch

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      Thank you archy for pointing that out.
      I have corrected the post to reflect that.

      Like

    • Nate says:

      True. And though the original article tries to make a case that the Israelites had claim to it first, when Jacob’s family left Canaan for Egypt, there were only 70 of them. Can’t really say they had claim to the entirety of Canaan. Especially since other people were already living there (Shechem and his family, for instance).

      Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Actually, Schechem, the Hivite, passed on his need for oxygen in Gen 34, when Jake’s boys slaughtered all the men and took the women and other livestock.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Also, Nate, I agree that Genesis says 70 crossed into Egypt, but they are also named, and if you will count them, there are only 69. I once asked a minister about the discrepancy, and you’ll never guess his response: “Jesus was with them.”

        And the really scary part, was that he said it with a straight face.

        arch

        Like

        • Nate says:

          Crap, that is scary! I never knew about that discrepancy…

          But the Shechem thing, yeah, that’s what I was referring to. “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah” and all that. 🙂

          It’s nice to pull out all these minor, minor details. Haven’t done much of that since my church-going days!

          Like

  9. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Rodelena, contrary to theist belief, god did not create Man in his image, Man created His god in His own image, which is even more terrifying.

    pax vobiscum,
    arch

    Like

  10. mixedupmeme says:

    Of course he was immoral. To me it is now so obviously a firm YES.

    But what is immoral to me is that I sat in the Sunday School classes during my youth and just read the stories from the old testament and believed without question that God was fighting for right and justice and anybody who was against that had to be destroyed. Didn’t even cross my mind to wonder if those heathens were just trying to live their lives etc. But those heathen Canaanites were probably just as into their own gods and in all probability cheered their god on when she ordered the destruction of Israelites.

    Never once did the class offer a discussion of it. Luckily I didn’t pay too much attention in the Sunday School classes and when I became of age…18, I never went back. 🙂

    Like

    • makagutu says:

      I think in my teen days, especially without any exposure to alternative ideas, I bought most of these stories and some such as these were not read in church so really they didn’t bother me. Looking at them now, I ask myself where was my analytic mind then 😀

      Like

  11. as usual, baseless claims from a Christian to excuse genocide. How unsuprising.

    and this is just great “•As pointed out by Geisler & Howe, children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven. After the age of accountability, people are held guilty and without repentance will go to Hell. So taking the children to heaven could be viewed as an act of God’s mercy.”

    Hmmm, Geisler and Howe and their Big Book of Bible Difficulties. Well, I know the bible and *nothing* in it says 1. what the age of accountability is and 2. that this gets you into heaven free. So, all we have are a pair of preachers saying “I know what God “really” meant so believe me and give me your money”. We have nothing to support their claim at all and indeed the bible, via JC himself, says they are wrong “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit,he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

    e.g. so tough luck if you die before you have a chance to be born again. What’s even funnier about this is that Geisler is a self-described “moderate calvinist”, all sure that everyone is already judged thanks to predestination and acceptance of any god is totally pointless. He, like all other Christians, has made up his own version of his religion.

    Like

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      RE: “8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.”

      If this guy was really god in the flesh, having created everything in the universe, I’m surprised he didn’t know anything about meteorology – the wind does NOT blow where it pleases, like water is forced to move to the lowest possible point, so wind is compelled to move to the point of lowest barometric pressure, and we not only know where its going, we know where it came from, an area with higher barometric pressure.

      Maybe the guy should have cracked a book once in a while —

      arch

      Like

    • makagutu says:

      It is beyond me how one can find the language to defend such crazy ideas and even find a reason to excuse their god from blame! It is beyond sad

      Like

  12. Would you like to get involved with the trial run of a concept I’m working on?

    http://defendyourpost.wordpress.com/

    You can just cut and paste this post as your first comment if you’d like.

    I will then need a link to your favorite charity to display in the sidebar.

    Like

  13. aguywithoutboxers says:

    A superb post and great dialog here. Nice work, friend. That’s why I follow your blog. It’s always interesting and stimulating. 🙂

    Like

We sure would love to hear your comments, compliments and thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s