Sunday, September 05, 2021

OT Genocide does not defeat Christianity

Randal Rauser is a Canadian Phillosopher who teaces at a University in Canada. He is a Christian apologist and he may be best known for his unique approach to Genoscide and related isssues in Old Testaemt. The "Counter Apoloogost" (CA) is an atheist who makes a attack on Plantinga's eposteopgy. He attacks Rauser at the points were he backs Plantinga.[1][2] In this essy I will deal only with one small point the CA makes agaist Rauser.

Rauser's approach is different because he does not suppoprt wipping out the pagans but instead finds fault with the OT.It is what he is best known for. I do not understand all of his moves so on this piont I will use my own approch athough I think the two are simiilar.

The logic to falsify the idea that even if there is a God, Yahweh - the Christian deity, cannot be God is straight forward:
1. God, if one exists, is all good.

2. An all good being cannot command an evil act

3. The bible’s description of Yahweh’s explicit actions are factually accurate (Christian assumption)

4. The bible shows Yahweh explicitly commanded killing infants on the basis of their race/nationality

5. Killing infants on the basis of their race/nationality is an evil act

6. Yahweh explicitly commanded an evil act.

7. Therefore, Yahweh is not all good

8. Therefore, Yahweh cannot be god[3]
Before turning to the major problem, there are a couple of things to say about the argument itself. First, p1-2 must be granted but no 3 is a problem:3. The bible’s description of Yahweh’s explicit actions are factually accurate (Christian assumption) That is notthe only Chritian assumption. It's the fimdamentalost assmptopm. It is a demonstraly false assumption. For example the unierse was not created in six days,there is not eidece of a world wide flood. We need not make that assmption.Atheist argumemts often depend upon Christoanity being represented by the fundies.

4. The bible shows Yahweh explicitly commanded killing infants on the basis of their race/nationality Those passages are not it. We are no more oblogated to believe God did that than we are six day creation.

5. Killing infants on the basis of their race/nationality is an evil act\\ Killimg infants for any reason is wrong. But the fact is God did not say kill them for their race but kill them for their socioetie's ills.

6. Yahweh explicitly commanded an evil act. If we assme the historocal validity of those passages. But we need not do so.

7. Therefore, Yahweh is not all good

Iff one acccepts those passages

8. Therefore, Yahweh cannot be god[3] Or we could just as easiy conclude that given p 1-2 God did not order those thigs.

He says of this argument:

This is a particularly powerful argument against Christianity in particular, and its power is compounded by the fact that some of the most popular apologists working today will defend the Canaanite genocide as a justifiable act by a loving god! William Lane Craig expressly states that it was morally obligatory for the Israelite soldiers to put broadswords into babies. Paul Copan wrote an entire book either minimizing or justifying the Old Testament atrocities and he got the various big names in conservative apologetics to endorse it! As an atheist looking to help move people away from Christianity, this is basically a gift.[4]
It is ashame that so many apologists try to defend thse pasages. But that has nothing to do with the truth of the argument. This is not a powerful argument becaseor only works with fnsanwentalists who feel hamstrung to accept te entire OT.

Nothing discredits a Christian apologist faster than having them present the moral argument for god’s existence and then in retort force them to become an apologist for slavery and genocide.[5]
I think that is true, however, we need not accept those passages. WE can't reject them on the bassis of our shame at the commads. That leaves it a moot point. There are reasos of textal criticim to assume that those passages are emendations.

Let's focus on I Sam 15.2f the injunction to slaughter the Amalekites. this contains the infant passage.The text of 1 Samuel is one of the most heavily redacted in the Bible. As we will see, it's very presence in the canon has been brought into question, but the version we have is probably a corrupted second rate copy, and the LXX is closer, and Q4Sama at Qumran closer still, to the actual original.[6]

"For the past two centuries textual critics have recognized that the Masoretic Text (MT) of 1&2 Samuel has much textual corruption. The Samuel MT is shorter than the LXX and 4QSama. The Samuel MT has improper word division, metathesis, and other orthographic problems. Certain phrases and clauses go against the Hebrew grammar rules. Parallel passages vary from each other" (See Charlesworth, 2000, pp.227-8).;'[7]
The scribes at Qumran believed first Sam was not even Canonical. for a ,ich ore imdpeth loo
Thus, it is evident that the canon in Sirach consisted of the Law and the Prophets. Daniel (9.2) cites Jeremiah (25.11 ff.) as "the word of the Lord to Jeremiah."

This tells us that the place of Samuel in the canon was by no means assured. Because the redactor didn't feel the former prophets were canonical, great libertties were taken. We also see differences between the Ms which form the parent of the LXX translation, and those of MT. What all of this amounts to is that 1 Samuel is a very corrupt text, and the likelyhood is quite high that the passage is redacted. This is even more certain when we consider that the infant passage itself has been redacted.[8]
The possibility presents itself that the genocide passages were emendations from the exile an attempt to build Isarel's sense of prode while in Bblyonian exile.

for more depth and detials see my essay[9].

Notes [1]The Counter Apologist, "Countering Christian apologetics arguments with logic, evidence, and reason." blog (June 21,2012)

[2]R,Rauser,"Biblical Violence and Epistemology: A Conversation with Counter Apologist"(Aug 28, 2021) " Rauswer's answers [3]Counter Apologist, op cit [4]Ibid [5]Ibid [6]Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies "The Dead Sea Scrolls & the Text of the Old Testament," website updated 2021

[7]James H. Charlesworth "The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Volume One: The Hebrew Bible and Qumran edited".Institutte Bibilcal Scientific Studies: Bible Press, 2000.227-8

[8]Albert C. Sundberg, Jr Thomas J. Sienkewicz and James E. Betts "The Old Testament of the Early Church"published by Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois in 1997.

[9]Joseph Hinman 'The Amalekite Problem' D0xa 2000