A Response to William Lane Craig on Genocide

Here's a response by Wes. See also what Dr. Hector Avalos said about genocide here. Joe Edward Barnhard comments on C.S. Lewis and genocide here. Thanks to Ed Babinski for these links.

13 comments:

Shygetz said...

WLC's defense of genocide is an excellent modern example of the capability of religion to prompt good people to do terrible things. It is also an excellent counterexample to the claim that there exists objective morality, as resistance to the slaughter of innocents is usually right up there among the morals that people claim are universal.

John W. Loftus said...

Exactly Shygetz! As I just argued, where is the evidence for such a claim?

Anonymous said...

Uh, yeah -- when your views require you to defend genocide, you should probably go back and tinker with your premises.

WLC: Proud member of the Genocide Justifiers for Jesus club.

Christensen said...

Avalos has clearly stated that he wants to eliminated religion from human life. (Fighting Words, p.359-360)

The officially atheistic government of the deceased Soviet Union tried to do that for over 70 years, with the most advanced methods available. You name it, they did it.

Not only did they fail, they destroyed themselves. Avalos will fail too. Neither he, no you or your gang, can possibly destroy Christianity. If you devote your life to that goal, you will be wasting it.

Anyone can join Christ at any time, whatever their record. Human organizations are not so forgiving.

Shygetz said...

Avalos has clearly stated that he wants to eliminated religion from human life. (Fighting Words, p.359-360)

Did Avalos say that he was willing to kill people to do it? No. So not only is it a tu quoque fallacy, but a false one at that. Nice!

It is my personal goal to eliminate Flat Earthism from the world. Am I now genocidal?

The officially atheistic government of the deceased Soviet Union tried to do that for over 70 years, with the most advanced methods available. You name it, they did it.

You should sue your history teacher. The Soviets did not try to systematically stamp out all religion; they actively used the Church when it suited their goals, and persecuted it when they felt that it challenged their power.

If you read this site more, you'd have noticed that we are under no illusions that we will destroy Christianity. However, I hope to get the US where Europe is now before I die; to the point where religion does not play a huge role in public life, and lack of religion doesn't automatically disqualify you from politics.

Anyone can join Christ at any time, whatever their record.

And you think that this speaks highly of your religion?

Human organizations are not so forgiving.

Tell you what, you keep your genocidal apologists. I'll happily be more selective with my membership.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Christensen,
Even if Christianity endures till the end of humanity, endurance is not proof that Christianity is true. And other religions, including rival Christianities, will probably endure, as well as agnostics and atheists when humanity bites the dust.

The question of this particular blog entry is the relativity of biblical ethics, which is raised very well in the article by the philosophy prof. Barnhart, who also cites C. S. Lewis on such matters. Lewis comes down against the Bible being inspired cover to cover, and opts for a relative Bible rather than relative ethics.

Stu said...

Reading William Lane Craig's response and Wes' counter-response, I'm just amazed that someone with his (Craig's) intelligence and academic standing can think that any of the reasons he's given are acceptable.

We're only offended by God's actions because our moral sensibilities have been shaped by Judaeo-Christian morality??

Killing children is actually OK because "they inherit eternal life" ??

I mean, come on!!! What is wrong with apologists that they can offer trash like this uncritically and in all seriousness? It seems to me that their mindset is that as long as Christians can see that a question has been answered, no matter how badly, that's the end of their responsibility.

Wes' response is great, but I don't see Craig linking to it. Most Christians will read Craig's answers, accept them uncritically, thinking that someone with Craig's calibre must have a good argument.

Sorry for the rant, I'm just disgusted that this sort of rubbish is considered acceptable for anyone with as much respectability as Craig.

Michael Ejercito said...

Just recently, Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation
League, came under fire for opposing a U.S. bill that defines the
massacre of Armenians as genocide. He had said, "The Turks and
Armenians need to revisit their past. The Jewish community shouldn't
be the arbiter of that history. And I don't think the U.S. Congress
should be the arbiter either."

The systematic extermination of a racial, ethnic, or religious
group seems horrible. Indeed, the massacres of the Armenians were an
evil act, as was the Holocaust.

But is genocide wrong under ALL circumstances? Let us take a look
at the Word of God.

1 Samuel 15:1-3 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to
anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore
hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the
LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid
wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite
Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not;
but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel
and ass.

What the LORD wad commanding is clearly genocide. In fact, God
rejected Saul from being king because of Saul's failure to carry out
this genocide.

1 Samuel 15:18-19

And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly
destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they
be consumed.

Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst
fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?

If genocide is evil under ALL circumstances, then you have God
ordering an evil act - a contradiction. Therefore, one must conclude
that there are certain situations, such as following a divine command,
which justify genocide.

Many people would be uncomfortable with this fact. But we are
called to trust in God, to put our faith in Him. Indeed, the Bible is
clear what happens to those who rebel against God.

Revelations 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book
of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelations 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the
abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and
idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which
burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

God's Way is the only way.

Stu said...

Michael Ejercito
"If genocide is evil under ALL circumstances, then you have God
ordering an evil act - a contradiction. Therefore, one must conclude
that there are certain situations, such as following a divine command,
which justify genocide."

Wrong. There is one more plausible conclusion. The Biblical God is contradictory in nature, and therefore one of two conclusions follow: 1) God does not exist, or 2) God never ordered genocide and the Bible is in error when it says he did.

Stu said...

M.E.

"But is genocide wrong under ALL circumstances?"

If you in all seriousness see a need to ask that question, then your concept of morality is already warped too far to engage in any debate on to any credible extent.

Michael Ejercito said...


If you in all seriousness see a need to ask that question, then your concept of morality is already warped too far to engage in any debate on to any credible extent.

We read from the Bible that God, in fact, ordered genocide.
God never ordered genocide and the Bible is in error when it says he did.
God has not made a public statement to correct this "error", even during His Incarnation as Jesus.

We can only go on what we heard about God, and since we know that God ordered genocide, we know that there is at least one situation (divine command) where genocide is a moral mandate.

This may make you feel uncomfortable. But the Bible is clear as to what happens to those who rebel against God.

zilch said...

You have to hand it to Michael Ejercito- unlike Craig, who spins a silver cloud out of hot air for the skewered Amalekite babies, Michael at least has the cojones to say it like it is: if God commands genocide, then genocide it is, and it is good. Defending some genocidal acts as divinely mandated puts Michael in good company:

Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.

-Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

Of course, just agreeing with Hitler about something does not mean that someone is wrong, or evil. But if someone thinks that genocide is necessary if commanded by God, and moreover thinks that God speaks to him, then I will take care to keep myself and my family far away from him.

Michael Ejercito said...

Zilch,

Anyone can claim that they are doing the work of the LORD.

The LORD is the Final Judge of all.