Monday, July 27, 2009

British Christians defending genocide

Christians continue to try to remove the negative assocations with which the word 'genocide' has become encrusted over the course of the past century.

Marcus Honeysett explains why his Holy Book tells him that a whole group of people were so evil, that tney had to be killed, man, woman and child.

Jesus loved these people so much, that His Father decided they all had to be killed.

Isn't Christianity a wonderful religion?


Blogger pcraig said...

Given that God is God, every death is attributable to him.

I am curious to know if/how this affects your thinking on this.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

So the (alleged) deaths of Israelites at the hands of the Amalekites were deaths that were attributable to your god?

6:14 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Well, I'm just going with what you said at the moment: "His Father decided they all had to be killed".

I'm just pointing out that if God decides how/when every single person dies, how would that change how you think about this?

6:42 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

PS. Sorry, I realise I misread your comment.

My wider point is about how we look at God's and people's responsibility. If we are going to ask God why someone died (or why he ordered someone killed), we have to remember that we could ask that for every single person who has died...which would include the Israelites at the hands of the Amalekites.

And that means getting into talk about free will, compatibilism, etc, to which there are no easy answers (for theists or non-theists).

3:40 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

No easy answers?

You mean it is a difficult decision to decide that every child in a certain tribe was so wicked they all had to be killed?

4:02 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Do I really need to point to the context every single time you raise an objection? To what question was I saying there are no easy answers?

5:06 AM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Dear Steven

thanks for the comments on my blog about the Amalekites. If I have some spare time I may try to post some replies because the issues are deep and important as you know.

That said, I think that in this post you come close to breaking the first rule of civilised debate: painting the other guy in the worst possible terms and comparing the worst of what you assume he believes with the best that you believe. Everyone can score easy points that way, but it belongs in the realm of politics, not in the realm of reasoned debate.

I wouldn't normally write like this but I feel that trying to point-score by implying that I - and therefore Christians in general - view genocide positively is about as small, mean-spirited and dirty as it is possible to get. Almost to the point where you make it not worth debating you, as a polemicist and propagandist rather than a serious debater.

I - and all Christians - repudiate your insinuation utterly, as you must be aware. I have had friends whose families have been massacred in Rwanda, have sat with recent victims of state-sponsored torture and have visited the gas chambers with Poles weeping because of the Holocaust. I wonder if you have?

I was very pleased to find an atheist blogger wanting to have a serious attempt at probing very serious questions, but then disappointed to find him sacrificing his decency to score points in this way for the benefit of those who already agree with him.

Care to write another, more thoughtful, post with the assumption that Christians don't support, approve of or encourage genocide? And that we follow the one who told us to love our neighbours at the expense of our own lives?

10:47 PM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

I take it then that Marcus approves of commandments in the Bible to kill every man, woman, and child in the Amalekites, because you think that killing every man, woman and child in a tribe is genocide?

And that Marcus will continue to write articles justifying the genocidal killing of every man, woman and child in certain tribes of people?

1:21 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Steven, are you interested in actually understanding people, or merely condemning them?

2:31 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Depends if they write articles defending the killing of every man, woman and child in a tribe of people, on the grounds that they have read a book wbich says that all those people were so evil that they had to be killed.

I do not want to understand such people - only give thanks that I am not like them.

2:34 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

Incidentallt, Rwanda before the genocides was probably the most Christian country in Africa....

'Estimates before the genocide put the number of Christians in Rwanda at almost 90% of the population. '

2:37 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

"I do not want to understand such people - only give thanks that I am not like them."

Perhaps I should have rephrased that question. I think you need to make an effort to at least understand what people are saying and *why*, before you decide whether or not to judge them.

3:14 AM  
Blogger peterdray said...

"I do not want to understand such people - only give thanks that I am not like them."

To whom do you give thanks?

9:30 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

To life in general.

Why should I make an effort to understand why people want to worship a god who they believe ordered whole tribes of men, women and children to be butchered?

Not to mention their livestock....

Surely the important thing is to keep such defenders of religious genocide away from kindling, wooden stakes and matches and to keep them away from positions of power.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Hjalti said...

I find it hard to believe that Marcus accuses Steven of painting him "in the worst possible terms" when he is defending genocide.

It is saddening that some Christians turn off their moral compasses when looking at their own holy writs.

And in 1Sam 15 God gives the reason why he wants to kill every Amalekite infant, because of what their ancestors did to Israel hundreds of years before.

That would be like killing modern Jews for killing Jesus! If your god commanded that, would you also justify that by pointing out how evil the Jews are according to their enemies?

9:30 PM  
Blogger pcraig said...

If you discovered that your mother, or your spouse, had committed what seem like terrible things in the past, you would go to every effort to understand the context, their motives, what really happened, and so on - because those acts seem so out of character.

That is what Marcus is trying to do. He is not "defending genocide". He is trying to work through how or why God commanded certain things.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Steven Carr said...

I see.

So Marcus is not 'defending genocide'

He is just trying to find out why his alleged god wanted every child in a tribe to be wiped out, and the cattle as well.

4:39 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Ha! I like how you try to insert a snarky comment into everything..."alleged god"!

2:35 PM  
Blogger Hjalti said...

I'm not going to defend the Holocaust, but the Jews were evil and Hitler wasn't killing people arbitrarily! Again, not defending the Holocaust.

12:56 AM  
Blogger Hjalti said...

"He is trying to work through how or why God commanded certain things."

If he is not defending genocide, then let him condemn the god of the Old testament for commanding genocide.

Unless working out "why God commanded" genocide meand finding reasons to justify genocide.

He's an inerrantist, right? Is hel willing to condemn his god?

1:03 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

Hjalti: If we were talking about a person like you or me, I would totally agree with you. But God is different: all-powerful, all-knowing. As I asked Steven in my first comment: Given that God is God, every death is attributable to him. I am curious to know if/how this affects your thinking on this.

8:05 AM  

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