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Respected theologian defends genocide and infanticide

I have paid too little attention to Greta Christina, who has written some wonderful pieces on her blog. Here, for instance, is her splendid list of reasons why atheists have the right to be angry. And now (see below) she has a devastating exposé of William Lane Craig, exploding the myth that he is a sophisticated 'theologian' rather than some fundamentalist nutbag. Or, actually, maybe it exposes the greater myth that there is such a thing as a sophisticated theologian at all. It is worth following the link to Craig's own post, which lays bare Craig's truly shocking Christian 'morality'. I knew he was over-rated, but I didn't know quite how evil his 'theology' is. It is even worse than the Richard Swinburne example (undeniably a 'sophisticated theologian'), which, as I quoted in The God Delusion, prompted Peter Atkins to expostulate, "May you rot in hell!"

Richard

Why did this story not make headlines?

In a recent post on his Reasonable Faith site, famed Christian apologist and debater William Lane Craig published an explanation for why the genocide and infanticide ordered by God against the Canaanites in the Old Testament was morally defensible. For God, at any rate -- and for people following God's orders. Short version: When guilty people got killed, they deserved it because they were guilty and bad... and when innocent people got killed, even when innocent babies were killed, they went to Heaven, and it was all hunky dory in the end.

No, really.

Here are some choice excerpts:

God had morally sufficient reasons for His judgement upon Canaan, and Israel was merely the instrument of His justice, just as centuries later God would use the pagan nations of Assyria and Babylon to judge Israel.

and:

Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

and:

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life.

I want to make something very clear before I go on: William Lane Craig is not some drooling wingnut. He's not some extremist Fred Phelps type, ranting about how God's hateful vengeance is upon us for tolerating homosexuality. He's not some itinerant street preacher, railing on college campuses about premarital holding hands. He's an extensively-educated, widely-published, widely-read theological scholar and debater. When believers accuse atheists of ignoring sophisticated modern theology, Craig is one of the people they're talking about.

Read on

TAGGED: MORALITY, RELIGION


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