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is god a moral monster summary

Thus, Christopher Hitchens’ remarks about “the ungrateful and mutinous children of Israel” are accurate.      Chapter 17 Indiscriminate Massacre and Ethnic Cleansing? Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com. Even if the poverty could not be eradicated, Deuteronomy 15’s overriding, “revolutionary” goal is that there be no debt slavery in the land at all (verses 4,11).12, Concerning the ANE’s inferior sexual morality, we are familiar with the condemnation of the Canaanite female and male cult prostitutes (cp. Ezekiel 5:16) — to bring “disaster” against Judah (Jeremiah 6:19). ), “If a father and son sleep with the same female slave or prostitute, it is not an offence.” (¶ 194). To purchase a copy of God Is Great, God Is Good, visit InterVarsity Press or Amazon. It is primarily located in the second stage — and not throughout Israel’s OT history. In their zealous preoccupation with the negative in OT ethics, New Atheists neglect these warm undertones in the Law of Moses itself, exemplified in Yahweh’s gracious, compassionate character and His saving action. Like divorce and other inferior moral conditions (cp. This article is taken and abridged from chapter 9 of God Is Great, God Is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable and Responsible edited by William Lane Craig and Chad Meister. Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster? Israel had not simply “flirted” with rival gods, but cohabited with them, “playing the harlot” (cp.      Chapter 12 Warrant for Trafficking Humans as Farm Equipment is vintage Copan. Muhammad A. Dandamayev, s.v. However, let me make a couple of statements regarding the New Atheists’ trivialization of Yahweh and the inconsistency between their “objective” moral outrage and naturalism. Polygamy, Concubinage, and Other Such Questions Thus, stopping at OT texts without allowing Christ — the second Adam and the new, true Israel — to illuminate them, our reading and interpretation of the OT will be greatly impoverished. McConville, Grace in the End, 148–9. Scripture quotations marked NRSV are taken from The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version / Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Rules, though a stop-gap measure, are hardly ideal. 19. When the Israelites disobeyed God and sacrificed their sons and daughters, the Bible says they sacrificed them to demons (Psalm 106:37). They also refuse to acknowledge that atheism has been responsible for certain global atrocities, while refusing to give Christianity any credit for doing anything good in human history. Matthew 19:8 indicates that divorce was permitted — not commanded — because of hard hearts; it was not so “from the beginning.” The same can be said of a strong patriarchalism, slavery, and warfare common in the ANE context; these are in violation of Genesis 1,2’s creational ideals. The question is one that cannot be avoided and must be confronted honestly and thoughtfully. attempts a bold apologetic of the Judeo-Christian God's moral status in light of the recent attack on the biblical Old Testament by the so-called new atheists. 6, ed. Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster? Ezekiel 16 and 23); Israel did so on the “honeymoon” (Exodus 32).      Chapter 6 God’s Timeless Wisdom? God shows remarkable forbearance in the OT: “He passed over the sins previously committed” (Romans 3:25, NASB); elsewhere Paul declares: “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30,31, NASB). Although the New Atheists belittle the Mosaic Law for its ruthless strictness, it is an accommodation to a morally undeveloped ANE cultural mindset — with significant ethical improvements — as well as a response to the rebellious, covenant-breaking propensity of the Israelites. Yahweh fought on Israel’s behalf while bringing just judgment on an irredeemably Canaanite culture and religion that had sunk hopelessly below any hope of moral return — with the rare exception of Rahab and her family and the Gibeonites at the end of Joshua 9. Paul Copan wrote Is God a Moral Monster?to address many of the New Atheists’ charges regarding God as He is presented the OT. Simple semantic sophistry won't even make it past a rudimentary logic or debating course. Even so, Deuteronomy 15 expresses the hopeful goal of eventually eradicating slavery while both (a) diminishing the staying power of slavery in light of the exodus and (b) controlling the institution of slavery in light of the practical fact misfortune in a subsistence culture could reduce anyone to poverty and indebtedness.19. As Leviticus 18:28 declares, the land would “spew out” its inhabitants, and Israel itself was subject to the same judgment. is an immensely valuable resource for anyone interested in Old Testament ethics or for those who seek informed responses to the … The appropriate response to adultery is anger and hurt (cp. From the beginning, the earliest legislation (Exodus 21–23) was intended to be simple and much less harsh — comparable to patriarchal religion (cp. Baker Books, 2011. Richard Dawkins thinks that Yahweh is a moral monster: “What makes my jaw drop is that people today should base their lives on such an appalling role model as Yahweh — and even worse, that they should bossily try to force the same evil monster (whether fact or fiction) on the rest of us.” Yahweh’s commanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is both “disgraceful” and tantamount to “child abuse and bullying.” Yahweh breaks into a “monumental rage whenever his chosen people flirted with a rival god,” resembling “nothing so much as sexual jealousy of the worst kind.” Add to this the killing of the Canaanites — an “ethnic cleansing” in which “bloodthirsty massacres” were carried out with “xenophobic relish.” Joshua’s destruction of Jericho is “morally indistinguishable from Hitler’s invasion of Poland,” or Saddam Hussein’s massacres of the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs.” Beside all this, we have to contend with the “ubiquitous wierdness of the Bible” as well as the moral failures and hypocrisies of biblical characters: a drunken Lot seduced by and engaging in sexual relations with his daughters (Genesis 19:31–36); Abraham’s twice lying about his wife Sarah (Genesis 12:18,19; 20:1–18); Jephthah’s foolish vow that resulted in sacrificing his daughter as a burnt offering (Judges 11).1, According to Christopher Hitchens, the now-forgotten Canaanites were “pitilessly driven out of their homes to make room for the ungrateful and mutinous children of Israel.” Moreoever, the OT contains “a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for brideprice, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human animals.”2, Sam Harris boldly asserts that if the Bible is true, we should be stoning people to death for heresy, adultery, homosexuality, worshipping graven images, and “other imaginary crimes.” Referring to Deuteronomy 13:6–11, Harris claims that the consistent Bible-believer should stone his son or daughter if she comes home from a yoga class a devotee of Krishna. There is no passage where God condones actual human sacrifice. Unlike other ANE cuneiform legislation, God ultimately instructs Israel, not by laying down laws or principles, but by telling stories of real people as they relate to their Creator and Covenant Maker. Part 2: God: Gracious Master or Moral Monster? (b) Despite the New Atheists’ appeals to science, they ignore the profound influence of the Jewish-Christian worldview on the West’s scientific enterprise. Many of Israel’s stories involving stubbornness, treachery, and ingratitude are vivid negative role models — ones to be avoided. You may purchase Copan’s book here.This review may be freely distributed, reposted on your personal blogs and websites, printed off, emailed to friends and enemies, or completely ignored. In this book, Copan interacts with the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris in a gracious but firm way, seeking to put the record straight about the God of the Old Testament. ): Sign In, Is God A Moral Monster? Jack David Lorton, “The Treatment of Criminals in Ancient Egypt,” in The Treatment of Criminals in the Ancient Near East, ed. 23. We then read in Joshua of repeated affirmations that Joshua did all that Moses commanded (Joshua 11:12,14,15,20).      Chapter 8 The Bible’s Ubiquitous Weirdness? In this book Copan squarely faces the most difficult challenges of Old Testament ethics and demonstrates that God is not a moral monster. Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 11:3). According to Hebrews, Jesus brings “substance” to the OT’s “shadows,” fully embodying humanity’s and Israel’s story. The New Atheists and the Old Testament God. John Goldingay sees Israel’s unfolding history as broken up into five distinct stages or contexts — wandering clan, theocratic nation, monarchy, afflicted remnant, and post-exilic community of promise. All humans are God’s image-bearers, morally constituted to reflect God in certain ways; so atheists and theists alike can recognize objective right/wrong and human dignity — without special revelation (Romans 2:14,15). Beside punishments such as cutting off noses and ears, ancient Egyptian law permitted the beating of criminals (for, say, perjury or libel) with between 100 and 200 strokes.13 Contrast this with Deuteronomy 25:1–3, which sets a limit of 40 strokes for a criminal. He takes on current New Atheist biblical critics and powerfully addresses virtually every criticism they have raised. The narrative is made up of two stories, roughly equivalent to the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis.In the first, Elohim (the Hebrew generic word for God) creates the heavens and the Earth in six days, then rests on, blesses and sanctifies the seventh (i.e. ); and the Hittite laws (1650–1200 B.C.) Fourth, the biblical language of the Canaanite “utter destruction” is identical to that of Judah’s destruction in the Babylonian exile. This review should be read as a supplement to Copan’s book. God “threatened to stretch out My hand against you and destroy you” (Jeremiah 15:6, NASB; cp. “Slavery (Old Testament),” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. Shelley portrays the creation of Victor’s monster in a subtle but similar way that God created man. of Asia Minor.9 Despite parallels between these and Mosaic law codes and even certain improvements in ANE codes over time, some significant differences also exist. take for granted the practice of prostitution (e.g., ¶ 27,30). Harris’ attempt to “demolish the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity” is quite ironic for a several reasons: (a) biblical theism has historically served as a moral compass for Western civilization’s advances despite historical deviations from Jesus’ teaching (e.g., the Crusades, Inquisition). BIBLICAL FIDELTY AGAINST THE GAY AGENDA IN THE GLOBAL ANGLICAN COMMUNITY, by Gbenga Gbesan, John Frame: Author of SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, David and Jonathan Gibson: Editors of FROM HEAVEN HE CAME AND SOUGHT HER, Kelly M. Kapic: Author of A LITTLE BOOK FOR NEW THEOLOGIANS. Surely, this is dramatic departure from Hammurabi. Third, the “obliteration language” in Joshua (e.g., “he left no survivor” and “utterly destroyed all who breathed” [Joshua 10:40, NASB]) and in early Judges is clearly hyperbolic — another stock feature of ANE language. is a welcome entry to the literature with twenty short, engaging and informative chapters that provide a first-rate apologetic treatment of a broad range of issues from curious biblical dietary laws to the Israelite relationship to slavery and genocide. 11/1 (2009): 73–90. (http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201203/201203_034_Good_God.cfm). Fifth, the Mosaic Law contains an inherent planned obsolescence, which is to be fulfilled in Christ. In Isaiah 43:28, the Lord uses this term herem (“[consignment to the] ban”) in an exaggerated fashion: “So I will pollute the princes of the sanctuary, and I will consign Jacob to the ban and Israel to revilement” (NASB). He takes on current New Atheist biblical critics and powerfully addresses virtually every criticism they have raised. In both cases, we have a good, promise-making God who has morally sufficient reasons for issuing these commands. Dawkins’ charge that God’s breaking into a “monumental rage” when Israel “flirted with a rival god” is “sexual jealousy of the worst kind” seems to diminish the meaning of the marriage covenant — and, in particular, this unique bond between God and His people. John Barton, Ethics and the Old Testament (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 1998), 7. is vintage Copan. Bruce C. Birch, “Old Testament Ethics,” in The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible,ed. Punishments and Other Harsh Realities in Perspective Paul Copan’s book, Is God a Moral Monster: Making Sense of the Old Testament God, is the best apologia I have read for the disturbing actions and characteristics of the God of the Bible.I had read a lot on this subject and did not expect to find anything new, but I was surprised to find exactly that. He is good, but not “safe.” The New Atheists resist the notion of Yahweh’s rightful prerogatives over humans; they seem uncomfortable with the idea of judgment or cosmic authority. It is the exact opposite of morality; it's arguing why you don't need to use your own moral compass if God tells you not to, even to the point of murder. Another unique feature of the Mosaic Law is its condemnation of kidnapping a person to sell as a slave — an act punishable by death (Exodus 21:16; cp 1 Timothy 1:10). Making Sense of the Old Testament God. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and over 3,000,000 were displaced. Paul Copan “Yahweh Wars and the Canaanites,” Philosophia Christi n.s. Consider how, despite such language, the latter part of Joshua itself (along with Judges 1) assumes plenty of Canaanites still inhabit the land (e.g., Joshua 23:12,13). I have argued that Christians can readily acknowledge that the Mosaic Law is not the ideal, ultimate ethic.                          (I): Slavery in Israel The Divine Foundation of Goodness Although many writers have provided responses to the New Atheists, there is more work to be done in answering their charges against the morality of God in the Old Testament. Later in the New Testament (NT), referring to this language that was being used as a pretext for personal vengeance outside the lawcourts, Jesus himself did not take such language literally (Matthew 5:38,39) — no more than He took literally the language of plucking out eyes and cutting off hands if they lead to sin (Matthew 5:29,30). In Etruscan, the Minotaur had the name Θevrumineś. For certain crimes, Hammurabi mandated that tongue, breast, hand, or ear be cut off (§§ 192,194,195,205). In fact, some of the worst condemnation in the Bible is directed at those who sacrifice their children to Moloch (Leviticus 18:21; Jeremiah 32:34–35)—and archaeological evidence shows that these were usually infants. Episode 277/278 – Is God a Moral Monster? However, the greater stringency of the ensuing laws is the result of three things: (a) Israel’s refusal to approach God at the mountain as a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6), instead sending Moses as their mediator; (b) Aaron’s failure as high priest in the golden calf incident (Exodus 32), resulting in a tightening of priestly restrictions (Exodus 35 through Leviticus 16); (c) the people’s worship of the goat idols (Leviticus 17:1–9), resulting in more severe laws for the community (Leviticus 17:10–26:46).14 Consider how a rebellious child will often need external rules, severe deadlines, and close supervision to hold him over until (hopefully) an internal moral change takes place. God: gracious Master or moral Monster by Steve West, members click here audio! Great New & used options and get the best online prices at eBay Testament is not Great how! Can gain their freedom ( 1 Corinthians 7:21 ), polygamy was tolerated rather than upheld as an ultimate universal. 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