Christian Theology – Defending The Indefensible

William Lane Craig is a respected Christian theologian whose writings are well read and well regarded by many mainstream Christians.  In a recent post on his site he explained why genocide and infanticide were not just approved by God, but ordered by him.

He uses the passages in the Bible where the Israelites are told by God to kill all of the Canaanites to support the idea that God meant to punish the adult Canaanites for their wicked ways.  

In the Bible, the Israelites are ordered to kill every Canaanite; men, women, children and infants.   You would think that there could not possibly be any justification for killing innocent children and infants, but according to Craig, you are wrong.  Because these Children were innocent, he argues, they were granted instant and everlasting salvation in heaven, so killing them were both just, and to their eternal benefit.

Yes, you read that right; not only does Craig justify infanticide, he also sanctifies it.  Killing children and babies, as long as God tells you to do so, is not just OK, it is an act of God’s loving grace!  

Greta Christian has an excellent response to Craig’s post, which I strongly suggest that you read.  One of the things she says is worth sharing here:

“Religion, by its very nature as an untestable belief in undetectable beings and an unknowable afterlife, disables our reality checks. It ends the conversation. It cuts off inquiry: not only factual inquiry, but moral inquiry. Because God’s law trumps human law, people who think they’re obeying God can easily get cut off from their own moral instincts. And these moral contortions don’t always lie in the realm of theological game-playing. They can have real-world consequences: from genocide to infanticide, from honor killings to abandoned gay children, from burned witches to battered wives to blown-up buildings.”

She goes on to tackle the idea that without religion, or belief in God, there can be no morality.  She contrasts Craig’s despicable rationalizations in defense of his god and religion with the clear thinking of non-believers, the vast majority of who are appalled at the idea of genocide and infanticide.   Without the corrosive influence that faith can have on our moral compass and rationality, we can clearly see that these acts are horrible beyond belief.  Faith, on the other hand, requires us to check our rationality and morality at the door, to be substituted by the morality of a vengeful, terrible “God of love” who orders the killing of innocent children and infants.

Not only does Craig justify the killing of innocent children, he goes on to paint the Israelite soldiers as the real victims:

“So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites?  Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment.  Not the children, for they inherit eternal life.  So who is wronged?  Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves.  Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children?  The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.”

This is the point where rational arguments go out the window and I all I can say is, what kind of sick, twisted fuck could ever dream up something as vile as this, and then justify it, simply by saying, “God did it, so it must be right”?

William Lane Craig’s rationalizations are no different than those of any despot who, throughout history, have found ways to justify doing the most heinous things imaginable.  In Craig’s case, he isn’t doing it for personal power, but his ideas and justifications could easily be used by those who would.  

This is why I rile against religious thought so often and so forcefully, because when you can manage to justify the darkest, most evil urges of the human heart by appealing to a higher power, we are all in very grave danger of being next on God’s hit list.


5 thoughts on “Christian Theology – Defending The Indefensible

  1. Great post, Jay. It could only be better if you linked. 😉

    I got into this on my fb friend’s page. He has a woman who comes to his threads and debates the large gaggle of atheists he entertains. She must have already read the Craig piece because she repeated it so verbatum that she got called out as it was so obviously not in her own style, but wouldn’t cite her sources. I found this whole it’s-ok-they-are-going-to-heaven-anyway thing appalling, but one woman who had an infant that died completely freaked out. It is sick. No doubt about it.

  2. I spotted this one myself and I agree totally. I posted about this, but not so eloquently as Greta.
    What really stood out for me in Craig’s piece was a little bit at the end where he tried to show why the massacre in the story is different from modern-day killings in the name of Allah.
    Apparently it’s only because they have the wrong god that their actions are wrong. I nearly knocked myself out with the resulting facepalm.

    • It’s sad that they can see the hypocrisy in other religions, but not in their own. When you put them side by side, the only difference is in the details.

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