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Time to crack down on the Christian Fundamentalists!

I checked the news right away this morning because I had heard about the Norway atrocity and had been following it somewhat.  Lo and behold, we are told that the gunman, Anders Breivik, is a ‘Christian fundamentalist with right-wing connections.’   I thought that was pretty interesting, because when we had our Fort Hood shooting in Texas by Nidal Hasan, it took the media several days to report the fact that he was a Muslim and the president of the United States himself came out of the woodwork to caution us all against leaping to conclusions connecting the man’s faith with his actions.

Apparently, the government in Norway is made of sterner stuff and doesn’t fall in with such political correct rubbish…

An alternative theory is that no one is afraid of real ‘Christian fundamentalists’ so its ok to single them out right away, while everyone is terrified of what Muslims will do if you press their buttons.

If the headlines were reversed- “The Fort Hood shooter was a Muslim” there would be universal calls for tolerance and extra helpings of niceness handed off to the Muslims in the community.  But I think instead, given how bad, bad, bad, Christians are, we’ll see calls that its time to crack down on Christian fundamentalists.   The best part:  they are unlikely to put up a fight.

I have been perusing the blogs and twitter and, quite predictably, you can almost see that sentiment forming.  I even sense what seems to be a bit of glee out there at the news this shooter was a ‘Christian.’  It makes sense, really.  These kinds of folks have been talking about how bad and dangerous Christians are for as long as I’ve been debating the merits of Christianity.

Unfortunately, they have been left to suck examples for the dangers of Christian believers from the Islamists, performing the operation by lumping both groups as religionists, ascribing the atrocities to the higher category so that they can then send it back down and hang it on the ‘Christian fundamentalists.’  My favorite examples of this come from Richard Dawkins who recounted the horrors of Christian fundamentalism by citing the 9-11 attacks and the Dover Intelligent Design trial, and Christopher Hitchens who compared the viciousness of the Taliban with examples of a similar kind among Christians… outlawing booze in Prohibition and winning the Scopes Monkey Trial.  Oooooo, those evil, evil, Christians.  (I talk about both in this old post here).

So, some people are going to be really happy to add to their previous number of examples of evil Christians to bring the total to a whopping 2.  (the other example being this one).  Do they now have enough to call for the general regulation and rigorous monitoring of ‘Christian fundamentalists’?  Time will tell.

The headlines, tweets, and blogs are all out there now- “the Norway shooter was a ‘Christian!'”

Let me propose that in this case, it really is reasonable not to jump to conclusions.  We know next to nothing about this man except that he apparently had a facebook page describing himself as a Christian and conservative and a quote from an official that he was a ‘Christian fundamentalist’ linked to ‘right wing’ groups.

My money is that we’ll find out the guy is a Malthusian at heart.

And Malthus has no part in Christ.

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32 Responses to Time to crack down on the Christian Fundamentalists!

  1. This murdering piece of dirt is no more a Christian than the man in the moon. When he stands before Christ on judgement day, Christ will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

    Yes, there are anti-Christian bigots out there who are rejoicing in inequity right now, glad to have something evil to pin on Christians. When people like this murdering scum do evil things in the name of Christ, it gives us real Christian an undeserved bad name. The same holds true of neo-Nazis who falsely call themselves Christians.

  2. Considering how many are willing to lump Mormons and Jehovah Witnessess as “Christians” I doubt a distinction will matter.

    Though now I’m hearing Jihadists are claiming responsibility, so everything is just in a haze of obscurity at the moment.

  3. People make the same argument about Muslim terrorists, that they are not “real Muslims” because they commit terrorist acts. It seems to me that you cannot have it both ways. If it is possible for Breivik to “not be a real Christian”, it is also possible for Mohammed Atta to “not be a real Muslim”. It is hypocritical for Christians to disclaim Breivik and to concurrently argue that Atta exemplifies the dangers of Islam.

  4. Also: “Malthus has no part in Christ” – that’s the Reverend Thomas Malthus to you, Anthony. Wrong he may have been about some things, but it’s not for you to declare who has a part in Christ and who does not. We have enough anathemas in this world already.

  5. You’re welcome to your opinion.

  6. By all accounts, Christianity doesn’t appear to have been a major influence on Breivik’s actions, and you will find that many prominent atheists (Sam Harris, for example) lost no time in pointing this out.

    As for your comment that “people are going to … add to their previous number of examples of evil Christians to bring the total to a whopping 2″… not so hasty, my friend.

    I know Christianity has (thankfully) moved on from the Crusades and the Inquisition, but we must never forget that each was justified by Scripture. We know these actions were abhorrant now, but I seriously doubt that a modern man of faith such as yourself would have been able to use Scripture to argue his way out of the Inquisitor’s net.

    I say this not to taint modern Christians with the brush of history, but to point out that, while the Norwegian maniac wasn’t motivated by Christianity, it’s not hard to find Scriptural justification for murder. Witness the anti-abortionists who murder doctors, the African countries who prescribe death for homosexuality, and the homophobic campaigns that drive young Americans to suicide. Each are both championed, and condemned, by Scripture.

  7. “By all accounts, Christianity doesn’t appear to have been a major influence on Breivik’s actions, and you will find that many prominent atheists (Sam Harris, for example) lost no time in pointing this out.”

    And you’ll notice that many atheists (Alex, for example) simply don’t care about the facts.

  8. End Bringer,

    What would be your test for determining whether Breivik’s actions were motivated by Christianity?

    My test is: does his own testimony indicate that that he felt his self-stated religious identification obligated him to do what he did? As far as I can tell, that’s unclear. All I was trying to point out is that saying that this terrorist was motivated “by Christianity”, which you object to so much, is not logically different from arguing that Mohammed Atta was motivated “by Islam”, and is similarly uncritical.

  9. “What would be your test for determining whether Breivik’s actions were motivated by Christianity?”

    Gee, maybe see what the Bible says on such matters?

    “My test is: does his own testimony indicate that that he felt his self-stated religious identification obligated him to do what he did?”

    So if I decided to act in a similar manner and said I felt that atheism is true and gave me liscense to carry out such acts, you’d have to concede atheism fully allows for such acts, right?

    “All I was trying to point out is that saying that this terrorist was motivated “by Christianity”, which you object to so much, is not logically different from arguing that Mohammed Atta was motivated “by Islam”, and is similarly uncritical.”

    Actually it’s a result of knowing what the source of authority and instruction for each respective belief REALLY says, rather than what some schmuck says, and it just demonstrates your personal ignorance to what the beliefs teach.

  10. Let me see now…what would 1 Samuel ch. 15 imply about the validity of Breivik’s actions?

    You say \The Bible\ like it’s possible to discern, among the jumble of contradictory and ancient narrative, a consistent guide to what \The Bible\ would think about such a thing. In reality, one can only assert that \The Bible\ would unambiguously disapprove of such a thing if one also chooses to ignore all of the many massacres that are presented as happening with God’s approval to avoid cultural contamination.

    So by all means, let’s talk about what \the source of authority and instruction\ for your belief \REALLY says.\

    (At least, let’s continue it after I have returned from my week’s vacation that is about to begin! Have a good week!)

  11. \Let me see now…what would 1 Samuel ch. 15 imply about the validity of Breivik’s actions?\

    I’m sorry. Are you implying Breivik was a nation specifically anointed by God, held a covenant with Him, and proceeded to fight for specific lands owned and promised by God, against very specific and evil societies who were openly hostile to Israel? I haven’t heard anything about the shooter being Israeli or the victims Amalekites.

    \You say The Bible like it’s possible to discern, among the jumble of contradictory and ancient narrative, a consistent guide to what The Bible would think about such a thing.\

    It is. It’s called reading it in full and in context. If you are simply going to cut-and-paste quotes and examples out of context, and think that’s valid, then I’m pretty sure I can \quote\ you to admitting to walking the streets of LA in the buff. 😉

    \In reality, one can only assert that The Bible would unambiguously disapprove of such a thing if one also chooses to ignore all of the many massacres that are presented as happening with God’s approval to avoid cultural contamination.\

    On the contrary. One would unambiguosuly disapprove of such a thing simply by being unambiguous about the circumstances surrounding such incidents in the Bible.

    Namely, about how most that you can name were presented as explicit commands against specific targets regarding the defense and security of a nation, and how such targets were by no means innocently minding their own buisness. It’s like someone being outraged because the Allies killed Nazis, while forgetting or ignoring the many things the Nazis had done. You’re never going to find a verse in the Bible where God gives carte blanche to \kill all sinners everywhere\ and such like it does. in the Quoran.

    \So by all means, let’s talk about what he source of authority and instruction for your belief REALLY says.\

    I’ve been around this block a few times (if you couldn’t tell by now), so by all means let’s (when you get back). 😉

    \(At least, let’s continue it after I have returned from my week’s vacation that is about to begin! Have a good week!)\

    Have fun!

  12. I did indeed have fun on vacation. Thank you!

    Your comparison of the Amalekites with the Nazis does not hold up, for the simple reason that 1 Samuel specifically says that these Amalekites are being punished with genocide for the actions of their ancestors around five hundred years previously. I am – let’s not say certain, but at least hopeful – that you would not consider it appropriate to wreak genocide on the Germans now in revenge for what other Germans did a mere 60 years ago.

    What you call “reading in full and in context” is simply deciding that some parts of the Bible overrule other parts, according to a private and non-Biblical standard of what ought to be God’s will. I have never seen a Christian articulate a consistent standard whereby I can judge what parts of the Old Testament still have moral force and what parts don’t; and with respect to this passage in particular, at different times in Christian history both Catholics and Protestants have been willing to treat this passage as applying with full and present-day moral force to their treatment of (respectively) the Cathar heretics and the Native Americans of New England.

    I am fully aware of the argument that in this case, because of some specific covenanting agreement with that specific nation, genocide, specifically including the slaughter of nursing infants, was OK in this case. I’m just aggressively uninterested in the contemptible ethic of a religion that says that genocide is ever OK under any circumstances at all.

    All you are doing by using that argument is demonstrating my point that bible-believing Christians’ notions of what is “good” become elastic/relativistic/situational when the Bible indicates that God authorizes something that would commonly be accepted as evil if done now.

    In context, there is still nothing whatsoever that is OK about Saul deciding incompletely to massacre the Amalekites on the strength of what Samuel told him God said. It’s not “a nation” who takes the decision to massacre here: it is Saul, and his soldiers follow his orders. It’s not “a nation” in the abstract that gets massacred: it is men, women and children who are singled out explicitly not for anything they have personally done that is mentioned in the Bible, but because of their descent from people who opposed the Israelites’ entrance into Canaan half a millennium before.

  13. Bringing it back to Breivik: he, like the Catholics who persecuted the Cathars and the Puritans who persecuted the Native Americans, would have been able to validly read this part of the Bible as justifying mass murder in the name of preserving a nation’s purity against forces that threaten it. It’s not aberrant or bizarre that such a thing could be found in the Bible: the Bible has always contained foul mixed with fair, just as the Quran does.

    The fact that you think that such an interpretation of the Bible would be incorrect is commendable because it suggests that your faith in the literal applicability of all parts of your religious text to today’s everyday life is limited by your sense of reason and justice. This places you in exactly the same position as the moderate Muslim who thinks that fundamentalist Muslims’ interpretation of their scripture as justifying mass murder of non-Muslims is incorrect. You cannot consistently declare that fundamentalist Muslims’ interpretation of the Quran represents the essence of Islam, and also declare that a Christian who interpreted 1 Samuel in this way would not represent the essence of Christianity.

    As it happens, I don’t think that what Breivik did was Christian; the question is very simply, who gets to say what is truly Christian and what is not, and what is truly Islamic and what is not? And my answer is that ultimately, it is the self-professed believers in a faith that collectively get to determine what is truly of that faith. You don’t get to declare what behavior is and is not Islamic, and neither do I; Muslims don’t get to declare what behavior is and is not Christian. Each community of believers can wrangle that out for themselves, fully conscious of both the good and the bad that self-professed believers in their religion have done. If you want to be a member of a group, you become accountable for all of that group’s behavior, good and bad, from the many atrocities committed by Christians/Muslims/atheists to the many good things done by Christians/Muslims/atheists. If you don’t like it, don’t profess membership in that group.

  14. “Your comparison of the Amalekites with the Nazis does not hold up, for the simple reason that 1 Samuel specifically says that these Amalekites are being punished with genocide for the actions of their ancestors around five hundred years previously.”

    More like being punished for hostile actions that ran up to five hundred years of harrassment. As 1 Samuel 30: 1-3. shows the last generation was no better than the first. Given the length of time the Amalekites had to repent and change their ways, that such an act was held off for so long is actually a show of remarkable grace and patience. But then it’s usually God’s modus operandi to hold off judgement till a nation’s wickedness reaches a point of no return.

    [quote]I am – let’s not say certain, but at least hopeful – that you would not consider it appropriate to wreak genocide on the Germans now in revenge for what other Germans did a mere 60 years ago.[/quote]

    I threw the example of Nazis to show the attitude you’re demonstrating – criticising acts without the full knowledge behind them.

    And I hate to disappoint you, but I’ve already reconciled the fact that Biblically it’s clear everyone is deserving of death (“wages of sin” and such), and that living for any length of time is an act of grace by God. As such, when God decides to hold us to account, He’s perfectly justified in such acts.

    “What you call “reading in full and in context” is simply deciding that some parts of the Bible overrule other parts, according to a private and non-Biblical standard of what ought to be God’s will.”

    Nope. It actually means “reading in full and in context”, as I have shown and can further go into as the Amalekites show up in more books than 1 Samuel. Knowing which parts of the OT are historical accounts and which still apply today is simply a matter of knowing the context each book was written under.

    “I’m just aggressively uninterested in the contemptible ethic of a religion that says that genocide is ever OK under any circumstances at all.”

    Then it’s merely an argument from outrage due to a personal emotion, I don’t share. Interestingly I always hear people like you complain about the Israel nation defending itself, but don’t hear a peep about the Flood that caused a massive genocide of all but Noah’s family. Was the Biblical tenants of “all have sinned” and “wages of sin is death” too confusing for you?

    “All you are doing by using that argument is demonstrating my point that bible-believing Christians’ notions of what is “good” become elastic/relativistic/situational when the Bible indicates that God authorizes something that would commonly be accepted as evil if done now.”

    I don’t put much stock into people’s personal opinion of what constitutes “acceptable”. THAT is what’s relativistic. What you are complaining about is actually objective morality due to one simple fact you overlook – “God authorizes”.

    The President can authorize the pardon of a criminal because that’s within his perogative and as such it would not be illegal, in contrast to a relative breakking a family member out of jail. In that same manner, God can/has/will authorize people’s death because as the Author of All Life that’s within HIS perogative.

    “In context, there is still nothing whatsoever that is OK about Saul deciding incompletely to massacre the Amalekites on the strength of what Samuel told him God said. It’s not “a nation” who takes the decision to massacre here: it is Saul, and his soldiers follow his orders. It’s not “a nation” in the abstract that gets massacred: it is men, women and children who are singled out explicitly not for anything they have personally done that is mentioned in the Bible, but because of their descent from people who opposed the Israelites’ entrance into Canaan half a millennium before.”

    This is pure hogwash that flattly ignores the manner in which such acts are presented. It’s actually God who made the decision and gave the order for which Saul didn’t fully obey to satisfy his greed. And God gave the order specifically because the generation was just as guilty of the hostility that was carried out for nearly 500 years.

    “Bringing it back to Breivik: he, like the Catholics who persecuted the Cathars and the Puritans who persecuted the Native Americans, would have been able to validly read this part of the Bible as justifying mass murder in the name of preserving a nation’s purity against forces that threaten it. It’s not aberrant or bizarre that such a thing could be found in the Bible: the Bible has always contained foul mixed with fair, just as the Quran does.”

    Again – total hogwash. If not specifically because the Bible is very explicit that no person (let alone a nation) is “pure”, but because as mentioned earlier the only examples you can give are when direct orders are given to a specific nation against a specific target. You simply CAN NOT find an example in the Bible that gives Christians carte blanch to kill infidels the way the Quran does. Such acts of history are mostly due to the same cut-and-paste attitude of reading the Bible that you give, rather than what it actually says.

    “The fact that you think that such an interpretation of the Bible would be incorrect is commendable because it suggests that your faith in the literal applicability of all parts of your religious text to today’s everyday life is limited by your sense of reason and justice.”

    No, just that I don’t throw my reading skills out the window simply because I have an ideological ax to grind. In case you haven’t noticed I don’t exactly balk at Biblical stories of judgement.

    “You cannot consistently declare that fundamentalist Muslims’ interpretation of the Quran represents the essence of Islam, and also declare that a Christian who interpreted 1 Samuel in this way would not represent the essence of Christianity.”

    I sure can. Simply because I’ve actually read the passage in the Quran that the ‘fundamentalist Muslims’ point to. It’s actually not at all ambiguous. In contrast the examples in the Bible where God didn’t directly act, only amounts to ‘kill THIS one wicked nation’. So since the two books actually say different things, I’m not at all contradicting when I point them out.

    “As it happens, I don’t think that what Breivik did was Christian; the question is very simply, who gets to say what is truly Christian and what is not, and what is truly Islamic and what is not?”

    Obviously, the source of each respective authority. It’s not all that complicated.

    “And my answer is that ultimately, it is the self-professed believers in a faith that collectively get to determine what is truly of that faith.”

    Still waiting on your answer to my statement of myself claiming to be an atheist and murdering people due to it.

    Obviously your way isn’t going to work so well, as any schmuck can claim to be anything and do anything. It’s only when you get to examining the authoritative tenants one professes to adhere to, when you can find out if such acts are in accordance or contradicting.

    “If you want to be a member of a group, you become accountable for all of that group’s behavior, good and bad, from the many atrocities committed by Christians/Muslims/atheists to the many good things done by Christians/Muslims/atheists. If you don’t like it, don’t profess membership in that group.”

    Funny. This is actually directly contradicting to your earlier statement about the Amalekites being accountable for other’s actions. What? People are only accountable when YOU decide they are?

  15. What if God did not in fact authorize this genocide? It seems like defamation of a God who is the sum of all that is good to me.

    Your example of the Flood assumes the answer to the point at issue: whether God actually ordered the genocide in question. In fact, the case of the Flood and the case of the Amalekites are very different. In the case of the Amalekites, “God” is not killing anyone: Saul’s army is doing the killing, on orders from Saul, who is acting on Samuel’s word that Samuel got his instructions from God.

    If God directly blasted the Amalekites off the face of the earth and called it good, then it would be a simple matter of whether a being, by virtue of being almighty, gets to set the terms of what is good and what is not. If such a being gets to set the terms, then there is no meaningful difference between God and Satan, good and evil; there is only power and powerlessness. Indeed, one way to interpret the Book of Job is that God’s message is exactly that: it is not man’s place to question God, because God has all the power.

    What you seem to think is that objective morality is not possible without giving up all moral decision-making to what a third party sees fit to consider good or evil. That is not morality; it is only submission. It is not objectivity, but is utterly subjective, based on your interpretation of what a third-party divine being is alleged by another third party to have ordered. You talk a great deal about “authority” simply because at root your morality, when exposed to the light, is nothing but the worship of a deified Fuehrer. Human beings can do a great deal better than the kind of morality you are selling.

    The people doing the killing here are not almighty: they are men, killing other men, women and children. By what right do you assume that they were right to think that they were doing God’s work? You might as well justify the acts of Mohammed Atta on the basis that he thought he and the other hijackers were doing God’s work!

    You claim that the Amalekites of David’s day were just as bad as the Amalekites of half a millennium before, based on 1 Samuel 30:1-3. But have you noticed that the crime you are accusing the Amalekites of, and using as a justification for genocide, is less bad than genocide itself?

    This band of Amalekites (presumably not including infants suckling at the breast) takes captive the men, women and children and burns their city: the text specifically says, “They did not kill anyone.” On what possible ground can you argue that the Amalekites capturing a bunch of Israelites and not killing them justifies the wholesale massacre of the Amalekites to the last man woman, and child? It makes no sense in any objective way.

    Guilt is individual, not racial. If an army of Amalekites harassed or captured a city of Israelites, then each individual that participated in that attack is culpable of those acts. But it is also clear that not every Amalekite then in existence did participate in the attack on Ziklag, and yet the text presents God as authorizing their extermination irrespective of what they had personally done!

    If you claim to be an atheist, and to be murdering people in order to advance the cause of atheism, then yet, all atheists bear some burden for the use to which their principles have been put. Adult Amalekites, by their membership in the society of Amalekites, bear some burden for the decisions their tribe made as a whole – which on the whole seem to have been decisions far less bloody and immoral than the decisions the Israelites made.

    But how can you find it acceptable, ever, for little children to be slaughtered by men in the name of God? Why does your whole being not revulse at the very concept? What happens to your ordinary moral senses when you turn from regular human affairs to the text of the Bible, and why do they become so weak?

  16. “What if God did not in fact authorize this genocide? It seems like defamation of a God who is the sum of all that is good to me.”

    What if the Amalekites were not in fact a subject of annihalation? Seems you’re just trying to have your cake and eat it, by pointing to instances where the Bible describes such acts while ignoring how it describes the context those same acts took place in. That’s simply unfair.

    “Your example of the Flood assumes the answer to the point at issue: whether God actually ordered the genocide in question. In fact, the case of the Flood and the case of the Amalekites are very different. In the case of the Amalekites, “God” is not killing anyone: Saul’s army is doing the killing, on orders from Saul, who is acting on Samuel’s word that Samuel got his instructions from God.”

    The example of the Flood is actually the same as both come back to the same issue – God ordered it. That both are different in methodology is incidental and irrelevant. Both acts are described in the Bible, and both acts are very clear who made the ultimate decision – God. If you’re just going to turn around and say God didn’t give the order, even though the Bible points to that fact, then I’m free to just dismiss the whole incident with the Amalekites as never happening, and your whole criticism looses all meaning.

    “If God directly blasted the Amalekites off the face of the earth and called it good, then it would be a simple matter of whether a being, by virtue of being almighty, gets to set the terms of what is good and what is not.”

    Again – irrelevant. God is consistently described as the one who passed down judgement. How He carries out that judgement is at His discretion. No different than the execution of a mass murderer by using a firing squad or using the needle. Both are legitimate and appropriate.

    And it’s more than simply a virtue of being almighty. It’s by virtue of being the Creator.

    “What you seem to think is that objective morality is not possible without giving up all moral decision-making to what a third party sees fit to consider good or evil. That is not morality; it is only submission.”

    Not exactly. It’s more like giving up one’s personal opinions, which are fickle and different from person to person, to the judgement of the Being from which all that is ‘good’ stems. True, it’s submission. But it’s submission to the One everyone ought (and will) submit to.

    “The people doing the killing here are not almighty: they are men, killing other men, women and children.”

    By God’s orders and therfore under His authority.

    “By what right do you assume that they were right to think that they were doing God’s work? You might as well justify the acts of Mohammed Atta on the basis that he thought he and the other hijackers were doing God’s work!”

    The difference here is the difference between an actual police officer giving you a ticket, and some guy with a toy badge doing the same – whether such acts are being carried out by the legitimate authority. That’s why the Bible says to test spirits and be skeptical of any so-called “messages”, so one doesn’t act with gullibility to an act of deception. For Israel we can see God described as being very involved with the nation and His authority established in many demonstrations of power. For Mohammed Atta we have better grounds to be skeptical as we’re living in the time AFTER Christ’s resurrection and where God has promised that His judgement will come on a global scale against the whole planet.

    “But have you noticed that the crime you are accusing the Amalekites of, and using as a justification for genocide, is less bad than genocide itself?”

    Nope. Because the difference is, again, a matter of authority. A state approved and legally carried execution of a murderer is not the same as the act of murder one is guilty of.

    “This band of Amalekites (presumably not including infants suckling at the breast) takes captive the men, women and children and burns their city: the text specifically says, “They did not kill anyone.” On what possible ground can you argue that the Amalekites capturing a bunch of Israelites and not killing them justifies the wholesale massacre of the Amalekites to the last man woman, and child? It makes no sense in any objective way.”

    I’d ask where your quote is and see what is ACTUALLY being said. But to your question – the Amalekites largely raided the nation of Israel for 500 years (amoung other things). Not killing people was often done by more brutal and heathen nations with the intant to rape and/or enslave captives back then. So it’s not at all as benevalent as you try to make it out.

    “Guilt is individual, not racial. If an army of Amalekites harassed or captured a city of Israelites, then each individual that participated in that attack is culpable of those acts. But it is also clear that not every Amalekite then in existence did participate in the attack on Ziklag, and yet the text presents God as authorizing their extermination irrespective of what they had personally done!”

    Make up your mind. Is a person responsible for only themselves or do they share in the guilt when they’re part of a group? Which is it?

    As to your objection – yeah some responsibility is shared in a group. If you’ve ever been in a band or sports team, you’d know sometimes you’d be called on something someone else in the group did.

    It’s why the whole of Mankind is guilty of Adam’s sin since he was the represantitive for all of mankind. The Amalekites were guilty as a nation, and it’s as a nation God judged them. Logically that means every man, woman, and child of that nation fell under that judgement. As for their individual guilt, that’s a matter for God’s judgement in regards to the afterlife. Physical death is hardly the end of it.

    “If you claim to be an atheist, and to be murdering people in order to advance the cause of atheism, then yet, all atheists bear some burden for the use to which their principles have been put.”

    We’ll see how long this lasts.

    “Adult Amalekites, by their membership in the society of Amalekites, bear some burden for the decisions their tribe made as a whole – which on the whole seem to have been decisions far less bloody and immoral than the decisions the Israelites made.”

    A statement of ignorance.

    “But how can you find it acceptable, ever, for little children to be slaughtered by men in the name of God? Why does your whole being not revulse at the very concept? What happens to your ordinary moral senses when you turn from regular human affairs to the text of the Bible, and why do they become so weak?”

    My senses are just fine. I just don’t have the problem of sentimentality brought about by the complacency of a relatively easy-living culture. Times were different back then. Life was different back then. Too much soft-heartedness can be as equally destructive as hard-heartedness. I don’t like the idea of ANYONE having to die (including eternal death), but I can accept it as ‘good’ in some circumstances. When the God of all creation orders it, that’s such a circumstance.

  17. That both are different in methodology is incidental and irrelevant.

    Absolutely not. The flood and the slaughter of the Amalekites are fundamentally different. For, while mankind was powerless to prevent the former, he could have freely chosen to not carry out the latter.

    No different than the execution of a mass murderer by using a firing squad or using the needle. Both are legitimate and appropriate.

    Ha! That says it all really.

    Someone who professes to believe in a religion that teaches “Thou shalt not kill” and “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, yet is in favour of capital punishment, will have no trouble defending a genocidal deity.

  18. Oh ah, I see.

    By objecting to Israelites killing infants at the breast who have personally not done anything whatsoever against the Israelites, I am being “soft-hearted” and “unrealistic”.

    I am ignoring other bad things that other adult Amalekites in Saul’s time may have done that the Bible didn’t see fit to mention.

    And I should simply accept that killing Amalekite infants at the breast is OK if the Old Testament, written not coincidentally by Israelites, says that God ordered it; that “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” is the essence of Christian teaching.

    This is the morality of a psychopath. How you can pretend that Christian morality is superior to that of any other religion or none after this discussion is utterly beyond me.

    Your perspective on Mohammed Atta, likewise, is utterly abhorrent. Your problem with what he did is not that he killed innocents, but that he killed innocents while acting on the authority of the wrong God. I find that horrifying. What he and the other hijackers did was wrong because killing innocents is wrong. It’s really not that complicated. What you seem to want, and what the Bible here wants to justify, is one morality for the Israelites (and now the Christians) and another morality for everybody else.

    The quote that says that the Amalekites did not kill anyone is the very same quote that you cited to me as the justification for killing the Amalekites: 1 Samuel 30:1-3. You maybe didn’t read your own quote closely enough. Nor can you argue that the Amalekites went on to rape or torture their captives, because you’re relying on the Bible and the Bible doesn’t say that they did. On the basis of what the Bible actually says, what the Amalekites of Saul’s day do to the Israelites is much, much less severe than what the Israelites do to the Amalekites; and yet the Bible’s God’s only moral problem with what the Israelites do, apparently, is that it doesn’t go far enough!

    Timaahy, as an aside, the analogy with capital punishment is inadequate. End Bringer’s analogy with a legally constituted firing squad fails because the people being shot are, in part, babies. No court in the world would find a baby criminally responsible for anything, and yet End Bringer insists that the babies were responsible and that it was good for Saul’s army to murder them. What twisted, sick, relativistic morality it is to think that way. And yet this is where Biblical literalism inevitably leads.

  19. Quite right.

  20. Well, there we go. I suppose this must mean that Timaahy and Alex believe there exists an objective morality. Am I right?

  21. In the context of sentient creatures that experience both suffering and pleasure, yes, I do!

  22. Amen. It appears that both of us do. The question before us now is whether what you believe in objectively, can be described as morality, or only as the worship of power.

  23. Tim: why should sentience make any difference? Moreover, ‘suffering’ and ‘pleasure,’ whilst key concepts in utilitarian thinking, are woefully simplistic. If a person takes ‘pleasure’ in causing suffering, in your book isn’t he acting morally? If a person kills another person instantly so that they do not suffer, and takes pleasure in doing so, was that a moral act?

    Alex: I’m more interested in knowing just how you come to believe your own judgements are correct. You have no sacred text. You have no special revelation from any entity in a better position than yourself to look to. You say that you both believe in an objective morality, but that surely means morality is something that transcends the three of us (and EB makes four!) that we cannot deny or defy. Right? Then how do we access this morality and where does it come from?

  24. “Absolutely not. The flood and the slaughter of the Amalekites are fundamentally different. For, while mankind was powerless to prevent the former, he could have freely chosen to not carry out the latter.”

    Saul DID choose not to carry out the latter Tim (at least not fully). And he was rebuked for it.

    No, they are not fundamentally different. Death is death, no matter how you go about it. Death by a gun, is no different than death by lethal injection. The result is fundamentally the same.

    “Someone who professes to believe in a religion that teaches “Thou shalt not kill” and “Judge not, lest ye be judged”, yet is in favour of capital punishment, will have no trouble defending a genocidal deity.”

    Except I don’t profess to believeing such a religion. MY religion teaches “thou shalt not murder” (which IS fundamentally different) and where one doesn’t have to go about being imprisoned or stoned just because they aren’t perfect, which things like murder are far removed from simply being sexually promiscuous. You’re just attacking a strawman.

  25. “By objecting to Israelites killing infants at the breast who have personally not done anything whatsoever against the Israelites, I am being “soft-hearted” and “unrealistic”.”

    Yes to the former. The latter I would say you’re being “ignorant of the situation”.

    “And I should simply accept that killing Amalekite infants at the breast is OK if the Old Testament, written not coincidentally by Israelites, says that God ordered it; that “kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” is the essence of Christian teaching.”

    *snort* I never said it’s in any way “the essence of Christian teaching”. The essence of Christian teaching is that we have all transgressed against God, and are deserving of punishment (ie. death) for it, and have been saved from it by His abundant love and mercy. But if you willfully reject His mercy, you can’t act surprised when the logical consequences follow.

    “This is the morality of a psychopath. How you can pretend that Christian morality is superior to that of any other religion or none after this discussion is utterly beyond me.”

    It helps that it’s based on truth and logic, while your objections are based on naivete and personal emotion.

    “Your perspective on Mohammed Atta, likewise, is utterly abhorrent. Your problem with what he did is not that he killed innocents, but that he killed innocents while acting on the authority of the wrong God.”

    Correction: Killing people fundamentally no different than him while NOT acting on the actual authority of God. That’s where “judge not lest ye be judge” is relevant. Because if you take it upon yourself to punish people for their simple flaws, what punishment are you deserving of?

    “I find that horrifying.”

    Nothing I can do about that, except outline my reasoning that I’ve previously given and you haven’t really just addressed other than with assertions. Though I honestly don’t care how you find it.

    “What he and the other hijackers did was wrong because killing innocents is wrong. It’s really not that complicated. What you seem to want, and what the Bible here wants to justify, is one morality for the Israelites (and now the Christians) and another morality for everybody else.”

    Nope. What I am doing is pointing out the fact that you’ve overlooked and brings your whole argument crashing down – absolutely NO ONE is “innocent” and the only one with authority to take life in such manners is the Creator of that life.

    “The quote that says that the Amalekites did not kill anyone is the very same quote that you cited to me as the justification for killing the Amalekites: 1 Samuel 30:1-3. You maybe didn’t read your own quote closely enough.’

    No, I simply thought you were refering to another incident previous of God’s judgement for wiping them out in order to make your ‘they didn’t deserve it!’ defense stronger. Because if you’re refering to the incident I did, it’s rather irrelevant. That was after the order to wipe the Amalekites off the map, which Saul didn’t fully obey and David had to rectify later.

    So it just goes to show even after such heavy losses the Amalekites STILL didn’t change their ways, which just further justifies the Bible’s protrayal that the only way to have dealt with them was in a total and permanent fashion.

  26. MY religion teaches “thou shalt not murder” (which IS fundamentally different) and where one doesn’t have to go about being imprisoned or stoned just because they aren’t perfect, which things like murder are far removed from simply being sexually promiscuous.

    Would you mind re-expressing this coherently?

  27. So it just goes to show even after such heavy losses the Amalekites STILL didn’t change their ways, which just further justifies the Bible’s protrayal that the only way to have dealt with them was in a total and permanent fashion.

    Some of the most contemptible words I have ever had the misfortune to read.

  28. Your arguments get more immoral as they go along, End Bringer. I wish it was the first time I had heard Christians make them.

    What I am doing is pointing out the fact that you’ve overlooked and brings your whole argument crashing down – absolutely NO ONE is “innocent”

    On this argument, in your book, any murder is OK, provided that the murderer claims that the Christian God ordered him to do it. Nobody can verify whether that’s true or not. Saul could not verify whether Samuel had genuinely heard from God. What on earth kind of a rule is that?

    Notice what you are doing. You are defending the morality of child murder because it is more important to you to defend the authority of the Bible than to oppose child murder. That in itself is evidence of a warped set of values. You are making the Bible into your God, instead of allowing yourself to consider whether the Bible is fairly and accurately depicting a God who is the essence of all that is good and just. You don’t need to do it.

    It is not mere “emotion” to think that genocide is wrong. It is a basic proposition to which all people should be able to agree, and your inability to agree with it places you on the same moral level as some very evil people.

    You are under no obligation to support child murder, just as Mohammed Atta was under no obligation to support the murder of Westerners. Please, free yourself from this hideous notion that is warping your sense of what is right so deeply.

  29. Hi Anthony,

    You’re much smarter than End Bringer, aren’t you? 🙂

    I believe objective morality exists. I don’t think that human beings can perfectly know what it is. Having grown up as a Christian, I sort of assumed that the Bible was the best source, but it’s now plain to me, because of passages like this, that it would be wrong to rest my moral code on that one source. So I supplement, by reading other religions’ sacred texts and the thoughts of philosophers and ethicists, and think and reason with others about what they have written, as a way of approximating more closely to the objective morality that I believe exists.

    What else would I do? I can’t unring the bell. I can’t pretend I never read this passage, or other passages that make the Bible seem unreliable as a moral guide. I can’t abdicate all moral judgement to a book that is plainly evil in some parts, even if it is very good in other parts. That’s just not how I’m made.

    So I do the best I can, and strive to be kind to others and to encourage my daughters to be kind, because it is my personal opinion that being kind is a good thing and that God approves of it. And if God doesn’t approve of me being kind to others, then, well, he isn’t worthy of worship, is he?

    This is naturally a softer approach than having the hard rule that “what the Bible says God says goes”. But it is less self-contradictory and has fewer immoral effects, so it works better for me.

  30. My question back to you is: we can call what you hold to “objective”, but how is it “morality”? It abdicates your personal responsibility to evaluate what is good and bad, to the judgements of the writers of the Bible and their perception of what God wants; and it requires you to adopt definitions of what is good that are elastic enough to accommodate horrifying things like child murder and genocide when required. What Biblical literalists hold to defines morality as “might makes right”: what is good is what the Bible says God wants.

  31. Yup, Anders Breivik was indeed a Malthusian. From page 1202 of his manifesto:

    We should create population capacity guidelines for continents or countries. The guidelines should be based on a combination of the availability of resources and other factors in an attempt to limit overpopulation. Every country should abide by these guidelines. If starvation threatens the countries who have failed to follow our guidelines we should not support them by backing their corrupt leaders or send any form of aid. There is no general consensus to the carrying capacity of the planet. Our planet should not exceed 3 billion individuals so radical policies will have to be implemented (we are currently more than 6,8 billion).

    PCCTS, Knights Templar and a future European Federation must propagate a global population cap of 2,5 billion (1950-level).

  32. Thanks for that George. I feel badly for you that you slogged your way through 1200+ pages of that. I made it through like 10 before I decided to invest my time elsewhere.

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