What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

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On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 27, 09:14:

Tony, my willingness to accept that a general conquest and expulsion of the Canaanites, who were not at that time aggressors against the Israelites, could be justified by divine command *is* my attempt to defer to the idea that some things can be right when commanded by God even if they would be wrong otherwise. I never claimed that there is *no* such category. But I refuse to be pressed into a false dichotomy--namely, that either I reject any such in-between area or else I have to put the direct killing of ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 27, 09:07:

MA, Let's say the OT said "And the LORD God made a rock, and then told Moses "Here is a rock even I cannot lift no matter how hard I tried". I, God, have made the rock but find it impossible to lift." You wouldn't consider, after reading this, that we might have made some sort of mistake when we said that this is impossible? Nope. I definitely wouldn't. Logic at that level isn't an esoteric discipline. It's easy, direct, and knowable as directly and indubitably as one knows all sorts of other direct and ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 27, 09:02:

Patrick, my argument is that we have to have a category of murder, and we do have a category of murder, which really is always wrong under every circumstance. Now, we already know that that category does not apply to God when God acts directly. The whole point of a category such as "murder" is that it applies to finite creatures in their interactions with one another. We wouldn't even have the category at all if we were just talking about God. I'm willing to allow that there could be _adjustment_ in the ca ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Patrick on Aug 27, 08:06:

Lydia, your position obviously is that it is morally permissible for God to directly kill babies, but not for humans. Now my question is (and this is a real and not a catch question) what exactly it is that in your view makes killing babies morally permissible in the former case but not in the latter, especially if in the latter case the killing is accomplished following an order issued by God. What exactly is the natural law argument against killing babies and why doesn’t it apply to God? ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Aug 27, 06:34:

Tony, you are incapable of writing a reasonably concise comment, aren't you? Why does each one have to resemble an encyclopedia entry? What's the strategy involved? To wear out your opponent? To bore him to death? Well, it's working. I've engaged in this debate over what acts constitute intrinsic evil hundreds of times on various websites, and am not at all inclined to do a comprehensive reprise for your benefit. Clearly. Despite your claims to the contrary, you've been nothing but rude and dismissive here ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Mike T on Aug 27, 06:18:

Even Andrew Jackson wasn't as responsible for the people who died on the Trail of Tears as if he'd personally and individually killed them. That should be Ethics 101. A leader is never that responsible unless he's on the front lines leading the troops personally. However, it doesn't change the fact that he is personally responsible for the aftermath of his orders. So if his orders are in effect to drive them from their homes into a hostile territory where many of them will die of exposure, he can't wipe hi ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 27, 05:27:

Tony, you are incapable of writing a reasonably concise comment, aren't you? Why does each one have to resemble an encyclopedia entry? Bill, I can. But I can't simply do so when people are ignoring important distinctions that are inherently difficult to parse. With his "It isn't just the killing of little babies that is problematic, it is the whole shebang that needs explaining," he's trying to melt the baby-killing problem into the larger and much vaguer problem of exterminating a culture, when the tw ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by William Luse on Aug 27, 02:02:

..as has been pointed out, you completely dismissed Tony's argument while getting it wrong besides. No, Marc Anthony, I can see from his subsequent exchange with Lydia that I got it exactly right. He's trying to carve out a circumstance in which, theoretically, the act of a human adult intentionally killing an infant might not be intrinsically evil, in the process depriving the word "intrinsic" of any content. With his "It isn't just the killing of little babies that is problematic, it is the whole shebang ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Aug 27, 01:33:

Or even by MA's saying that, if the Bible said that God made a contradiction in logic, we'd have to consider that our view of logic is wrong. Our view of logic qua logic (hopefully I'm using that phrase correctly), no. But we WOULD have to consider the fact that when we thought that was a contradiction, we might have been mistaken! Don't you at least agree that if it was expressly recorded in the Old Testament that God made a rock He couldn't lift we would have to seriously consider the idea that our ori ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Jeffrey S. on Aug 26, 23:37:

Tony, If I follow your latest comment (which I think is quite good in detailing what might be involved in destroying an entire culture and people) then it seems like you just talked yourself into agreeing with Lydia as to the real dilemma posed by the Canaanite passages: To argue that the Israelites were right to kill not only those directly (and will full personal responsibility) engaged in evil practices, but to kill off those who might re-institute the old ways, on an assumption of guilt, and to take a ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 26, 22:40:

In fact, that's what I conjectured up above. I've been more worried by people who seem not to have such a line. I did say that I had such a line: an apparent order from God to worship an idol. And no, it's not the ONLY behavior I would consider for beyond the line. And I think that my example with rape is, also, an example of my having such a line, though perhaps in a slightly different way than you are thinking of it. My approach would not be "we'd have to consider that our view of logic is wrong," I ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 21:59:

That comment puts very well some of the points I have been making. Thanks. ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Thomas Henry Larsen on Aug 26, 21:30:

Many people who have commented on this thread apparently think Pr(biblical inerrancy) is much, much greater than Pr(God would not command human beings to slaughter infants in the knowledge that they would go through with it). (The Abraham-and-Isaac situation is significantly different from the Canaanite situation, for reasons that we can talk about in more depth if anyone wants to.) Now, I do think there is a reasonable evidential case to be made for biblical inerrancy; in particular, it seems prima facie ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 20:42:

Even Andrew Jackson wasn't as responsible for the people who died on the Trail of Tears as if he'd personally and individually killed them. That should be Ethics 101. And by the way, if your hermeneutic means that you think you prima facie have to defend every action of the ancient patriarchs unless God explicitly condemns it, then your hermeneutic is severely flawed, and you're saddling yourself with big problems quite unnecessarily. I don't care what patristic source seems to endorse it. ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Mike T on Aug 26, 20:23:

I think what Tony is saying is you cannot engage in this sort of warfare and wash your hands of the people who die in the diaspora. The idea that you could persecute an entire people out of their lands into the wilderness and say you aren't responsible for all of the ones who die on the trail is precisely the sort of thing that Andrew Jackson would have said over the Trail of Tears. ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 18:40:

I haven't answered because I don't think it is a reasonable question. Just like the atheists asking "what if the Bible told you the Earth was flat, which would you believe?" It's not a hypothetical that is particularly helpful. Also, interestingly for the sake of your specific example, there are specific rights and wrongs with regard to sex that are not present in killing. For instance, sex, because it depends on a SPECIFIC and UTTERLY UNIQUE relationship between the husband and wife, cannot be licit with ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 26, 18:14:

Tony, I have a brief question: Why have you never answered my repeated question regarding what you would do if there were passages, just as clear as these, that _did_ say that God ordered raping children or some other similarly heinous act? Is there anything where you would say, "Whatever else we do, we should not even consider that this might sometimes be okay to do and that our moral intuitions about its wrongness are wrong, because this one is an absolute and this thing is _always_ wrong to do"? Is there ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 15:11:

MA, for the record, I have no intention of trying to ditch the entire conquest of the Promised Land. I just utterly disagree with Tony that the conquest generally is equally a "camel" with the slaughter of the children. ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 15:10:

MA, check, I've picked up on that, so I've tried to tag you as having a different view a couple of times. Tony, I have a brief question: Why have you never answered my repeated question regarding what you would do if there were passages, just as clear as these, that _did_ say that God ordered raping children or some other similarly heinous act? Is there anything where you would say, "Whatever else we do, we should not even consider that this might sometimes be okay to do and that our moral intuitions about ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Aug 26, 14:11:

Also, Lydia: Yet the doctrine of inerrancy being attributed here (as I understand it) to the Catholic church is allegedly such that one must take it that it wasn't wrong for Israelite soldiers to kill the Canaanite children! I question this. I'd say the doctrine means we have to take that possibility very seriously, but if there is absolutely no way to square the ordered killing of the babies we can probably do away with that specific point. Now, Tony makes the point that a lot of salvation history is bo ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 26, 13:40:

But in the grand scheme one feels in one's gut that that's better than holding a view that is morally untenable and, frankly, morally corrupting. Lydia, I can't wrap my head around this. Is it morally corrupting to make an attempt to solve a problem, propose something that turns out to be wrong, and then be shown how and why it is wrong? If so, then 9/10ths of what we do in developing moral philosophy is morally corrupting. The whole point of investigating is to seek the truth, and for us fallen human ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Aug 26, 13:03:

Lydia, Actually, Tony, I don't think it is *absolutely and intrinsically wrong in all times and in all places* to engage in conquest and to wipe out a culture qua culture. (Not talking about wiping out children to wipe out a culture.) That is very much the kind of thing I would call "wrong" but not "intrinsically wrong"--in other words, prima facie wrong and not something I'm going to undertake, but not wrong in the same absolute sense that killing an infant is wrong. I agree. Some cultures are horrible a ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 12:48:

For the record, I think Tony is _wrong_ when he implies that, because qualifiers are required to explain why it's okay to kill soldiers in war in a battle without concern about personal innocence or wickedness, therefore the whole notion of the intrinsic evil of killing absolutely unambiguously innocent non-aggressors (babies and small children) is called into question, or at least in such a way as to allow the slaughter of the Canaanites. I find all of that highly problematic, as I found the response by ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Aug 26, 11:14:

Don't be an ass. If I weren't willing to discuss it, I wouldn't have participated in the thread. Okay, your first response to a perfectly polite point I made earlier was a dismissive "Yeah, thanks, I know that, answer this question". Which, by the way, I did, directly. If you're just going to repeat "We don't know, we don't know", what are you doing here? We're trying to work out how to explain these verses. If that's something you're not interested in doing, then go. You don't have to. Of course it's an ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Mike T on Aug 26, 09:20:

Lydia, It's not really "twisting" anything. I can relate to you something that happened to me that might explain it a little better. When I came to Christ, I was in a Presbyterian church that was staunchly Calvinist. I struggled with predestination. Something told me it was probably not true, but my mind couldn't accept it and was flirting with the idea of rejecting the uncomfortable scripture. Then I woke up one morning with an intuition. It wasn't a "voice in the head kind of thing." It was a subtle "mes ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 09:08:

Actually, Tony, I don't think it is *absolutely and intrinsically wrong in all times and in all places* to engage in conquest and to wipe out a culture qua culture. (Not talking about wiping out children to wipe out a culture.) That is very much the kind of thing I would call "wrong" but not "intrinsically wrong"--in other words, prima facie wrong and not something I'm going to undertake, but not wrong in the same absolute sense that killing an infant is wrong. ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 09:03:

By the way, I want to note an interesting dynamic: In a conversation where I hear Christians at first staunchly defending the idea that God really did order putting a bunch of children to the sword, I find psychologically that any reversion to a view like Copan's ("Maybe it really is hyperbole; maybe it doesn't mean what it appears to mean") comes as a relief. There is something so shocking and horrifying to me about people's twisting their minds into justifying the slaughter of children (all the more so wh ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 26, 09:02:

And his list of "possible answers" is hardly exhaustive, such as my suggestion that these passages are a mystery best left alone, barring some further revelation. That they exist at all is a scandal to any Christian who would make his God of Love palatable to the sincere inquirer. Bill, I really don't understand what you mean. If you think that God's revelation in this part of Scripture is wholly impenetrable without "some further revelation", that would seem to indicate that Scripture itself is either in ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 26, 08:56:

Would we conclude that scripture is wrong or conclude that... oy vey... God did in fact order that? Mike, my understanding, correct me if I'm wrong, is that that _is_ what you have been concluding. In fact, you have repeatedly and pointedly refused to reject my hypothetical if some passage of Scripture said that God ordered rape of children. You have (unlike MA) implied that in that case we would be bound to take seriously the idea that our moral intuitions that God could never order such a thing are inco ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Mike T on Aug 26, 07:15:

We are never going to agree on that point. "Edge cases" when it comes to the natural law are actually central, not edge. That's why we use them for reductios. If your theory is such that you would accept God's ordering the rape of children or pretty much *anything whatsoever* rather than conclude that the text is incorrect, then the bizarreness of the example is what gives the argument bite! It simply doesn't work in ethical argument to say, "My position leads to bizarre and heinous conclusions, but since t ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by William Luse on Aug 26, 05:05:

If you don't want to discuss this, don't. Don't be an ass. If I weren't willing to discuss it, I wouldn't have participated in the thread. Probably because that's not a possible answer. Of course it's an answer, that being: I don't know. Defenders of the passages could have said as much, to the effect that, yes, these are problematic indeed and cannot be reconciled at present with what we believe about God's goodness, but instead come up with rationales that accomplish nothing but a corruption of the mor ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Aug 26, 01:24:

And his list of "possible answers" is hardly exhaustive, such as my suggestion that these passages are a mystery best left alone, barring some further revelation. Probably because that's not a possible answer. If you don't want to discuss this, don't. ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by William Luse on Aug 26, 00:44:

As far as I can tell (though it was very hard to follow), Tony's deconstruction of "innocence" pretty much abolishes the concept, and the notion of intrinsic evil along with it. And his list of "possible answers" is hardly exhaustive, such as my suggestion that these passages are a mystery best left alone, barring some further revelation. That they exist at all is a scandal to any Christian who would make his God of Love palatable to the sincere inquirer. I am open to explanations, but no one here has off ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Aug 25, 23:35:

I'll go on the record as saying that I think the concept of "we must believe only things necessary for our salvation" is a concept that is not to be taken lightly. Our standard for deciding that a passage isn't "necessary for salvation" should be EXTREMELY high, and the default view should be to take the Bible at face value unless we have excellent reason not to. It is for this reason that, even now, I won't say I'm 100% certain God didn't order the massacres. 99+%, yes. But I can always be wrong. ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Tony on Aug 25, 22:46:

By the way, while we're at it: Both Mike T. and MarcAnthony take their view of inerrancy to mean (if I understand them correctly) that we would be forced at least to take very seriously the proposition that God ordered the Israelites to rape the Canaanite children and therefore that "our intuitions about the natural law are just wrong" on that point, Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not kno ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Lydia on Aug 25, 21:41:

You say you see no evidence that God ordered Moses to do this or at least approved of what Moses was doing. Mike, if I thought that, I wouldn't consider these to be problem passages in the first place, would I? It would all be easy peasey. "Oh, look, there's no evidence that God ordered or approved of this." I wonder if you even read my initial post, to which this post links. Deuteronomy 20, though presumably revealed _through_ Moses, is put into the mouth of God, complete with "thou shalts" and "thou sha ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by MarcAnthony on Aug 25, 21:28:

Lydia, Thought that would be your response. I'll simply say I thought it had merit despite disagreement, and leave it at that. ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Mike T on Aug 25, 21:05:

Tony, Can you elaborate on #2 (2. The Bible does say it but doesn't mean it, or ). If that option is possible, does that not leave us to conclude that scripture contains things which are not true? If a science book said X about the properties of matter and energy and "didn't mean that" then would proposition X be false... essentially a lie? ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Mike T on Aug 25, 21:01:

Lydia, The reason I refuse to go there is because we are either discussing actual scripture or discussing hypotheticals which God has given us no indication we should be entertaining. Jews could "rightly" ask you why God would encourage the church to engage in what they consider symbolic cannibalism and then use that as superficial evidence that the gospels are false revelation. You say you see no evidence that God ordered Moses to do this or at least approved of what Moses was doing. Others here like mys ... [More]

On Paul Copan's attempted solution to the Canaanite slaughters

Comment posted by Mike T on Aug 25, 20:48:

The problem I see with these verses is that much is left out. I couldn't find anything where Moses actually claimed that God told him to do these things, but at the same time there is ample evidence that God did not actually hold these acts against him. In fact, there is more evidence that God favored Israel with his grace in these campaigns than anything else. There is nothing showing that Moses realized he was sinning by exterminating these peoples and then repented. The nature of the actions are such tha ... [More]