5 Comments


  1. Thanks for the mention.

    My problem is not with what God's people have done (we have plenty to answer for since the Conquest!), but with what they are ostensibly expressly commanded to do by God. As I said in my post, granting Flannagan's argument is a necessary but, on its own, woefully inadequate step in justifying the horrors of war as depicted in the Old Testament. I'd need to hear convincing arguments about what exactly so radically changed in the theological context that wars of aggression and violent removal of indigenous peoples could be something demanded by God Himself rather than merely tolerated from an immature and morally benighted people.

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  2. Steve, what of human evolution and progression (societal) in which war was sometimes needed? Of could it be that like the judge who sacrifice his daughter, humanity sometimes acted in the name of God, with God sanctioning it for a while? Augustine didn't develop a just war theology until long afterward, I note.

    I do believe that Matt's analysis of hyperbolic ANE tendencies do tend to cast things in a better light. Israel's mission was to carve out land for itself where the One God could be worship. This had to be done in an undemocratic manner.

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  3. Their acting in the name of God is exactly what I envisage, but not God's
    sanction per se. But the societal evolution argument works both ways:
    Rwanda, Serbia, and even Nazi Germany are not vindicated merely because an
    immoral society permitted their actions. If we believe in necessary wars of
    aggression whenever expedient to some theological means, we cannot so easily
    castigate the Christian-fueled neo-cons' agenda of wars to defeat
    anti-Christian governments and uncritical support of Israel.

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  4. I would enter into the foray over at Matt's blog, but things have gotten ridiculous in the comments section. I essentially agree with Steve in one sense, that Matt is seeking too much in his argument. Of course, understanding the texts as hyperbole helps tone down the commands a bit, but from the very get go it assumes too much historical accuracy on the part of the texts (IMHO). It's not history, it's historiography.

    In addition, the problem is not simply the violence in the texts, but the violence that these texts have been used to legitimate throughout history (i.e. America is the promised land and the Native Americans are the Canaanites just to name one horrific example). It brings up a serious question for whether these texts are inerrant as many moderns use the term – cannot lead one into error.

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  5. I do think you have a good point with the application of those texts, Jeremy.

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