William Lane Craig defends genocide (again), gets pummeled by Greta Christina

It's not the first time that William Lane Craig has used Divine Command Theory™ to defend that pesky passage in the Bible in which God commands his loyal soldiers of Israel to slaughter the people of Canaan – men, women, and children. No one is spared. I criticized his original take, and now that he's brought the issue up again in his Q&A I would love to pounce on it... but I've been beaten to it by Greta Christina, who says everything I would have said and then some, with far more wit and incisiveness than I could have mustered. Here's a quote:
See, here's the thing. When faced with horrors in our past -- our personal history, or our human history -- non-believers don't have any need to defend them. When non-believers look at a human history full of genocide, infanticide, slavery, forced marriage, etc. etc. etc., we're entirely free to say, "Damn. That was terrible. That was some seriously screwed-up shit we did. We were wrong to do that. Let's not ever do that again."
But for people who believe in a holy book, it's not that simple. When faced with horrors in their religion's history -- horrors that their holy book defends, and even praises -- believers have to do one of two things. They have to either a) cherry-pick the bits they like and ignore the bits they don't; or b) come up with contorted rationalizations for why the most blatant, grotesque, black-and-white evil really isn't all that bad.
[...]
And when you don't go the cherry-picking route? When you insist -- as Craig apparently does -- that your holy book is special and perfect, that the events and motivations in the text all took place exactly as described, and that the actions of God described in it are right and good by their very definition?
You put yourself in the position of defending the indefensible.
When your holy book says that God ordered his chosen people to slaughter an entire race, down to the babies and children -- and you insist that this book is special and perfect -- you put yourself in the position of defending genocide. You put yourself in the position of defending infanticide. You put yourself in the position of defending slavery, rape, forced marriage, ethnic hatred, the systematic subjugation of women, human sacrifice, and any number of moral grotesqueries that your holy book not only defends, but praises to the skies and offers as models of exemplary behavior.
She goes on, and frankly I doubt most dyed-in-the-wool believers will have the balls to face the harsh realities she shoves under their noses. Check out the full article here.

For my part, I'd simply point out that Craig's position – that genocide is okay if God commands it – runs flatly in contradiction to the position he took in debating Sam Harris, in which he stated,
"God's moral nature is expressed in relation to us in the form of divine commandments which constitute our moral duties or obligations. Far from being arbitrary, God's commandments must be consistent with his holy and loving nature."
And who can think of anything more loving than commanding your chosen people to slaughter infants?

Comments

Popular Posts