An atheist reads "True Reason": Chapter 16

We're finally on the last chapter. And I'll be honest... I'm not quite sure how to review it. The chapter, written by Matthew Flannagan, argues that the scriptures detailing the genocide of Canaan should not be read literally, but as hagiography.

I find it odd that the chapter says this excerpt is from Come Let Us Reason, edited by Paul Copenhagen and William Lane Craig. Odd because I've read several of Craig's defenses of the slaughter of Canaan, and his central defense is always the use of "divine command theory", which is basically just an elaborate way of saying, "even though that is objectively wrong now, it was objectively right at the time because God said it was."

Flannagan makes a pretty thorough case that the accounts are hagiography, to which I say... no shit! Virtually every yarn in the Old Testament is hagiography. Let's not forget that not only is there positively zero evidence that Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt [1], but the evidence we do have clearly points to Israel originating from... the Canaanites. So yeah, big shock... the Old Testament is not a history book.

Clearly, this is geared toward other Christians who already assume a historical reading of the slaughter of Canaan. And frankly, I don't see any reason to spend part of my afternoon writing a response to something I mostly agree with.

If there's anything I take issue with, it's simply that this is the way God is portrayed at all. You can argue that it didn't really happen, and you'd be right. But remember, Christians think the Bible is the inspired word of the One True God, the most important moral guide ever written and a manual for understanding God and finding salvation. So why is it filled with these stories in which God tells his holy army to kill everyone? Why do we need this kind of thorough exegesis just to understand what the scripture is really supposed to mean?


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