Strictly hypothetical. What if? How good is your imagination?

It succeeds beyond Christianity’s wildest dreams in Islam.

As well as lucrative for the Catholic Church which could sell dispensation from eternal torture to those who could afford it.

Probably because of the church’s blatant disregard for the meaning of “eternal” ‘rewards’.

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I agree that the mythical genocides done by God obviously never happened, but the lesser, all too realistic and incomplete ones against the Amalekites, Jebusites et al; non-Jewish, non-monolatrous Canaanites and internecine among the Israelites obviously did. Denialism is the 8th stage of genocide.

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true, but used by non-Catholics also.

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OK everyone take a breath :slightly_smiling_face:.

Consider Kaiserslautern, Germany. Before World War II it had a population of over 60,000. With bombs and artillery, the Allies destroyed 85% of it. When the armies entered the city, there was hardly anyone left alive. So how many of its citizens died in the assault?

  1. The rest fled before and as soon as the assault began.

Yes, God commanded the Israelites to kill all the inhabitants left in the cities within the land - but only after God had already driven the people out from before them (Deuteronomy 7:1). Given the choice of fight or flight, the Israelites were only to wipe out those who chose to fight.

Santa Anna and the Mexican army wiped out the Alamo inhabitants, sparing only a few to report the loss to the Texans. Would you call that genocide?

The Battle of Jericho reveals that the cities were to be given ample opportunity to see what they were up against, and to escape without harm. Only those who chose to stick it out and stick around were to pay the price.

I’d hardly call that genocide.

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That is a morally repugnant and text-book definition of white-washing history. I find it hard to express my disdain for it in civil and polite words so I’ll offer these few thoughts:

[1] A more recent Analogy: God had already driven the native savages from the land. Settlers only wiped out those Indians who resisted and chose to fight.

[2] A question: how do you propose God displaces people from a land? Did he harmlessly and graciously teleport them to a new land with lush fertile soil?

[3] The Next Verse: 7:2 2 and when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy.

This is why crusades and so much violence happened in God’s name. Anything can be justified. Biblical literalism and inerrancy is very dangerous, morally repugnant and therefore, contrary to God’s heart.

Please don’t make assumptions as to what my positions are on the application of this passage. Where in my statements did I say it was morally justified? What I was pointing out is that the passage in question is not advocating genocide. The genocide idea is an unfortunate result of what I would characterize as the sterilization, or abstraction of biblical interpretation from the reality that people in that day experienced. I blame this mostly on the preachers and theologians who have promulgated such notions. It is their responsibility to preach and teach the truth, and unfortunately they’ve not taken the time to think about the historical context.

My most recent hobby is timbering, mostly because we ended up with a few dozen very nice hardwood logs on our property. Most people would just have cut them up for firewood, but I thought it such a waste. But the challenge then is how does a man in his 60’s move, saw, dry this timber by himself and on a budget? What a great opportunity to experiment and learn! I find myself looking back to see how it was accomplished before mechanization. Did you know you can move a 1500 pound log down a curvy path in minutes with just a rope and a small board? As I work through this hobby, I find many of my original ideas to be impractical and sometimes plain wrong.

In our advanced 21st century world we currently have the luxury to pursue and achieve higher moral standards - just as I could go rent a skid steer loader, hire a professional sawyer, and send my lumber to a drying service. But just as pioneers “wasted” timber by using logs instead of OSB for their homes, the moral alternatives available to the Israelites in biblical times were limited compared to today.


Peace of Christ, Ralphie,

First and foremost, I would thank The Lord that I have Jesus to fall back on, because it would seem extraordinarily hard to reconcile the God who commanded The Conquest with The Loving God the prophets spake of, and I’m sure I have Origen and St. Gregory of Nyssa to back me up on this. To directly address your question, I would remember the Ancient Near Eastern context of The Old Testament, how Ba’al Hadad, Chemosh, Anat, and Inanna were thought to fight alongside their devoted soldiers; no doubt the idolatrous and stingy Israelite elite believed that God was still with them, even while the prophets said otherwise, and I would always keep Christ at the center of our theology, for it is in Him that God is truly made known. Besides, He pointed out Scripture’s imperfections. I hope this helps!


First of all , the Old Testament is part of the Christian bible. Second, the Jews have always been flexible in interpreting their scriptures. So I think your statement is a bit anti-Semitic.

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The Bible records great slaughters when the Israelites invaded Canaan, but there is no archaeological evidence that such an invasion took place or that most of the cities named were burned.

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Hi beaglelady!

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound that way! I mean to say that I am admitting that God is not always portrayed consistently and decently in the Sacred Scripture and that if I were decently conservative in interpretation without Jesus to fall back on, I would have a great deal of trouble trying to worship God. But you’re right. I should have worded that better. I’m sorry.

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Just read up more on Orthodox Judaism. Boy, I made a really ignorant comment. I’m deeply sorry if I offended anyone.


I grew up on a farm in a township in Ionia county, Michigan. Townships are typically 6 miles square with the “town” in the center. This was so that no one in the township was more than one hour walking distance to the store, church, school. I am the youngest of my siblings. Though I never went to the one room schoolhouse, my eldest sister and brother did. When the weather was good, they walked or rode their bicycles two miles each way, sometimes taking shortcuts through the fields an forest. On sunny Sundays the whole family sometimes walked to church.

Though our township had a population over 2000, the “town” had less than 10. This is because we were an agricultural rural community. In 1800, 94% of United States residents were rural. Agrarian economies simply cannot sustain a higher percentage of people in occupations other than farming.

Consider that Jericho at the time of the exodus was about the size of 4 neighborhood blocks. Hardly a “city” by modern standards. Even optimistically there would have been under 2000.

A contingent of migrants as large as the exodus Israelites would have been heard, felt, and most likely smelled long before they were seen. News would have traveled faster than the Israelites. Canaanite farmers would have been faced with the fight or flight decision with ample time to flee. Given the odds, most would have fled or even been ordered to leave by their leaders.

So most likely those that remained in the “cities” were a very small percentage of the overall population and were left there to fight. So the commands and accounts of cities wiped out were hardly examples of genocide.

As for the Jericho story, the Bible states that it was occupied by the king and his soldiers, and was in lockdown. So why was Rajab the harlot still there, and why was she so eager to help the Israelite spies to hide and escape?

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What is wrong with the Old Testament. It is the inspired word of God! No problems here!

Hi SixDays!

To many of the people in this thread, The Old Testament is inspired, as N T Wright says, it is “the book God wanted us to have”, and yet it seems that many of the events recorded in The Old Testament were written hundreds of years after they happened, leaving room for embellishment (a small Exodus becoming a massive one) or getting stuff wrong (the Battle of Jericho might not have happened, and through the person of Christ, God could not have commanded such an event).



Hmmm…that term inspired. Hebrews 1:1 states that God inspired at many times “and many different ways”.

In Numbers 26, God told Moses to take a census of the Israelite men available for battle. So Moses ordered the leaders of each tribe to take a count. So when they came back with the numbers, did Moses say to them, “Oh never mind, God already inspired me with the numbers to write down?” So are the numbers written down, inspired by God? And what about those numbers? They are all in tens or hundreds. Are we to believe that all those tribes had EXACTLY those numbers of men?

My brother converted to Judaism. I recently asked him what the Jewish position is on inspiration of the scriptures. Though there are differences across the sects just as there are across Christian denominations, basically they believe that only the passages where it explicitly states that “God said” are inspired (God breathed). All else is commentary.

There is also the issue of translation from one language to the next. Can anyone tell me what a hawser would have to do with Matthew 19:24?

Exactly. An invasion by 2.4 million out of the desert eh? Only made possible by a rain of superfood six days a week and a portable magic well and magic clothes.

Jericho was only minimally occupied at the time. And the walls were not fortified. There was no massive invasion force. Mass migrations of people always leave some kind of evidence. Burned cities leave evidence, as do battles and violent conquests. .

Some things in the Bible are supported by evidence, some things are murky, and other things never happened.

So has all the area in question been LIDAR scanned and analyzed? How about ground penetrating radar? These and other newer technologies have revolutionized archaeological discovery, increasing research productivity thousands-fold. In the last decade researchers have found vast communities around Mach Picchu, Angkor Wat, the Amazon, and elsewhere-sites directly under the archaeologist’s feet that they were unaware. Ground penetrating radar scans of Stonehenge has revealed that it was surrounded by a vastly larger wooden post structure- right under the archaeologists noses.

Is it possible for a million people to migrate over an area without leaving significant visible, lasting evidence? If you visited the fields at Bethel Woods, how much evidence would you find that would enable you to determine that 400,000 people spent several days there for the Woodstock Festival, just 50 years ago? How much archaeological evidence remains of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide? Would you be able to conclude from the archaeological evidence that half a million people were killed?

According to Tacitus 80,000 Britons died in the Battle of Boutica in 60 AD. Yet we still can’t find conclusive archaeological evidence that it occurred nor where it occurred. By your standards, this must not have occurred.

Scientific research in the last century has made it clear that prior biblical interpretations were inaccurate and need to be revisited. While there is a minority that have chosen to ignore the science, many have not.

Likewise the technological advances in the last couple of decades has shown that many prior scientific conclusions were not quite right and need to be revisited. While most scientists have readjusted their conclusions, some have not.

The scientific and archaeological criticisms you are making are the same I heard back 40 years ago. A lot has changed since then.

Seriously dude? Do you think biblical archaeologists only use digging sticks and fist-axes to excavate?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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