Dealing with Genocide and Terrorism in the Bible

2 10 2006

What has been troubling me in the last few years since 911, is how groups like Al Qaeda use the Bible and the Quran to justify their violent acts. It is easy to say that this is just a Muslim problem, but that is not true, because there are numerous Old Testament scriptures that have God actually commanding the ethnic cleansing of entire groups of people, like the Canaanites for example. Because of this, I can understand why agnostics and atheists are more fearful of people like myself who are very passionate about their faith and believe the Bible to be completely true. This is a deep and fundamental issue for all people of faith in my opinion, and we have to address it head on. So in the near future, I will be doing a series of posts that will deal with the problem of religious violence and how to address it biblically and theologically.

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15 responses

24 01 2007
M.J. McGuire

Ethics for individuals and nations differ. Individuals are not the wielders of swords who execute judgement. This is the role of governments (Romans 13). Individually, Christians should stick with things like the Great Commission and the preaching of the Gospel. However, if Christians are called into the military (either voluntarily or by draft) then they are now under the authority of the government. In this case, war and violence are now justified (so long as the war is just).

What about God? Well if God is Holy and in control, yet refuses to execute judgement on evil nations, then He cannot be just.

The Old Testament scriptures should not be used as a pretext for violence by individuals. We do not live in a theocracy under the reign of a Jewish King or judge.

However, God is free to do as He chooses and He often uses nations and war to accomplish His ends. Utopian thinkers, global idealists, and ultra-progressive Christians are living in a dream world if they think war is not justified against terrorists and radical Islamists. In fact, if these Islamists ever do take over our nation, these utopian dreamers will be the first to go. Why? Because they were not even willing to fight for their own nation. How could they give their allegiances to a new one? It’s time to study history and understand the times.

24 01 2007
marcdav

MJ,

I hear you, and you make some salient points. but what about God commanding genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Canaanites? Remember, Joshua did not only kill the men at arms, but he also had the women and children killed too (Joshua 6:21). I don’t know about you, but I have problems with that.

I submit, that part of the reason that groups like Al Qaeda kill as mercilessly as they do is because passages such as these.

20 09 2007
Chris

All this rings true reading the bible the stories of genocide, women and and children being killed at the command of God is scary.
My question is, “Is God a terrorist?”

Remember the story of the Passover? Moses keeps telling Pharaoh to let the
people go from their bondage. Pharaoh refuses. Finally, according to the
story, God comes up with a plan that breaks Pharaoh’s will to fight. What is
the plan? The plan is to send an angel to kill all of the firstborn in
Egypt. And we are told that this is exactly what happened. All throughout
Egypt, mothers supposedly awoke to find their babies dead. …..an idea
keeps coming to my mind. Wouldn’t it have been easier to threaten to kill
Pharaoh? If he doesn’t respond, kill him. Suppose his successor maintained
the bondage. Ok, then you kill the next Pharaoh. How many Pharaoh’s do you
need to kill until one of them will listen and end the brutal slavery? How
do you like that plan? Isn’t that more humane that killing thousands of
innocent babies? Why not?

18 11 2007
mark santos jacintho erceg

Who killed more people in the Bible? God or Satan?
I am again hier! And I am one Atheist from very katholich Country Croatia. I
have a Biblestudy, by Sevent Day Adventics. And, I am not more Christ, never
moore! Why? Because I hate a War, I hate Violence, I hate Genocide. And We
have a War in the Bible, the God killing the People: Hethiter, Girgashiter, Hiwi-
ter, Jebusiter, Kanaaniter,… 70 Nations! He killed moore Nations, als Hitler!
And G.W. Bush liked the Bible, Hitler to! Martin Luther was one big Antisemit,
and this is one Tabu in Germany. Why writing about Wars in the Bible?
Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon: The military Experte from Israel.
The Bible is a military Book, and this Book is not good for Familiy.
In the Bible We have a Kanibalism to, it is very important Aspekt!
The God say to Moses: Killing all Homosexuallpeople in Your Nation.
And Hitler killed Homosexualpeople in Auschwitz to. Po Benedikt
sed: “We don,t need a Homosexuall.” Again Genozid with Homosexuall?
Genozid-Holocaust: Joh.15:5-6.
Violenc in the New Testament? Mat.18:6. ( M. Luther Bible )!
Mk. 9:42.
Lk.17:2.
Lk.14:26.
Father from Martin Luther King was a Pastor. What say the Bible abaut Sla-
very? Very, very positiv. And Martin Luther King he belived on God. But
witsch God? Mk.1:1. Mr. Franz Buggle: “Denn sie wissen nicht, was sie
glauben.”

If We talking about War in Iraq, We must first talking about Wars in the
Bible. About Violenc in the Bible. If We talking about Hitler, We must tal-
king first about Jahwe, He was a first Killer! And the last is G.W. Bush!
Thank You!

18 11 2007
mark santos jacintho erceg

The jewish People in Germany talking 40 Years about Holocaust. But Nobody
from Jewish talking about Holocaust in the Old Testament! ( N. G. Finkelstein.)
Word “Holo-caust” first time We feind in the english Bible 1250 Year. It is not
NAZIS feind! The german Word “Ausrottung” – Genocid We have special in Deu
teronomium, Psalms, Joshuas Book, Exodus, Numeri! The Bible is a 100% mili-
tary Book, it is not for Familiys.
Adolf Hitler talking very negativ about jewih Old Testament!
Hitler: “Der Krieg sei von den Juden angezettelt.” Very important!
Deuteronomium: Dtn.7:1. Dtn. 12:29. Dtn.19:1. Genocid! In Washington D.C.
the american People mus make one Monument for Hethiter, Girgaschiter, Hi-
witer and Kanaaniter. Jewish Genocid-Holocaust in Old Testament.
Psalm 144. talking about War!
Psalm 12:4.
Psalm 37:9. The Recept for A. Hitler!
Thank You!

2 01 2008
Virginia Yue

Does it actually gives you some doubts that those “Genocides” may not have happened ?

For example, Moses, Joshua and other key figures of these “wars” were absent from other historical accounts (except the Bible). War of such scale, if happened, should be recorded by other history, but so far none was found.
If war on such scale occurred, where were the mass grave pits ? Where are the bodies ? Surely bones would be left (there ain’t a flood afterwards) ?

25 01 2008
Gary

Hello,

I write in response to your views on Genocide in the Bible relating to the suggestion that God has a ‘hidden side’ in that he has instructed and advocated genocide in parts of the Old Testament.

I have been a Christian for nearly 6 years now. I grew up in a non-Christian home (in fact nobody in my entire family lives their life for Jesus) so the process of change in my life at that time was not easy for my friends, family or even for me. When I was 18 years old I gave my life to Jesus but up until some months prior to that I had absolutely no interest in God, Jesus, Church, Christianity, Religion or any things in relation to them. I was not looking for God, in fact I was very happy with my own life without God – but God found me and intervened in my life. Since the moment I gave my life to Jesus I have never looked back and I just find the things God has done in my life are just amazing. These are things you can only experience with God – and you just know for certain that they are from God!

I just wanted to give you some background to myself because obviously I am an individual with my own experiences of life. Stereotypically (and I know this because this is how I used to think) Christians are considered as being happy, friendly, loving, peacemakers, good people…and the list could go on, all because they believe that God loves them. They are considered as being in their own happy little bubble who can’t really explain some of the crucial questions that are asked about the faith – but they have faith in God so it doesn’t matter because when the difficult question comes then they can just push the ‘God button’ and say something like ‘God’s ways are not ours, God is infinitely wiser and more powerful than his people, or God has everything in his plan and under control.’ God is the comfort blanket in their lives.

I want to just take the opportunity to invite you to look beyond this stereotypical approach because there are many, many Christians around the world who have had lives completely transformed – turned upside down because of Jesus. There are Christians who give up their lives to work for God in serving him, there are Christians who suffer much persecution for their faith – but they persevere, and there are Christians who just express Jesus in the way they live because He lives in them. I desire to be more like these characteristics I just mentioned. But the credit does not go to the Christian but to God because when you see directly what God can do in somebody’s life it reminds you that He is very interested in us as individuals and that he does intervene. He is not a distant God. He is personal. He illustrated that he is that interested in us by dying on a cross in disgrace so that we may be brought back to God by having the barrier of sin between us and God removed.

I am a little disappointed that there isn’t much information online on the subject of Genocide and the Bible from a Christian perspective – which is why I felt the need to say something. It is fair to say that nobody has all the answers – but I do agree that Christians could do more in answering questions or responding to comments and debates in order to really back up their faith. I am guilty of being silent and giving the easy answers. Reading your comments has challenged me and I instantly turned to the Bible to look a little further – so I am thankful to God for that. I am very much guilty of not reading the Bible much and that is why I usually give the easy answers.

I think the Bible is quite clear on the topic of Genocide. I am currently preparing a study on the issue at my local youth group and have done some research. Some key verses are as follows:

a) Micah 6:8. God instructs us to act justly with love and mercy, and that we should walk humbly with him.
b) Mark 12:31. Jesus himself told us to have the attitude of loving our neighbours as ourselves and in Matthew 5:38-45 this is extended out to our enemies
c) Romans 12:18. People should live at peach with each other
d) Matthew 5:21-22. Jesus says that even if we are angry with somebody we are subject to judgement
e) Exodus 20:13. You shall not murder
f) Proverbs 31:8-9 We should speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

I think the selected verses above are very clear that God wants us to show love to one another and that obviously has no place for Genocide. I find Proverbs 31:8-9 encouraging and challenging at the same time. Do I speak up for those who are in need? The honest answer is very little. Why? Because I am very self-orientated.

It is very obvious that we do not live in a perfect world. This is due to sin. If people did not sin then imagine the world we would live in! Even so-called devoted Christians sin. Nobody is sinless – but we can come before God clean because Jesus was completely sinless and has been that sacrifice for us as he died on the cross. Genocide is the result of human sin. It is the result of greed, hatred, bad politics etc. God cannot be blamed because he has given us all free choice – and so often we all choose the wrong things. It is human decision that causes Genocide to threaten – not God’s anger.

In reading your article you have suggested that God initiated Genocide in parts of the Old Testament such as the flood with Noah’s ark or in Exodus 34 where God says he will drive out certain tribes in the land and commands Moses to break down their alters and their sacred stones etc.

In response to your suggestion I would like to illustrate that Christianity is not a comfort blanket and the Bible is not just a nice book to read. The Bible is very clear in that it is a definite warning to all people. It warns severely of the reality of hell and eternal separation from God, and in contrast the encouragement of eternal life with him in heaven. This could not be clearer throughout the Bible. Jesus spoke so much about heaven and hell through direct instruction and parables. This means that we have just one life and we have two ways to live – with God or without God. God has used illustrations throughout the Bible of the seriousness of sin in that it leads to eternal separation from God unless we are forgiven through Jesus. In Genesis 19 God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because those that were there were so indulged in sin and God had become completely insignificant to them no matter what he did. God had previously promised Abraham however that even if a few righteous people were in Sodom or Gomorrah then God would spare the cities (Genesis 18) – so God clearly illustrated his faithfulness. Earlier in Genesis God had flooded the earth and instructed Noah to build an Ark to restore some human and animal life. God flooded the earth because of the unfaithfulness of the people there.
I am no theologian or Church Pastor, but I can clearly see the warnings throughout the Bible of living away from God. I am not a Christian just because I am worried – but being a Christian has changed my life for the good as well as for the necessary. In Exodus, Israel was God’s chosen nation and again the illustration is there about other nations and tribes who are so far from God.

The book of Hosea is very encouraging because it is about God’s desperate desire for people to acknowledge him and to live with him. God describes his feelings as like being ‘left by a wife’ and he is angry but at the same time desperate for his people to return back to him.

The Bible is very clear about what God would like to see happen. One question I would like to ask you now is where are you living your life? With God or without God? You have seen the warnings of the latter – they are just there in front of us. The second question I would like to ask you is what difference is your opinion on the Genocide and Bible issue going to make in your life? Is it going to save you by guaranteeing a ticket into heaven? If not, then what? You know what the Bible is really about.

I would just like to encourage you to look deeper because at the end of the day, the time is coming when we will all have to give an account of ourselves before God – and you know there is very little we can do about that time coming – but there is something we can do in the meantime to give us that ticket into heaven – and that is to accept Jesus into our hearts as our own personal saviour, king and friend.

If you would like to email me to discuss further then please do so.

Many thanks (and apologies that what I said may not have satisfied your concerns completely)

Gary

garydistollio@yahoo.com

8 02 2008
Steven Bhardwaj

This is in response to the original post and blog host:

I have felt a similar conflict to the one you state. Thanks for raising this important issue.

Did you ever end up writing this ‘series of posts’ that you mentioned originally? I couldn’t find them on this blog, and I would be very interested. Could you send me a link please? stevenbhardwaj %at% gmail

MLK Jr.’s concept of “Transforming the Jericho Road” might be a step on the way. It seems to usually be applied to less controversial concepts like society’s responsibility to care for the aged and disabled. (Mark 10 / Luke 18) However, I feel led to search for this “transformation” applied to the cycle of violence in the book of Joshua and elsewhere as well. I seek a deep transformation of the seemingly God-sanctioned community massacres in these books.

Have you had any more thoughts recently?

Thanks,
-Steven

7 03 2008
mark santos jacintho erceg

The Bible is one criminal Book, because is one Military Book to.
1. “Soldiers Bible”
2. “Military Bible”
3. Marines Bible”
4. “Vietnams Bible”
5. “Iraqis Bible”
6. “Wars Bible”

9 06 2008
mark santos

We must talking about Mr. Prof. Dr. Michael Brenner and Antisemitism in the
jewish Bible. Mr. Breener ist Professor of University Munich, and he is “Expert”
for Antisemitism in german Story! But he dont see the Antisemitism in the
jewish Bible, Rassism in the jewish Bible. All people raund the World talking
just about Rassism in Germany, but not about Rassism in Old Testament first.
Mr. Michal Brenner is one Jewish, but he dont make Critic about Rassism in
Old jewish Testament. Same Case is with Prof. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen to.
If we talking about Rassism, we must talking first about Resourcerassism.
And Rassismresource is first the jewish Bible.
We have Rassism in the Book Esra: (Old Testament).
We have Rassism in the Book Deuteronomium to.
We have to much Genocide in jewish Old Testament. But jewish Professors
Michael Brenner and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen dont talking and dont writing
about big Rassism in jewish History, jewish Cultur, and jewish Bible to!!!
This is one very important Aspekt for Worldhistory!
We have one 60 Years old Conflikt between Israel and Palestina, one Apartheids
konflikt, and one Rassismcase. And I see a big Parallele between Rassism in
the Bible and Nurnberger Rassism to. Rassism in Old Testament and Rassism today in Palestina.

Thank You!

11 10 2008
mark santos

Mark Jones: “Criminals of the Bible”
Michel Onfray: “Wir brauchen keinen Gott”
Franz Buggle: “For they do not know what they believe”

3 12 2008
mark santos

We have a Genocid`s in the jewish Old Testament to much! We have a War and
Exterminationswar in Old Testament. We have Cannibalism and Slavery to, in
Old Testament. And I can say: The Bible is very dangerous book for Education
and Cultur. But, we have every Year more as 630 Million new Bible`s round on
the World. Why? Because, We need new War`s. We neeed new Genocid`s.
We need new Weappons round on the World. Jesus+Hitler+George W. Bush+
Obama+?

5 01 2009
jesus+Hitler+George W. Bush+Obama+?

Moses+Joshua+David+Ezra+Rurh+Debora+Jesus+Himmler+Luther+Kant+
Heidegger+Jesus+Eichmann+Mengele+Jesus+Deuteronomium+Holocaust
+Iraq+Iran+Vietnam+Kambodia+Laos+Napalm+Gaza+Israel+Buchenwald
+George W. Bush+Iraq+Jesu-special force+Black Watter+The Bible+Racism
+Martin Luther King+Barack Obama+The Bible+AIPAC+Wasp+Sara Palin+
Racism+Genocide+Sara Palin+Hitler………………………………………………..

17 04 2009
mark deuteronomovic

The Bible and Racism & Genocide???
Gazaghetto+Ramalla+Deuteronomy+Torah+Genocide+Holocaust+Jesus+Jahwe+War
Barack Obamas Inauguration+Lincoln Bible+Slavery+CIA+WASP+AIPAC+MOssad+War
Afghanistan+NATO+AIPAC+IBM+Auschwitz+Palestine+Jewish+Nazi+Holocaust+War
Torah+Jahwe+Deuteronomy+Genocide+JoshuGenocide+Jesus+Genocide+Racism+
Hate+Jesus+Obama+Iran+Israel+Atombombe+Tchechenia+Grosny+Genocide+War
Cuba+Havana+Obama+Croatia+NATO+Slowenia+NATO+Albania+Iraq+Genocide+
Evangelical Soldiers in Iraq+Afghanistan+Pakistan+Gaza+CIA+AIPAC+NeoCon+Bible
Jesus+Military Bible+Soldiers Bible+Hitlers Bible+IBM+Prescott Bush+Hitler+CIA+War
Jewish+Hitler+Holocaust+Palestine+Israel+Bible+Global+Jesus+Waragenda+World
Atheist!!!

11 07 2009
new

Just red the quraan and use your minde !
the true massge from god to the humannty
http://www.thenoblequran.com/sps/nbq/

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