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Philosophia Christi

Volume 11, Issue 1, 2009
Symposium: Did God Mandate Genocide?

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Displaying: 1-10 of 26 documents

1. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
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symposium: did god mandate genocide?
2. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Wesley Morriston Did God Command Genocide?: A Challenge to the Biblical Inerrantist
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Thoughtful Christians who hold the Old Testament in high regard must at some point come to terms with those passages in which God is said to command what appear (to us) to be moral atrocities. In the present paper, I argue that the genocide passages in the Old Testament provide us with a strong prima facie reason to reject biblical inerrancy—that in the absence of better reasons for thinking that the Bible is inerrant, a Christian should conclude that God did not in fact command genocide. I shall also consider and reject the attempts of two prominent Christian philosophers to show that God had morally sufficient reasons for commanding the Israelites to engage in genocidal attacks against foreign peoples.
3. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Randal Rauser “Let Nothing that Breathes Remain Alive”: On the Problem of Divinely Commanded Genocide
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In this essay I argue that God did not command the Canaanite genocide. I begin by critiquing Paul Copan’s defense of Canaanite genocide. Next, I develop four counterarguments. First, we know intuitively that it is always wrong to bludgeon babies. Second, even if killing babies were morally praiseworthy, the soul-destroying effect these actions would have on the perpetrators would constitute a moral atrocity. Third, I develop an undercutting defeater to the claim that Yahweh commanded genocide. Finally, I argue that we ought to repudiate divinely commanded genocide given the justification this provides for ongoing moral atrocities.
4. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Joseph A. Buijs Atheism and the Argument from Harm
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One line of argument commonly lodged against religion is that it is usually or always harmful, individually and socially, and for that reason should be abolished from our cultural landscape. I consider two variations of the argument: one that appeals to direct harm caused by religion and another that appeals to indirect harm on the basis of attitudes instilled by religion. Both versions, I contend, are seriously flawed. Hence, this so-called harm argument fails, both as a critique of theism and as a defense of atheism.
5. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Clay Jones We Don’t Hate Sin So We Don’t Understand What Happened to the Canaanites: An Addendum to“Divine Genocide” Arguments
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Skeptics challenge God’s fairness for ordering Israel to destroy the Canaanites, but a close look at the horror of Canaanite sinfulness, the corruptive and seductive power of their sin as seen in the Canaanization of Israel, and God’s subsequently instituting Israel’s own destruction because of Israel’s committing Canaanite sin reveals that God was just in His ordering the Canaanite’s destruction. But Western culture’s embrace of “Canaanite sin” inoculates it against the seriousness of that sin and so renders it incapable of responding to Canaanite sin with the appropriate moral outrage.
6. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Paul Copan Yahweh Wars and the Canaanites: Divinely-Mandated Genocide or Corporate Capital Punishment?
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The divine command to kill the Canaanites is the most problematic of all Old Testament ethical issues. This article responds to challenges raised by Wes Morriston and Randal Rauser. It argues that biblical and extrabiblical evidence suggests that the Canaanites who were killed were combatants rather than noncombatants (“Scenario 1”) and that, given the profound moral corruption of Canaan, this divinely-directed act was just. Even if it turns out that non­combatants were directly targeted (“Scenario 2”), the overarching Old Testament narrative is directed toward the salvation of all nations—including the Canaanites.
7. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Angus Menuge Is Downward Causation Possible?: How the Mind Can Make a Physical Difference
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Downward causation (mental to physical causation) is controversial in the philosophy of mind. Some materialists argue that such causation is impossible because it (1) violates the causal closure of the physical; (2) is incompatible with natural law; and (3) cannot be reconciled with the empirical evidence from neuroscience. This paper responds to these objections by arguing that (1) there is no good reason to believe that the physical is causally closed; (2) properly understood, natural laws are compatible with downward causation; and (3) recent findings in neuroscience reported by Schwartz, Beauregard, and others provide strong empirical support for downward causation.
8. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Erik Wielenberg Dawkins’s Gambit, Hume’s Aroma, and God’s Simplicity
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I examine the central atheistic argument of Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion (“Dawkins’s Gambit”) and illustrate its failure. I further show that Dawkins’s Gambit is a fragment of a more comprehensive critique of theism found in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Among the failings of Dawkins’s Gambit is that it is directed against a version of the God Hypothesis that few traditional monotheists hold. Hume’s critique is more challenging in that it targets versions of the God Hypothesis that are central to tradi­tional monotheism. Theists and atheists should put away The God Delusion and pick up Hume’s Dialogues.
9. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Gordon Pettit Moral Objectivity, Simplicity, and the Identity View of God
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I argue that one can consistently affirm that fundamental moral principles are objec­tive, universal, nonarbitrary, and invariable and yet are dependent on God. I explore and reject appealing to divine simplicity as a basis for affirming this conjunction. Rather, I develop the thesis that God is identical to the Good (the Identity View or IV) and argue that the IV does not fall to the criticisms of simplicity. I then consider a divine will theory (DWT) that claims moral principles are grounded in God’s will. The IV conjoined with the DWT show the consistency of the initial conjunctive claim.
10. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
John Milliken Euthyphro, the Good, and the Right
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The Euthyphro dilemma is widely deployed as an argument against theistic accounts of ethics. The argument proceeds by trying to derive strongly counterintuitive implications from the view that God is the source of morality. I argue here that a general crudeness with which both the dilemma and its theistic targets are described accounts for the seeming force of the argument. Proper attention to details, among them the distinction between the good and the right, reveals that a nuanced theism is quite unscathed by it.