You should not judge a book by its cover, unless you are a secularist… then it is okay.
In a post entitled “Books Like This Should be a Warning Signal to Inerrantists“, published on 26 September 2014, The Secular Outpost’s Jeffery Jay Lowder refers to Paul Copan and this blog’s Matthew Flannagan’s, then forthcoming, book Did God Really Command Genocide? Coming to Terms with the Justice of God.
After making an acknowledged assumption as to whom authored the publisher’s description, Lowder then moves to confidently asserting that his assumption was correct, and leaps from there to critiquing the then-not-yet-published-or-available to-Lowder-to-actually-read content of the book. Yes folks, it is a live example of judging a book, quite literally, by its cover.
Lowder wrote: [note: that bold, underlined, italics are my emphasis, any other emphasis is original. My comments are in italics]
“So they admit that the relevant passages are among “the most confusing and uncomfortable passages of Scripture,” passages which make even hardened inerrantists like Copan and Flannagan “squeamish.”
This is the bit wrongly attributed to Paul and Matt that I referred to above.
“But, being the faithful believers that they are, Copan and Flannagan will argue that, yes, a “good, kind, and loving deity” would command (and, in fact, has commanded) “the wholesale slaughter of nations.””
Apparently Lowder is a clairvoyant secularist. Either that or he is really good at cover interpretation.
“How will they reconcile God’s goodness, kindness, and love with genocide? The book’s subtitle suggests that they will argue that “justice” is the answer.”
“The fundamental problem with books like this is that they fly in the face of what seems obvious to everyone else who doesn’t already hold the a priori belief that everything the Bible says must be true,”
Ah, so not being a Christian is what gives secularists the ability to boldly state the “obvious” about the content of books they have only had access to the covers of. I thought that maybe I just lacked the confidence to make such bold assertions about the content of books I have not read. (…Well, that, and the fact that, unlike Lowder, I do have access to the manuscript by virtue of my sleeping with one of the authors [whom I am married to] and I know for a fact that this is *not* actually what Paul and Matt argue. Small details, I know.)
“just because the Bible says it.””
That is actually not what inerrantists of Matt and Paul’s ilk believe; this is actually a strawman (small detail, again, I know).
To paraphrase something Nick Trakakis wrote in another context, “Defenses of genocidal behavior by the OT god turn a blind eye to what seem clear and obvious to everyone else — that such behavior makes a mockery out of what any person would consider morally justifiable behavior.””
This would be a good ending if the book actually did defend “genocidal behavior by the OT god.” Again, small detail.
Advice to Lowder: try, I don’t know, reading it. It got released today so you finally can. Did God Really Command Genocide? is now available from the following book providers:
Tags: Canaanites · Did God Really Command Genocide? · Old Testament Ethics · Paul Copan