Pharyngula

It’s always interesting when some god-walloper honestly follows through on the logical implications of his beliefs — he basically is compelled to admit that if you worship a tyrannical monster, you have to end up rationalizing monstrous tyrannies. The latest to enlighten us with excuses for bronze age barbarisms and brutalities is William Lane Craig, who thinks that tales from the Bible of God’s Chosen People slaughtering babies is A-OK:

Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

Therefore, if I station myself outside a church door with an AK-47 and murder all the happy saved Christians exiting the service, I am doing the Lord’s work. Well, gosh, Willie, not only do I get to be a mass-murderer for fun, I can be self-righteous about it, too! It’s too bad I’m one of those atheists who doesn’t believe in a Happy Fun Land for the dead, so I can’t honestly do that in good conscience.

I will be interested to see if Craig now has a Christian perspective on abortion, that is, that it is a process that releases blameless innocents to heaven’s incomparable joy, and is therefore to be encouraged.

But you know who was really suffering when soldiers rampaged through a village, smashing babies’ heads against walls and raping the women and stabbing them to death afterwards? Not the women and children, oh no. Think of the rapists and murderers!

So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

No. No, I can’t imagine that. I can imagine parts of it: I can imagine a long, heavy piece of sharp metal in my hands. I can imagine a frightened, unarmed woman in front of me, trying to shelter her children. The part I can’t imagine, the stuff I’m having real trouble with, is imagining voluntarily raising my hand and hacking them to death. I have a choice in that situation, and I know myself well enough that if have to choose between killing people and letting them live, I’d let them live, not that it would be a difficult decision at all. I also have no illusion that, in this imaginary situation where I have all the power and my ‘enemies’ are weak and helpless, I am the one who is being wronged.

I also tried imagining myself with a nasty cruel weapon standing before a cowering William Lane Craig. Nope, still doesn’t work; I’d set the blade aside. Except in this case I’d take a great more care to make sure Craig couldn’t get his hands on it — I don’t trust that amoral bastard.

Greta Christina makes a very good point about this. I don’t think William Lane Craig is an intrinsically evil human being. But this is a case where it is clear that religion is a tool that allows good people to bypass decent moral positions and find justification to do evil.