Reasonable Faith: question_16_Slaughter_of_the_Canaanites. According to the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), when God called forth his people out of slavery in Egypt and back to the land of their forefathers, he directed them to kill all the Canaanite clans who were living in the land (Deut. 7.1-2; 20.16-18).
The destruction was to be complete: every man, woman, and child was to be killed. The book of Joshua tells the story of Israel’s carrying out God’s command in city after city throughout Canaan. These stories offend our moral sensibilities. Ironically, however, our moral sensibilities in the West have been largely, and for many people unconsciously, shaped by our Judaeo-Christian heritage, which has taught us the intrinsic value of human beings, the importance of dealing justly rather than capriciously, and the necessity of the punishment’s fitting the crime. The Bible itself inculcates the values which these stories seem to violate. Disbelief Is Not a Choice. When the contemporary secular movement is compared to the gay rights movement, objections are sometimes raised by those who distinguish between the two on biological grounds.
Whereas sexual orientation is not a choice, the argument goes, one's religious outlook is. The great weight of science indicates that the first part of that argument is correct (i.e., one's sexual orientation is determined by biology), but the latter part is somewhat misleading and merits scrutiny. After all, though we can choose our religious affiliation, none of us can ultimately choose what we truly believe or don't believe.
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