No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: murder

God is great, God is good…


I was recently asked to write a discussion board post on the problem of evil for my Apologetics class.  This topic seems timely.  All of us are aware of the evil that was done by the soldier in Afghanistan.  The interesting thing is that all should (and do) rightly recognize this act as evil.  However not all recognize the fact that the feeling that we all have, comes from a natural law given to us from God.

“God might be great, but if so He’s not good; He might be good, but if so He’s not great.”

A critic would make this argument in an effort to state that there is a contradiction between a good God and a God that would allow evil to exist.  They would argue that if God were truly Omnipotent then he could eliminate evil, evil exists therefore God is not omnipotent.  They make this argument because simply the world is full of evil.  One cannot turn on the news and see evil perpetrated.  A recent example would be of the soldier in Afghanistan murdering women and children.  It is not just the evil of man that is called into question it is the evil that persists from natural catastrophes that call this into question.  As Mackie put it “a good omnipotent thing eliminates evil completely, and then the propositions that a good omnipotent thing exists, and that evil exists, are incompatible”.[1]

“The fact that you think there is evil in the world nearly demands the existence of God”

This logic holds true in that evil must be defined.  What this means is that an individual who would make the above argument would not believe in God.  The result of this belief is that there is no absolute moral law giver.  Meaning that moral values become relative to the individual making the argument.  Basically, what is evil or wrong to one, may not be for another.  The fact that we are able to look at situation (Afghanistan murders) and declare it to be evil, indicates that we must know that murder  is evil.  However, in declaring something to be evil, one must give up the moral relative position, and assume an objective moral position (murder is either right or wrong).  This underscores the idea that an absolute moral law giver would need to exist.  As Geisler and Bocchino state “Therefore, atheism cannot logically offer a definition of evil without appealing to an ultimate standard of good.  If atheists try to do so, they end up affirming the very existence of that which they claim does not exist – the ultimate good (God).”[2]

Ultimately the conclusion that must be drawn is that an atheist cannot look at any given situation and say that it is evil without losing the sincerity to the world view to which they believe.  As C.S. Lewis put it “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line”.  Atheism, when followed to its logical conclusion denies that there is any absolute right or wrong.  This is inherent in their world view.  All humanity experiences the emotion of feeling wronged or experiencing evil.  The only way to account for this is that we have all been given an absolute moral on that is written on our hearts.  This natural law was given to us by God.


[2] Geisler, N; Bocchino, P. Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith (Kindle Location 2806). Kindle Edition.

 

30 minutes that could change your life…


A friend at my church told me about this video, and told me I needed to watch it. I did.  Wow!  I am not going to tell you directly what it is about, but I will tell you that you need to view this video.  It is a little over 33 minutes long, but it is 30 minutes that could change your life…

What do you mean I’m a murderer!?


We have hit the 6th commandment mark in our series on the 10 commandments (link here to sermon).  Here is a commandment that is laced with controversy and unintended consequences.  Murder is a harsh word, that (in some circles) is politically charged and could cause many to recoil. And it should.  Our political climate and cultural climate has begun to desensitize us to the “condition” of human life.  I am not sure that a week goes by were murder is not shown on tv, or played out in video games.  This commandment covers the topics of war, abortion, manslaughter, and outright murder.

So when we look at the 6th commandment murder must be defined.  My pastor defined murder as the following “Any act of violence against an innocent human being out of hatred, anger, malice, deceit or for personal gain by whatever method that results in death.”  This is a definition that all of us (including most laws) will agree with.

 I want to talk about the elephant in the room that everyone can see, and I want to talk about the 800lb Gorilla in the room that very few see.

 First to the 800lb gorilla…all of us, at some point, more than likely have committed murder.

 I wanted to start here because if you ask the average Christian, atheist, or agnostic if they have ever committed murder they would all answer no.  They would be about 50% correct.  The truth is that 99.9% of those same people have committed murder and have no idea that they have…

 Jesus is known for ramping things up…so to speak.  He does so with the 6th commandment.  The point here is pretty straightforward.  The Bible says that anyone who is

We are all guilty...

 angry with his brother is guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-22, 1 John 3:15).  So the act of physical murder is one thing, but anger and hate is murder as well?  Does that even make sense?  ABSOLUTELY!  The point that Jesus is making is that the intent in your heart matters!  God can see through to your heart and knows what your heart is saying….even if your exterior is smiling at the person you hate.  Let this soak in for a second…Every person you have hated…you have murdered…in your heart.  That would make some of us psychopaths. 

 The fact that this is a HIGH standard is intentional.  Raise your hand if you have hated anyone.  Okay know that all of our hands are up…including mine…would you have ever thought that the emotion of anger and hate was tantamount to murder?  This is undeniably a high standard and underscores the reason for our need for salvation.

Now to the elephant…abortion.  Abortion is, and has become a very politically charged issue.  Many argue that abortion is a moral issue.  What is the moral issue?  A woman has a right to choose what to do with her body.  However, I would argue that choice is not a moral issue.  Moreover, I would argue pro-choice is simply a position that could be applied to any issue where a choice is required…such as school vouchers (opportunity for parents to send their kids to a school of their choice), or the gun issue (my choice to have a weapon in the house).  The moral issue at play for the issue of abortion is this, is it right or wrong to murder?  Now, I can immediately envision the embolism that is taking place in the heads of pro-abortion individuals.  Hear me out.  Pro- Abortion and pro-life individuals both agree that murder is wrong.  No one on either side of that argument would defend murder as defined above.  The question then isn’t whether or not murder is wrong; because we all know that it is…the question then becomes when does life begin?  Is abortion in fact murder?  Check this out…In Roe v. Wade the US Supreme Court declined to comment on the issue of life.  Rather a neutral position was declared saying that it wasn’t necessary for them to know when life began.   Doesn’t that seem odd?  A court ruling that allows for the termination of a pregnancy ignoring the question of whether the fetus is in fact alive.  Now Planned Parenthood v. Casey does define when life begins (yes a court did this) however, the morality (which is where I am attacking here) was as vague if not more vague from this ruling. 

 Consider the following quote from the Casey case: “Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code…at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”  Now that you have read this…re-read it while considering the following:  1.  The court mandated it’s own moral code, while stating that it could not. 2. Based on the above one could argue that a murderer defines his existence by murdering.  The above statement could be used to justify anything under the guise that it defines a person’s existence, and meaning.

 Now, in our small group we discussed this topic at length.  It was brought up that scientific studies show that the cells do not enter the womb until the 6th day  of pregnancy (yes this is relevant.)  Looking at abortion statistics from a 2006 CDC survey, 40% (487,000) of abortions take place AFTER the 9th week and 60% (755,000) less than 9 weeks.  We don’t know how many abortions take place from day 6 and before, but I am willing to wager not very many considering that most do not find out they are pregnant until the missed cycle (which could be anywhere from 3 weeks).  Consider the above statistics when reading the next paragraph.

 According to Psalm 139:13-16 God knit us together in the womb. He sees our unformed body.  He wrote out our history before we saw one day.  Psalm 139 offers instruction as to when life begins.  So there could be two sides to this argument… the Conservative, life begins at conception, or the liberal, life begins when God knits us together in the womb.  Both conclusion could be had from Psalm 139.  To rephrase…life begins at conception or at the time we enter the womb for knitting (day 6).

 To summarize…God has provided a timeline to when life starts.  The courts have been put into a position to try and define when life starts, but they relegate it to choice.  If life starts (even at the latest) 6 days after conception, then abortion at any point beyond that has to be considered murder, according the definition provided above. 

 While the argument about abortion is indeed heated, one must remove the cultural issue (choice) and focus on the moral issue at hand (murder).  When you focus on the true moral issue of murder, the only question that exists about abortion is, when does life begin.  If the argument for abortion looked specifically at that question…I have a feeling that the tone would be much different.

What kind of God is this?


Many have talked about the cruelness of a God that would demand the extermination of a people.   Why would God, a God of love, a God of justice, a God of peace, allow for the total annihilation of a people, to include women and children?   Many have and will continue to use this as a reason to prove that Israel, and God were brutal and barbaric.   Was there a reason for this extermination?   Was there a method to God’s decision?   How can one justify God’s command to kill all men, women and children?

The Bible verse in question is Joshua 6:17; ” And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.” [1] The key word here is the word devoted.   In the context of this passage devoted means giving over to the LORD [2] , often by destroying them.   The rest of the command is that only Rahab and those in her house were the only ones to be spared.   The command from God was clear.   This removes judgment from Joshua and places it firmly on the shoulders of God.   Why would God make such a command?

In order to try to understand why God would make such a decision it is important to understand who the Canaanite people were.   Archer makes two critical observations about the Canaanite culture.   Archer states that the Canaanite’s were ” Given over as they were the most degenerate forms of polytheism and sexual impurity, these depraved inhabitants of the land were sure to exert a baneful influence and spread a deadly contagion among the covenant people of God.” [3] .   The Canaanite’s were a depraved society.   As noted by Archer they had a number of god’s and participated in infant sacrifice.   Deuteronomy 18:9-12 describes some of the things that the Canaanites did;

9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. [4]

The Canaanites were the worst of the worse.   Sacrificing children by burning them, sexual debauchery, witchcraft, sorcery, and the list goes on.   Just as an FYI…C anaanite peoples also inhabited Sodom and Gomorra.   In other words, they had been warned and have seen God’s judgment directly on them.   These are the people that Joshua was commanded to destroy.

God had Joshua destroy these people because he could not have them intermingling with his chosen people.   God states this in Leviticus 18:2-4; “I am the LORD your God. 3 ( B ) You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God.” [5] .   He states it again in Deuteronomy 18:9.   This is the reason he gives for driving the Canaanites out in Deuteronomy 18:12.   God knew that if the Canaanites were not driven out they would corrupt the Israelites and would cause them to break their covenant with God by not obeying the Ten Commandments.   God’s assertion ended up proving it’s self out.   While many want to discuss the results of God’s command at Jericho, many do not broach the topic that many were spared and not driven out throughout the region.   The primary reason that God wanted the Canaanites driven out was to prevent the spiritual decline that was going to take place because they were not driven out.   Archers states ” Much of the periodic spiritual decline and apostasy that marked the history of Israel during the time of the Judges is attributable to a toleration of the Canaanite inhabitants and their degenerate religion in the midst of the land.” [6] As it turns out God was justified in demanding that the Canaanites be driven completely out of the region.

On its face there would appear to be very few differences between the call to Jihad, and God’s call to Joshua to annihilate the population of the Canaanites.   However, after a bit of digging there is a noticeable difference between the two.   To be able to compare the two jihad must defined.   Jihad is a religious struggle, a fight against evil, and has taken on several forms in the Quran.  These form would include jihad of the heart, mouth hand and sword.   The Jihad of the sword is the more militant side of Jihad [7] . The goal of God when telling Joshua to drive out the Canaanites, to destroy Jericho was to fulfill the covenant, and to protect his people.   God made judgment upon the Canaanite people, not Joshua or any of the peoples of Israel.   This is the critical difference.   The primary passage for Jihad is 22:38-41 in the Quran.   In reading this verse there is a vague permission to go to war for those who are attacked and definitely wronged.  The general interpretation of this verse focuses on defense.   This defense has taken on the form of defending those who are oppressed, not being allowed to flourish, to “free mankind from the chains of bondage of thought and the bondage of other than thought”< /span> [8] .   This is a stark contrast to the God that declared judgment through Joshua of the Canaanite peoples.   God declares that judgment, and it would appear that Muslims, (according to the Quran) are allowed to pronounce judgment as they see fit.   The passage provides, at best, a vague description for permission to go to war.   This leaves a lot open to interpretation, by men.   The irony is that the very thing they defend (Muslim thoughts, practices, tyranny, invasion, etc…) are the very thing they perpetrate in their “defense”.   The primary difference here is where judgment lies.   In Joshua 6 judgment lies with God, Joshua was the instrument of judgment.   In jihad, judgment lies with the everyday Muslim.   They are in fact judge, jury and executioner…literally.

As a side note we must also take heed to the description of the Canaanite culture.  As you read the description of the Canaanite people did it sound familiar?  It should have.  Are we not living in a culture that is similar to this?  Now God waited 400 years before the ultimate judgement of the Canaanite culture.  How long before we are judged?  Just something to think about…


[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] Ibid

[3] Archer, G. L. (1998). A survey of Old Testament introduction 3rd. ed . Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), 247.

[4] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] Ibid

[6] Archer, G. L. (1998). A survey of Old Testament introduction 3rd. ed . Chicago: Moody Press, 1998), 247.

[7] Elass, Mateen A. 2002. “Four Jihads.” Christian History 21, no. 2: 35. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCO host (accessed November 3, 2010).

[8] Ayatullah Morteza Mutahhari, ” Jihad The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran, Questions about Jihad”. The Islamic Propagation Organization,    http://www.al-islam.org/short/jihad/ (accessed October 31, 2010)

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