May 7, 2012

Bring Forth the Book of Genocides

I'm onto Kings II in the KJV, and boy it's nice to be past the worst of the bloodcurdling genocides:
And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Not an original thought, surely, to read that passage and recoil in horror. Modern Christians have developed some elaborate rationales to excuse God and their holy book. I think it's a worthy exercise--better by far to have an expurgated religion than a literal one, especially since Christianity is here to stay--but I find them utterly, utterly unconvincing.

Mostly it adds up to "whatever God does is good." But really, the overwhelming impression I have from reading the Bible and the associated history is that this is basically how things worked back then. Barbaric, savage slaughter of children and the systematic rape and enslavement of whole peoples were routine. Thank God we're graduated out of that dark time.

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