This is what Richard Carrier said back in April when he was summarizing the argument of Hector Avalos in the TCD:
Next are two chapters proving the Old Testament God is evil. And both do so in a novel way. So if you think you've heard it all before, you'll love these. First Dr. Hector Avalos eviscerates Paul Copan, exposing his incompetence and delusional distortion of the facts in his already-absurd attempt to justify genocide and every other unconscionable brutality as 'alright if God says so'. You heard that right. The new Christian tactic now is not to deny that God commanded evil, horrible things, but to argue that evil, horrible things are okay. Well, good luck with that marketing strategy. Christianity is doomed if that's all they've got now. Avalos further shows how unremarkable the Old Testament laws are in their cultural context, no better or worse than (and suspiciously very much the same as) the manmade laws of surrounding civilizations, dispelling any belief that the OT was inspired by anything but ordinary, ignorant human beings.
But here's what he said this September when he was summarizing the argument of Hector Avalos:
Here is their argument analyzed formally:
1. Avalos is a moral relativist.
2. Avalos concludes the Christian God is morally evil in respect to Christianity's own moral ideals.
3. A moral relativist cannot consistently argue another moral system is inconsistent with itself.
4. Therefore, Avalos' conclusion is inconsistent with his moral relativism.
Here Premise 3 is false. The conclusion is therefore unsound. Which makes this yet another irrational objection to what is actually a soundly proved conclusion: that God is evil by Christianity's own standards. Avalos is simply arguing that Christianity is delusional because it is internally incoherent. Moral relativism makes no difference to whether that conclusion is true. Even if moral relativism is true, Christianity is still internally incoherent, and continuing to believe what has been soundly and validly shown to be internally incoherent is still delusional.
i) Question: was Carrier reading the same book both times? How do these two summaries describe the same argument–which he imputes to Avalos?
Obviously his initial summary is a malicious distortion of the Copan’s position. Copan certainly doesn’t argue that “evil things are okay,” or that evil is “alright if God says so.”
But even if, for the sake of argument, that were an accurate characterization of Copan’s position, how would that prove that God is evil by Christianity’s own standards?
If, an arguendo, Copan were a theological voluntarist, for whom something is right or wrong merely because “God says so,” then these commands would be consistent with Copan’s understanding of the Christian value-system.
ii) But, of course, to say “evil” things are “okay” or “alright” if God “says so,” is not, in fact, a summary of Copan’s position. Rather, Carrier is the one asserting that what God commanded was evil, not Copan. That represents Carrier’s viewpoint.
iii) Moreover, how did Avalos actually demonstrate that God is evil by Christianity’s own standards? Carrier tells us that Avalos did that, but Carrier doesn’t show us how Avalos did that.
In fact, Avalos said Christian morality is tautologous. But even if that were the case, in what sense is a tautology incoherent? Aren’t tautologies truths? Indeed, aren’t tautologies true by definition?
So even if, ex hypothesi, Avalos succeeded in proving that Christian morality is tautologous, how would that begin to prove that Christian morality is inconsistent with itself? How can a moral tautology fall short of its own ideals? Is it incoherent to say that single men are bachelors?
One of Carrier’s many problems is that he’s not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. When he tries to be clever, he painfully exposes his lack of cleverness.