Sunday, May 05, 2013

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

On Creation and Killing Canaanites: One Simple, Hardly Worth Mentioning (but I feel that I should) Thought

Once we see that Yahweh’s actions toward the Canaanites are like that of the gods of other nations toward their enemies, the discussion cannot continue as before. A vital historical contextual factor is brought into our speculative theological and philosophical musings.

We can talk about God’s actions toward the Canaanites within the parameters of the canon or carefully worded categories of dogmatics and systematic theology. But once we see that Chemosh, god of the Moabites, tells king Mesha (or better, Mesha tells us what Chemosh told him) to take Nebo from the Israelites and “put to the ban” the entire population–and that the word “ban”  corresponds precisely to the Hebrew word for the same sort of behavior–well, it puts the theological and philosophical discussion on a whole different level.

So, the question, “Why would God command the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites?” cannot be addressed in an intramural theological back-and-forth. It must also include this little bit of historical information: Yahweh’s actions are not unique but seem part of an ancient way of thinking.

I agree with Enns that his observation is hardly worth mentioning. Indeed, we could append that disclaimer to most all of what he writes.

He seems to think that because Moabites used a cognate term, they have the same concept. He also seems to think that if the Moabites kill people, and the Israelites kill people, that’s morally equivalent.

Of course, he’s disregarding the specific rationale in the Mosaic law.

To take a comparison, in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Nazis killed Jews and Jews killed Nazis. But the mutual killing was morally asymmetrical.


  1. I agree. Most of what Enns writes is not nearly as profound, as he, or his mindless group of followers thinks. Normally he simply makes an assumption that is unjustified, presents a logical fallacy as an important thought, or simply gives us a nice serving of re-fried liberal nuttery. It is really sad he has as much influence as he does.

  2. It's getting awfully hard to believe that someone who is wiling to put the commands of Yahweh on a level with patently false gods "which are no gods at all".

    How Enns says what he says while claiming to be a Christian is beyond me.

    How much of this is the pull of academia encouraging Enns to keep the bible on a high, elitist level where he's the only guy who gets it right because he understands the ANE and other stuff the average believers doesn't.