Joshua and the Genocide of the Canaanites

By Matthew Flanagan of Thinking Matters Auckland.

Critics of Christianity often claim that the book of Joshua teaches that God commanded genocide. Raymond Bradley for example states,

In chapters 7 through 12, [the book of Joshua] treats us to a chilling chronicle of the 31 kingdoms, and all the cities therein, that fell victim to Joshua’s, and God’s, genocidal policies. Time and again we read the phrases “he utterly destroyed every person who was in it,” “he left no survivor,” and “there was no one left who breathed.”[1]

Similarly, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong cites passages in Joshua with the same point in mind.[2]

The objection that Bradley and Armstrong raise in highlighting these passages is that Christians are committed to an inconsistent set of propositions.

[1] Any act that God commands is morally permissible.
[2] The scriptures are an authoritative revelation of God’s commands.
[3] It is morally impermissible for anyone to commit genocide.
[4] According to the book of Joshua, God commanded Israel to commit genocide.

If we are to rationally affirm both [1] and [2] then we must give up either [3] or [4]. So which one should we reject?

Read the full blog post here.

Joshua and the Genocide of the Canaanites Part II

Matt’s blog is here.