It is slightly disappointing that the atheist has chosen this title, because it backs the Christian into the same corners as the command to kill children (covered earlier): tt didn’t happen, wasn’t commanded by a “God” or is actually moral… on some obtuse way. I am increasingly disappointed with the atheist in this book. He lacks originality. I try to be original in a blog you can access for free, and we’re being asked to pay for this recycled cliché. That said, the Christian’s work is still very much worth a read.
The Christian assumes that God has a sharp sense of irony. Oh, the wit of this God. God does indeed command genocides, but He does not mean commit genocide. He means could you imagine how ridiculous it would be if I asked you to commit genocide? Yah, I’m being ironic.
We can know He is being ironic because there is no evidence to suggest these slaughters ever really happened (a dangerous line of argument if you want to, in turn, defend the Bible). It is a dangerous trick; people have taken this seriously. Besides, there’s no evidence for the Exodus from Egypt, either; was God being ironic when He talked of freeing the subjugated Jews? The other way we can know He is being ironic when He commands genocide is because it is out of character; like when Jonathan Swift wrote A Modest Proposal calling to eat children. The problem is that Swift is well-known as a wit. God is not. God is reputed as a sincere and truthful and non-deceitful Being.
But, now, how can I tell the irony from the sincerity? God’s character is not one of justice unless one assumes it is and uses that as an excuse to ignore the horror in the Bible. All that horror, all of it, without exception, is just irony. And I can tell the horror from the nice bits because God is nice… x2+y2=r2 (15 points to anyone who gets the maths joke).
What if the Old Testament God of wrath and jealousy is God’s character and the New Testament, with love and forgiveness, is the irony?
Right, I was harsh to the atheist at the start of this post, so I’m going to defend him quickly. Irony, of the kind Swift uses and God supposedly uses here, works in very specific ways; It is almost a reduction ad absurdum argument, Swift used cannibalism to condemn the ill-treatment of the Irish, God used genocide to condemn [INSERT IDEA, I’ve got nothing]; cannibalism was not taken seriously by Swift and his peers and audience, genocide was taken very seriously by God’s audience; no one said Swift was God whose words were divinely inspired. Excellent points, Mr Atheist.