Did God Command Child Sacrifice?

In my tired stupor of writing my responses to the book God or Godless? I forgot to do something very important. When I talked about the implications of God commanding child sacrifice I forgot to go back to the source to see if the book ever actually says that: does God command child sacrifice? And with the exception of Abraham and Isaac, I think the answer is no. And even then, God stopped it (or changed His mind or whatever). Don’t get me wrong, I think God put Abraham through untold unnecessary stress and moral questioning. Abraham had to have his faith* and love of a God that gave him a child pitted against the love of the child itself. That is cruel.

*Does Abraham have faith if he knows God exists?

I wanted to deal with the ‘trilemma’ that the authors of the book presented (and you can follow the link above to see how I did that). And because the Christian just accepted that God did, indeed, command child sacrifice I didn’t challenge it myself. But a reader did challenge it, and then I struggled to find any passages that suggest God did command child sacrifices (unless you count the killing of the first born sons**–a hobby of God’s).

So I am putting out a challenge to other atheists to find a passage that suggests God did command such a thing, but in the meantime I am offering an apology that I didn’t do the appropriate homework on this issue.

**with the killing of the first born sons, although is God commanding sacrifice, God commands sacrifice to be carried out by angels and not for His pleasure (as the original post asserts); these killings are acts of retribution. Another moral question hangs over this: kill the innocent to get retribution on the guilty?; does a loving God (or any person acting out of love) seek retribution?

5 thoughts on “Did God Command Child Sacrifice?”

  1. For what i know, which isn’t really much, there are only the instructions to conduct genocide, dash babies against rocks, rip pregnant women open, and rape pre-pubescent girls. As such, no ordered “sacrifice”per say…

    Phew, someone might just question the morality of this gawd if he ordered such a thing!

    1. Some of those things I’m not familiar with. But it does entirely undermine the “well, He never said ‘kill the children’, did He” argument.

      I’ll look up chapter and verse at some point for the greater atrocities.

      1. I just did a post on all the abortions god performs and/or orders, but we can go even further to identify the Infanticide detailed in 1 Samuel 15:3, Psalms 135:8 & 136:10, and Psalms 137:9. Or even the callous murdering of children commanded in Leviticus 20:9, Judges 11:30-40, Psalms 137:8-9, Psalms 137:8-9, 2 Kings 6:28-29, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Judges 19:24-29, Exodus 12:29, Exodus 20:9-10, 2 Kings 2:23-24, Leviticus 26:30, 1 Samuel 15:11-18, I Kings 16:34, Jeremiah 11:22-23, Jeremiah 19:7-9, Lamentations 2:20-22, and Isaiah 13:15-18 where god does not only smash babies to death but also rapes their mothers.

  2. Jesus is Gods son, so God performs the ultimate child sacrifice. If God is the ultimate good we should copy his actions to be good. Does that count? 🙂

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