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?