Why do Christians ignore the atrocities committed at the direction of their God? Telling his army during their conquests to kill all the men, women, and childen does not sound like a loving God.

Two answers come to mind, neither of which pictures GOD as “anti-babies and mothers.”

ONE: Unholy lives are bad enough; we all live unholy lives. But those dedicated to overt and deliberate rejection of GOD are a stench in GOD’s nostrils. Why should GOD endure this stench? Since we’re all going to die anyway, shortening a wretched life (wretched in the eye of a Holy GOD) is worth making the case. Just being vulnerable is insufficient to forestall impending horror.

Your mileage may vary; but you didn’t create the universe for the purpose of generating souls to love. You don’t own every molecule there is. You don’t have the ability to create souls in the first place. And no, making a baby isn’t the same as making a soul.

TWO: While GOD perfuses the Old Testament, Genesis is merely an origin story and has as much bearing on fact and science as any other origin story. GOD’s fingerprints are all over the Old Testament, and become clearer once we reach the prophetic books, e.g. Isaiah. But Jewish Scripture starts with the wholly fanciful origin story which a) is a Deed of Title, GOD made the universe, and b) a liturgy celebrating that in terms designed to affect people of that era. Genesis 1:3 is good science: “And GOD said, ‘Let there be light.’” The New Testament goes into a little more detail: John 1:3 “all things that were made were made by the WORD.” So when the WORD took human flesh to operate as a human life (Jesus) that was the same WORD that made all galaxies, stars, planets, and so on.

Thus the spirit of ancient times, which was as “red in tooth and claw” as tigers and their prey. The stories people told used self-exculpatory references such as “GOD told me to do it.” Comedian Flip Wilson, a regular on the Tonight Show for a few years in the last part of the 20th Century, had a character he named Geraldine, who would say, “The Devil made me do it.” Back then it was never a “devil” – their gods had a blood lust would curdle modern sensibilities. Moloch in particular had a bronze fireplace-shaped idol, standing erect with outstretched arms, and a hole where his abdomen would have been. Inside was a hot blaze. The hands stretched out were very very hot. First-time parents were required to lay their newborn on those hands as an offering, to persuade Moloch to bless the local crops in the coming year. I’m not making this up. In such times as those, these same people told stories that used GOD to justify genocide.

And for that matter we observed genocide up close and personal in the first half of the 1940’s. Not to put too fine a point on it, in 1948 once Jewish guerrillas had chased Britain out of Palestine, the entire surrounding Arab world rose up to finish the task; they failed, too. Many Muslim hearts in the areas around Israel still regret that failure, and dream of a re-do.

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