In case you missed previous episodes, Copan is a scholar who thinks the nasty genocide stuff in the Old Testament is much overstated. Yahweh is no moral monster, because, um, well, who knows... Maybe because it'd upset the theological, doctrinal and devotional applecart. The task at hand then is to explain away the indefensible. Copan is, on this matter, of the same view as New Zealand Reformed apologist Matthew Flannagan. The task restated, dear reader, is to put your mind at rest, and to salve your tender conscience lest it be disturbed by the blood and screams of dying children murdered at the command of God.
Thom is the author of the brilliant The Human Faces of God, which while coming from a committed Christian perspective, refuses to make excuses for the texts of terror. It is an honest eyeballing of the evidence. An overview has been presented here before. The review, like the book, is approachable by an interested non-specialist, so while the length may be formidable, the content is anything but. Here's Thom's opening paragraph.
I am a Christian. Sure, not by fundamentalists’ standards, but I’m a Christian nonetheless. I say this at the outset because I don’t want my intentions to be misunderstood. In critiquing Paul Copan’s apologetic defenses of our frequently morally problematic Bible, my aim is not to turn anybody away from the Christian faith. In fact, I am critical of apologetic attempts to sweep the Bible’s horror texts under the rug precisely because I believe such efforts are damaging to the church and to Christian theology. After having read and critiqued Paul Copan’s latest apologetic effort, I am obliged to say that I can only recommend this book to atheists who are looking for a good book to give to their Christian friends to show them what’s wrong with Christianity.
Anyone who has been seduced by the arguments presented by the genocide deniers badly needs to download Stark's review. If you have an eReader that handles PDFs, that could be a nifty way to engage with this amazing review.
Thom's brief introduction on Religion at the Margins.
The Review in PDF (all 307 pages).