Sunday 20 March 2011

Another Apologist Mops Up the Blood

Another day, another apologist trying to save Yahweh from himself. This time it's Douglas Earl riding in to the rescue on a nag entitled The Joshua Delusion.

Thom Stark, who reviews the book on Religion at the Margins, puts Earl's work in the context of earlier attempts by Paul Copan and New Zealand's very own Matthew Flannagan. In a lengthy but tightly argued piece he (forgive the metaphor) puts it to the sword.

Why do people insist on excusing the inexcusable? What possible motivation has anyone got to sweep the texts of terror under a rug of exculpation?

There's a lot worth saying in Stark's review, despite its somewhat intimidating length. Maybe it's appropriate to put in another plug here for Thom's The Human Faces of God which I count as one of the best (and most honest) discussions of these issues in print. But if you're even faintly interested in the horror passages of the Bible, and how they relate to an informed and compassionate Christian worldview, for heaven's sake steer well clear of the Lord's "bush lawyers."


  1. Thanks for the mention, Gavin. FYI, I'm currently working on a similar review of Paul Copan's latest, which I think will be even lengthier than the Earl review, because Earl made infinitely fewer mistakes. It'll be a little bit before I'm finished and it's posted. I have over a hundred pages of shorthand notes on it.


  2. Tough choices.

    Either the Old Testament is true, and god is some kind of psychopathic monster, or the OT is not true, and it becomes just one more interesting book about a certain belief system's mythology.

    Not that playing both ends against the middle is anything new for Christianity.

  3. I wonder if this all speaks to a need to equate scripture with God - the being?

    It would seem simpler to me to view the Bible as anthology of human thought and beliefs about the Deity over time rather than force some false comformity between the scriptures to make it "The Word of God".

    There are many odd things in the book. Just like there are many odd human beings.

  4. Baywolfe, I'm sure God will appreciate your analysis of His mental status and decision-making.