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Does God Approve of Genocide?

I am continuing to answer the objections of atheists I talked to in San Diego.  The flyer on their table said 1 Samuel 15:1-3 shows God approves of genocide.  1 Samuel 15:1-3: Then Samuel said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel; now therefore, listen to the words of the LORD. 2 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. 3 ~’Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'”

I have to admit these are the type verses that on the surface can strike fear in the heart of believers in Jesus Christ.  They seem so brutal.  Why did God have to completely wipe out a people group, including men, women, children, infants and animals?  Is this the God of love the Christians worship?  Or is this a vindictive God the atheists contend?

First we must understand who these people were.  Were they innocent victims of an angry God?  Or were they a horrible pagan nation that practiced incredibly evil acts?  The Bible is clear, the inhabitants of Canaan (Canaanites) were as evil as could be imagined.  They were deserving of the worst punishment a holy God could inflict. And yet God was patient with their gross immorality giving plenty of time for them to turn back to Him.  In Genesis 15:6 God tells Abraham his people will leave the Promised Land but later will return.  We read Genesis 15:16 “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”  God’s desire was for this evil nation to give up their immoral practices and turn back to Him.  They never did and God was going to judge them.  Multiple verses outline how wicked these people were.

Deuteronomy 9:5 “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Leviticus 18:24-25 ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 ~’For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.

Deuteronomy 18:9, 12 9“When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 12 “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.

One of the horrible practices was sacrificing infants to Molech.  Leviticus 18:21 ‘You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.  Molech was a Canaanite underworld deity that had outstretched arms that were heated up.  Babies were set on the fiery hot arms and from the heat would shrivel up and slip into the cauldron.  Archeology has revealed children sacrificed to Molech numbered in the thousands.

The immorality of these pagan nations made God furious.  And he had good reason.  Even by ancient standards the Canaanites were a nasty group of people.  They were a sexually erotic group that had sexual practices tied to the planting and harvesting cycles.  They practiced prostitution, divination, bestiality, homosexuality, and sex with little boys.

Today what would we say of a God who stayed silent and let all this wickedness continue?  People would scream, where is God?  Why isn’t he doing something?  And yet when we look back and see God punishing these evil nations, atheists scream God practiced genocide.  You cannot have it both ways; either God ignores evil and lets the criminals go free or He punishes the evil doers.  God did what was right and good.

God also had a plan for the nation of Israel.  It was all part of the Abrahamic Covenant.  This unconditional eternal covenant was a promise to Abraham that a vast nation would come out of his loins.  God’s covenant promised a nation, protection, and blessing.  The blessing would be both for the nation of Israel and through Israel to others.  This blessing was a restored relationship with the living God.  Isaiah mentions this blessing of salvation in Isaiah 49:6 He [God] says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’”  

God was going to protect the nation of Israel from the aggressive and violent pagan nations just as he had promised.  He protected them so they could be a light to others and bring salvation to everyone.  Through the Jewish line of David a king would come, one who would rule forever.  The fulfillment would occur when God came to earth as the man Jesus.  Under the New Covenant salvation was only through Jesus Christ.  Luke writes, Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  The nation of Israel was valuable to God as an instrument to bring reconciliation between God and man.

As part of God’s promise to Abraham, He protected the spiritual purity of the nation at all costs.  This meant at times judging these pagan nations killing men, women, children, and infants.  Can God kill the innocent?  I answered that question in my previous post “Is it Moral for God to Kill an Innocent Human Being?”  The answer is yes.  God is not under the same obligations as we are.  And we know this to be true.  When people argue against capital punishment they ask, are you trying to play God?  We know God has the prerogative to create life or to take life.

From a more practical standpoint, each time Israel failed to kill everyone, these pagan individuals negatively influenced the nation of Israel to worship their idols.  We see examples of this all through the book of Judges.  The culture of evil of the survivors was cancerous to the Israelites.

Let me finish with one last point.  I believe the Bible implies through various passages that infants and children before the age of accountability, at death will be ushered into the presence of God.  These pagan children are in heaven today.

So does God support genocide?  No!  God judged evil pagan nations and they received the punishment they deserved.  God is a just God and those who practice evil will receive the punishment they deserve.  That applies to us today.  No one escapes God’s perfect justice.  Only through the death of Jesus on the cross and His taking the penalty we deserve can anyone enter heaven.  This is the solution all atheists reject.  Similar to the Amorites (Canaanites) in 1 Samuel 15, God is patiently waiting for all who would repent of their evil deeds and turn to Jesus.  Justice and punishment is awaiting all who don’t.

{ 46 comments… add one }
  • Morgan April 8, 2014, 8:31 am

    If god does not support genocide, then why does he pursue the act? You say that he carries out these times of mass genocide and he does not support it? Why would he not support it? Even he thinks it isn’t necessary, he still supports it because he carried out the act. If he did not support it he would not have carried it out.

  • Steve Bruecker April 9, 2014, 2:52 pm

    Morgan,
    You accuse the God of the Bible of committing genocide. I never said that. God punished evil civilizations for their wickedness. If God did nothing then the atheists would be angry at God for not punishing evil. Now that God acts and judges these people atheists are still not satisfied.

    I wrote this at the conclusion of my post Does God Approve of Genocide: So does God support genocide? No! God judged evil pagan nations and they received the punishment they deserved. God is a just God and those who practice evil will receive the punishment they deserve.

    Morgan do you believe evil should be punished?

    Steve

  • Morgan April 10, 2014, 8:40 am

    I am not trying to be harsh, but do you even know what God actually wants? Do you truthfully know his feelings? I am not saying that he supports the survival of evil. But let me ask you this Steve: Why did my grandmother die before I got to know her? Why did my grandfather die before he got to see me graduate? Why does my cousin have cancer? If evil is being punished, then why are there still thousands of criminals out there murdering and raping people, and my family members had to die? I would like to see proof of God for me to believe in him.

  • Morgan April 10, 2014, 1:54 pm

    Yes, Steve, I do believe that evil should be punished. But let me ask you this: Why have my family members died and thousands of murderers and rapists live on? I am not a religious man for one reason. In my whole life I have never seen a sign of God. I have lost many loved ones in my life and yet there are thousands, millions, of criminals that live on in prison; living a life that is not deserved.

    Another question if I may. I am not trying to be harsh I am just stating my opinion. Do you really know what God thinks? Do you know what he feels? No. Show me proof that he is real and I will consider believing in him. Assuming I am correct in saying that you do not really know what he thinks, how do you know he does not support genocide? Show me a burning bush..

    Morgan

  • Steve Bruecker April 11, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Morgan,
    I am truly sorry to hear of the suffering you have endured. I prayed for you today.

    Everyone who lives for an extended period of time will suffer. I have lost loved ones. We still have a choice; to endure the loss with or without God. If there is no God then all life is meaningless and your loses are just part of the life cycle of an ordinary organism. However, with God, we may never receive the answers we want, but he promises to go through our pain with us. The following I wrote from my series: God’s Plan for Evil and Suffering part 9.

    God gives us peace and courage to endure

    We have all seen people in the midst of pain shake their fist at God in anger. While others who are suffering have been softened by God and become a more loving person who helps others. One woman loses a child to a drunk driver and becomes bitter for the rest of her life, whereas another turns to God for her pain. This second woman eventually works through her pain, becomes proactive and starts the organization MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. This organization has helped many hurting parents.

    What is the benefit of running from God? Where does it lead? We can turn from God or we can choose to look at our suffering as an opportunity for God. When we turn to Him He is there to help us. In John 16:33 Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Jesus tells us we are going to struggle and suffer pain. Yet, in the midst of tribulations He will give us peace in our suffering and courage for the future. Where is God when we hurt? He is with us in the person of Jesus Christ; fully God and fully man.

    The vast majority of suffering is from people as a result of sin. Yet in the midst of evil, God uses tragedy to bring people to Christ, to develop our character, and to demonstrate His love and grace to a hurting world. God promises to work all things together for good, and he will!

    Whatever difficult circumstances you find yourself in today or in the future, the Bible gives us answers and hope. God wants to give us comfort and peace. We read in Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Are you brokenhearted? Are you crushed in Spirit? Jesus knows your pain; ask Him for His peace.

    Truth is I could never love a distant God, a God who sits back and watches us struggle and hurt. But I can’t help but love a God who would suffer and die on the cross for my sins and your sins. Jesus is the answer to the question of suffering. He participates in our pain.

    Jesus has told us He is there sitting beside us in the lowest places of our lives.

    Are you broken? He was broken, like bread for us.
    Are you despised? He was despised and rejected of men.
    Do you cry out that you can’t take any more? He was a man of sorrows and acquainted to grief.
    Do people betray you? He was sold out himself.
    Do people turn from you? They hid their faces from Him as from a leper.
    Does God ever enter our own private hell? Yes He does! Jesus Christ lives in us and our pain is His pain; our tears are His tears. He is here to give us peace and courage to endure. We just need to turn to Jesus and place our trust in Him.

  • Steve Bruecker April 11, 2014, 3:29 pm

    Morgan,
    I replied the best I could to your suffering question in a previous comment. There are no easy answers. I tackled the problem of evil in my series: God’s Plan for Evil and Suffering. If interested go to: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/9-gods-plan-for-evil-suffering/

    Do I know what God thinks? I know what He has revealed in His word the Bible. I know that God changed me from a selfish, prideful atheist to a follower of Jesus Christ. I’ve seen Him work in my life. I know He loves me by what He has done in my life and how His Son Jesus Christ died for my sins.

    How do I know he doesn’t support genocide? My post points out what God has revealed in the Bible.

    As I have read your two letters I am not certain you are really looking for answers. You are hurting from your loses and angry with God, if He exists. Are you truly seeking after God?

    Steve

  • Morgan April 14, 2014, 8:36 am

    I’m sorry Steve, I am not looking for answers. I have a great life. I have the love of my family. I have wonderful friends including my girlfriend. My life is really great right now. I am not so much looking for answers as I am looking to understand why you truly believe in God. I have interest in the subject but I do not wish to become religious. People say everyday there are miracles from God. I say they are just chance. People say God created the world in 7 days. I say it was evolution and the big bang. I really appreciate what you are trying to do but I will not believe in God. There is nothing you can show me that I can’t prove with scientific fact or just plain chance.
    And, Steve, you said in your post points out what God has revealed in the Bible in relation to my question, “do you know if he supports genocide?” That still doesn’t answer my question. You are saying that some words in a book answer the question for me? Really? What can words do? Just yesterday my mother’s friend died of cancer. They had known each other since they were born. He found out about the cancer and a week later, he was dead. Now, tell me Steve, where was your God on that one? He had a week of pain and suffering. He had only a week to say goodbye. He had a wife and two kids. Why did he deserve to die? If your God decides who lives and who dies…why is he dead?

    Morgan

  • Steve Bruecker April 14, 2014, 2:09 pm

    Morgan,
    I appreciate your honesty. Even though you don’t believe in God you have views of this fictitious character that I don’t hold. God allows for the possibility of evil, He is not the cause, we are. When sin entered the world, evil entered. The world of genetics, etc. have never been the same. Cancer is a product of our sin filled world. You hate the God you don’t believe in.

    I am happy you have such a great life. If you are right about God no big deal. If I am right, then you have a problem. But for you this kind of talk is fantasy, so I might as well just wish you the best.

    Steve

  • Morgan April 14, 2014, 5:07 pm

    Why, may I ask, is this fantasy? Everything I have been telling is real life. There is nothing fantasy about it. In truth, to some people, God is the fantasy. Now I am not saying that, but that is opinion. Why believe in something you cannot see, something you cannot feel? It just seems so basic to me to see something and believing in it. I have never had a calling, or a sign from God. In relation to that, why should I believe?

    Morgan

  • Steve Bruecker April 15, 2014, 6:55 am

    Morgan,
    My point was you have non-Biblical beliefs about the God you don’t believe in. I wasn’t calling into question your life experiences.

    If your mind is made up and there is no God, then what would motivate me to explain why I believe what I believe?

    If truly interested in what I believe, I wrote a series called “Establishing God as the Creator.” It is a bottom left icon on the home page. I do not believe in a 7 day 24 hour creation account. I believe the earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe around 14 billions years old.

    Steve

    Steve

  • Morgan April 15, 2014, 8:15 am

    Steve, I fully believe in everyone’s right to worship who or whatever they want. I am fully supportive in standing up for what you believe in. You and I just have different views. I am not going to change your views and you aren’t going to change mine. This has been an intriguing conversation and I thank you for your input.

    Morgan

  • Nate April 15, 2014, 8:30 am

    Steve, though you have some good points, it does not change the fact that you are ignorant in your beliefs. This “God” you believe in will soon be replaced by another god when he becomes outdated just like the human race has done for many years first the Greek gods, then the Roman gods, the Christ, and Buddha somewhere in midst of it all. This God you blindly follow is just some out of date theory on what made the world go round.

  • Steve Bruecker April 15, 2014, 9:39 am

    Morgan,
    I appreciate your kind spirit. I wish we were neighbors. We’d have great conversations.

    Steve

  • Steve Bruecker April 15, 2014, 9:43 am

    Nate,
    When you say, “This ‘God’ you believe in,” what do you mean? Who is this god I believe in? How do you know I blindly follow this god? How do you know this god is out of date and will be replaced? What are your sources to back up all your assertions?

    Steve

  • Nate April 17, 2014, 8:23 am

    Steve,
    This “God” is the one so many blindly follow the one that people call the “father” who got a virgin pregnant with his son. That is the “God” I am talking about. And my proof that God will be replaced is that all gods before him have been replaced, honestly no one worships the gods of old, so why should your “God” be any different?

    Nate

  • Steve Bruecker April 17, 2014, 11:44 am

    Nate,
    I am not sure what religion you are talking about when you make the statement: “This “God” is the one so many blindly follow the one that people call the “father” who got a virgin pregnant with his son.” What religion are you addressing here? What is your source of information?

    If god is a fantasy, simply made-up by a group of people, then you might be right. Fake gods can be replaced. However, if God does exist and He has revealed Himself, that God can never go out of existence. Do you believe God actually exists?

    Steve

  • Nate Zimmerman May 1, 2014, 8:57 am

    Yes I believe something higher than us might exist but is it “God”? No I dont think so, and can you honestly believe that a random virgin can become pregnant? Because I sure dont, I belive that it was some ordinary kid who just lucked out.

  • Morgan May 1, 2014, 9:01 am

    I am intrigued by this conversation…

  • Steve Bruecker May 3, 2014, 3:58 pm

    Nate,
    You say you might believe in a higher power? What does that mean?

    What do you mean that some ordinary kid got pregnant?

    Steve

  • Morgan October 27, 2014, 2:25 pm

    Hello Steve, I have a very intriguing question to ask, wondering if you want to discuss it.

  • Steve Bruecker October 27, 2014, 2:48 pm

    Morgan,
    Go for it…just post your question. Steve

  • Morgan October 28, 2014, 10:25 am

    I have experienced many different opinions relating to the subject of a God. Is there one? Did he create everything? I ask myself these questions but in the end I cannot escape my feeling of science and of natural evolution and creation. You say God watches over his children correct? That he listens to our prayers and sees over our lives?

  • Steve Bruecker October 28, 2014, 5:50 pm

    Morgan,
    Do you believe in the big bang? If you do, what caused it and where did the materials that form the universe come from? How does science answer these questions?

    How does science explain why there is something rather than nothing?

    Steve

  • Morgan October 30, 2014, 10:12 pm

    there was always something. Atoms and molecules. there was never just..nothing.

  • Steve Bruecker October 30, 2014, 10:38 pm

    Morgan,
    So do you believe in an eternal universe? If yes, then science soundly rejects this. So do you reject the Big Bang? If yes, then do you reject science?

    Steve

  • Morgan November 3, 2014, 1:45 pm

    I do not reject the big bang or science in general. This was not my general question in the first place. I want to know how “God” judges people. If you say that God judges people and their lives are affected hence, what does he do to judge people?

  • Steve Bruecker November 7, 2014, 5:51 pm

    Morgan,
    First you said atoms and molecules existed eternally. The big bang theory denies this, hence my contention you don’t believe in the big bang.

    As far as God as judge, he is the creator of all life. Humans were special creations. Adam and Eve were in perfect relationship with the God of the universe. However, they chose to not follow his lead and broke his one commandment (not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Their disobedience broke the relationship. This is what the Bible calls sin. Since all humanity comes from the line of Adam and Eve, we are all under the condemnation of sin. Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin separates us from God. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Death here is contrasted with eternal life. It means eternal separation from God when we die.

    You ask, “what does he do to judge people?” He judges the individual sins of each human and his judgment is eternal separation from God in hell.

    Does that help?

  • Morgan November 12, 2014, 1:02 pm

    If you say he judges the individual sins of each human and his judgement is eternal separation from God in hell, then why do people who commit more sins than one person can count live on for years and good people die from cancer and 30? Why doesn’t he judge the bad people bad and the good people good? I don’t understand why bad or “evil” people live on and get the rewards of life while good people die at early ages for something that they do not deserve.

  • Steve Bruecker November 14, 2014, 1:48 pm

    Morgan,
    In this life God doesn’t promise our lives will be easy. Stuff happens to both the righteous and the unrighteous; both good and bad.

    However, in the afterlife either the person who dies pays for his or her own sins or Jesus does. After death everyone gets what he or she deserves. You have a choice to let Jesus pay for your sins or you can pay for them after you die. If you pay for them then you will be fairly judged and the punishment will be eternal separation from God for all eternity.

    Steve

    Steve

  • Morgan November 16, 2014, 11:32 am

    So basically you are telling me that life as I know it is only the time of judgement for the afterlife? What we do in the first life will make the afterlife either bad or good. Now I don’t think that is fair in the slightest.

  • Steve Bruecker November 17, 2014, 5:56 am

    Morgan,
    The creator of the universe is a moral God who, according to His nature, put forth laws and commandments for us to follow. And yet we all rejected Him. We then live out our lives breaking His moral laws. Should God let us slide by and forgive us?

    The Bible says no! In order for God to maintain His perfect moral nature, He must punish sin. This is the same with our government. Should our government simply forgive crimes and look the other way, or should they punish criminals? An unjust government lets lawbreakers go free. An unjust God lets lawbreakers go free.

    The punishment for breaking God’s laws is hell. As I said before either you pay for your sins or Jesus does. For God to maintain His holiness, someone has to pay a penalty.

    However, that being said, this life is much more than just a time of judgment. Becoming a follower of Jesus gives life purpose, meaning, and great joy that can be found nowhere else. Jesus speaks of the great joy of knowing him over and over again. Example: John 15:9-11 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

    Steve

  • Morgan November 17, 2014, 11:17 am

    But they do not pay for it in the life I know. I am supposed to have faith that they are going to hell whilst living on while good people are dying too soon and going to heaven? That is supposed to comfort me? No.

  • Steve Bruecker November 19, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Morgan,
    The Bible teaches we are enemies of God and He has provided a way out through His Son Jesus Christ. Peace of God and comfort only comes when you receive peace with God.

    The Apostle Paul had someone like you in mind when he wrote: Romans 5:1-10 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

    Peace with God, through trusting what Jesus did on the cross, is what you need. Only through that can you feel peace of God in good and bad circumstances. For the Christian evil and suffering can be the means by which God makes us more like His Son Jesus Christ. You may not like this method but you know deep down inside, it is the only way to build character.

    Steve

  • Morgan November 24, 2014, 11:23 am

    I do not know that deep down inside. I don’t have any comfort or peace in thinking that some deity that I cannot see or here influences my life or others, which I don’t believe in the first place.

  • Steve Bruecker November 25, 2014, 5:21 am

    Morgan,
    As I’ve said previously you will never be at peace with God, without making Jesus Lord of your life. You are under God’s wrath. Paul says the evidence for God’s existence is obvious and people deny He exists because of their sin. God says you are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

    Steve

  • Morgan January 22, 2015, 9:52 pm

    So, I have a question about the existence. I am currently taking philosophy course and we had a discussion today about the proof of god, and hell in relation to it. I was wondering what your view of the proof of god is.

  • Steve Bruecker January 27, 2015, 8:07 am

    Morgan,
    Good to hear from you again. I really don’t like the word “proof” because it sometimes carries baggage. I prefer the question to be asked, is there any evidence for the existence of God? Or is there evidence for believing God doesn’t exist? We both bear the burden of “proof.”

    A few articles on my web site use arguments from science to make my case. The first is called, “Establishing God as creator” at: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/1-establishing-god-as-creator/ Another article can be found Intelligent Design as Science at: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/intelligent-design-as-science-part-1-defining-intelligent-design/
    The following is an excellent article by J. Warner Wallace of Stand to Reason . He makes the case that both theists and atheists share the burden of proof in answering tough questions.
    Are Theists the Only People Who Have the “Burden of Proof”?

    As an atheist, I rarely found it necessary to defend my position when talking with friends who believed in the existence of God. After all, my Christian friends were the ones who were making a claim about an invisible Being; certainly the burden of proof belonged to them rather than me. I simply held the “default” position: There’s no need to defend the absence of something that appears to be absent! From my perspective, theists alone were the ones who needed to make a case. My position as an atheist was self-evident. This approach almost always put my Christian friends in a defensive position. They found themselves struggling to assemble the evidence while I simply criticized the validity of each piece of their case. I never stopped to think that I might also need to make a case for what I believed, and my Christian friends were unable to demonstrate my responsibility to do so.
    Today, as a Christian who has been involved in the examination of evidence for the past 25 years, I understand that atheists also have a burden of proof. All of us, in attempting to explain the world around us, move from a plethora of questions to a single responsibility:

    There Are Many Questions Atheists and theists both agree that the big questions of life are numerous. How did the universe come into existence? Why does the universe exhibit the ‘appearance’ of ‘fine tuning’? How did life originate? Why does biology exhibit the ‘appearance’ of ‘design’? How did human consciousness come into being? Where does ‘free will’ come from? Why are humans so contradictory in nature? Why do transcendent moral truths exist? Why do we believe human life to be precious? Why do pain, evil and injustice exist in our world? While atheists and theists have their own list of unanswered questions, we all agree that there are many important issues that need to be examined.

    There Are Only Two Kinds of Answers In the end, the answers to these questions can be divided into two simple categories: Answers from the perspective of philosophical naturalism (a view I held as an atheist), or answers that accept the existence of supernatural forces (a view I now hold as a theist). Atheists maintain that life’s most important questions can be answered from a purely naturalistic perspective (without the intervention of a supernatural, Divine Being). Theists argue that the evidence often leaves naturalism ‘wanting’ for answers while the intervention of an intelligent, transcendent Creator appears to be the best inference. In times like these, the theist finds it evidentially reasonable to infer a supernatural cause.
    There Is Only One Shared Responsibility Both groups share a singular burden of proof. If theists are going to posit God as the answer to some (or all) of the questions I’ve described, we are going to have to argue for His existence and activity. If atheists are going to argue that adequate answers exist without the need for God, they are at least going to have to provide sufficient naturalistic explanations. In either case, both groups (if they are honest with themselves) will have to shoulder the burden of proving their case. The burden of proof is not limited to the theist; all of us need to be able to make a case for our choice of answers. One side defends supernaturalism, the other defends philosophical naturalism.

    The nature of the questions (and the limited categories of potential answers) ought to motivate all of us to decide which of the two explanatory possibilities is most reasonable. While atheists are sometimes un-persuaded by the arguments for God’s existence, they are still woefully unable to provide coherent and adequate answers to the most important questions of life related to the cause of the universe, the appearance of design, the origin of life, the reality of human free will and the existence of transcendent moral truth. Theists aren’t the only ones who have to answer these questions. If naturalism is true, naturalists have their own unique burden of proof.

    Steve

  • Morgan January 27, 2015, 10:23 am

    Why would I have to justify my point of view? You article says that as an atheist, I also have a responsibility to defend my point of view. That I also have to have proof. I do. I have never seen a work of god, never seen anybody effected by god in a real physical way that I can believe. Nobody ever has that is in my position.

  • Steve Bruecker January 30, 2015, 5:56 am

    Morgan,
    If your only evidence against the existence of God is that you cannot see an invisible immaterial being and you haven’t seen Him do work, then you are entitled to that belief. I don’t have enough blind faith to bank my eternity on such a weak case. Do you have more evidence that God doesn’t exist? If not, then why do you believe that?

    If you read my articles, I have presented a strong case for the existence of God. My belief is well grounded in truth.

    Steve

  • Morgan February 1, 2015, 1:52 pm

    Do you have any evidence that God does exist?

  • Steve Bruecker February 2, 2015, 3:22 pm

    Morgan,
    I sent you these posts before but I’ll send them again.

    A few articles on my web site use arguments from science to make my case for the existence of God. The first is called, “Establishing God as creator” at: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/1-establishing-god-as-creator/ Another article can be found Intelligent Design as Science at: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/intelligent-design-as-science-part-1-defining-intelligent-design/

    Steve

  • Morgan February 3, 2015, 2:39 pm

    I don’t mean a bunch of preaching words about how the divine spirit is real. I mean hard evidence that I can believe in. Where is the “burning bush” so to speak

  • Steve Bruecker February 5, 2015, 10:05 am

    Morgan,
    The “burning bush” was a historical event involving Moses. Asking for a historical event today would be equal to saying I won’t believe in Abraham Lincoln unless I can speak to him or touch him.

    Why do you reject scientific evidence?

    If scientific evidence isn’t enough, what sort of evidence do you want? Are you really seeking God?

    Steve

  • Morgan February 5, 2015, 9:43 pm

    There is no scientific evidence explaining god. Why do you keep saying that there is?

  • Steve Bruecker February 8, 2015, 6:34 am

    Morgan,
    Did you read the two articles I recommended that showed scientific evidence for God? If you read them, what is your argument against my points?

    Steve

  • barry September 28, 2017, 4:58 pm

    I was wondering whether any Christian apologists had considered the consequences the Canaanites would likely face if they took their one chance to flee the promised land to avoid being slaughtered, which is the hypothesis of Copan and Flanagan.

    The promised land was by definition a graceful gift of God to Israel, necessarily implying a) the land was good for facilitating cattle raising and farming which were staples of ANE life, and b) the land immediately outside the promised land would be less useful to facilitating these staples of ANE life, and c) any fertile areas of land outside the promised land would likely be already claimed by other pagans, and with existing resources already precious and few, these others wouldn’t likely welcome with open arms the Canaanites who have been dispossessed and come to town looking for food and water. If we assume the pagans were as evil and debauched as the bible says, they would more than likely fight back against the arriving Canaanites rather than welcome them.

    I therefore believe that in a tragic ironic twist, the more civilized sounding thesis of Copan and Flanagan backfires in their face and makes out god to be a worse moral monster than just a deity who goes around killing all the kids as soon as he sees them. How horrific to subject all those children to the inhospitable dangerous areas outside of the promised land! Is slow death by starvation and exposure better than a quick death?

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