The morality of God's genocides

Interpreting both of those Psalms in a wooden literalistic Western way does a disservice to the text as well as hyperbole.

At what point is a religion evil? Murdering babies because they are “evil” can be justified?

How can someone with such limited development be evil? At what point is it not right to resist?

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Why does it seem to be absurd or immoral?

Babies aren’t intentionally or consciously evil, but they are not sinless. Their sin flows from their Adam and Eve through their parents and to them. Its almost as if that original sin is in some sense genealogical. That original sin seems sufficient and necessary to God to adjudge them fit for destruction.

“Necessary”? So if someone cloned Hitler from non-human biological material, and Hitler II then went and did the same stuff he did the first time, he would not be judged by God to be as “fit for destruction” as would be a newborn infant, because he was not descended from Adam?

Please clarify.

Comment approved, but isn’t this getting a bit silly? Godwin’s Law may apply.

It’s immoral because it’s collective punishment. It’s absurd because it supposes there’s such a thing as inherited sin. I could go into greater detail, but that’s the short version.

In that case he should kill everyone, with the sole exceptions of Mary and Jesus. So why pick on the Canaanites specifically? And really, isn’t original sin a silly and pernicious doctrine?

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I’m not sure if the Law applies to discussions of genocide. It’s hard to talk about that subject for long without the Nazis coming up in a relevant way.


It’s a silly topic. What can you do?


But under that line of argument aren’t the Jews (and every other ethnic group) also “fit for destruction”? There seems to be an element of “Selective Enforcement” here.

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Yes. God hates sin and will purge it sooner or later. Sin purgation can be through repentance or death.

First, cloning requires biological materials from the individual to be cloned. This means you would need cells from Hitler 1 to extract nuclear chromosomes from. If this is somehow done, then Hitler 2 will be equally stained with the original sin of Hitler 1 and will be punished.

Second, lets pretend the science gets so advanced that cloning could be done without anything from the person to be cloned, will that prevent Hitler 2’s punishment? I don’t think so. I say this because of the fallen angels who do not share in Adamic sin but are still sinners. God will probably judge Hitler 2 as evil just as he judged Satan and punish him accordingly.

He will kill almost everyone eventually, the end of the world, remember? However, his primary aim is to destroy sin and has offered repentance as one means to do so. Its those who do not take his offer of repentance that will killed eventually.

They were sinners and were hostile to the Jews. God spared the Kenites even though they did not follow his dictates because they assisted the Jews during their exodus from Egypt.


And this makes them different from the Egyptians, Assyrians, etc, etc, how?

And I rather doubt that newborn Canaanites were even aware of Jews, let alone were “hostile” to them.

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As we all know, when someone commits a crime we make sure to throw all of their children in prison as well. It’s the only moral thing to do.


if eliminating sin is the primary aim of God then you have the following:

  • creates a universe where sin is inevitable and propagates genetically???
  • prevents forgiveness except through one approved method
  • tortures everyone for infinity
  • calls itself good and there is also free will?

Nah man, imma hard pass on that understanding. It makes sense then that those who do accept this version of God want to create hypocritical theocracies as that apparently optimizes chances of forgiveness for a person in their view.

I think a better approach to seek the Lord and to understand his heart and His meta. It transcends bronze age brutality and confronts our own.


At that time the Jews did not have contact with those people. In addition, don’t forget when the Jews were in Egypt, the Egyptians were slowly being destroyed by God because they treated the Jews poorly. In contrast, God did not touch the Kenites because they had shown the Jews kindness.

Are babies capable of taking that offer? This idea of “eventually” seems highly capricious. And it seems quite unjust to punish people for inherited sins, especially if God is the one enforcing that inheritance.

So it’s hostility to the Jews that’s the deciding factor, since that’s the only way in which Canaanites differed from others. Does hostility to outsiders warrant genocide, or only hostility to the Jews specifically? And one must again ask whether Canaanite babies were hostile to Jews.

So you’re only playing Devil’s advocate here?

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OK, thanks for clarifying. I was confused by your earlier comment.

No and that’s why they will be killed eventually. Its also why the Roman Catholic Church offers infant baptism to allow newborns escape divine condemnation.

I agree. I also disapprove of punishing innocent people because of guilt by association.

At present, genocide is no longer allowed as those under the new covenant come from all races. Any Christian committing genocide is acting of his/her own accord. In the past, per the bible, hostility to the Jews and being a sinning nation were sufficient for God to issue a killing order against the hostile tribe.

Sure, but their parents were.

Yes, but not in all cases.

I wish you would make it clear when you are and when you aren’t, i.e. when I’m arguing with you and when I’m arguing with a sock puppet.

  1. It is not clear why “that time” is a determinative factor to a timeless God. Hostility at one time leads to genocide, but a few centuries later to no punishment at all? But if time period is a determinative factor, then simply substitute the Hittites (or some other imperial power) for the Assyrians.

  2. I would question whether the Egyptians, who controlled the Sinai, and who were contesting the northern Levant with the Hittites at around that time, weren’t in contact with the Jews. Admittedly, it is hard to clarify how ‘this time’ fits into the wider history of the region, leading to ambiguity as to which regional powers the Jews of ‘this time’ would have contact with.

  3. The plagues God unleashed on the Egyptians, although horrific (and arguably unmerited, given God was ‘hardening’ Pharaoh’s heart in order to prolong the conflict), do not rise to the level of complete, down-to-the-last-infant, genocide.

This argumentation seems decidedly ad hoc and piecemeal.

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You seem to be under the misapprehension that people in this discussion do not understand these aspects of Christian theology. I don’t believe that understanding them leads to resolution of the issues raised in @John_Harshman’s original post, though he can answer that for himself.