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Genocide

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by spiritually inclined, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. spiritually inclined

    spiritually inclined Active Member

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    Christians often jump to defend this genocide and slaughter of non-human life by claiming that the actions of the ancestors (committed hundreds of years ago!) of the Amalekites justified the murder of their descendants, even innocent infants, children, and animals. In modern times, at least in the United States of America, such a defense would not keep the perpetrators of this crime from being punished. Why do *some* Christians defend these actions? How is an acceptance of the slaughter of infants and children compatible with the view that abortion is murder, and thus wrong?

    James
     
    #1 spiritually inclined, Aug 19, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
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  2. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    Because God commanded it.
    The youth pastor at the last church I went to (fundamental Baptist) even went so far as to say that Isreal was punished for not carrying out the slaughter, and it was because of the failure to kill everyone they were not there own state untill 1944 (?).
     
  3. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds Well-Known Member

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    I think it's a mistake to judge the past based on present moralities. There are many brutal periods in our history and in order to take the lessons of history we must be able to examine the events within the context of the period.

    For example. Genghis Khan is one of the most hated figures in history for western cultures. Why? Well he conquered his enemies, raised entire cities and was very successful in his endeavors. But when comparing his empire with the others of the period we find that under his rule there was religious freedom, a free market economy, not only freedom for women but political power as well. And yet all that is taught in schools is how horrible he was in battle and at war. But if you examine his actions during war you find them to be no different, or in many case more moral, than the other empires of the day.

    So why is he vilified? Because he was our enemy and he was successful and therefore a danger to us. And so his legacy is still colored by this today.

    So when you're looking at the actions of peoples long dead and buried, remember to take the information in context and consider the source of said info.
     
  4. spiritually inclined

    spiritually inclined Active Member

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    How is this relevant to the question of how murdering people, including children and infants, is moral, at any time? Do you believe it was not immoral to commit infanticide and genocide just because it happened in another time period for superstitious religious reasons?

    James
     
  5. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds Well-Known Member

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    Define moral. You are using the definitions of today not the time period the event took place in. What was the moral compass of the time like and what did the people of the time think. We think it is immoral but did they?
     
  6. spiritually inclined

    spiritually inclined Active Member

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    Apparently they did not find it immoral; they believed it was the command of God. Does that mean it was not wrong for them to kill innocent children?

    In other cultures in which slavery is deemed acceptable, even moral, does that make slavery okay?

    Is morality so relative as to mean that in one time period or culture that slavery and murder are wrong, but in another time period or culture they are not wrong?

    That seems to be your implication.

    James
     
  7. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    This stuff becomes tiresome after a while ...

    It's exaggerated folk history blended with bellicose propaganda aimed at warning potential enemies.
    Bombast such as this was common throughout the area. Get over it ... :rolleyes:
     
  8. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds Well-Known Member

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    Morality is very fluid. It has multiple meanings even today. What is right and wrong is certianly relative to the period of time you're discussing. Today it is relative as to what country you're in. In the United States it is right to go out and have a beer with a woman at a bar. In Saudi Arabia it is wrong and even considered a sin.

    Are you claiming that there is an ultimate right and wrong and if so that you know what that right and wrong is?
     
  9. spiritually inclined

    spiritually inclined Active Member

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    No, I do not believe in ultimate right or wrong but that human empathy and the basis of morality is rooted in the human brain. Ultimately, I do not believe in a god or supreme judge of morality. I do think life can be enhanced on this planet by adhering to natural human empathy and reason.

    That being said, I still believe it is in the best interests of the human race and life to live by certain moral standards, such as that it is wrong to commit murder. Do you agree?

    James
     
  10. spiritually inclined

    spiritually inclined Active Member

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    You miss the point: that is not the way these religious texts are generally understood, at least not by literalists. It is important to open up texts to question, especially when they are often undisputed and read literally. If that is tiresome or bothersome to you, you do not have to read or respond to my threads.

    James
     
  11. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Would you care to demonstrate that 'fact' or are you content to posture righteous indignation?
     
  12. Apex

    Apex Somewhere Around Nothing

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    So is your problem only with the aforementioned "literalists"?
     
  13. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds Well-Known Member

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    Define Murder? Many define any killing of a human being as murder. Other's allow it as self defense only. Some allow it as a punishment. To say it is morally wrong to murder without defining what murder is is a cop out. Neither the word moral or murder has a concret meaning but is every changing within time and society.

    I don't mean to be difficult and I do see your point but using the actions of people long dead and gone to uphold the values of today rings false with me.
     
  14. spiritually inclined

    spiritually inclined Active Member

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    If you are unaware of how many religious people literalize their mythologies and religious texts, just do a little research on fundamentalism.

    What problem?

    I understand that murder can have different definitions, and what is defined as murder in one time and place may not be defined as murder in another time and place.

    There comes a point, however, when the taking of human life seems to serve no valuable purpose. Killing an infant, child, or animal because of the actions of their ancestors -- what purpose does that serve? Who did it benefit? Who did it harm? These are the questions I'm getting at.

    Question -- do you believe that slavery can be right in one society or time period and yet wrong in another? If a person opposing slavery is said to be a criminal and deserving of punishment, does that person deserve punishment for attempting to liberate other humans? And yet in another time that person would be given honor. Is there no right or wrong at all to you? Or is it so relative as to strictly depend on society or the government etc.?

    James
     
  15. FerventGodSeeker

    FerventGodSeeker Believer

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    Hi James,

    I think the problem here is that you seem to be contradicting yourself. In one post you said you do not believe in absolute morality/right and wrong, yet in the next post you seem to say that you believe murder (however it's defined), slavery, and possibly other things are absolutely wrong. I think if you clarify your position there it will make it easier to understand you and respond to your positions and questions.
     
  16. spiritually inclined

    spiritually inclined Active Member

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    It is more clear to say that I believe in situational ethics, and yes, I do make a distinction between killing and murder. In general, I think of murder as taking the life of a human person when that person is not/has not caused harm, when the taking of the life does not serve, at least in the long run, to uphold or enhance life on this planet, when it is needless suffering.

    So yes, I do believe murder is wrong. I also believe human morals serve human purposes. It may be in the best interest of this race that we do not kill other humans -- at least not without restraint, without keeping the needs of a society, planet, etc. in mind. (Keep in mind that humans have more than just purely physical needs, at least to remain mentally healthy and stable.)

    I cannot see how it is justifiable, at any time or place, to punish an infant, child, or animal, or anyone else, for the wrongs of injustices of their ancestors, not a thousand years ago, not today. In some times, places, situations, circumstances, the killing of another might be beneficial, or at least outweighs the negative consequences.

    I do not see the benefit in killing a person or animal for actions they did not commit. Even in another time, another culture, another situation, that seems apparent to me.

    James
     
  17. darkendless

    darkendless Guardian of Asgaard

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    I don't think murder/genocide has ever been justified. Sure back in the day war was honourable, you fight for your honour and that of your family. These days blasting someone with an AK-47/M16 is less admirable than beating someone with a blade. Then again theres a difference between making war and committing genocide.

    I think most will tell you that it was an example in the bible for some reason, not a historical event. However why would the bible justify revenge killings? These days its my understanding that they preach against it, so why is it in the bible? I could be wrong though :eek:
     
  18. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds Well-Known Member

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    What purpose did it serve? It eliminated the enemy. Leaving women and children behind meant leaving enemies behind. Think about the old testament and how crimes were punished 7 fold. You kill my father I kill your whole village and so on.

    Was this morally right? Not by our standards. Did the people of the time consider it morally right? Probably. It is easy for us to sit around drinking beer and eating McDonalds while looking down our noses and those horrible barbarians squatting in the desert and killing their neighbors over a few goats but what if it were you? Can you visualize yourself as a shepherd in 1200bc trying to survive in a hostile environment and surrounded by enemies? What would you consider moral and right? Probably whatever ensured your survival and the survival of your family.

    What you have asked here is a trap, although I don't believe you meant it to be. You ask, "do you believe slavery can be right". Very slippery. So let me be clear, I do not think that slavery is right at any time or place. But that is due to my personal morals. However, a society can deem slavery as right and moral. A person who breaks the law is wrong and deserves punishment. If you went back in time and started freeing slaves in say Rome 500bc. They would catch you and punish you as would be their right. You broke the law, you stole property, you are in the wrong and deserve what you get. Civil disobedience is a concept of recent history, or at least the tolerance of it is.

    For me, right and wrong is a personal thing. I know what I believe to be right and wrong and I live according to that belief. I do not impose my beliefs on others and I obey the laws of the land whether or not I think they are right or wrong. I think it's wrong that my HOA has the right to punish me for not mowing my grass to their specifications but by law I have to live under those restrictions and therefore I do. I think it is wrong that our government has outlawed same-sex marriage so I work and fight to change that law, but I do so within the confines of the law. I don't think less of the folks who choose to resort to civil disobedience but it isn't something that I wish to participate in.

    Anyway, does that answer your questions?
     
  19. gnomon

    gnomon Well-Known Member

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    Christians often.......

    How many times has a Christian said to you, "Let us discuss the Amalekites.".

    What we often find is this issue of the Amalekites brought forth by non-Christians to point their finger at Christians, but not Jews, and say gotcha! When they do they might start a discussion by generalizing Christians.
     
  20. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Which, presumably, you have done, allowing you to proclaim ...
    Christians often jump to defend this genocide and slaughter of non-human life ...​
    So, tell us: based on your "little research," how many Christians and how often? Or are you simply fulminating against some tiny minority of a class in a disingenuous effort to denigrate the class as a whole? Forgive me, but that impresses me as far removed from being "spiritually inclined."
     
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