Re: [asa] Creationists for genocide

From: PvM <>
Date: Sun Aug 26 2007 - 13:31:41 EDT

... yes, the Barmen declaration and Bonhoeffer are irrelevant to
Avalos's arguments. It shows how a few Christians disagreed with a
majority of Christians mostly on issues of separation of chuch and
state and far less with the issue of the oppression of the Jews. You
suggested that these examples are relevant because you believe that
Avalos thesis is that Biblical ethics _invariably_ lead to genocide,
an argument which Avalos clearly does not make.

As usual, in your haste to reject the words of an atheist, you are
creating more and more strawmen. In fact, Avalos would not argue that
creationist beliefs would inevitably lead to genocide.

I have with interest been reading some of the work on Bonhoeffer,
especially his Die Kirche vor der Judenfrage (the church and the issue
of the jews). Most of Bonhoeffer's worries were with baptised jews (in
other words, Christians) who would still be considered jews by the
state. In fact, in arguing he invoked an interesting rethoric of
accusing those of proclaiming a judaistic heresy.

Bonhoeffer wrote:
"Without doubt the Jewish question is one of the historical problems
which our state must deal withand without doubt the state is justified
in adopting new methods here"

Bonhoeffer in "The church and the Jewish question".

While no doubt that Bonhoeffer and others suffered immensely for their
efforts, many of those involved in the early resistance involved
socialists, and communists with few Christians. The Confessing Church
was a small minority amongst German Christians, showing once again
support for Avalos's argument.

But once again let me point out that nothing in the Barmen declaration
nor what happened to Bonhoeffer reallyt addresses the arguments by
Avalos namely Wiekart's thesis that anti-semitism and genocide of the
jews were concepts preceding Darwinian theory.

So explain to me why Avalos should have paid attention to the Barmen
declaration? Or were you working from the flawed premise about Avalos
arguing that religion inevitably leads to genocide?

Perhaps it would help if we spend some time actually listening to
people like Avalos. As one reviewer described Avalos's book

<quote>After outlining the history of various philosophies of violence
generally and of religious aggression more specifically, Avalos
introduces his readers to "scarce resource theory," a relatively
simple yet sensible explanation of the genesis of violence. Certainly,
other writers have attributed hostility to competition over scarce
resources, but violent competition in the religious context, Avalos
argues, is markedly more tragic and immoral because the alleged
existence of such resources is ultimately unverifiable and, according
to empirical standards, not scarce at all.</quote>

Your question: How do I propose, as a Christian, propose an ethical
system that avoid problems Avalos cites? is a good one. I think that
the most straightforward response is that such problems cannot be
avoided since they are based on a person's interpretation of God's
word and God's word may not provide us with sufficient guidance as to
what is just and unjust. So while God may know what is just and
unjust, I believe that the issue of morality founded on Christian
faith alone may be an insurmountable problem. Surely, we may have to
accept that the concept of absolute morality may at best remain an
academic issue. So how, as Christians, do we deal with this?
Certainly, this raises some interesting problems, especially if we
insist on Christian morality guiding the law of our land. As a
Christian I attempt to implement my understandings of His teachings as
best as I can by acting accordingly. However, I would not state that
my sense of morality and ethics is ultimately founded on His word as
much as on a concept of evolved ethics and morality based on the
concept of kin, relationships with family and community.

Alexanian Moorad describes how Jesus rewrote the 10 commandments from
the Hebrew Bible into 2 commands, perhaps we need to understand how
much of the Hebrew Bible is still relevant to Christianity, Avalos has
an interesting argument presented to the Society of Biblical

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Aug 26 13:32:01 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Aug 26 2007 - 13:32:01 EDT