RE: [asa] Creationists for genocide

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue Aug 28 2007 - 14:10:55 EDT

One must make it very clear that the occurrence of genocide in the pages
of the Bible may be a historical fact but it certainly does not
constitute a blanket statement condoning it. If God in the OT indicated
to the Hebrews to wipeout a whole village, there must have been a reason
given. Christians, on the other hand, are more beholden to the teachings
of Christ. Christ advocated love as the principle guide for the exercise
of our free will and would certainly not advocate genocide under any
circumstances. Recall that genocide is against a whole people and Christ
spoke always about the importance of the individual. In other words, how
can the Christian faith, which places all importance on the individual,
possibly suggest treating peoples as members of a group? It is nonsense
even to doubt the opposition of Christians to genocide.




From: [] On
Behalf Of David Opderbeck
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 1:39 PM
To: PvM
Cc: AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: Re: [asa] Creationists for genocide


Pim yesterday: the Bible can not form a foundation for rejecting such
issues as genocide as both sides believe that it supports their

Pim today: Of course people can use the Bible to create an 'ethic'
against genocide....

Finally, Pim has to admit that the examples of the Confessing Church,
John Paul II, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless others, demonstrate
that an absolutist stance against the Bible as a source of ethics fails.

But here is the crux of Pim's problem: The problem is that opposing
sides can both find support in the bible for their positions, which can
create conflict when scarce resources are involved.

But Pim seems oblivious to the fact that people can reach "conflicting
conclusions when scarce resources are involved" under any set of ethical
norms that is rich and diverse enough to encompass all of human

The question isn't whether it's at all possible for people to reach
conflicting conclusions. Rather, the question is whether one or the
other of the conflicting systems is more internally consistent, more
coherent, better grounded in the core values of the tradition, and so
on. Pim simply doesn't want to do the hard work of actually evaluating
the whole Jewish and Christian tradition to determine what reasonably
could be considered normative within it. Instead, he'd rather toss off
a few lines here and there and call it a day.

Pim then says: Does this mean that popes and others cannot speak out
> genocide? Of course not, but if they claim that their opposition comes
> from biblical considerations then they have a real problem to deal
> with, as history has so often shown.


But does Pim give us, say, a careful analysis of the Biblical grounding
for John Paul II's Encyclical Centesiums Annus? Does he compare the
coherence, consistency and reasonableness of JPII's Christian
personalist anthropology based on the Biblical revelation and the
Church's understanding of it to the coherence, consistency and
reasonablness of basing a modern ethic of genocide on a few difficult
Biblical passages? Does he explain why the example of Christ and the
cross is an unreasonable heremeneutical lense?


Of course not. For him it is enough to throw out a proof text or two.
It's just so tiresome.

On 8/28/07, PvM <> wrote:
> So far the only incoherence comes from you my dear friend. If you
> beleive that it is possible to bild a genocidal ethics from the facts
> of evolution then I encourage you to present you argument.
> The problem with your 'arguments' are that you ignore what Avalos and
> I are telling you. Of course people can use the Bible to create an
> 'ethic' against genocide, and they can use the same bible to create an
> ethic for genocide. It's because the bible cannot provide us
> guidelines as to what is just and unjust genocide.
> The problem is that opposing sides can both find support in the bible
> for their positions, which can create conflict when scarce resources
> are involved.
> I suggest that we have a serious discussion as to Avalos, lest we want
> to resort, like David, to the creation of irrelevant strawmen.
> So let's, for David's sake, clarify what is already obvious, even
> though he has chosen to make our private discussion public without
> consulting me. A minor ethical infraction but still
> 1. The bible fails as a foundation for many ethics because it lacks an

> objective standard and can be used to argue either side.
> 2. The lack of such a standard can lead to conflict where both sides
> appeal to the bible or similar texts to support their actions an
> positions. Countless examples exist to varying degrees.
> 3. Avalos argues that science provides a less subjective ethics
> because it is based on evidence. Does this mean that science cannot be
> abused either? Of course not.
> 4. During WWII, the German State Church, the majority of Christians,
> supported the Nazis in their actions, while a small minority, the
> Confessing Church, opposed it, mostly based on church-state separation
> considerations. In other words, the examples cited by David, show that

> opposing sides can appeal to the same bible to support their claims.
> 5. Does this mean that popes and others cannot speak out against
> genocide? Of course not, but if they claim that their opposition comes

> from biblical considerations then they have a real problem to deal
> with, as history has so often shown.
> Does it matter that David believes he can formulate an ethics of
> genocide based on evolutionary theory, even though he has yet to do
> so? Not really.
> Until David at least understands Avalos's arguments, David's
> objections remain founded in his own strawmen.
> Simple.
> So why is it so hard to address these issues raised by Avalos? Perhaps

> because as Christians we realize that they may cause discomfort?
> Should we avoid such discomfort by rejecting Avalos's claims as
> atheistic etc? So far I have found the level of reactions on ASA quite

> interesting.
> In Christ
> Pim
> On 8/28/07, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> > At this point, Pim, all I can do is laugh. You are yawning at Pope
> > Paul II as an example of a Biblical ethic against genocide? You
> > deny that it's possible to build a genocidal ethic from the facts of
> > evolution? You make the statement that "reasonable is a subjective

> > standard at best," and I'm employing a strawman when I use it to
> > your position using your own words? You have dug yourself into such
a deep
> > hole in this discussion that you've become incoherent.
> >
> >
> > On 8/27/07, PvM <> wrote:
> > > On 8/27/07, David Opderbeck <
<> > wrote:
> > > > Just time for a few quick responses:
> > > >
> > > > 1. I can claim the Bible forms a foundation for rejecting
> > even
> > > > when some people have read it to support genocide, because that
is a
> > > > verifiable historical fact. Pope John Paul II arguably did more
to stop
> > > > genocide (as perpetrated by atheists in the Soviet Union with
> > presumed
> > > > blessing of Darwin as filtered through Marx, BTW), than any
other figure
> > in
> > > > human history. John Paul II's ethics were thoroughly Biblical,
and I'm
> > > > pretty sure he was aware of the problem texts Avalos cites.
> > >
> > > Yawn, those are such irrelevant statements of what you believe and
> > > appeals to authority. Avalos seems to be quite correct here, there
> > > no real good standard for what is just based on biblical
> > >
> > > > 2. Yes, I claim the text of nature can be read to support
genocide. Do
> > you
> > > > deny that? If so, why is your intepretation more reasonable
than mine?
> > >
> > > I surely deny that. As far as your question is concerned why is an
> > > interpretation that the bible supports genocide less or more
> > > reasonable than one which claims it does not?
> > >
> > > > Isn't the fact that we can reach differing interpretations of
the same
> > text
> > > > conclusive evidence that the text is worthless as a source of
norms? Or
> > >
> > > It surely makes it hard to claim that it can form a source of
> > > worse, it can form a great source of conflicts.
> > >
> > > > does that logic only apply one way? Or, could it be that the
> > possibility of
> > > > differing interpretations is an invetable result of the human
> > and
> > > > the variability of all complex texts, which does not necessarily
> > > > every potential reading equally valid?
> > >
> > > How does one establish which reading is more 'valid'? wishful
> > >
> > > > 3. "Reasonable is a subjective standard at best?" Are you
> > that
> > > > there is nothing objective at all about reason? On what basis,
> > should
> > > > anyone accept Avalos' and your claims about how best to
> > scripture,
> > > > or about any conclusions of science? Is this just some kind of
> > Foucaultian
> > > > knowledge/power thing? Or is it that you're restricting
"reason" in
> > > > positivist fashion to that which is empirically verifiable?
> > >
> > > Nice strawman.
> > >
> > > > 4. Before you "sigh," read what I'm writing. The
Darwin=genocide claim
> > > > stands if we apply your and Avalos' Biblical hermeneutic to the
text of
> > > > nature.
> > >
> > > Nope, just because you make this claim does not mean that it
> > >
> > > > As I reject that hermeneutic, I reject Darwin=genocide as an
> > > > absolute, necessary progression.
> > >
> > > Sigh.
> > >
> > > So much objections and still missing the point
> > >
> >
> >


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Aug 28 14:12:00 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Aug 28 2007 - 14:12:00 EDT