What's So Bad About Killing Children 3
Warning: the following is graphic and disturbing, and is intended to be morally challenging. It is intended to make you use your brain. It is based on a real conversation I had with a christian.
Me: Wow, did you hear about that American soldier in Afghanistan who just went house-to-house and killed 16 people, including 9 children and babies? Isn't that awful!
Christian: Yeah, it's really terrible. It just goes to show you what our world is coming to when someone can kill babies like that.
Me: You mean since the Good Ol' Days before prayer was taken out of school? As a christian, you must really struggle with the morality of what happened.
Christian: What on earth do you mean?
Me: Well, as a christian, I would have thought that you believe it was morally justifiable to shoot those babies.
Christian: Of course not! Why would you say something like that?
Me: Because they would have been raised as Muslims, don't you believe that those children would have grown up in a land occupied by American troops and would probably have turned into terrorists? As adults, they might want revenge and might have carried out acts of terrorism against the U.S.
Christian: No one knows that for sure. People have free will. You can't kill babies because you're worried about what they might do when they grow up!
Me: But don't you think that, because there's a high probability that they would have been raised as Muslims (and never accepted Jesus as their personal saviour) that they would have burned in Hell forever if they grew to adulthood? By killing those children now, you might actually be saving their souls.
Christian: Of course I don't think those babies should have been murdered! You totally do not understand Christian Doctrine or the way God works! It's God's decision alone whom to allow to live and whom to allow to die. And if those children grow up and reject the Lord, then that's their Free Will, and they have chosen their own destiny.
Me: Okay... setting aside the predestination that the bible so clearly spells out, and forgetting the fact that God just allowed these particular babies to die and did not intervene, and setting aside that God is supposed to know all things from beginning til the end and therefore knew before he created those babies that he was creating them for the sole purpose of allowing them to be shot in the head, and forgetting the fact that people do NOT choose their beliefs but adopt the beliefs of their culture and families-- setting all that aside... this is a time of war, and this is not Kansas-- it's Afghanistan. It's an extremely violent environment. People die in war, including babies. This just happened to be a premeditated, cold-blooded, non-combative murderous rampage conducted against nonviolent women and children who were at home in their beds. But you have to expect something like that from time to time, right?
Christian: There you Secularists go-- your morality changes with the conditions. You GODLESS people have no basis for morality since you REJECT God and HIS LAW!
Me: Actually, it's you Christians who are moral relativists-- you may think that you have an unchanging set of moral standards, but what you think is moral and immoral changes with the situation.
Christian: No way! You're talking about yourself there! Christians are guided by a strong moral compass that only points One Way.
Me: Really. I believe, as a Secular Humanist, that violence is to be used only in defending my life of the life of someone else, in a situation of imminent danger. A six-month old baby, for example, should never be killed under any circumstances.
Christian: Well I think that too!
Me: Really? Not under ANY circumstances whatsoever? If you raided a house known to be Taliban and found a 3-month old baby in a crib, you'd kill it, wouldn't you?
Christian: Of course not! I'm Pro-Life!
Me: What if you were a soldier in the army ordered to by your commanding officer to kill a toddler? Say, crush it's head in with the butt of your assault rifle?
Christian: I would refuse to do it. It's an unlawful order. That would be murder!
Me: What if God Himself commanded you to do it?
Christian: God would never do that!!! He is the SOURCE of all that is GOOD. You must be crazy to think that God would command me to kill a child.
Me: God commanded Abraham to kill his son Isaac.
Christian: But He sent an angel to stop Abraham before he did it! God only wanted to see if Abraham would obey Him. He would NEVER have gone through with it.
Me: But God failed to send an angel to stop Jeptha, who promised a sacrifice to God if he was victorious in battle, and it was Jeptha's own daughter. Actually, God commanded his people to slaughter children and babies many, many times.
Christian: You're crazy!
Me: I'm not crazy. And in one minute you're going to tell me that killing lots of babies by chopping them up with a axe is okay because it was a different time and different place.
Christian: I would never say that!
Me: We'll see. Open your bible to the book of 1st Samuel, chapter 15.Here God speaks to the prophet Samuel, telling him to instruct King Saul to exterminate a group of people called the Amalekites. "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants ..."
Saul did as God commanded, and assembled an army of 210,000 men to carry out this mass murder. If you accept the Bible as true, then you must also be willing to accept that God has just ordered His people to murder a bunch of babies! "Children and infants" to use the Bible’s exact words. The Bible doesn’t say exactly how many people died in this attack, but it must have been quite a massive number in light of the fact that Saul felt it was necessary to gather an army of nearly a quarter of a million to do the deed. The casualties must have numbered in the hundreds of thousands. After all, how many women and children can one well-armed soldier kill?
You might be wondering what these Amalekites had done to deserve all this. The answer is in 1st Samuel 15:2 and Exodus 17: 8-16. About 400 years earlier, the Amalekites’ distant ancestors had attacked the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering. This attack so infuriated God that he vowed to one day wipe the Amalekites completely off the face of the earth. God makes good on his promise... 400 years later.
Is this God's "perfect" morality? The Amalekites who originally attacked the Israelites had been dead for hundreds of years. If the Lord was so bent on punishing the guilty, then why didn’t He take out His wrath against those individuals who were actually responsible for the attack? My moral compass tells me that it is utterly immoral to murder thousands of "children and infants" simply because they were distantly related to some group of people who had attacked another group hundreds of years earlier.
Wouldn’t that be like the United States (in 2012) dropping nuclear bombs on Great Britain because the British had attacked the American colonies (in the 1770's)?
Christian: But you just don't understand. Times were different then... oops.
Me: Yeah, oops.
Christian: We aren't always meant to know God's Plan. And you're taking the story out of context!
Me: Okay, then what is the context? In what context is murdering babies suddenly okay with you? You just got through telling me how immoral killing those babies in Afghanistan was, and that God would never order his people to do that.
And, that's where I lost him. The line went dead.
One of two things has to happen here.
One: The believer, in order to continue believing, has to re-define what "good" means, in a way that includes such immoral behavior. Because of the moral gymnastics required, the believer tries to avoid thinking of things like this. Believers actually have to adopt something called "moral relativism", in which what is defined as moral and immoral changes as the circumstances change. They think it's okay if god acts this way, but it's horrific if I do. They are so indoctrinated that they suppress their own sense of right and wrong in order to protect their belief in their invisible protector. It is intellectual slavery.
Two: A person can come to the conclusion that such a god cannot exist, because logically god could not be all-good and all-powerful at the same time and allow such horrible crimes to occur. The reason why such crimes happen is that there is no invisible guardian in the sky to protect us. This understanding allows for moral integrity-- what is immoral in one situation is immoral in all situations.