INDEX: Was Joshua’s Slaughter of the Canaanites Morally Justified?

In this INDEX post you will find links to each of the 14 posts in my series of posts on this question:

Was Joshua’s Slaughter of the Canaanites Morally Justified?

I have also provided some quotes from the posts to give an idea of what each post is about.

The Taking of Jericho (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)

In this series of posts I will argue for the view that the MERCILESS SLAUGHTER of elderly men and women, adult men and women, teenagers, children, and babies by the army of Israel under the leadership of Moses, and later under the leadership of Joshua, was NOT morally justified, and that this shows that Jesus was a morally flawed person, given that Jesus did not reject his given name, and given that Jesus was openly and publicly an admirer of Moses.

…I will begin [in future posts] to present the OTHER evidence of the morally flawed character of Jehovah, evidence that, even setting aside the slaughter of the Canaanites, shows that Jehovah was a cruel and violent tyrant.  The slaughter of the Canaanites is just one of the most glaring and shocking examples of Jehovah’s awful words and awful behavior.

Just as Trump’s comments cannot rationally be excused as frivolous “locker room” talk, so the guidance of Jehovah to slaughter the Canaanites cannot be excused as frivolous “locker room” talk either.  Such excuses and justifications could have a chance of being reasonable ONLY IF the previous words and behavior of the person in question were above reproach, and cannot possibly be reasonable given the strong evidence to the contrary.

If you study and understand the Ten Commandments, and learn how Jehovah wanted those rules to be enforced, you will find that Jehovah was a violent and bloodthirsty tyrant who cared very little about human life.  So, Jehovah’s words and actions BEFORE the “extermination” of the Canaanites already provided plenty of evidence that Jehovah is exactly the sort of person who would command Moses and Joshua (and the army of Israel) to exterminate tens of thousands of civilians, including elderly men, elderly women, adult men and women, teenagers, young boys and girls, and babies.

Human duties to God, if God exists, should be considered the LEAST IMPORTANT of human duties, because we can do NOTHING to benefit God, and NOTHING to harm God, so making these relatively unimportant duties into RELIGIOUS LAWS and then enforcing them by means of the PENALTY OF DEATH shows that Jehovah is a cruel and bloodthirsty tyrant.

So, Jehovah winks at a lot of killing, killing that any reasonable person would view as being homicide or murder.  So, the commandment against “murder” is not actually opposed to murder,  it only opposes those particular murders that Jehovah hasn’t already blessed.  Jehovah declares many forms of murder to be OK, and that is supposed to magically make it good.  But a rose by any other name, is still a rose.  So, the sixth commandment positively REEKS OF HYPOCRISY and DOUBLETHINK.

Jehovah is nothing but a cruel and bloodthirsty tyrant; he could care less about the value of human lives or “the right to life” that so many Catholics and Evangelicals pretend to embrace.

Because of Jehovah’s extreme sexism, he would have no serious problem with ordering the slaughter of elderly women, wives and mothers, teenage girls, young girls, and baby girls, and because of his LOVE of BLOODSHED, he could be OK with ordering the slaughter of elderly men, husbands and fathers, teenage boys, young boys, and baby boys too.

However, because my objection against Jesus and against many Christians and Jews (past and present) is based on their holding the view that the OT stories about these events are historically reliable, then it makes sense to focus on this question about the relevant biblical texts:

According to the biblical account of the Conquest of Canaan in the Book of Joshua, did Joshua consistently provide a warning to the cities and towns that he was preparing to attack, giving civilians at least a few days notice to leave that town or city or else face extermination at the hands of the army of Israel?

Jehovah doesn’t do “locker room” talk.  When Jehovah orders you to MERCILESSLY SLAUGHTER elderly men and women, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, teenagers, children, and babies, then you had better do PRECISELY what Jehovah has commanded, or else Jehovah will be FURIOUS with you.  Jehovah is a Selfish Jerk.  Jehovah is the King of Sexism, and  Jehovah is a Bloodthirsty Tyrant.  Jehovah LOVES bloodshed and killing people.

Based on these four stories about Moses and the Israelites attacking various cities and towns near the promised land, it looks like Moses set a bad example for Joshua by: (a) failing to issue advanced warnings to cities or towns prior to attacking them, and (b) proceeding to MERCILESSLY SLAUGHTER every person, including civilians, including elderly men and women, including mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, teenagers, young children, and babies (with the minor exception of the towns of the Midianites where Moses had the young virginal girls spared, but not mothers and not wives, not elderly men or elderly women, not teenage boys, not young boys, and not baby boys).

Jehovah doesn’t demand that advanced warnings be given to any of these towns.  Joshua doesn’t order that advanced warnings be given to any of these towns, and there is no indication that I can see of any of these towns actually being given an advanced warning.   Yet, once again, we see an abundance of MERCILESS SLAUGHTERING in every case.

Perhaps, (just taking a wild shot in the dark here) this is because that is PRECISELY what Jehovah commanded Moses, Joshua, and the Israelites to do!  Because Jehovah is a Selfish Jerk, and because Jehovah is a Cruel and Bloodthirsty Tyrant, and the King of Sexism and of the King of Male Chauvinist Piggery, but mostly because Jehovah LOVES BLOODSHED and killing people.

Jones has provided four pieces of evidence to support his historical claim, and they are all, without exception, WORTHLESS and IRRELEVANT pieces of information.  Jones is a Professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University.  It is his JOB to find the strongest and best evidence to support his Evangelical Christian beliefs, like the belief that Jehovah is NOT a cruel and bloodthirsty tyrant.  Yet the first four pieces of evidence he provides are basically IRRELEVANT to the question at issue.

This strongly suggests that there is no actual evidence available to support the key historical claim that:

…all of the various peoples who were actually living in the towns of the Promised Land between 1350 and 1250 BCE  regularly  and  frequently  practiced  child sacrifice…

I have only discussed two major ethical points of view here, but since (MW) is clearly unacceptable from both of those major ethical points of view, I think that is sufficient to show that (MW) is highly DUBIOUS at best, and that showing (MW) to be true would be an extremely difficult task, if not impossible.

Therefore, the argument that could be used to support a moral justification of Jehovah commanding the MERCILESS SLAUGHTER of every elderly man and woman, every husband and wife, every mother and father, every teenager, every child, and every baby in every town in the Promised Land on the basis of the historical claim in premise (1) above, is very likely to be an UNSOUND argument, because not only is premise (1) highly DUBIOUS, but so is the unstated Moral Warrant (MW) in this argument.

For me, the resurrection and divinity of Jesus depend on whether Jehovah was clearly a morally flawed person.  If Jehovah was clearly a morally flawed person, then Jesus was morally flawed, and the basic Christian beliefs about Jesus are FALSE, and thus Christianity should be rejected as a FALSE religion.

… if it could be shown that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all three FALSE religions, and that they do not actually have truth or wisdom communicated by God through prophets or inspired writings, then one must either reject theism altogether, or else settle for the watered-down concept of God proposed by DEISM: a creator god who doesn’t care about humans and who doesn’t intervene in human history.

Does the OT clearly claim that all of the peoples who inhabited the numerous towns and villages in the Promised Land prior to the alleged Conquest of Canaan, regularly practiced child sacrifice?

The answer to this question is: NO!

The OT  does NOT state or imply that ALL of the nations who inhabited the Promised Land (prior to the alleged Conquest of Canaan) practiced child sacrifice, and the OT does NOT state or imply that ANY of the nations who inhabited the Promised Land (prior to the alleged Conquest of Canaan) REGULARLY practiced child sacrifice.

Although some of the above passages did have some relevance to the question at issue, most were irrelevant because they are about the Israelites engaging in the practice of child sacrifice.  The passages that did assert or imply that a pagan nation engaged in child sacrifice were either irrelevant (because the pagan nation specified was NOT one of the seven pagan nations that inhabited the Promised Land prior to the Conquest of Canaan) or they were insignificant  (because they only implied that ONE of the seven pagan nations SOMETIMES engaged in child sacrifice).

I have found NO SIGNIFICANT evidence in the OT supporting the claim that:

All of the peoples who inhabited the numerous towns and villages in the Promised Land prior to the alleged Conquest of Canaan, regularly practiced  child sacrifice.