“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction…”
The Christian is forced to deal with the accusation that God is a moral monster.
In addition to the initial quote, Richard Dawkins goes on to describe God as, “jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Watch the video below for Dawkins’ own reading of this passage from his book:
Is Dawkins’ charge valid? Every thinking Christian must deal with this topic, both for the skeptic inquirer they may know, as well as for their own personal understanding and growth. Some of the Old Testament passages about the Canaanite military campaigns certainly seem less than loving. How is a believer to respond to Dawkins’ claim?
Paul Copan has provided a wonderful resource for this topic in his book Is God a Moral Monster? In the near future I plan on doing a blog series dealing with the Canaanite campaigns and the charge that God is a blood thirsty ethnic cleanser. Copan’s book is a great place to start for anyone interested in doing further research in this area. I would also recommend Christopher Wright’s book The God I Don’t Understand, particularly the chapter devoted to dealing with this topic.
To serve as an introduction to the Christian response, the following video is a helpful debate between Paul Copan and Norman Bacrac (an atheist) on the morality of the God of the Old Testament.