Challenge Response: Jesus Was an Accessory to Massacres

Here's my response to this week's challenge:

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This week's challenge: Jesus was an accessory to massacre. There are two parts of this challenge that I think we need to unpack. Number one, there is the claim that Jesus is integral to God, so what God does Jesus is involved with. On that part, I think we would we agree. Christians would say yes, Jesus is integral to God in the sense that Jesus shares in the divine nature. Jesus is the second member of the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons who together are the one God. Certainly, we would agree that what one does, the other is complicit in. Just like we affirm that God is the Creator of all things, we also affirm Jesus is the creator of all things. So that part is correct.

I think the part of the challenge that we really need to dissect is the claim of massacre and all the claims of what God does like “God is a serial killer,” “God is genocidal,” “God is commits filicide,” etc. These kinds of claims are what we need to unpack. I think the response to the meat of this objection is, “What do you mean by that?” It's that clarification question. 

What is a massacre? A massacre is the indiscriminate killing of some large group of people. So is that what God did? Does He just indiscriminately kill large groups of people? No. What is genocide? Get the person who's offering this challenge to define genocide. Genocide is killing a group of people based upon their ethnicity. Is that what we see in the Old Testament with God? Is He killing people in virtue of their ethnicity? No, of course not. So, we can start setting aside some of those claims.

Does God issue commands to kill? Yes, he does. We need to carefully define our language. A massacre or genocide is unjustified killings. Is God involved in unjustified killings? No. We would say that God is involved in some killings in the Old Testament, but they are justified. You look at something like the Canaanites, and you can make a case that this is not murder on God's part. It's the justified killing of his creatures. 

Of course, there's a lot more we could say about that particular issue, but the point here is that this language that’s used – massacre, genocide – it comes with a lot of emotional baggage. We need to define those terms and then help people see that what is described in the Old Testament is not what these terms refer to. Therefore, we can answer another challenge.

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Brett Kunkle

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