“[D]o we genuinely comprehend the depth of Canaanite sins? Do we understand the significance of God’s having all but destroyed Israel for committing Canaanite sins? Could it be that because our culture today commits these same Canaanite sins we are inoculated against the seriousness of these sins and so think God’s judgment unfair? How might a theology of the human heart and its sinful condition illuminate a motivation for ‘divine genocide’ claims? In short, most of our problems regarding God’s ordering the destruction of the Canaanites come from the fact that God hates sin but we do not. If so, are ‘divine genocide’ claims more of a rationalization of the human condition and do not responsibly reason about the rightness of God’s actions toward the Canaanites?

If that is the case, it seems that we need to understand the horror of sin, especially our sin, if we are to reconcile what appears to be God’s harsh judgment. ‘When we merely say that we are bad,’ C.S. Lewis said, ‘the ‘wrath’ of God seems a barbarous doctrine; as soon as we perceive our badness, it appears inevitable, a mere corollary from God’s goodness.’ It is not enough, then, for us to dispassionately say that the Canaanites were bad or even wicked; for the impact of those words are diminished in our culture. Even the significance of particular types of sin, like bestiality, is somewhat lost on us. For there often is a certain ‘whatever that’s about’ dismissal that familiarly punctuates a response to modern confrontations of ‘ancient evils,’ perhaps as a way of coping with our denial of what really is the case.

What I am suggesting is not merely vibrant language usage that better captures the brazen experience of evil. Although it is interesting to note that when language becomes diluted, morally, it can help tame and pacify our outrage toward evil. I have come to discern that as a matter of attitude or outlook, we need to look much more frankly at human evil than we customarily do, especially when we are engaged in philosophical reflection on the problem of evil.” – Excerpt from “We Don’t Hate Sin So We Don’t Understand What Happened to the Canaanites” by Clay Jones in Philosophia Christi Vol. 11, No. 1

3 COMMENTS

  1. When you spoke of language..I was reminded of a letter I wrote to a very popular Q & A Christian website who no longer use the word “cult” for false religions. This is just part of the letter…

    “Words are powerful, but because we are in the culture we are in, we tone down or tame words so not to be so “offensive” and while doing so we also tone down and tame the sin/offense in itself.

    Take away the sting of truth and it nullifies the sting of sin.

    Example: The original language of the Bible spoke of sodomy or sodomites, referring to the sin of men sleeping with me or the city Sodom. The word homosexuality didn’t come into existence until late 1800’s and it did not appear in Biblical English translations until mid-1940. By the mid-1950, the word gay became the new identification for men who were attracted to or sexually involved with other men. Gay is certainly much tamer and less offensive than Sodomite. In fact, it sounds pleasant, carefree, acceptable…throw in a beautiful rainbow and alternative lifestyle propaganda and we find ourselves where we are today with two generations, including Christians who are now accepting same sex marriage and the deviant homosexual lifestyle as “normal”.

    That is my fear, when no one calls it a cult anymore, we then run the risk of it becoming less and less an issue and all faith’s with their heretic and apostate teachings will be deemed “normal” and included in mainstream Christianity. It is already happening as I talk with many who think the Catholics and Mormons are Christians just like those who truly are.”

    The response I received from this was a typical, politically correct, tolerance based answer…which so saddens me.

    Thank you for this “snack”…we need more to speak bold words of Truth….

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