Craig digs in

I’ll be honest: when Richard Dawkins referred to William Lane Craig as “a deplorable apologist for genocide,” I thought that was just a bit over the top, and that Dawkins was demonizing Craig. No more. In his response to Dawkins, Craig not only vindicated Dr. Dawkins’ assessment, he dug himself in even deeper.

Craig begins with a bit of bait and switch.

“There was no racial war here, no command to kill them all,” he said, alluding to extermination of the Canaanites in the Old Testament, “the command was to drive them out.”

You might think that this was a flat-out lie, since the Bible says, “Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Sounds pretty genocidal, right? Aha, gotcha: Craig was “alluding to the extermination of the Canaanites,” not the genocide against the Amalekites. He found a passage that didn’t command God’s people to kill everybody, and therefore there is no genocide here. You know, kinda like there wasn’t any Holocaust if you find out the Lutherans weren’t ordered to report to the concentration camps. Oy.

But apparently even Craig himself realized that was a pretty flimsy dodge, and so he decided to try another angle: The Israelites were murdering those Canaanite children for their own good.

I would say that God has the right to give and take life as He sees fit. Children die all the time! If you believe in the salvation, as I do, of children, who die, what that meant is that the death of these children meant their salvation. People look at this [genocide] and think life ends at the grave but in fact this was the salvation of these children, who were far better dead … than being raised in this Canaanite culture.

A deplorable apologist for genocide? Dawkins was far too kind! This is simply monstrous.


  1. Aaron Baker says

    If Craig had bothered to read the UN Convention on Genocide, he’d know that (according to the closest thing to an official definition of the word) you don’t have to exterminate a people root and branch to be guilty of genocide.

    See, for example, Article 2:

    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    And Joshua’s treatment of Canaanite communities is still genocide in the narrower sense of wiping a whole people out. See Joshua 10:39-41:

    They [the Israelites] took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron. So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded. Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon [emphasis supplied].

    So, complete extermination, by God’s command. Craig is quite simply full of it. He needs to be told: if you derive your values from a source that authorizes genocide (and you do), there’s something very wrong with your values.

  2. dave cortesi says

    Monstrous perhaps, but nothing different from what he’s said repeatedly and explicitly on his website,

  3. sailor1031 says

    “I would say that God has the right to give and take life as He sees fit.”

    I take it WL Craig is prepared to go at any time then? No begging? No pleading? No bargaining? Well, good! On verra!

  4. davidct says

    He seems to like that “Everything will be fine in happy-land” argument. He likes the fine tuning argument for god and is not concerned about the fate of the earth. Since christians will be in the afterlife when the world becomes a cinder and there is no more fine tuning. Happy land solves all these messy questions. Now if he only had some evidence for the the sociopathic sky fairy and his happy land.

  5. Duke says

    He’s just given us all moral justification for committing infanticide. “Your honor, my client realized that the children he killed were better off dead than being raised in American society”.

    • eemma says

      Cracked me up!!!
      I am glad that despite being a completely non-religious person, I have actually read the bible, and I cannot possibly see how ANYONE could derive their values from it. It would be wrong to accuse a distinguished (?) philosopher such as Craig is of not having read the bible, but he obviously ignores much of it and misrepresents the rest.

  6. Randomfactor says

    It’s been pointed out before how well Craig’s argument works as a persuasion against ever allowing any pregnancy to come to term. Abortion IS a sacrament sending its targets directly to Eternal Happiness. Or his god’s an even bigger dick than Craig is.

  7. chaosof99 says

    I definitely do not advocate this ever happening, but I kind of doubt Craig would just go “God has the right to give and take life as He sees fit” when he has a knife to his throat or a gun to his head.

  8. Christ Denier says

    As a militant, virulent atheist, I attended the 2011 National Conference of Christian Apologetics in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Douchebag Craig was a keynote speaker. He basically said the same crap at this conference that he said on his website.

    The good news is, he got bested by a “lowly atheist” – not me, I have no idea who it was – during the Q&A session that followed his intellecutally bankrupt drivel-talk.

    Yes, he is an incredibly sick and twisted sub-human.

  9. jakc says

    It is the logical extension of a branch of fundamentalist thought, and I applaud Craig for forthrightly making the argument. I have often asked fundamentalists what happens to aborted babies – do they go to heaven or hell? The usual response is to take offense and to not answer the question. Craig’s logic is straightforward – these children would likely wind up in Hell. That makes his god a monster, and Craig can certainly be condemned for serving such a monster, but in an odd way his position is kinder and less self-serving than many other fundamentalists. After all, it would be theologically consistent to claim that without being born again, those children will burn in Hell, and politically self-serving to claim that aborted fetuses go straight to Hell. Make no mistake – part of the reason for Michele Bachmann’s opposition to the HPV vaccination is that it removes a terrible potential consequence for girls who don’t save themselves for marriage. It’s sad that Craig has put some much time and devotion into such a vicious delusion, but at least he has the courage to be honest as to where that delusion takes him.

  10. Luke says

    The canaanite children were far better off being dead than raised in a different culture? Why? because they would go to hell? So god creates hell, threatens to send us there, and then kills us justifying it by the fact we would otherwise go to hell because of the fact we were born into a different culture? What a fuckwit.

  11. Aliasalpha says

    “this was the salvation of these children, who were far better dead … than being raised in this Canaanite culture.”

    Is this a biblical analogue to that old paranoia classic “Better dead than red!”?

    Hmm though now I have to wonder if craig is worse than scott stephens, the former is a supporter of child murder, the latter a supporter of childhood deformity because it reminds him of the humbling effects of god turning into a human

  12. grumpyoldfart says

    William Lane Craig is preaching to the choir. His audience probably agrees that non-Christians are better off dead. Instead of saying “that is deplorable” they are probably saying, “Can we get him to speak at our church?”

  13. Dunc says

    Remember folks, the only way to guarantee your kids get into heaven is to kill them as soon as they’re born, if not before.

  14. Charles says

    If Craig believes what he says why isn’t he off fire bombing Madrassah or nuking Chinese state schools? It is the same sort of sanctimonious, self justifying reasoning that allowed Arnaud-Amaury to say at the siege of Beziers “Neca eos omnes. Deus suos agnoscet” (“Kill them all, God will know His own”)

  15. says

    Hah! I can top Craig, easily. Craig thinks that those babies will go to heaven, so god therefore did them a favour. Guess what? It can be worse. Allow me to demonstrate.

    1. Yes, babies can be sent to Hell since they are conceived in Adam (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Rom. 5:19). I could care less whether you think such is hogwash or not, for such is God.

  16. Steven Carr says

    We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy.

    As the Bible says, greater love hath no man that that he is happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy.

    Why all the big fuss about Jesus dying for our sins, when Craig assures us Jesus was happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy?

    When Christians go on and on and on about Jesus dying for our sins they should read William Lane Craig who doesn’t forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy.


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