Skip to main content

CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT


 Adolf Hitler. 
Joseph Stalin. Mao Tse-Tung. These names have become synonymous with mass murder, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. Proof that real-life monsters do exist. Whether it was for political reasons, extreme ideologies, or hatred for other races, these men were responsible for the death of millions upon millions of people in the last century. Hitler and the holocaust. Stalin and The Great Purge. Mao and the Great Leap Forward. Famine, starvation, executions, death camps, imprisonments, the Gulags- these dictators and their henchmen employed a variety of methods to exterminate those they simply did not want around. 

I know many of us do not want to revisit these dark times in our modern history, where millions of people reached into the deepest, darkest, most depraved part of their beings and participated in the most heinous of atrocities. Perhaps we don't want to admit that, hidden deep within the psyche of a human being, is the ability to turn into a monster. 

Understandably, we recoil and are deeply troubled when we read about these bleak periods in humanity's history. How ironic is it, then, when those that profess belief in the bible aren't the least bit disturbed when they read about the violence and barbarity contained in the Old Testament. From beginning to end, mass murder and genocide are consistent themes that run along like gangrene throughout the body of the Old Testament's pages.

"GO, ATTACK THE AMALEKITES AND TOTALLY DESTROY ALL THAT BELONGS TO THEM"

According to the book of First Samuel of the Old Testament, God had a bone to pick with the Amalekites. The story goes that, during the period of time that the Israelites were wandering about the desert after their exodus from Egypt, the people of Amalek had become hostile to them. They went to war against the Israelites and, with the help of God, the Israelites were able to defeat them. Fast forward 40 years later, and God still held a grudge against the Amalekites. Bear in mind, at that time, there would had been a new generation of Amalekite people, folks who had nothing to do with the decisions of their parents and grandparents. But, that didn't matter to the God of the Old Testament. He still wasn't satisfied that the Amalekites had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Israelite army. No no, he wanted more blood. He wanted them gone. He wanted them completely wiped off the face of the Earth. So, he gave this order to Saul, king of the Israelites, "I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."- 1 Samuel 15: 2, 3.

Let's break down what God, according to this story,  was asking the Israelites to do. There are several elements of killing in these verses that we need to analyze. First is genocide. God wanted the entire Amalekite race to be wiped out. Second was infanticide. Babies were not to be spared. Third, geronticide. The elderly were ordered to be killed. And lastly, theriocide. Sentient animals were similarly ordered to be done away with.

God was ordering the Israelite army to march into a bustling and lively country and leave it completely decimated and unrecognizable, it's inhabitants and animals completely wiped out. No trace was to be left that there was once life and people and a thriving culture in that country. To leave it just as if it had never existed before.

Try to imagine the scope of that commandment. Imagine the horror of parents being butchered as their children watch. Envision parents having to watch their own children being slaughtered. Animals being chopped up for no reason. Solders laying waste to a country, completely obliterating a race of people. The senseless horror of this scene is unimaginable. Yet, crimes like these are advocated in a book that is supposedly "holy". 

CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

Because dictators and authoritarians have committed similar crimes in pursuit of their political agendas, many countries have banded together and taken measures to make actions like these illegal under international law. Most notably are the Geneva Conventions, which, among other things, made genocide and crimes against humanity prosecutable. By those standards, the types of killings mentioned in First Samuel chapter 15 no doubt would be considered genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

Even during our most barbaric and uncivilized moments, senseless people have enough sense to know that genocide and infanticide is a line that should never be crossed, even during war. But, in the bible, there isn't a line that won't be crossed. Genocide, infanticide, rape...this is all fair game if you don't agree with the beliefs of the bible writers. If you're different, then this is what's in store for you. And if you have pets and livestock, well, they're doomed, too. This is the overall message of the old testament. And this is just one of many other examples.

After considering just one sample of Old Testament barbarity, how is it that a book such as this is put on a pedestal and held in such high regard by so many people? Books like the bible find ways to justify mass murder, and people follow along, to the point of becoming desensitized when they read grisly passages like these. But, as far as I'm concerned, the Old Testament should be shelved alongside Hitler's Mein Kampf and any other deplorable piece of propaganda that incites people to hatred and violence. We are better than that. 




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE ABORTION PARADOX IN THE BIBLE

  ABORTION. Few words evoke more intense feelings and colliding viewpoints than this word. A presidential candidate's stance on that single matter is enough to sway voters one way or another in an election year and decide the next administration...that is how deep-seated people's views on abortion are. The line in the sand has been drawn and the trenches have been dug, a civil war of ideological views is being fought at this very moment and on many different fronts. This topic is relevant now more than ever. Seems like our courts are always one step closer to being pro-choice or one judge closer to banning abortion clinics. Many women just stand back and hold their breath...wondering when the chips will fall and a new law or a removal of an existing one will hijack their reproductive systems and strip them of control over their own bodies.  Others, filled with "holy" zeal for "God's word", become giddy with anticipation at any glimmer of hope that a cons

IS THE BOOK OF GENESIS JUST A STORY OF CREATION...OR SOMETHING MORE SINISTER?

The bible book of Genesis presents itself as an account of the creation of the cosmos and all living things. In fact, the name Genesis means "origin", or "creation". Millions of people throughout centuries have taken the creationist account of Genesis as a historical fact. Even in our modern times, millions of people still do. That the first book of the bible, Genesis, has shaped the beliefs and identity of countless men and women is an understatement. But, the book of Genesis is not just a harmless story of creation, as many would have us believe. Hidden within its first few pages is a perverse message that has corrupted and distorted the view that many men have towards women.  What am I referring to? Notice what Genesis chapter 2, verse 18 has to say about the creation of the first woman. It states: "The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him."" The implications from this seemingly innocent

ANIMAL CRUELTY IN THE BIBLE

Over the past few years, concern and awareness regarding animal cruelty has been increasing. We now, more than ever, understand that animals are intelligent and emotional beings, with rich social lives. They are capable of feeling love, care, empathy, joy, pain, fear, distress, and terror, similar to you and me. That is why there has been a growing movement to end animal cruelty.  Animal cruelty has taken on many forms. Whether it be for sport, consumption, or religious ritualistic ceremonies, the theme is the same: complete disregard for the pain and suffering these innocent creatures endure. Any book that purports itself to be a moral guide for humanity should, by all means, condemn the practice of animal cruelty. Instead, in the bible, we find that animal cruelty is glorified. The first instance of animal cruelty that we see in the bible is found in Genesis chapter 4, verse 4. The New International Version reads: "And Abel also brought an offering, fat portions from some of the