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Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense Of The Old Testament God Paperback – January 1, 2011
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From the Back Cover
Many today--even within the church--seem to think so. How are Christians to respond to such accusations? And how are we to reconcile the seemingly disconnected natures of God portrayed in the two testaments?
In this timely and readable book, apologist Paul Copan takes on some of the most vexing accusations of our time, including:
God is arrogant and jealous
God punishes people too harshly
God is guilty of ethnic cleansing
God oppresses women
God endorses slavery
Christianity causes violence
Copan not only answers the critics, he also shows how to read both the Old and New Testaments faithfully, seeing an unchanging, righteous, and loving God in both.
"This is the book I wish I had written myself. It is simply the best book I have read that tackles the many difficulties that the Old Testament presents to thinking and sensitive Christians. Paul Copan writes in such a simple, straightforward way, yet covers enormous issues comprehensively and with reassuring biblical detail and scholarly research."--Christopher J. H. Wright, international director, Langham Partnership International; author of Old Testament Ethics for the People of God
"Lucid, lively, and very well informed, this book is the best defense of Old Testament ethics that I have read. A must-read for all preachers and Bible study leaders."--Gordon Wenham, emeritus professor of Old Testament, University of Gloucestershire
"The New Atheists have attacked the morality of the Old Testament with a vengeance. In honesty, many Christians will confess that they struggle with what looks like a primitive and barbaric ethic. Paul Copan helps us truly understand the world of the Old Testament and how it relates to us today."--Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College
"Copan takes on current New Atheist biblical critics and powerfully addresses virtually every criticism they have raised. I know of no other book like this one, and it should be required reading in college and seminary courses."--J. P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy, Talbot School of Theology; author of The God Question
"There's virtually no scholar I'd rather read on these subjects than Paul Copan. This handbook of responses to tough ethical issues is able to both diminish the rhetoric as well as alleviate many concerns."--Gary R. Habermas, distinguished research professor, Liberty University and Seminary
Paul Copan (PhD, Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. He is the author or editor of many books, including When God Goes to Starbucks.
About the Author
- Item Weight : 12.2 ounces
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780801072758
- ISBN-13 : 978-0801072758
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.64 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Baker Books (January 1, 2011)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 0801072751
- Best Sellers Rank: #13,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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More importantly, most of them do not use scriptural references to defend certain points. A large majority of the authors answers boiled down to "it's much better than the nations surrounding Israel!"
The absolute worst aspect of this book was done of the worst "logic" I've read on the subject. In regarding Sodom and Gomorrah, the author asked "Considering they were homosexuals, you have to wonder just how many children were actually in the city?" And another "Considering they sacraficed children to false gods, you have to wonder just how many children were actually in the city?"
Both arguments are very poorly thought out and in bad taste. They are very unlikely to convince anyone and far more likely to disgust someone against a Christian.
For the first, it's very likely that they were sexually depraved toward all genders, afterall Lot did offer them his daughters, not his sons or son-in-laws. He would not have done this if the city was only known for its homosexuality.
For the second, in order to offer child sacrafices, you need to have children... Most likely the rituals were something like offering firstborns, a way to increase fertility. Not every child born.
It's arguments like these that make this a very poor choice of you want to help someone see through challenging topics in the old testament.
I give this 2 stars because toward the end of the book, the author does have a couple meaningful insights into Israelite slavery issues. But I don't know if it's worth purchasing to get to them.
Instead, I highly recommend "The Bible Project" on YouTube or their website. They do a fantastic job of bringing new insight to various themes, topics, and books. Including issues with some of the old testament passages. I can't recommend their work enough.
This is the kind of thinking that makes Christians morally unreliable and sears their consciences until they're willing to vote in an authoritarian fascist if God says it's okay. It is the exact opposite of morality; it's arguing why you don't need to use your own moral compass if God tells you not to, even to the point of murder. A disgusting display of special pleading whose horrible moral impact the author can't possibly have thought through to its logical conclusion. In defending the Bible agains charges of evil, he has made evil a nonexistent consideration, compared to obeying what the literalists claim the Bible teaches. This way lies more genocide.
Copan frequently resorts to the language of exaggeration in his dealing with OT texts. Scripture certainly does use hyperbole in places, but I'm not convinced that it does so as often as Copan suggests. Sometimes this appears to be an argument of convenience.
Copan also goes in several directions regarding the Conquest that I felt were sort of weak, such as giving credence to the Infiltration theory of the Conquest. The account in the Bible of the crossing of the Red Sea and of the Jordan, in my view, pretty much vitiates the Infiltration theory. Both speak of sudden mass movements, and Joshua speaks of a sudden overthrow of the Canaanite dominance of the Promised Land. The fact that Canaanites continued to live in Canaan after the Conquest does not change the basic facts. Copan's resort to studying some of the various Hebrew words surrounding Israelite warfare merely opened the possibility for his interpretations (words do, after all, possess a semantic range), but certainly did not demand (or even suggest) his interpretations. Copan seems to acknowledge this in places with several "even if" statements.
Anyway, the book is excellent. All the chapters are good; the final chapter is outstanding. Well documented, well argued, this is certainly a book that should find a place on your apologetics shelf.