I just thought I’d share a short snippet of the Swedish Fish, Deflating the Scuba Diver and Working the Rabbit’s Foot by opening up the book at random and sharing with you all wherever my finger so happened to land. This is it (from page 213) here:
Raising the question of Yahweh’s imperfect character in the Bible, such as jealousy and homicidal tendencies, Sheridan challenges Randal to provide reasons for his continued belief that Yahweh is still a perfect being despite such failings.
Since I believe that Yahweh is the greatest possible being, I must conclude that he did not actually command these actions.
That’s right, true believer—God’s behavior in the Bible is just so shocking, so utterly detestable, so terrifyingly dreadful, so God-damned awful, that Randal simply saves God by affirming it wasn’t God that commanded such acts, but the Israelites acting on the false assumption that God commanded them to enact such atrocities.
Well, so much for “biblical authority.”
The problem I have with Randal’s assumption here is that he must ignore what we already know about the biblical account in order to posit an alternate history which assuages God’s ferocity by shifting the blame from God and placing it squarely on his people. Also, why he thinks the Hebrew war god can be even remotely identified with the abstract god of the philosophers is beyond me.