Creationists for genocide
By Hector Avalos
Professor of Religious
Iowa State University
Posted August 24, 2007
From Darwin to Hitler?
Weikart's view of the Judeo-Christian tradition
Christianity and moral relativism
From Luther to Hitler
Sarfati and Luther's proto-Nazi plan
Pre-Darwinian blood purity
Materialism and the value of life
Abortion as a soul-saving machine
The ethics of biblical genocide
Love as a reason for genocide
Sin as a reason for genocide
Child sacrifice is biblically approved
Archaeology and Canaanite child sacrifice
El Pozo Moro and child sacrifice
understands nothing about creationism unless one understands that it is meant
to be a system of ethics. That is why the assault on evolution has always
included a lengthy history of moral judgments against evolution. Perhaps none of these judgments has
been more accusatory than the idea that Darwinism led to the Holocaust. Such an idea is trumpeted in many
creationist venues, including books and blogs. A prime example of this accusation today is found in Richard
Weikart's From Darwin to Hitler:
Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (2004). Weikart is
a member of the Discovery Institute who has devoted his career to elucidating
the supposed immoral consequences of evolution.
the materialistic basis of evolutionary theory is responsible for the
devaluation of human life in general. In particular, the idea of the survival
of the fittest leads to the devaluation or extermination of those considered
"unfit" in society. Death becomes
a good thing insofar as it helps the species rid itself of unfit organisms. The
principal goal of all such anti-evolutionary moral arguments is to show that
creationism, especially in its Judeo-Christian form, is a superior moral
exposing the historical flaws found in the work of Weikart, this essay
demonstrates that the defense of genocide, infanticide and "eugenics" by
creationists actually has a very venerable and lengthy tradition that precedes
Darwin. In fact, the most blatant defenses of genocide ever penned are still to
be found among creationists. Some of these defenders of genocide include Reuben
A. Torrey, the famed fundamentalist apologist, William Lane Craig, Jonathan
Sarfati, an Australian Young-Earth creationist with a Ph.D. in chemistry, and
Glenn Miller, an American business executive who fancies himself to be a
is premised on a very biased definition of "Christianity" or the
"Judeo-Christian" tradition. For
example, Weikart tells us that "Christian theology taught the universal brotherhood of all races, who
descended from common ancestors -- Adam and Eve."  He adds:
Before the advent of
Darwinism in the mid-nineteenth century, there was no
significant debate in Europe over the sanctity of human life,
which was entrenched in European thought and law
(though, as with all ethical principles, not always followed
in practice). Judeo-Christian ethics proscribed
the killing of innocent human life, and the Christian
churches explicitly forbade murder, infanticide, abortion, and even suicide.
Overall, Weikart has what we
might term an "essentialist" view of Judeo-Christian
tradition, which attributes to this tradition certain unchanging
characteristics that makes it what it is. In terms of ethics, Weikart tells us the difference between Darwinism
Darwinism's contribution to
the rise of moral relativism is even trickier. Certainly many Darwinists proclaimed the death knell for
Christian, Kantian, or any other fixed system of ethics, and they
contended that moral relativism was a logical consequence of a Darwinian view
For Weikart, some of the
features of this "fixed system of ethics" in Christianity included
opposition to these practices:
- moral relativism
- differential value of human
- infanticide, including by
- killing innocent human life
Weikart's indictment of
evolutionary theory, however, is premised on a very incomplete and
distorted portrayal of Christian ethics and history.
is actually founded on moral relativism that is even more chaotic than secular
systems of ethics. Ephesians 2:15 tells us this about what Christ did to the
Law of Moses: "by
abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man
in place of the two, so making peace." In fact, from a traditional Jewish viewpoint,
Christianity is founded on systematically destroying God's laws as revealed to
Moses, and so speaking of a Judeo-Christian tradition is also akin to speaking
of a Capitalist-Marxist tradition.[6a]
claim that "brotherhood of all races" is a primary doctrine of Christianity can
be decisively refuted not only on biblical grounds, but also on historical
grounds. Polygenesis had a long history in Christianity, and
the Bible provides evidence that not everyone in history is a
pure descendant of Adam and Eve. In Genesis 6: 1-4, for example, we find the
story of the seduction or rape of human women by divine beings. These unions produced mutant offspring
called Nephilim, who became the earthly enemies of the Israelites (Numbers
13:33). The Nephilim were to be killed or imprisoned (see also references to
the Anakim in Deuteronomy 2:10-11).
authors, there were other
qualities and events that prove to be more important than common descent from
Adam and Eve in creating differentials in the value of human life. For example,
the Canaanites, who are also descendants of Adam and Eve, were cursed to
indefinite slavery because of the sin of a single man, Ham, the father of
Canaan (Genesis 9:25-27). The belief
that the sons of Canaan were cursed into slavery then resulted in justifying
the enslavement of entire groups of people throughout Christian history, as has
been amply documented.
attempts to whitewash slavery in the Judeo-Christian tradition thusly:
Even though some Christian
groups, especially in lands with race-based slavery,
developed theological justifications for racial
inequality, most Christian churches believed that the
people of other races were valuable and capable of
adopting European religion and culture.
The first euphemism to
expose is Weikart's use of the verb, "developed." The fact is that most Christians who believed in slavery in
European history did not develop such
an ideology. They inherited this
ideology from the Bible, which assumes the acceptability of slavery in both the
Old and New Testaments (see Leviticus 25:44-45, Ephesians 6:5, 1 Peter 2:18).
Almost all lands in Europe accepted slavery of one sort or another until very
recently. In other words, slavery, which is based on the differential value of
human beings, has been normative, not anomalous, for most of Christian history.
Weikart admits, racism also predated Darwinism. Indeed, Benjamin Isaac, an
historian at the University of Tel
Aviv, has made a powerful case that racism existed in classical antiquity. He says that the "essence of racism is
that it regards individuals as superior or inferior because they are believed
to share imagined physical, mental, and moral attributes with the group to which
they are deemed to belong, and it is assumed that they cannot change these
traits individually." That definition would apply to Canaanites and many
other groups slated for extermination in the Bible.
with Weikart's version of history prompt us to see that unclear definitions are
devices by which Weikart touts the ethical superiority of the Christian
tradition. For example, being against "killing innocent human life" is
meaningless unless one knows how Weikart defines "innocent." In fact, I know of
no religion or philosophy, theistic or atheistic, that would advocate killing
"innocent" human life. It is just that those who advocate killing anyone can
define "innocent" very differently
from how we might define it. Indeed, neither biblical authors nor modern
creationists believe that even children
are always innocent victims.
forbidding of "murder" is meaningless unless one knows what Weikart means
by that term. In actuality,
"murder" refers to a killing not acceptable to an individual or group. Thus,
killing in war is not regarded as "murder" for most nation-states, but it is
regarded as murder by many Christian pacifists. Some Christians regard the
death penalty as "murder," and some don't. Some Christians regard abortion as murder, and some
don't. Thus, "forbidding murder"
is no great accomplishment because every society and religion would also have
categories of killing that would be unauthorized by the group in power.
While we do
not deny that evolutionary theory was a factor in Nazi ideology, it is a
mistake to see it as the main or only factor, given the long history of
Christian anti-Judaism. Christian anti-Judaism has a continuous history from
its earliest days (see John 8:44), and so it is absurd to say that Darwinism
was even necessary or sufficient to explain the Holocaust. The Holocaust
was simply the latest and most violent spasm of
repeated Christian anti-Judaism.
Weikart never mentions that Martin Luther (1483-1546), the father of
Protestantism, espoused a seven-point plan for the Jews in 1543, hundreds of
years before Darwin came on the scene. For this reason, Luther's plan bears repeating at length: 
First, to set fire to their
synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn,
so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them.
This is to be done in honor of our Lord and Christendom, so
that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly
tolerate such public lying, cursing, blaspheming of his son and of his
Second, I advise that their
houses also be razed and destroyed...
Third, I advise that all
their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such
idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.
Fourth, I advise that their
rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb...
Fifth, I advise that
safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the
Sixth, I advise that usury
be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasures of
silver and gold be taken from them for safekeeping...
Seventh, I recommend putting
a flail, an ax, a hoe, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young strong
Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow,
as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen. 3 [:19])
Note that every single
element, from killing disobedient Jews to consigning Jews to hard labor, is paralleled by the Nazi
plan. That is why even the Lutheran editor of
Luther's works was moved to make this statement:
It is impossible to publish
Luther's treatise today, however, without noting how similar his proposals were
to the actions of the Nationalist Socialist regime in Germany in the 1930's and
It is no surprise,
therefore, that Hitler specifically names Luther as one of his heroes. As Hitler phrased it: "Beside Frederick the Great stands Martin Luther as well as
Richard Wagner." Darwin is nowhere to be found in this list of heroes.
Note that Luther's murderous plan has mainly
religious motives, not evolutionary theory, as justification. The plan, Luther says, is to be enacted
in honor of Christ and Christendom. And, in fact, Hitler, like Luther, thought he was following God's will: "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance
with the will of the Almighty Creator; by defending myself against the Jew, I
am fighting for the work of the Lord."
This statement alone eliminates the idea that Darwinism was the main or only
rationale for Hitler's actions.
Jonathan Sarfati, an Australian creationist
and self-described convert from Judaism to Christianity, seems to believe that
Luther's plan was not as bad as what Adolf Hitler had in mind. Let's examine Sarfati's reasons:
Yes, we all know about
Luther's disgraceful attacks on Jews late in his life. They should not be
condoned, but Luther's antisemitism was totally different to Hitler's. Luther
trashed anyone he saw as an opponent
of the Gospel, and his choicest barbs were for the papacy. Hitler
cared nothing for the Gospel, and killed Jews just because they were Jews, including quarter of a million Jewish
Christians. He also intended to wipe out Christianity, as Nuremberg prosecutor
William Donovan thoroughly documented.
thing to notice is that Sarfati tells us not to condone Luther's "attacks on
Jews late in his life." Yet, he also tells us Luther is different from Hitler
because "Luther trashed anyone he saw
as an opponent of the Gospel..."Hitler, on the other hand, wanted to kill Jews just because they were
Jews. >In other words, specificity
(just killing Jews) is
differentiated from "generality" (anyone who hates the gospel) in deciding
whether genocide is deemed better or worse.
Sarfati is factually incorrect or misleading in saying that Luther "trashed
anyone he saw as an opponent of the Gospel." Luther has
killing in mind ("on pain of loss of life"), not just "trashing," for Jews
unwilling to accept some of his terms. Furthermore, Luther never recommended a seven-point plan for Catholics
or any other group. He explicitly
says he wants to burn the Talmud, not the sacred scripture of every other
And if Luther
is to be excused by the fact that his hatred was not just reserved for the
Jews, then Hitler's hate, by Sarfati's logic, might be mitigated by the fact
that he also did not reserve his hatred only for the Jews. Hitler hated all
enemies of the Aryan race, and so his hatred is not less generalized than that
of Luther. In any case, Sarfati seems to believe
that hatred of all non-Aryans is somehow more opprobrious than hatred of all
And even if we
were to accept Sarfati's logic that Luther hated all enemies of the
gospel, we would also have to conclude that Luther's genocidal plan might encompasseven more people than just Jews. After all, Luther might define the billion or so Muslims that now exist as people who hate
the Gospel. It is just that Luther did not have the lethal technology available
to him that Hitler did.
telling us that Hitler's plan is different because he just hated Jews, Sarfati
admits that Hitler also wanted to kill Christians. He refers us to the work of William Donovan, the American military officer who
documented Hitler's war on churches. The problem is that Sarfati confuses attacks
on churches opposed to Nazi religious views with attacks on Christ or
"Christianity." Rather, Nazis saw
themselves as the bearers of the true Christianity, just as Luther saw himself
as the bearer of true Christianity.
To illustrate this
point, we need look no further than the writings of Alfred Rosenberg, a premier
Nazi ideologist. He used parts of
the Bible as support in The Myth of the
Twentieth Century: An Assessment of the Psychical-Spiritual Struggle of our
Time, first published in 1930.  Rosenberg is best described as being
against Christendom, or the organized religions such as Catholicism which had
departed from what he believed to be the true teachings of Jesus.
what he called "positive Christianity" (positive
Christentum), as opposed to the "negative" one represented by the Asiatic
clergy.  Rosenberg sought to purify Christianity by going back to its
Nordic roots, an idea supported by Ernest Renan (1823-1892), a well-known
biblical scholar.  Rosenberg thought that the Gospel of John best preserved some of the
teachings of Jesus. He commented thus: "The Gospel of John, which still bears
an aristocratic spirit throughout, strove against the collective bastardization, orientalization and
Judaization of Christianity." 
fails to mention that any hatred of non-Nazi churches by Hitler would be
equivalent to the hatred of non-Protestant churches by Protestants. The attacks on Catholic churches that
took place under Protestants were not considered an attack on Christianity as
much as an attack on corrupt forms of Christianity. In this respect, Hitler was
not different from John Knox, who attacked the churches of rivals in Scotland,
or from Henry VIII, who attacked Catholic monasteries in England.  Likewise,
Catholics who killed thousands of Protestants in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre
in Paris in 1572 did not see themselves as attacking "Christians," but as
attacking the enemies of Christ. 
And let us not
forget how Sarfati, among others, wishes to excuse Luther's plan because
it is formulated late in life. Sarfati leaves unexplained why formulating a hateful plan late in life
is relevant or a mitigating
circumstance. Are we to believe
that uttering something genocidal near the end of one's life is more acceptable
than in our youth? Can we call someone a good human being because he was good
for 59 years, but just happened to plan a mass murder at 60? If some mental
disability is implied, could we not make the same argument for Hitler, who
might have been suffering from some mental illness or drug addiction, as has
been alleged? 
Sarfati is arguing that the acceptability of a proto-Nazi policy depends on the
identity of the perpetrator and the victim. It is not genocide that is always wrong; it is upon whom,
and by whom, the genocide is perpetrated that makes it wrong or right. In this respect, Sarfati is not much
different from Ernest Haeckel, who is described by Weikart as follows:
It was not the killing that
bothered Haeckel, but only the killing of the wrong people, which would stymie evolutionary progress and
perhaps even cause degeneration. 
Genocide is acceptable if
done for the reasons Sarfati finds acceptable. Sarfati exhibits the moral
relativism for which he and his creationist cohorts denounce Darwinism.
cannot ignore the unmistakable "evolutionary" view of Christianity that
one finds among Christian creationists. For them, Christianity represents the
apex of religions. Judaism is a
fossil or an inferior version that was meant to culminate in Christianity.
Killing certain groups (such as the Canaanites) was acceptable because they
might have stood in the way of the "salvation history" meant to culminate in
Christianity. Thus, "salvation
history" has many of the same negative consequences for particular groups
(e.g., Canaanites who threaten the chosen group; anyone that stood in the way
of the "goal") creationists attribute to evolutionary theory.
mentions the fact that German Darwinist geneticists championed the Nuremberg
laws, which prohibited marriage between Germans and Jews in order to preserve
Germanic blood purity.  John P. Koster, a Christian apologist, is even more
accusatory of Darwinism:
Two aspects of Hitler's life
really have to be considered at this point.
The first aspect is the way in which something
resembling the atheist syndrome shaped Hitler's own savagely
distorted personality. The second is the way in
which Darwin and Huxley's picture of man's place in
the universe prepared the way for the Holocaust. 
consequences of Nazi ideology are noted by Koster. One is the
passage of the Nuremberg Laws. Another, outlined in the famous Wannsee Conference of 1942, began the
large scale movement of Jews to labor camps, where only the hardiest were to
survive. The labor camps were
considered to be living laboratories for Darwin's concept of the survival of
But the specific
idea of blood purity did not begin with Darwin. Such a notion was already present in Christian ideas about
Jews. For example, the marriage of Christians and Jews was forbidden by the
Council of Elvira already in the fourth century. Juan Martinez Siliceo, the archbishop of Toledo, proposed
legislation in 1547 based very specifically on what is called "limpieza de
sangre" ("cleanliness of blood," "purity of blood").  Statutes enacted in
Toledo in 1449 also focused on blood purity as a means to discriminate against
Jews who had converted but were not Spaniards by "blood."
Some of Hitler's
specific terminology for "purity of the blood" (e.g., "Reinhaltung des Blutes") corresponds quite closely to terminology (limpieza de sangre) applied against Jews
in Spain. Likewise, in Islam we find that blood is also believed to be the
locus of genealogical relationships. Thus, one Hadith speaks of Allah making blood sacred (harrama...dima'a).  Hitler,
therefore, probably mirrors Christian or Islamic ideas more than Darwinian ones here. As far as I know, Darwin did not speak
of "blood purity."
In fact, the Bible,
not Darwinism, has been the principal exponent of the most systematic ideology
of genealogical purity inherited by western civilization. One example is found in the story of
the shock exhibited by Ezra, the priest, at how the Jews had mixed with
Ezra 9:1 After these things had been done,
the officials approached me and said, "The people of Israel, the priests, and
the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with
their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the
Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.
Ezra 9:2 For they have taken some of their
daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons. Thus the holy seed has
mixed itself with the peoples of the lands, and in this faithlessness the
officials and leaders have led the way."
Even if there is no
understanding of modern genetics, it is clear that the author understands that
the mixing of "seed" is a physical process. Likewise, the author seems to think
of "pollution" in material terms in prohibiting miscegenation:
Ezra 9:11 which you commanded by your
servants the prophets, saying, 'The land that you are entering to possess is a
land unclean with the pollutions of the peoples of the lands, with their
abominations. They have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness.
Ezra 9:12 Therefore do not give your
daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never
seek their peace or prosperity, so that you may be strong and eat the good of
the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.'
Ezra believed that this
miscegenation would bring the wrath of God (10:14; see also Deuteronomy
23:3-6). Genealogical purity was
supposed to maintain strength (Ezra 9:12: "so that you may be strong"). >The solution was to send away the
wives, even with children (Ezra 10:3). Thus, family values here are subordinate
to ethnic values. 
But viewing the
mixing of seed as sin is not that different from Hitler's view of miscegenation:
"To bring about such a development is, then, nothing else but to sin against
the will of the eternal creator."  Now, where would Hitler get the idea
that miscegenation would be a sin against the eternal creator? Was it from
Darwin's books, or was it from the Bible to which creationists subscribe? And we see, very little difference,
therefore between the biblical idea that certain groups were inferior by virtue
of their genealogical identity, and Weikart's observation that
One fundamental component of
this Nazi worldview was human inequality, the
notion that human beings have differing values
depending on their biological characteristics. 
Recall also that Koster
cites the Wannsee Conference plan to place Jews in labor camps, and then
ignores that this idea is the last point of Martin Luther's seven-point plan
for the Jews. Seen in this light, the Nuremberg laws are simply a continuance
of Christian and biblical concepts.
Weikart tells us
that Hitler "continually accused the Jews of greed, deceit, sexual
deviance, and other immoral deeds, thereby justifying his view of them
as an inferior race."  Not
only are these charges parallel to charges made by Sarfati against the
Canaanites, but Weikart has apparently forgotten that at least one of these accusations
against the Jews can be traced back to Jesus in John 8:44:
You are of your father the
devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the
beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in
he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Part of this verse (Der Vater der Juden ist der Teufel = The
Father of the Jews is the Devil) from John was posted on road signs in some
German towns.  Recall also
that Luther's anti-Judaic tract is called "On the Jews and Their Lies." Thus,
there is a clear continuous portrayal of Jews as liars
in Christian history from John to Hitler.
Weikart's assault on
evolutionary theory is part of a larger assault on
"materialism" that permeates creationist literature. According to creationists, the idea that life originates
from purely physico-chemical processes leads to the devaluation of human life. That materialistic world-view, argue
creationists, is why we have abortion, among other ills, in modern society.
Yet, the opposite
may be more often the case. Creationists often have a pneumatocentric view of life that can devalue
the human body. A pneumatocentric
view of life, which is unique to religion, means that the welfare and salvation
of the non-material soul has priority over bodily well-being. We find a classic expression of this
idea in Matthew 10:28:
And do not fear those who
kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both
soul and body in hell.
Likewise, the author of 1
Corinthians 5:8 advises this punishment for a congregation member who
has sinned: "you
are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his
spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Indeed, the Muslim hijackers
who flung themselves into the World Trade Center on 9-11 cared little for their
bodies. It was their souls that they wanted to preserve intact.
view of life can logically result in the advocacy of abortion. The reason is that many creationists
believe that fetuses and those who die in infancy go directly to heaven. For example, Louis T. Talbot
(1889-1976), a former chancellor
of Biola College, a creationist
mecca, answers a question concerning the destiny of those who die in infancy as
Yes, all infants, including stillborn babies, and
young children who have not reached the age of
accountability at death, go immediately into the presence of God. 
That would mean that
abortion should result in a 100% salvation rate for fetuses who are aborted.
Abortion would also eliminate completely the risk of sending aborted fetuses to
an eternal torture in hell. So, by this logic, creationists should be for abortion, not against it.
In fact, Reuben A.
Torrey (1856-1928), a famous creationist, nearly comes to this conclusion when
explaining why killing Canaanite children was justified:
Even today I could almost
wish that all the babies born into families of wicked
influence might be slain in infancy, were it
not for the hope that some concerned
Christian will carry to them the saving gospel of the Son
of God. 
Yet, even this wish is
illogical if all dead infants go directly to heaven. Torrey substitutes a risky hope of salvation through the
gospel for what is the certainty of salvation through abortion or infanticide.
object that it is murder to commit an abortion, then we need to understand that Exodus 21:22 does not seem to regard the value of a fetus as equal to that of an
adult. If a fetus is lost by an
accidental human action, only a fine is imposed, whereas adults killed
accidentally may require life for life (Numbers 35:22-34).
Yet, let's suppose
that creationists do not support abortion to save souls because they deem it
murder to perform abortions. But
even if abortion be regarded as murder, the fact remains that one abortion doctor could send
a thousand souls to heaven in his lifetime. One still would gain 1000 souls for
every doctor lost because of performing abortions. Abortion would still be a
better method of saving souls than what anti-abortionists favor now (let the
children grow up and hope they convert). The economics of soul-saving favor abortion no matter
how we calculate it.
By the same token,
a materialist view of life may be
somatocentric -- a view in which the body is the only and most valuable part of
a person. Such a view can lead logically to valuing human life. Evolutionist materialists may try to
make the most of the life they have on earth rather than sacrifice their
earthly life for an afterlife that cannot be verified to exist. Valuing genetic
diversity can lead to valuing the preservation of life. Thus, it is religious pneumatocentrism,
not evolutionary theory, that can lead to senseless sacrifices of human life.
creationist might not be willing to defend Luther, it is different when it
comes to biblical genocide. Indeed, all creationists defend biblical genocide
in both the Hebrew Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament, and in the
New Testament. First, there is
little dispute among academic biblical scholars (Jewish, Christian or secular),
or even among creationists, that genocide
is the proper term for the practices evinced in some biblical texts.
This is clearly reflected in
Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide (2003), a book edited by four Christian
Among the most
important of these genocidal biblical texts is Deuteronomy 20:16-18:
Deut. 20:16 But as for the towns of these
peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not
let anything that breathes remain alive.
Deut. 20:17 You shall annihilate them -- the
Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and
the Jebusites -- just as the LORD your God has commanded,
Deut. 20:18 so that they may not teach you to
do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods, and you thus sin
against the LORD your God.
And this text against the
group called the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15:
Samuel said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people
Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the LORD.
says the LORD of hosts, "I will punish what Am'alek did to Israel in opposing
them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt.
3. Now go
and smite Am'alek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them,
but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
Christians, in particular,
have been more reticent to define certain New Testament passages as genocidal
or even as violent. Consider the
violence that Jesus plans for the enemies of Christians at the last
Matt. 25:41 Then he will say to those at his
left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire
prepared for the devil and his angels...
Matt. 25:46 And these will go away into
eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
As I have
argued elsewhere, some New Testament authors actually advocated a type of
violence that was much higher, in both quality and quantity, than what is found
in the Jewish scriptures. The Old Testament god may often wish to injure or
kill you, but only up to the limits of your earthly lifetime. The New Testament advocates eternal
torture by fire. Imagine Hitler
saying that he did not want to kill Jews in ovens, but rather just torture them
forever in ovens, and you would see the moral depravity of such an idea. In fact, most creationists forget that
the burning of opponents is a punishment advocated by the Bible, not by
Weikart believes that Christianity taught the universal love of all humanity.
But the fact is that "love" itself can be defined in such a way as
to render genocide a loving act. Consider this passage, from R. A. Torrey, one of the contributors to The Fundamentals, a series of
anti-evolutionary tracts that helped popularize the name "fundamentalist":
The extermination of the
Canaanite children was not only an act of mercy and love to the world at large;
it was an act of love and mercy to the children themselves. 
Indeed, Christian "love" has
been a very common defense for violence throughout Christian history.
creationists even use medicalized language, quite similar to that of Nazi
ideologues, to explain the necessity of genocide of the Canaanites. Gleason
Archer, a renowned evangelical creationist, phrases it thus:
Just as the wise surgeon
removes dangerous cancer from his patient's body by use of the scalpel, so God
employed the Israelites to remove such dangerous malignancies from human
Archer has no trouble
thinking of Canaanite children as being part of the "malignancy" that had to be
approach to defending biblical genocide centers on the charge that the
Canaanites deserved it because they were sinful. Glenn Miller provides such a
rationale in a lengthy blog post titled: How could a
God of Love order the massacre/annihilation of the Canaanites? Specifically, Miller
says that the Canaanites deserved the killing of their women and children
because they engaged in these activities:
- Child sacrifice
- Homosexual sex
First, let's recall that the
very notion that "sin" and sexual depravity can justify genocide is also
similar to Hitler's rationale in combating miscegenation: "To bring about such
a development is, then, nothing else but to sin against the will of the eternal
creator."  Hitler, it should be observed, also wanted to eliminate
homosexuality, something that marks him again as more similar to some biblical
authors (e.g. Leviticus 20:13) than he is to Darwin.
Miller assures us that God treats everyone the same for such sins:
And God allowed no double
standards. When Israel began to look like 'Canaanites', God judged them IN THE
SAME WAY...and 'vomited' them from the Land as well. This expulsion
was also accompanied by the harsh measures of warfare
faced by the Canaanites.
However, the Israelites were
not treated the same as the Canaanites. The Canaanites were to be completely
annihilated (Deuteronomy 20:16: "you must not let anything that breathes remain
alive") not just expelled from the land. There is no similar punishment that
demands that, when a Hebrew commits a sexual sin, all Hebrew women and children
should be killed so that nothing is left of them.
If incest is a
reason for genocide, it does not appear to be so in the case of
Abraham, regarded as of the most blessed man on earth, despite the fact that he
married his half-sister (Genesis 20:12), and had multiple sexual
partners (Hagar and Sarah in Genesis 16).
Moreover, incest with a
sister or a half-sister is to be punished by death according to the Mosaic law
(Leviticus 20:17), which would have applied to Abraham, who
married "the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother" (Genesis
So Miller ends
up trying to convince us that a whole city, including children, should be
burned in Sodom (Genesis 19) because God did not like certain sexual acts to be
performed, but yet God blesses a man that commits sexual acts that are
explicitly prohibited in the Mosaic law. If the objection is that the Mosaic
law was not in effect at the time of Abraham, then we should note that it was
also not in effect at the time of Sodom's demise. God is the biggest moral relativist of all in biblical
justification of Canaanite genocide is premised on the idea that child
sacrifice is unconditionally repugnant to the biblical God. Miller forgets that child sacrifice may
have been perfectly acceptable to the biblical god, something demonstrated in painstaking detail by Jon
Levenson, the Albert A. List professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard
Divinity School. In his brilliant treatment, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son (1993), Levenson states
that "only at a particular stage rather late in the history of Israel was child
sacrifice branded as counter to the will of YHWH and thus ipso facto
idolatrous."  He points to Ezekiel 20:25-26, as one example where Yahweh says:
 Moreover I gave them statutes that
were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life;
 and I defiled them through their
very gifts in making them offer by fire all their first-born, that I might
horrify them; I did it that they might know that I am the LORD.
of which statutes is Yahweh speaking when referring the sacrifice of a
first-born son? That statute may be the one in Exodus 22:29-30:
 "You shall not delay to offer
from the fulness of your harvest
and from the outflow of your presses.
first-born of your sons you shall give to me.
 You shall do likewise with your
oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its dam; on the eighth
day you shall give it to me.
Levenson observes, many Christian and Jewish scholars have tried to
mitigate or eliminate the obvious meaning of these passages. But even
Moshe Greenberg, author of a major commentary of Ezekiel, and who otherwise
minimizes the idea that normative Yahwism engaged in child sacrifice, admits:
polemic against child sacrifice (to YHWH) in Deut. 12:29ff.;
Jer 7:31; 19:5, 32:35 indicates that at least from
the time of the last kings of Judah it was popularly believed
that YHWH accepted, perhaps even commanded, it. 
Levenson, it was late texts that sought to substitute animals for actual
human first-born sons. Genesis 22, which shows Yahweh substituting a ram for
Isaac, is part of a late biblical tradition. Indeed, in Genesis 22, Abraham
seems to presume that child sacrifice is not an impossible request, and it is
the substitution of the ram that is unexpected. For most of biblical history,
Yahweh was not against child sacrifice per se, but rather against child
sacrifice to other gods.
of course, Miller forgets that sacrifice of a son is the foundation of Christianity. After all, Jesus Christ is viewed as
the only-begotten son of God, who must be sacrificed to redeem the world
because of "love" (John 3:16). Christ's sacrifice is premised on the sort
of blood-magic inherited from the ancient Near East. This blood-magic is
evident in Hebrews 9:22: "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and
without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin." Christian
creationists might claim that their god has the authority to order sacrifice,
but this claim is no more verifiable than that of any other religion that
practices human sacrifice.
Then there is
the sheer logical absurdity of the pragmatics suggested by Sarfati and
Miller, who argue that the Israelites had to kill Canaanite children because
the Canaanites were killing their children. This, of course, leaves unexplained why we have to kill the children,
instead of killing the perpetrators of the infanticide. Such a measure is, in
fact, attributed by Tertullian, the famous church father, to a Roman official:
In Africa infants used to be
sacrificed to Saturn and quite openly, down to
the proconsulate of< Tiberius, who took the
priests themselves and on the very trees of their temple,
under whose shadow their crimes had been committed,
hung them alive like votive offerings on crosses.
This is a far wiser and most
just punishment than killing children so that they will not be
killed by their parents. Such actions by the Romans refutes the usual
apologetic mantra that Christianity was needed to finally stop such killings.
Miller's suggestion violates at least one biblical commandment found in Deuteronomy 24:16:
fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor shall the children be
put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
But, as usual, creationists
often disregard their own scriptures or pick-and-choose scriptures that favor
their view. Whatever the biblical passages chosen, Miller wishes to convince us that it is logically acceptable
to kill children because those children are being killed.
Creationists are not content
to point to biblical texts that indict the whole of
Canaanite culture. Miller and
Sarfati believe that there is archaeological evidence that proves every one of
the charges made by biblical authors against the Canaanites. Glenn Miller
provides this supposed evidence in his aforementioned blog post, which is used as a
reference by Sarfati.  But the uninformed self-confidence of the amateur biblical
scholarship evinced by both Miller and Sarfati becomes their own snare.
If we follow a
traditional biblical chronology, the genocide of the Canaanites and Amalekites
was ordered somewhere between the Exodus, which Miller dates at around 1400 BCE
(in opposition to most academic scholars), and the time of Saul, around 1000
BCE. Therefore, we should expect
that Miller would offer archaeological evidence for these Canaanite practices
from that time.
Miller's main evidence dates from after 800 BCE, and as late as the fourth
century CE. Moreover, most of the
evidence is not from Canaan. He
tries to obscure this fact by saying "Canaanite culture (in the broad sense),"
but this is a meaningless description unless he defines "Canaanite" in the
first place. And, indeed, scholars cannot agree on what is "Canaan" or
"Canaanite."  But, for the sake of argument, let's accept the geographical
borders for Canaan given in Numbers 34:1-12. These boundaries would include
most of what we now call Lebanon, parts of Syria, and all of what is presently
Yet, most of
the evidence cited by Miller is not from Canaan at all. Rather, Miller is referring mainly to
evidence found in Punic and Neo-Punic sites
in the Mediterranean lands and islands west of biblical Canaan. "Punic" is the name given to the
culture attributed to colonists from
Phoenicia, which roughly corresponds to the area we know as Lebanon.  But
"Phoenicia" is itself a construct of Greek geographers, and there is no
indication that the Phoenicians called themselves that or thought of themselves
as a unified people.
It is true
that many places in the western Mediterranean were colonized by
Semitic-speaking peoples somewhere between 750 BCE until their subjugation by
the Roman empire by the end of the Punic Wars. It is true that many archaeologists do view Punic culture as
a continuation of Canaanite culture. But that opinion must be tempered by the
fact that these sites also evince the presence of Greeks and other peoples.
Thus, it is
not always easy to distinguish what is "Punic," and, by extension, "Canaanite,"
from what is not. Shelby Brown comments, "By the fourth century the Levant had
been so frequently invaded and culturally changed that it cannot really be
considered 'Phoenicia.'"  Similarly, William F. Albright, who is now viewed
as on the conservative side of modern biblical scholarship, even admits that:
The relatively late date at
which the practice of< setting up
commemorative stelae in connection with "tophet" sacrifices was introduced,
makes it improbable that they were derived from Phoenicia proper. 
In any case,
Miller cites the discovery of a tophet,
a cemetery supposedly devoted to
sacrificed infants, at Carthage in what is now Tunisia. The word tophet derives from some references in the Bible to burning children in
the valley of Hinnom outside of Jerusalem. According to 2 Kings 23, a king
named Josiah (ca. 642-609 BCE) destroyed places of worship that were dedicated
to gods other than Yahweh. 2 Kings
And he defiled To'pheth,
which is in the valley of the sons of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son
or his daughter as an offering to Molech.
Thus, using the word tophet at Carthage is already prejudicing
the case because it assumes that the cemeteries at Carthage represent the same
practice described in Jerusalem. Moreover, the biblical record says that the tophet is a specific location in the valley of Hinnom. With the possible exception of Isaiah 57:5
(uses plural "valleys"), no other tophets
are said to exist anywhere else.
overlook the fact that Harvard Professor Lawrence Stager, who was a principal
modern excavator of Carthage, makes a strong case for the existence of child
sacrifice at that site on the following evidence: 
- Greco-Roman texts that
mention child sacrifice among Punic cultures.
- Inscriptions at Punic
sites, especially those that mention the term mlk
- Osteology: "No skeleton
has shown any signs of pathological conditions that might have caused death." 
Yet, even if
we were to accept all of this evidence, the problem remains that this does not
confirm anything about supposed Canaanite practices ca. 1400 BCE when the
orders were given. Indeed, some scholars (e.g. George Heider) see any child
sacrifice as an intra-Punic development.  If so, anything done by the
Neo-Phoenicians is akin to killing British women and children as punishment for
crimes committed by the U.S. Army at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890.
with the term mlk are extremely
difficult to interpret. The term usually
is assumed to mean the same as what is found in the Hebrew Bible
(e.g., Leviticus 18:21 and 20:2-5). Two interpretations are usually found for mlk in the history of scholarship: 1) mlk is the name of the deity to which
the offering is made; 2) mlk is the
technical term for the offering itself, regardless of to which god it is made.
 Miller makes much of the fact that the Phoenician phrase, mlk 'dm, might mean "the sacrifice of a
man," but he neglects to mention that this term has not been found thus far at
Carthage, but at other places.  In
regard to the inscriptions at Carthage, even Stager admits "None refers
explicitly to child sacrifice, only to vows made to Tanit." 
problem with Miller is his uncritical use of anti-Canaanite (or
anti-Carthaginian/Phoenician) sources. Shelby Brown reminds us:
Stelae and the burials they
commemorate represent the only primary evidence for the role of sacrifice in
Carthaginian and Phoenician religion. With the exception of quotations of the
Phoenician Sanchuniathon by later authors, no Punic or Phoenician literature
describing or explaining the rite has
survived. Our information consists only of
descriptions of the enemies of Carthage. 
The fact that enemies of
Carthage are the main source for the claim of child sacrifice is
very important because it is well-known that rival cultures routinely accused
each other of horrible behavior.
seems to ignore that it is precisely accusations of child sacrifice that were
constantly being launched against both Christians and Jews in
antiquity. Such an accusation is reported by Tertullian (ca.
155-230), the famous church father, as follows:
We are said to be the most
criminal of men, on the score of our sacramental baby-killing [sacramento infanticidii] and the
baby-eating that goes with it and the incest that follows the banquet where the
dogs are our pimps in the dark, forsooth, and make a sort of decency for guilty lusts by overturning our lamps. 
If we should not take such
reports about Christians at face-value, we certainly should not do
it for the Canaanites.
sources Miller cites are extremely late. For example, he cites Eusebius, the
famous Christian historian of the fourth century, to tell us about supposed
Canaanite behavior some eighteen-hundred years earlier, around 1400 BCE. But we could come to opposite
conclusions by using sources that are just as late. For example, there are well-developed Rabbinic traditions
that tell us that the biblical passages cited by Miller as evidence of burning
children should not be interpreted that way.
Deuteronomy 18:10 as translated by the version (NIV = The New International
Version) quoted by Miller.
Let no one be found among
you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire.
However, the word
"sacrifices" is not the only possible translation of the Hebrew, which uses the
phrase "he'ebîr ba'esh" also used in
2 Kings 23:10 to describe the activity at the tophet outside of Jerusalem. This phrase may
also be translated as "cause to pass through/over the fire." Thus, we also can
translate Deuteronomy 18:10 as follows: "There shall not be found among you
that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire," as does the King
James Version (and the NIV in a note).
to many ancient Jewish commentators, "passing a child through fire" did not
refer to burning a child IN a fire, but rather to a ritual more akin to
fire-walking in Fiji or passing through lit torches. Commenting in Deuteronomy
18:10, the Talmudic tractate Sanhedrin (64a) says: "There was a loose pile
of bricks in the middle, and fire
on either side of it."  Rashi, the medieval Jewish commentator, further
elaborates on this interpretation in his commentary on the worship of Molek in
Leviticus 18 and Deuteronomy 18:10,
"...and this was the manner
in which it was worshipped: that he (the father) handed his child (lit. his son, but it applies to his
daughter also; cf. Deut. XVIII.10) over to the priests of the idol. These lit two large pyres one opposite the other and made
the child to pass on foot between the two pyres (Sanh. 64a)." 
Yet, despite these problems,
Miller assures us:
Archeological evidence is
firm and growing. Child sacrifice burial grounds are called tophet in the literature, and they occur
throughout Palestine and the Phoenician empire. Ahlstrom mentions sites
"at 'Atlit, Tell el-Far'a (S) and Tell el 'Ajjul in Palestine" (HAP:
688, n. 2).
Miller is actually referring
to a footnote in a book, History of
Ancient Palestine (HAP), by the late Gösta
Ahlström, a biblical scholar who spent most of his career at
the University of Chicago. 
But when one
reads that footnote, we realize that Ahlström is simply citing an article by
another scholar named Kurt Galling. When we look at what Galling actually said, we find nothing that implies
the presence of child sacrifice at Atlit, Tell el-Far'a or Tell el 'Ajjul. Galling says:
Also on the Palestinian
coast, south of [Mt.] Carmel, three urn cemeteries are
Galling then specifies that
these three cemeteries are at Atlit, Tell el-Fara'a and Tell
Ajjul. But these three "urn
cemeteries" (urnenfriedhöfe) imply
nothing about child sacrifice. Nor does Galling refer to them as a tophet.
Because he is
not a trained biblical scholar, Miller is not sufficiently critical of the
interpretations that even Ahlström must be asked to justify. It has long been known that there were
a variety of means by which people in Canaan buried their dead. Elizabeth Bloch-Smith summarizes them
- Simple graves
- Cist graves
- Storage jars (Pithos)
- Anthropoid coffins
- Cremation burials
In other words, the urns may
represent cremation burials, and nothing at those sites tells us otherwise. In
fact, Galling himself provides a footnote to articles about "cremated burials."
 An authoritative summary of the Tel 'Ajjul states: "There is some
indication of Phoenician-style cremation burials in cemetery 1000." There is no indication of human
on the other hand, overlooks that the
vast majority of diseases do not leave evidence on bones. Thus, one cannot, as Prof. Stager does,
use this lack of disease in the bones as evidence that these were healthy
children. Nor does Miller seem to
realize that Jeffrey Schwartz, the official osteologist of the Carthage
excavations has come to a very different conclusion about the manner of death
of the infants at Carthage. Schwartz says:
In fact, the statistics at
present indicate that, on the basis of cranial and long
bone measurements, approximately 81 percent of all individuals in my
sample -- whether from single individual urns or double individual urns -- were late
third-trimester fetuses...These statistics imply that at least 54 percent, but
possibly as many as 81 percent, of the individuals from my sample died of
natural causes before they were cremated -- which means, of course, that most of
the individuals in this sample had not been sacrificed in the sense of being
victims of a blood-killing. 
Schwartz also explains the
repeated presence of two individuals in the same urn differently
from Stager. The latter doubted
that natural causes would have
affected two children far apart in age in the same family. Schwartz, however, believes that the
individuals in the same urn are often so close in age (months apart) that they
may not be from the same family at all. 
resorts to another well-worn device used by creationists: The claim
that opposition is "growing" against the view creationists
oppose. Again, this is a matter of not reading the scholarly literature with
much depth. In fact, we can easily
find claims that any trend is the opposite of what Miller claims. For example, in the authoritative Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the
Bible(582), we find this
Finally, it should be noted
that an increasingly vocal body of European scholars is challenging the
interpretation of the Punic remains as indicating any cult of child sacrifice. 
In tracing the history of
the "Punic sacrifice" idea, Brien Garnand, who is compiling a massive
data-base on these issues, believes 1987 marked the turning
point away from the Punic sacrifice idea, even if he disagrees with
that shift. 
that many scholars simply see that aspersion upon the Phoenicians as an
instance of Western and Christian-inspired prejudice against other groups. In that respect, it is very much like the negative ancient
propaganda launched against Christians. Regardless of whether these "revisionist" scholars are correct, the
point remains that we could just as well find quotes that indicate a growing
trend that is opposite of what Miller claims.
instance where Miller's amateur research is evident is in his appeal to a
monument found at a place called Pozo Moro, southwest of Valencia, Spain. Miller is content to just cite
The archaeological excavations
at Punic Pozo Moro in Spain show
a monument with a ritual scene with a god (with an animal head) on a throne and
a table in front of him. He holds
with one hand a pig lying on its back and in the other hand he has a
bowl with the head and the feet of a little child (?) sticking up. He holds
this bowl in front of his mouth. To the right there is another bowl, and a god with an animal head (horse?)
holding a knife in his right hand above the bowl ready to slaughter the child.
The scene (in a neo-Hittite style) shows both animal and child sacrifices as
food for the gods. 
But there are numerous
problems with using this monument to make any claims about Canaanite
child sacrifice in 1400-1000 BCE. First, the monument dates after 500
BCE. Second, nothing makes this monument necessarily
Canaanite, or even Punic (Ahlström mentions a "Neo-Hittite style"). 
most importantly, there is no text or inscription to help us decipher what is
being depicted. The scene depicts
beings that are part beast and part
human. What makes Miller think that this is a Molek child sacrifice? There is no fire here depicted, as would be expected of a Molek sacrifice. While certain elements
of the Pozo Moro can be found in many places in Canaan, the distinctive aspects
of the monument (e.g., the specific two headed figure holding a possible child
in a bowl) are not found in any part of Canaan.
alternative interpretations possible. For example, what if this is a depiction
of a demon about to eat children? That would not make it a
depiction of an acceptable sacrifice, but rather a depiction of an unwanted
aspect of life. Otherwise,
interpreting the Pozo Moro monument as
endorsing the practice depicted would be akin to looking at
Albrecht Altdorfer's painting, Lot and
His Daughters (1537), in Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum, and then
concluding that the painting and the whole of Austrian culture endorses the
incestuous practice depicted.
point is important because both Miller and Sarfati have no problem generalizing
any bad behavior to every Phoenician or Canaanite to justify the
wholesale slaughter in the biblical texts. Such generalization
is most ironic in light of Sarfati's repeated assault on
induction as a valid scientific procedure. But, for Sarfati, the
induction that ALL Canaanites kill children because SOME of them have
been found to kill children, seems to be perfectly valid.
If we went
further, and asked which gods are said to eat people, we would go right back to
the biblical god. Aside from the charge of ritual cannibalism against
Christians reported by Tertullian, consider this passage in Psalm 21:8-9:
 Your hand will find out all your
enemies; your right
hand will find out those who hate you.
 You will make them as a blazing oven when you
appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath; and fire will consume them.
Similar sentiments are found
when Christ returns, according to Revelation 19:16-18:
 On his robe and on his thigh he has
a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.
 Then I saw an angel standing in the
sun, and with a loud voice
he called to all the birds that fly in midheaven, "Come,
gather for the great supper of God,
 to eat the flesh of kings, the
flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their
riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and
So, if the mythology of
eating human flesh by the biblical god is admitted by biblical
authors, then one can see that the monument at Pozo Moro might be
interpreted in that light. If we
say that these biblical allusions to
eating human beings are poetic, then we ought to allow the same interpretations
when we find allusions to eating human beings in non-biblical literature.
suppose that child sacrifice was as pervasive among Canaanites as Sarfati and
Miller will have us believe. The fact that child sacrifice remained so
strong 1000 years after the order for genocide was given (ca. 1400-1000 BCE)
means that the intended cure for this practice was not very effective. Recall
that Tertullian, the church father, tells us that it was not biblical
principles that ended this practice in some locales, but rather a Roman
<>When we look
at the wider length of Christian history, we see that the advent of
Christianity did not end infanticide, despite repeated claims to the contrary. In
fact, some researchers think that Christian theology sometimes may have
encouraged infanticide. Keith Wrightson remarks:
It also raises the disturbing
possibility that if Christian social morality had done
much to overcome the practice of infanticide motivated by considerations of
communal or familial interest, it may have exacerbated resort to it to avoid
the stigma of illegitimacy. [69a]
Finally, Sarfati and Miller forget that any child sacrifice in
antiquity was done by theists and creationists!!! The Canaanites, after
all believed in gods and creation, and that did not deter them from killing
children. In fact, belief in gods is what probably made them kill children.
archaeological confirmation of bestiality among the Canaanites, Miller offers
us one miserly example. This is a fragmentary and ambiguous mythical text from
Ugarit, an ancient city which flourished ca. 1400 BCE in what is now the coast
of Syria. But again, Ugarit
is not part of Canaan. In fact, an
Ugaritic list of merchants refers to "Ya'ilu, a Canaanite" (Ugaritic in
transcription: y'l.kn'ny), which
shows that Ugaritians were not Canaanites. 
The idea that
Creationist ethics are the answer to a supposedly Darwinian tendency to devalue
human life is a myth. Given the foregoing discussion, we can demonstrate that
almost every feature Weikart and his cohorts list for Nazi ideology is
advocated by at least one passage/biblical author in the Bible (Old Testament
or New Testament). Here is a
|Genealogical purity demanded||YES||YES|
|Life unequal in value||YES||YES|
|Whole groups devalued||YES||YES|
We can do the same in
comparing practices attributed to the Canaanites, with practices
sometimes endorsed by biblical authors.
|Eating human beings||YES||YES|
Moreover, the longest
history of defenses for genocide are found among creationists. This history begins with the biblical authors, who defended their
genocides, and continues with modern creationist who are still justifying those
acts, among other acts of genocide in Christian history. Weikart could have better titled his
book, From John and Luther to Hitler.
fails miserably as an ethical system because determining when genocide is
acceptable depends on totally unverifiable claims about who can access the
divine will or who can read God's mind. Creationist ethics are based on the whims and claims
of people who tell us they know what God wants. Scientific ethics, as imperfect
as they may be, at least can demand verifiable evidence that violence in
self-defense is necessary. Theistic violence, on the other hand, often relies
on the unverifiable belief that a supernatural being said we had to sacrifice
human life. 
*Unless indicated otherwise,
all biblical translations are from the Revised Standard Version on-line
 Richard Weikart, From
Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (New
York: Palgrave McMillan 2004). Edward Babinski also provides an excellent review of related
historical oversights by Weikart at:
http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/darwin_hitler.html (last accessed August 6,
2007). For another work that influenced Weikart, see James Rachel, Created From Animals: the Moral Implications
of Darwinism (New York: Oxford, 1990).
 For Sarfati's basic biography,
(accessed on July 28, 2007). For his defense of young-earth creationism, see
Jonathan Sarfati, Refuting Compromise: A
Biblical and Scientific Refutation of "Progressive Creationism" (Billions of
Years) as Popularized by Hugh Ross (Green Forest, AR: Master Books,
2004). For William Lane Craig's
defense of genocide, see http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5767
 Weikart, From
Darwin to Hitler, 102.
 Weikart, From
Darwin to Hitler,145.
 Weikart, From
Darwin to Hitler, 41.
[6a] See Jacob Neusner, Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common
Tradition (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1991).
[6b] See Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth (New York: Basic Books, 1974), especially 175-182.
 Weikart, From
Darwin to Hitler, 103. For studies of how the curse of Ham was used to
justify slavery, see Stephen Haynes, Noah's
Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery (New York: Oxford,
2000); David M. Goldenberg, The Curse of
Ham: Race and Slavery in Early Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).
Darwinism to Hitler, 103.
Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 2004), 23.
For a more thorough discussion on the
various factors that I believe are responsible for the Holocaust, see Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious
Violence (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005), 303-324.
 Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies, translated
by Martin H. Berman in Luther's Works:
The Christian in Society IV, edited by Franklin Sherman (55 volumes;
Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971), 123-306. See further, Peter F. Wiener, Martin Luther: Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor
(Cranford, New Jersey: American Atheist Press, 1999).
 Sherman, On the Jews and Their Lies, 268 n. 173.
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translated by Ralph Manheim (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
1971), 213. German: "Neben Friedrich dem Grossen stehen hier Martin Luther
sowohl wie Richard Wagner." Our German text is from Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (München: Müller, 1936), 232. Henceforth we label this source as "German, page number."
Hitler, Mein Kampf, 65/German, 70: "So glaube
ich heute im Sinne des allmächtigen Schöpfers zu handeln: 'Indem ich mich des
Juden erwehre, kämpfe ich für das Werk des Herrn.'"
Jonathan Sarfati, post of June 21, 2007
under the article "Time to Trim the Bible?" at
accessed on August 6, 2007).
Our citations are from the following
edition: Alfred Rosenberg, Der Mythus des
20. Jahhunderts: Eine Wertung der seelisch-geistigen Gestaltentkämpfe unserer
Zeit (München: Hoheneichen Verlag, 1938). Extracts have been translated
into English as Alfred Rosenberg, Race
and Race History and Other Essays, edited by Robert Pois (New York: Harper
& Row, 1970).
Rosenberg, Der Mythus, 78.
Levy Smolar, "Ernest Renan's Interpretation
of Biblical History," in Biblical and
Related Studies Presented to Samuel Iwry, edited by Ann Kort and Scott
Morschauer (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1985), 237-257. For other theologians that were used to
support Nazism, see Robert P. Erickson, Theologians
Under Hitler (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985). See also Richard Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of
Christianity, 1919-1945 (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 2003). For Weikart's review of Steigmann-Gall,
see German Studies Review 27, no. 1
Rosenberg, Der Mythus, 75. My
translation of the German: "Gegen
diese gesamte Verbastardierung, Verointalisierung und Verjudung des
Christentums wehrte sich bereits das durchaus noch aristokratischen Geist
atmende Johannesevangelium." Pois' edition (Race
and Race History, 70) translated "Johannesevangelium" as "evangelical
teachings of St. John," which obscures Rosenberg's more specific reference to
the book we call the Gospel of John.
See Lamont Stewart, The Swordbearer: John Knox and the European Reformation (London: Hodder and Stoughton,
1991; Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the
Altars:Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580 (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1992).
For a study of St. Bartholomew's Day
Massacre and how the Pope viewed Protestants killed in that massacre, see
Hector Avalos, Fighting Words: The
Origins of Religious Violence (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Press, 2005),
On Hitler's alleged mental instability, see
Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (New York: Marlowe and Company, 1976), 160.
Darwin to Hitler, 175.
Darwin to Hitler, 226.
John P. Koster, The Atheist Syndrome (Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth and Hyatt, 1989), 142.
See further, Linda Martz, "Pure Blood
Statutes in Sixteenth-Century Toledo: Implementation as Opposed to Adoption," Sefarad 61/1 (1994): 91-94; Albert
Sicroff, Los estatutos de limpieza de
sangre: Controversias entre los siglos xv y xvii (Madrid: Taurus ediciones,
1985); Henry Kamen, The Spanish
Inquisition: A Historical Revision (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1997),
especially 242-54; Henry Kamen, Philip of
Spain (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 33-34.
M. Muhammad Ali, A Manual of Hadith (1941; Reprint, Columbus, Ohio: Ahmadiyya
Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore Inc, 2001), 316.
For another perspective, focusing on
marriage of priests with Jewish women, see Martha Himmelfarb, "Levi, Phinehas,
and the Problem of Intermarriage at the Time of the Maccabean Revolt," Jewish Studies Quarterly 6 (1999):1-24.
Kampf, 286/German 314: "als Sünde treiben wider den Willen des ewigen
Darwin to Hitler, 7.
Darwin to Hitler, 213.
See Robert P. Erickson and Susannah Heschel,
Betrayal: German Churches and the
Holocaust (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999). A photograph of a road sign
with John 8:44 appears on p. 92,
photograph 6; See the older, but still useful,
study by Charles Y. Glock and
Rodney Stark, Christian Beliefs and
Anti-Semitism (New York:Harper & Row, 1967).
 Louis T. Talbot, Bible Questions Explained (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1934), 244.
R. A. Torrey, Difficulties in the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, n.d.), 60.
 C. S. Cowles, Eugene H.
Merrill, Daniel L. Gard, and Tremper Longman III, ed., Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide (Grand
Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003).
in the Bible, 60.
Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan,
1982), 121. On the use of medical rhetoric by the Nazis, see Götz Aly, Peter
Chroust, and Christian Pross, Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine and
Racial Hygiene (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qamorite.html (last accessed August 8,
2007). Sarfati refers readers to this blog as his "documentation" in his post
of March 3, 2007 at
http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/03/15/time-to-trim-the-bible/ (last accessed August 8, 2007).
Kampf, 286/German, 314: " als Sünde treiben wider den Willen des ewigen
Glenn Miller, "How Could a God of Love Order
the Massacre/Annihilation of the Canaanites?"
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qamorite.html (last accessed on August 6, 2007).
 Jon Levenson, The Death and
Resurrection of the Beloved Son: The Transformation of Child Sacrifice in
Judaism and Christianity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), 5.
Moshe Greenberg, Ezekiel 1-20 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983), 369.
Tertullian, Apologeticus, Translated by T. R. Glover and G. H. Randall (LCL
250; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1977), 9.1-3.
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/qamorite.html (last accessed August 8,
2007). Sarfati refers readers to this blog as his "documentation" in his post
of March 3, 2007 at
http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/03/15/time-to-trim-the-bible/ (last accessed August 8, 2007).
 For a good treatment, see
Anson Rainey, "Who is a Canaanite? A Review of the Textual Evidence," Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental
Research 304 (1996):1-15.
For a survey of the Phoenicians, see Glenn
Markoe, Peoples of the Past: Phoenicians
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
Shelby Brown, Late Carthaginian Child Sacrifice and the Sacrificial Monuments in their
Mediterranean Context (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1991), 179.
William F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan (1968; reprint Winona Lake, IN:
Eisenbrauns, 1990), p. 238.
Lawrence Stager, "An Odyssey Debate: Were
Living Children Sacrificed to the Gods? Yes," Archaeology Odyssey (November/December 2000):28-31. See also Lawrence Stager and Samuel R.
Wolff, "Child Sacrifice at Carthage: Religious Rite or Population Control Biblical Archaeology Review
Stager, "Were Living Children Sacrificed to
the God?", 28-31.
George Heider, The Cult of Molek: A Reassessment (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic
For surveys of the scholarship, see John
Day, A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old
Testament (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).
There is a possible occurrence of mlk in an inscription found in Injirli,
Turkey, but we must await the full publication of this inscription mentioned by
Glenn Markoe, Peoples of the Past:
Lawrence Stager, "Were Living Children
Sacrificed to the Gods?," 28-31. The opposite response to the question was offered by M'hamed Hassine
Fantar in the same issue pages 28-31.
Carthaginian Child Sacrifice, 15.
Tertullian, Apologeticus (7.1), Translated by T. R. Glover and G. H. Randall
(LCL 250; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1977), 37.
Our citations of the Babylonian Talmud are
from Isidore Epstein, ed., Hebrew-English
Edition of the Babylonian Talmud (London: The Soncino Press, 1988-1994).
We follow the edition of Rabbi A. M.
Silberstein, Chumash: With Rashi's
Commentary. 5 Volumes (Jerusalem: Silberman Family, 1934), 3:83.
Gösta Ahlström, History of Ancient Palestine (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).
Kurt Galling, "Der Weg der Phöniker nach
Tarsis in literarischer und archäologischer Sicht," Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 88 (1972):142: "Aber
auch and der palästinischen Küste südlich des Karmel, finden sich 3 Orten
Urnenfriedhöfe." My translation.
Elizabeth Bloch-Smith, "Life in Judah from
the Perspective of the Dead," Near
Eastern Archaeology 65, no. 2 (2002):124-127.
Galling, "Der Weg der Phöniker," 142, n. 3.
See J. P. Dessel, "'Ajjul, Tell El-," in
Eric M. Meyers, The Oxford Encyclopedia
of Archeaology in the Near East, 5 volumes (New York: Oxford, 1997), 1:39.
Jeffrey H. Schwartz, What The Bones Tell Us (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1993),
Schwartz, What the Bones Tell Us, 52-53.
G. C. Heider, "Molech," in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the
Bible, ed. Karen van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, 2nd revised edition (Leiden: Brill, 1999), p. 582.
For a status report on the project, see Brien
Garnand, "Barbarians at the Borders:
The Maintenance of Ethnic Identities in the Ancient Mediterranean World," American
Schools of Oriental Research Newsletter 49, no. 3 (1999):9
Ahlström, The History of Ancient Palestine, 688, n. 2.
For example, the lions found on the Pozo
Moro monument have reasonable parallels outside of Canaan, at site called
Alalakh (now in Turkey, late second millennium BCE). The lions at both Pozo
Moro and Alalakh are recumbent, and have tails depicted as bending upward on
the side of the body of the lions. For a photograph of the Alalakh lions, see Henry Frankfort, The Art and Architecture of the Ancient
Orient (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1970), 273, plates 319 and 320.
For the excavator's report, see Martín Almagro-Gorbea, "Pozo Moro: El monumento
orientalizante, su contexto socio-cultural y sus paralelos en la arquitectura
funeraria Iberica," Madrider Mitteilungen
24 (1983):197-201; For another study, see John S. Rundin, "Pozo Moro: Child
Sacrifice and the Greek Legendary Tradition," Journal of Biblical Literature 123, no. 3 (Fall, 2004):425-447.
Keith Wrightson, "Infanticide in European
History," Criminal Justice History 3
The Ugaritic text is designated KTU 4.96,
line 7 in the standard edition of KTU
(= Die keilalphabetischen Texte aus
Ugarit) presented in Manfried Dietrich, Oswald Loretz, and Joaquín
Sanmartín, The Cuneiform Alphabetic Texts
from Ugarit, Ras Ibn Hani and Other Places (second, enlarged edition;
Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1995), 248.
We should note the reticence of many
creationist bloggers to answer a question I frequently put to them: "Do you
believe genocide/infanticide is always wrong?" Note response #17 at:
http://www.verumserum.com/?p=1114#comments. The Kansas creationist blogger ironically known as Forthekids
(http://reasonablekansans.blogspot.com), has apparently refused to even post
the question on her blog, despite repeated requests.